HOW I QUIT SMOKING by VIKRAM KARVE

HOW I QUIT SMOKING
By
VIKRAM KARVE

The first step towards quitting smoking is to learn how to enjoy smoking, and in order to learn how to derive supreme enjoyment from smoking one must first know the art of smoking. Seems absurd – a paradox – isn’t it?

I stopped smoking four years now and I know I shall never smoke again. Let me tell you how I quit smoking. Maybe someone out there may benefit from my experience.

I got my clue from an apocryphal teaching story I read somewhere. I reflected upon it, carrying it my mind for a long time, until I fathomed the story’s inner depth and meaning.

A seeker asks the master, “Can I smoke while meditating?”

“No,” scolds the master angrily.

Another seeker then asks, “Can I meditate while smoking?”

“Yes,” says the master knowingly realizing that this seeker is on the path to enlightenment.

This is the key, the first step – if you really want to stop smoking. First learn to meditate while smoking. Here’s how I did it.

One evening, I take one cigarette, just one, and walk down to Marine Drive and sit down on the parapet, at the southern tip near Nariman Point, in the cool sea breeze watching the sun being swallowed up by the Arabian Sea, crimson-yellow petals being thrown high up in the distant sky gradually devoured by the enveloping twilight. Soon it is dark, quiet and tranquil, and I feel calm and relaxed.

I take out the cigarette from my pocket and hold it in front of me, look at it lovingly and close my eyes. You must close your eyes – it accentuates your other senses, makes you more conscious of what’s going on inside you.

I hold the cigarette near my nose and breathe in the rich aroma of the tobacco, gently moving the cigarette as I take deep breaths, savoring the sweet fragrance of the tobacco tinged with the fresh scent of the paper and filter, until my olfactory system is truly and fully satiated.

I then put the filter between my lips, taste it and suck in air deeply through the unlighted cigarette. It feels good. I then open my eyes, light the cigarette, close my eyes, get ready and take a deep drag, focusing on my breath as I inhale, allowing the smoke to permeate deep within me, infusing a sensation I cannot describe, and watching carefully with my inner eye as I exhale – slow, long and relaxing.

Is my system being energized or depleted – I do not know – but I continue my unhurried meditative smoking, eyes gently closed, my inner senses fully conscious, aware, observing attentively, till the cigarette is over. I open my eyes, come out of my trance and instinctively I gulp in a huge amount of the fresh sea breeze and rinse my lungs and system.

As I walk back I decide that this is how I shall smoke each and every cigarette from now on – meditative mindful smoking – the only way I shall smoke.

Most of us “smokers” haven’t learnt how to enjoy a smoke. We keep puffing away every waking moment of their lives without even noticing it. You grab a quick smoke in a hurry, you smoke when you are bored, you smoke while talking, while working, while doing something – smoking and multitasking: You smoke unconsciously, cigarette after cigarette, without even realizing it. Is it worth it? Why smoke if you don’t enjoy it?

I decide. Whenever I feel like smoking I shall stop everything and prepare myself for a meditative smoke. Go to some quiet place where I can sit undisturbed, alone. Yes I must be alone. Meditative smoking is a solitary activity. And when I do smoke, I shall only smoke – no multitasking. No more smoking with friends, with tea or coffee, no more smoking in the office feeling a guilt conscience that non-smokers don’t like it or at home with my wife nagging me, no more hurried puffs, no more mindless unconscious smoking. Only meditative, mindful, conscious smoking in glorious solitude, maintaining inner calm and tranquility, and total awareness.

I follow this religiously, and soon I discover that the number of cigarettes required to satisfy me have drastically reduced and soon I am smoking only one cigarette a day – every evening, at sunset, just as I described it. For me smoking is a special occasion requiring solitude and a congenial ambience, and if I cannot create the right atmosphere, both internally and externally, I shall not smoke.

When you have mastered something it’s time to let go and move on. One day I feel I have mastered the art of smoking, derived all the enjoyment I wanted to from this activity, and reached a state of contentment and satiety. It’s time to let go. At sunset I go to my favourite place on Marine Drive, enjoy my final meditative smoke and toss the cigarette butt into the sea.

It’s been more than four years now and I haven’t had a smoke since nor have I ever felt the urge or craving to smoke. I know I will never smoke again – I have quit smoking forever.

Quitting is easy. You must ensure you don’t start smoking again. You have to break the habit forever. For this it’s best to use a technique like Force Field Analysis which I have described in my article on How to Quit Drinking.

VIKRAM KARVE
vikramkarve@sify.com

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

7 Comments »

  1. 1
    canil Says:

    seems like some kind of homeophatic remedy but the big difference is in homeopathy we take small doses of the root cause of the ailment but here you gave the addiction a “knock-out” dose to finish it..like to recommend to my smoker friend. thanks

    Like

  2. 2
    Jane taylor Says:

    Ihave not had a cigarette since the 16 January 2007, and have become very aware of my smoking anchors, I have also using walking/physical activity as a distraction;& changed my routine, having smoked 30 a day for 20 years I felt I must go ‘cold turkey’,as any craving or withdrawal symptom will give me reason not to start again I woke on the 16th having filled my lungs with nicotine the previous night and thought I have become BORED of fags, it stops my enjoyment of lovely things as i have to intterupt them tto feed my addiction
    Your article was very helpful and inspiring Thankyou

    Like

  3. 3
    Terry Foster Says:

    I’ve tried every way to quit smoking and by accident have hit upon a cheap method to stop. I’ve smoked for 45 years, two packs a day for the last 20 of them.

    I’m now smoking the equivalent of less than two cigarettes a day. I bought a $13 can of loose, cheap, nasty-tasting cigarette tobacco at the grocery store which I smoke tiny bits of in a small metal pipe I bought ($7.00) in a corner store that I suspect is actually for the consumption of dope.

    It appears that the can will last me at least two months as I’ve barely put a dent in it. The little pipe breaks the habit of reaching for the pack as it requires thought to put the tobacco in and light it up. And it needs to be relit for every puff.

    Besides apparently providing enough nicotine to stave off cravings, it is cheap. Additionally I don’t have that desperation I used to feel when I didn’t have spare cigarettes on hand at all times. In the last three weeks I’ve saved more than $75.00, and I have no cravings.

    Like

  4. 4
    karve Says:

    Jane Taylor: I hope you have quit smoking forever.
    Canil: What about your friend?

    Like

  5. 5
    canil Says:

    Sorry took so long to reply. Well didn’t work on my friend. He told me he likes smoking even he lost taste for cigarettes. I guess it s something to keep him occupied in his free time.

    Like


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