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I don't imagine the ' I have a busy life' excuse would fly on this board, rather, it probably means I need it more. Regardless, I have big dreams of going on silent 10 day retreats with learn-ed wisdom teachers :)
Actually, it would fly (except with notabledrunkard). Many folks have that same dilemma, but I've found that meditation or just sitting and being 'mindful' can be practiced in small increments. Sometimes it helps in the beginning just to practice a few relaxation techniques.

I loved the stories I've heard of Ghandi's meditation practice -- two hours a day except on busy days. Then he meditated for four.

Ten day silent retreat is a great goal to have, but as you stated later in your post, start with small steps. You said that one of the 'benefits' of smoking was taking deep breaths. What if you took a few minutes -- anywhere, any time -- to just sit, focus on your breathing and take a few deep breaths. Start with a few and gradually add a couple each day. Before long, you may just achieve that meditation state you are looking for.

By the way, your comment on the smoking and deep breathing was not ridiculous. I've actually heard that from a number of other smokers.
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