Change happens slowly over time. It happens so slow that we often don’t notice it and mistakenly start believing that nothing changes. We may trick ourselves to think that nothing is changing as we continue smoking. The change that happens is so slow and gradual that we often let ourselves slide into a false sense of security. We feel secure in the false knowledge that nothing is changing. This gives us a false sense of control. We crave control so bad that false control is better than no control at all. Change is constantly happening all around us and most of it is happening so slow that we don’t consciously notice it. We can stare at our own face in the mirror for years before we notice wrinkles, although they have been forming all along, slowly every day. The monkey rationalizes that if it isn’t noticing change, then surely change can’t be taking place. This is how the lion sneaks up on the zebra in the jungle, it moves so slow that the zebra isn’t noticing the change taking place. The change being the lion moving closer to the zebra to finally jump at it and bring it down. As the lion sneaks closer to the zebra, the lion is changing the circumstances, it is closing the gap, and it is making things change, the lion is an agent of change. The zebra is not noticing change happening and so becomes a victim of change. The monkey is a victim of change, it reacts to change rather than make it happen. It smokes to numb stress. It doesn’t occur to the monkey to change its lifestyle, workplace or relationships, or even to change the method of stress management. The human mind can understand the inevitability of change and become an agent of change, which brings us to a rather sad fact about the human condition: just because we can do the right thing, doesn’t mean that we are going to automatically do it. A driver who can drive a car is able to live a full life without driving cars. He knows how to do it because he learned it. He can get behind the wheel when he needs it. A stressed person will live and die in stress without having tried to meditate, because he didn’t learn how to do it. Learning is change and that requires effort, smoking requires no effort. We are capable of understanding change. We need to want to understand change, and then we need to initiate it in order to realize it. And then we will be free.
The tar is building up inside the lungs and the nerve endings are being slowly destroyed by the nicotine. It just happens so slowly and gradually that the body is getting used to it, at the same time the conscious mind is not aware of it even happening. Change is happening to us and the untamed monkey is the victim of change. When we start taming the monkey, we become agents of change. We are in charge and we can choose the direction we want to take. We are free to choose, not only changing smoking habits, we can change our entire lives and the lives of people around us. It starts with us and it is only up to us.