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Do you really want to quit smoking?

Nowadays, information about the poisonous effects of smoking is displayed almost everywhere, yet billions of people are heavy smokers. It is a kind of slow suicide. Why do people go on smoking even when they know how harmful it is? If we dig into psychology, Freud will talk about sex, more precisely about penis envy. Others will say that it is simply a bad habit. Youngsters imitate the elders and eventually become addicted to smoking.

Whatever be the reasons that push people to smoke, the most harmful effect is on the body, which is the temple of the Lord. Smoking is really a very foolish way to damage it. Many techniques have been devised to help people quit smoking, such as sticking patches and therapies of all kinds. However, unless one’s being is against it and without a strong desire to reject cigarettes, it may be very difficult to quit smoking. Any habit is memorised not only by the body, but also by the mind and the older the habit, the deeper it goes into the unconscious mind and the body memory.

Habits are formed in a state of unconsciousness, therefore full awareness can eliminate the desire to smoke. If you find the habit extremely difficult to do away with, then it is no use trying to quit, because you cannot fight against a habit that has become part of your being. But you can certainly accept it totally, that is, accept that you have the habit, that you are responsible for it, but now you really wish to quit smoking. There should be no feeling of guilt as it is not a sin, but simply a bad habit.

Here is a tantric method that can help the sincere candidate to quit smoking. Take every single step related to smoking with 100% awareness. Watch the desire intensely as it rises, think deeply on why you smoke, what you gain by doing so, the amount of money you spend on it. Then, as you are buying or taking the cigarette from its box, be fully alert to every detail and feeling associated with it. Take each step relaxingly, but with awareness. Light your tobacco relaxingly, put it in your mouth while being fully alert; take a puff and release it relaxingly while being fully conscious of the act in which you are engaged. In other words, you are watching yourself smoking.

Here is a small story to help you. Once a sage paid a visit to the king on the latter’s invitation. Satisfied with his words of wisdom, the king gifted the sage with a golden begging bowl for he was a renunciant living on alms. As the sage was making for his hermitage, he was spotted by a bandit who made up his mind to snatch away the golden bowl from the sage. Divining his intention, the sage threw away the bowl and went towards his cave.

Perplexed by this attitude, the bandit approached the sage and asked, “Why did you throw such a precious object for which I could even kill you? Was it fake or what?” “No,” replied the sage, “the bowl is really in gold. I simply threw it away because for me it has no value, but it seems you are in need of it, so you can have it.” “But why are you not interested in such a valuable thing?” asked the bandit. “Well,” replied the sage, “I can’t tell you that.” “I want to know,” insisted the bandit. “If you really want to know, then quit robbing,” replied the sage. “I can’t,” responded the bandit. “This is my livelihood; besides it has become a strong habit.”

The sage then said, “Then do one thing: keep on with your activities, but just add one thing. Simply be totally alert as you go about your daily business. Take each step as if somebody is watching you and let that somebody be your own self. Try it for fifteen days, then come to me. I may possibly teach you my secret.” The man went away, but returned earlier, that is, before the fifteen days given by the mystic. “What happened? Why did you turn up earlier?” asked the mystic. “It’s not possible! How can I watch myself looting others? Every time I do so, it seems as if I am being observed by someone else. That makes me scared so I have to give up.”

The lesson of that story is that if an individual becomes a little more aware, he will be incapable of doing anything that is unnatural or wrong. Through meditation, a person becomes more attentive and aware; he observes himself during every action, mood or thought. His awareness grows until he finally becomes awakened or enlightened. Hence, my emphasis on meditation.

Habits are formed in a state of unconsciousness, therefore full awareness can eliminate the desire to smoke.

Why do people go on smoking even when they know how harmful it is?