I Don't Smoke
So you think you want to give up smoking.
I would like to suggest to you that this is your first mistake, and as with any journey, if you start off on the wrong foot you may never reach you destination. You should not be thinking about giving up, you should be thinking about being a non-smoker.
Why do I say this? Can it really be so important which words I use to think about my relationship to smoking. The answer is 'yes it can'. Because very often how you think is the key to how you believe and how you act. Every time you think about giving up cigarettes you reinforce your own mental image of yourself as someone who is trapped in the smoking cycle, as someone tied to the habit of smoking. You are locking yourself tighter and tighter into a relationship you do not want. The more effort you put into thinking and worrying about giving up the more strongly you reinforce this image, and other peoples images as well, of yourself as a person well and truly hooked to the habit.
Currently, you are not only possessed of, but possessed by this unwanted habit. What you really want to do is separate ourselves entirely from this habit, we want to break these chains of possession. You need to think of yourself as something that exists separately from the smoking habit. You can not do this by pushing it deeper into our mind.
To do this we are going to have to work from a small point within ourselves, so that we can slowly push the habit out of our lives.
We must work from within, not from without, not by trying to force ourselves to conform to any set of physical actions or habits. But by a gentle replacing the old negative images with the new positive ones. In fact by returning to a state of harmony with our inner self. This process of healing by coming into harmony with our more natural or inner self is one of the central themes running through most self help books, this one included, and you will find it is an idea well worth meditating on and even simply day-dreaming about.
The main idea here is that change comes best when it comes from within first. Once your inner self has wholly accepted the idea that you are no longer participating in this habit (whatever it is) it will fall away like dirt under the shower. If you were part of a company that was in some way doing things wrong, you could either try running around and correcting all the mistakes one by one, or you could go to head office and get it sorted from there.
It is not a new idea this, most systematic changes have to occur from within, from a centre. It is an ancient piece of wisdom this, the understanding that real change comes from within. In Matthew 23:-26: Jesus said "You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean". Stating categorically that inner changes are what is important and not surface manipulations, further to this in another part of the world Nyanaponika Thera in his book "The Heart of Buddhist Meditation" States "Only through a change within will there be a change without. If there is a strong and well-ordered inner centre in our mind, any confusion at the periphery will gradually be dissolved,.........." This is an important aspect of the truth of life, living only on the surface of your mind will make you forever the victim of your inner selves and egos, a slave to their desires. These inner aspects of self are generally, though not always, unconscious. Whether they be conscious or not, they play an important role in your life, and it is beneficial to you to get to know what is going on inside you.
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