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The decision to quit smoking has to come from a place deep inside yourself. It can't be manufactured or conjured up in response to expectations of loved ones who care for your health. This is the difficult part. One cannot give up smoking because you like to please and it will make other people happy.|
I say almost because nothing is absolute. The French coined a phrase: with the eating comes the appetite. Some isolated attempts to quit out of consideration for others may just produce a hidden desire to do it for yourself but it works better when the decision is made and it comes from you.
This provides a problem. You can't quit until you really want to. If more people realized that you can't make someone do what you want them to just because its good for them there might be a considerable reduction in unnecessary tension.
Here is how a famous eastern teacher of meditation suggested a student who had chain smoked for 30 years should give up. First he advised him to let go of the sense of failure that dogged him as he repeatedly tried and failed to quit smoking. Not only that, he advised him to give up the desire to stop smoking.
Psychologists would recognize the reverse psychology he was using. What he suggested is that this student continue to smoke, but to do so meditatively. This means he had to slow every element of the act of smoking down to a point where he could 'lovingly' attend to every detail of the act. He wanted the man to SEE. He didn't say "I want you to lovingly attend to the act of smoking because it is bad for you and you need to quit. Right now".
What he did was remove all pressure to quit. In its place he wanted simple attention. The act of smoking needed to be slowed down to the pace of prayer and then simply observed. His parting words to the student were that he would either love the practice or he may decide to drop smoking altogether.
The eastern spiritual tradition places less emphasis on "shoulds" maintaining that if true seeing happens so will right action. Well there's no prize for guessing what the student ended up doing: he gave up. And it was easy because when he paid attention, when he really looked he could suddenly see, and when he saw it was obvious. There was nothing to love in the practice.
I used this method on my lovely young daughter who I desperately wanted to stop smoking. I knew it was bad for her, she felt she knew it was bad for her but she couldn't give up. I followed pretty much the same steps telling her-without pressure - just to pay attention, to really look at the act of smoking and if she still wanted to smoke, well, that would have to be okay with me. It was her decision after all.
I didn't push it and it took a couple of weeks. She was a teenager and she wasn't going to rush off and do as mom says immediately. At a certain point she didn't so much quit. The effect of paying attention paid off, she simply lost interest. This was a highly beneficial experience for her because, unlike traditional attempts to quit smoking, she did not feel herself pitted against an enemy.
By the simple act of seeing the whole addiction lost its charge. It just didn't have a hold anymore. It makes you think how much power we unconsciously give to that which we oppose. She walked away from the experience feeling that smoking had no hold over her and neither did any other potentially addictive substances.
Now, for some, this may seem too easy to be effective or too informal a method. For those smokers there are more traditional methods of giving up tobacco. All successful attempts to quit smoking must begin with a genuine decision and the desire to act on it.
The fortunate thing at this time is that so many aspects of society are rooting for you as you attempt to tackle your demons. A simple search online will provide several game plans for quitting.
Like all substance addictions a support network is essential. Statistics show that attempts to quit are twice as successful when they are enacted within a supportive environment. If you are planning to quit smoking the traditional way make sure you ask for help and take advantage of the free telephone support networks that exist in at least 30 states.
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