Spiritual Multitasking
by Carol L. Skolnick


3:50 AM: Bolt upright in bed, aware that this is the Hour of Brahman; the perfect time to meditate, in the early morning before sunrise. Feel bliss and gratitude, knowing that the Universal energy has roused you for this purpose, that it will be a beneficial start to a beautiful day.

4:00 AM: Fall deeply back asleep, snoring loudly.

7:30 AM: Alarm clock sounds. There's still time to chant and meditate this morning. Just 10 more minutes in bed and...

8:00 AM: Damn, you think, as you glance at the clock after cat steps on your face.

8:15 AM: Open cat food cans and sift litter while chanting first of 3 rounds of 27 mantra repetitions as prescribed by your guru. Continue chanting while toileting, showering, and dressing for the gym.

8:30 AM: Lose count of mantras as loud hair-ball hacks from cat distract you from spiritual practices. In-between new repetitions, wolf down coffee and breakfast while standing at sink.

8:45 AM: Continue chanting while checking e-mail for inspirational postings on the spiritual list-server you subscribe to.

9:00 AM: Only 15 minutes left for meditation before training appointment. Chant several rounds of "Om" and perform alternate nostril breathing. Rationalize that, since you took a stress reduction class yesterday, it's okay to meditate less today.

9:05 AM: Eyes remain wide open. Realize that caffeine and meditation don't mix.

9:12 AM: Finally, you're in a very good space. You'll be a little late to the gym. Your trainer, a martial artist and former Buddhist, will understand.

9:13 AM: Phone jangles; client has an emergency. Assure her you'll call back later. Promise yourself you'll sit for meditation again first, lest you be tempted to kill her.

9:15 AM: Leave for the gym. Step in cat's hairball mess on the way out.

9:20 AM: Change sneakers, clean up, wave incense to purify atmosphere/cover stink of cat vomit. Make Reiki symbols on self, cat, and entire apartment.

9:25 AM: Run back upstairs to put out still-buring incense stick.

9:35 AM: Greet trainer with hands together in "namaste" and slight bow. Discuss relative benefits of Tai Chi vs. Yoga during workout.

10:30 AM: Read InStyle on the treadmill, wishing you'd brought along Yoga Journal or Shambala Sun instead.

10:45 AM: There's an article in this issue about Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama. Thank the Universe for the gift.

11:00 AM: Return to 7 urgent messages on your machine from the client who called earlier. Aggravatedly chant mantra 27 more times.

11:15 AM: Sit for meditation.

11:20 AM: After five minutes of meditating on the client's needs, phone her instead. Hang up on her. Shout mantra 27 more times.

11:40 AM: Call spiritual friend to berate yourself for having lost your yogic detachment.

12:00 Noon: Lunch. Hold hands above food and say healing mantras 11 times before eating. Thank the soul of the chicken for giving up its body so that you can have food. Eat mindfully, thanking the Universe for filling your stomach and your senses. Wolf down chocolate bar for dessert -- made blessed and thus guilt-free by offering it up before photo of your guru.

1:00-4:00 PM: Work. Try to see your work as selfless service. Try not to curse each time client calls. Try not to bust an artery over how much you hate your job. Try not to type the mantra into your ad copy as you attempt to chant it and write about laundry detergent at the same time. Try not to get up and dance to the Sufi Dervish Dancing CD playing in the background.

4:00 PM: Take an Oprah break to "remember your spirit." Guest star Suze Orman talks about attracting abundance. Cool. She's really spiritual.

5:00 PM: Decide it's not the quantity of time you put into your work, it's the quality. Spend the next hour meaning to read a book of affirmations as you thumb through last Sunday's New York Times Arts & Leisure section instead.

6:00 PM: Start thinking about dinner. Decide it would be sattvic -- pure and light and balancing -- to eat a salad tonight.

6:30 PM: Realize you have half a steak left in the fridge. Slice it up and throw it into your sattvic salad.

7:00 PM: Skip tonight's Sufi Dervish Dancing class in favor of being home at 9 to catch a very special Ally McBeal.

7:15 PM: Call to leave messages on friends' answering machines to apologize for not meeting them at class. They all stayed home, too, though, so chat for the next hour. Know that in doing so you are having satsang, the company of seekers, that the Universe wants you to be gentle with yourself, and that it's okay to stay home and watch TV sometimes, because everything pulsates with Cosmic Consciousness.

8:30 PM: Time for dessert. You've been doing so many intense practices, and sweets are grounding.

9:00 PM: Boy, you think, that Calista Flockhart looks like she could use some of this Ben 'n Jerry's. Berate yourself for that thought. Then remember to be compassionate towards yourself as well as Calista Flockhart. Remember that thoughts are as fleet as the wind, and everything is unfolding as it should. Snarf down another spoonful of Cherry Garcia.

10:00 PM: You're exhausted from expending so much energy on the path to enlightenment. Promise yourself that, since you're going to bed early, you'll get up early to do your practices.

10:10 PM: Go online once more to check performance of your socially responsible investment fund. It's down. Make note to call broker about Phillip Morris.

10:30 PM: Fall asleep reading Be Here Now.


2001 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved. Distribution via hyperlink, e-mail, disk, print, or any other form is prohibited under U.S. copyright law without express permission of the author.


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