One of the primary concepts of zen practice is the concept of “non-attachment.” What is non-attachment, and how is it useful to someone who’s quitting smoking?
One of the most common reasons that people give for not wanting to quit smoking is that they don’t want to gain a lot of weight. And a lot of quitters relapse because they gained weight after they quit. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As important as it is to have strong reasons to quit, it’s even more important to look at the reasons you came up with to keep smoking and realize that pretty much all of them are really just rationalizations.
There are many benefits to sitting as described in this blog, but as it relates to quitting, the most important may be the development of what Suzuki Roshi described as “imperturbable composure.”
I already suggested you start listing the reasons why you want to quit; now I will suggest that you also list the reasons why you want to keep smoking. Why?
So, when you’re sitting, you’re going to have thoughts arise, and when they do, you’re supposed to acknowledge them, catalog them, and let them go. But how do you let them go?
One of my favorite movies is “The Wizard of Oz.” I first saw it as a kid, way back in the 60s, and it was just a fairy tale to me then: witches, wizards, talking scarecrows… But the older I got, the more I saw in it.
This might seem like a silly question, but it’s actually a very important one; if you don’t know why you want to quit, it’s going to be much harder to stay free once you do.
First, for you and me and countless others, smoking is not merely a habit; it’s an addiction. Second, addictions cannot be cured; once an addict, always an addict. Third, the only way to control an addiction is to starve it.
The essence of Zen is being here now. In other words, being a conscious participant in every moment of your life, no matter what that moment holds. The essence of quitting and staying quit is the same thing.