The brain needs frequent breaks from reality and the cigarette is perfect for the job. For the few minutes it takes to smoke, the brain can sit back and relax. The smoker’s brain usually only gets breaks from thinking when on smoking breaks and is forced to work over-time the rest of the time. When we remove the smoking breaks, the mind works overtime all the time and gets no relief. Quitting cold turkey is hard. The physical withdrawal of nicotine lasts just a few day, the mental withdrawal often lasts until we start smoking again, after we worked so hard to quit. If we want true freedom from smoking we need to provide alternative methods of relaxation for the mind that do not involve drugs. We don’t want to replace the smoking habit with for example a drinking habit. It is much easier to lose a job and ruin relationships with alcohol than it is with nicotine. We need to provide healthy alternative modes of relaxation for our brains. Meditation is by far the best alternative. Listing all the benefits of meditation requires a book of its own so we can condense it into: meditation provides the brain with the opportunity to take a break from thinking and rise above the mundane reality of everyday life and experience peace, and is centered on proper breathing techniques and correct postures. Smokers tend to take deep breaths only to inhale cigarette smoke. It is a kind of meditation that leads not to peace because if what we inhale. Meditation calls on us to take deep breaths of clean fresh air. A simple basic meditation exercise is to sit down with straight spine and breathe deeply and slowly for a few minutes.
Avoiding though becomes a religious ritual if we allow it to. Nobody believes in TV’s magical power to kill boredom, no one believes TV has any magical powers and no one believes that TV will solve any of our problems. Billions of us return day after day and spend hour after hour praying for the TV-set to liberate us from thought. The monkey loves the colors, movements and sounds, the brain loves the drama and relief from mundane reality. It is entertaining and helps us escape thought into imagination, someone else’s imagination. The monkey-taming-business requires that we recognize the thought- and emotional patterns we associate with our smoking habit and pay close attention to our thought-avoiding rituals. It is easy to recognize a smoker’s thought avoiding rituals f rom the outside: light a cigarette and smoke it. It is much more difficult to recognize our own thought avoiding rituals when we light up our own cigarette, because our motivation is unique, although it is the same. It is because we are all unique individuals that it is difficult to come up with a program to quit smoking that fits everyone. That is why there are so many different brands of cigarettes. We are all the same when we smoke, and we are all unique in our tastes and motivations when we smoke. Life is irrational indeed. In other words, we need to wake up in the psychological sense of the word, and in time wake up in the spiritual sense of the word. We wake up and we break free from the shackles of the smoking habit.