I Don't Smoke

My Material Self

There is still the problem of the merely physical level, my body is addicted, it craves, it needs etc. Well yes, it does. However, as with the itch that comes from a mosquito bite, scratching does not help. While you are thinking like this you are allowing the physical side of your addiction to reinforce the mental side, which is not what we are trying to do here. So accept that there is a physical side to the problem but do not dwell on it, do not let your self get carried away expressing this physical side of things verbally. Put some mental space between yourself and your body, its desires are not necessarily your desires, it is a complex chemical machine and is therefore vulnerable to chemicals in the way a computer is vulnerable to computer programming, chemicals can, and do fool it into seeking to damage itself. You are not your body any more than you are your habits. Thinking of your body as something that you live with, care for and look after without actually identifying with it is a good mental exercise, one which is very helpful in attaining peace of mind.

You may well have used excuses like those above in the past, but they are not necessary anymore. You do not need to give your ego anything to shelter behind, nor do you need to protect yourself from the knowledge that you really do not want to be smoking but that you do not know how to stop. You can accept the fact you are not yet in control. This is the first step towards gaining some control. It is a fairly obvious, but seldom fully appreciated fact, that you can not learn something if you think you already know it. All learning involves the acceptance that there is something to be learned, something that you do not already know.

If you want to be a non-smoker and you aren't, then obviously you are not in control of this aspect of your life. This is true so why argue. Accept it, then you can change it. In actual fact our sense of control in life is mostly an illusion anyway. We have some direct control over some things some of the time. However most of the time decisions are made for us by our subconscious. The control systems are 'systems' orientated, they use feedback loops for self adjustment and are effected far more strongly by our 'feelings' and the prioritising of our initial responses than by our momentary thinking.

Our brain does huge amounts of work that we as conscious entities never know about, and on the whole it does most, if not all, of it well. It is actually quite comforting to know that the biological system we live within works quite well most of the time without our intervention. So well in fact that we seldom even realise that it is there at all. It is not often are we quick enough to perceive that we are not really in control. On the few occasions when we do realise that we are not quite what our egos would have us believe, the memory is we soon buried and a replacement is generated in its stead, one that will not disrupt our complacency. Our thought going something like, "...could it really have happened like that, perhaps I was mistaken, perhaps what really happened was.......".

The interface between those aspects of our mind that control our day to day lives, and the those aspects where 'we as a conscious persona' actually live are very subtle. I must reiterate however that this is not something to worry about, it is part of the normal functioning of our minds and prevents us from us from going insane as a result of consciously generating erroneous understandings of the our place in the world every time we glimpse a little deeper into the truth. I mention it here so that as you begin to perceive the underlying forces that interact within your mind and start to realise that you have been, up until now, more of a passenger than the driver in your own mind you will be able to accept your perceptions without either rejecting them or madly reaching for the controls.

You are integrated into the system, and you do effect it through your own being, even when you are completely unaware of the fact that you are doing this. For the most part these controls within your mind are like the controls that run your body for you, they work well and do not need your intervention. The answer is to keep observing, seeking to see the whole pattern not just the occasional forces that may be dominant at any given moment. In the arena of the mind you change the role you play simply by changing what you know of the game and of the role you play.

Knowing is a variable state, by this I mean we know some things more fully or personally than we know others. Here is a good place to mention that ultimately you have to live from your own perceptions of the world. Trying to live from someone else's perceptions will eventually lead to sadness. We have in our minds knowledge or facts from a variety of sources, sometimes these sources are our own thoughts, sometimes they were our parents thoughts. Others are generally held facts. For instance all of us believe in the Arctic and the Antarctic because we have been told about them, perhaps even seen images which we were told were of them, but few of us have direct perceptions of either. We do not really need to perceive the planet's poles to live happily so this is not a problem. If however we live from someone else's understanding of what life is about, of who we are, or of how our conscious being exists we will end up confused and disillusioned, like so many people these days.

Now is also a good time to mention that, ultimately, what ever I tell you here you should accept as only a possible explanation, I may be wrong, or my words may convey an image to you that is not that which I intended. How should you deal with this? I would suggest that you use my words, and all the other words of all the people who have written self help books, as tourist guides and maps. Other people can give you tips and ideas on how to survive, offer a series of dos and don'ts, and share with you their perceptions, but ultimately only by going there yourself and perceiving for yourself can you really know anything. This is actually a very important idea, the truth of which has ramifications that run deep in this information hungry world. Collecting tourist guides is fun but travelling the world is far more satisfying. Having said this and having worked in a garage selling petrol for 2.5 years I am well aware that there are many people who travel outside of the world of their experience without taking a map with them, without even looking at one before they go. There is no sense in doing this if you don't have to.

To reiterate, direct perception is the ultimate way of acquiring knowledge, we can hear or read about a thing many times and it will still mean little to us, but once we have experienced the thing for ourselves it becomes real for us, it moves from being second hand knowledge to being first hand knowledge.

Back to that Poor Addicted Body

So we are back to our body. Different people relate to their mental and physical selves differently and depending on which you tend to identify with you will perceive one or the other aspect of an addiction as being harder to deal with. I would like to maintain that your body is not really the problem, overcoming the physical side of an addiction is easy once you have overcome the mental side. The problem is primarily mental, great athletes know that the mental side of achieving is as important as the physical side. So do great performing artists.

We habitually use the physical side to create and reinforce the mental side, but this is really a back to front way of doing things. I am not saying that the physical side is not important, great athletes obviously train their bodies well, what I am saying is that the mental side should come first. Once we have the mental side of things well and truly sorted then the physical will come into line of its own accord relatively easily in most cases. There is quite a lot of literature already available that deals adequately with the sort of actions that ease the physical sides of addiction so I am not attempting to rewrite them here. One of the simple facts about the ideas in this book is that they will work in conjunction with many other ideas and suggestions. Most, if not all situations are multi-faceted and the more views we have of the truth the better we understand it. This book is not written to replace what has already been said but add another dimension to your perception of the situation.

Well we have read through quite a bit now. I hope you haven't forgotton that you are a Non-Smoker.

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By gjramel@hotmail.com
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