If we want to take charge of our lives, we need to tame the monkey. The monkey loves to sleep and avoid discomfort. We know that a little discomfort now can save us from a lot of discomfort later, this makes no sense to the monkey, because if it did, the old man would have crossed the river on its own. When we start taming the monkey, where are we most likely to fail or succeed? We succeed when we wake up and stay awake. We fail when we go back to sleep and let the monkey run the show, until we wake up again. When we first open our eyes in the morning and the sun is just a bit too bright we want to sleep just a little bit more. We need to fight the urge to sleep and put energy into waking up. This is a powerful metaphor for living an awakened life. Reality shines just a little bit too bright for comfort and the cigarette smoke tunes down the brightness, it becomes manageable for the monkey. Metaphorically speaking, once we are free from cigarettes, we will wake up and smell the coffee that is our reality and we will not enjoy the smell to start with, it will take time and effort to get accustomed to a life free from the smoking habit, if it didn’t take time and effort, no one would be a smoker. Our sense of smell will improve with time and that makes the metaphor so stinking powerful.
Over time we gear our whole being into a life of smoking, a life of nicotine induced symbolic slumber. This slumber is in no way resting or regenerating, it’s a slumber in a cold room, with wet blankets and a horrible pillow. Going back to sleep feels better than waking up and feeling the pain, in the short run. In the long run it is better to wake up and get to work providing better sleeping accommodation. The sheer exhaustion caused by the smoking habit has become major obstacle to quitting the habit, the energy required to kick the habit is being consumed by the habit.
Most people, a sad fact indeed and the more we think about it the truer it gets, are asleep. Some choose to sleep while the vast majority have no say in the matter, they are slaves to the whims of the monkey, and it is natural for them that the monkey is in charge. When the monkey is in control, it has not so much as tamed the human, it has broken the human and turned it into a pet, just like the old man locks the sailor’s neck between his legs and drives him until he drops dead. The neck here is a metaphor for freedom of will, the head has no freedom if the neck is tied up. There freewill is tied up in the chains of the smoking habit. Most of us were not taught and will not learn how to wake up and live a conscious life. If we were taught how to live a conscious life there would be no addictions, no wars, no injustice and Hitler would have been a highly mediocre painter. We go through life sleeping believing things will be the same way. The false belief in non-change it is such a strong belief that it is almost religious. It is very easy to trick ourselves into a false sense of security believing that we will not die and that nothing will harm us (Cancer only happens to other people). Smoking is like snoozing the fire alarm when the house is on fire.