American Zen Teacher Charlotte Joko Beck wrote a book in 1993 titled “Nothing Special: Living Zen.” One of the chapters of that book goes into some detail about why living zen is nothing special, and this is a story that’s as old as zen itself: for thousands of years, one of the commonest stories in zen is the story of the student working diligently towards enlightenment, only to discover once he has attained it that enlightenment is simply being present in his ordinary life.
Quitting smoking (or drinking, or any other addictive – and self-destructive – behavior) is nothing special, either. It’s a significant struggle to get free of any addiction; you have to work diligently towards getting free, but once you are free, you find that it’s nothing special. It’s just that your ordinary life no longer revolves around feeding your addiction.
Being present here and now, being mindful, is an incredibly important practice if you want to succeed at controlling your addiction rather than allowing it to continue to control you.
More on this as we go on.
(If you're feeling a bit lost, it may be helpful to go back to the first post and follow along in order.)