Smoking a cigarette is a guilty pleasure, it becomes especially guilty and oh so pleasurable when for one reason or another we are not allowed to smoke, such as during a meeting or flying in an airplane. Guilt is an emotion and all emotions can be triggered by stimuli. The picture of a loved one for example will trigger loving emotions. A task not finished on time will trigger emotions of guilt and stress. Smoking a cigarettes numbs a whole range of emotions and guilt is definitely and most certainly on the top of the list of emotions that smoking is used to numb, also shame. We are not supposed to talk about shame, are we? Although the brain is so used to numbing emotions with smoking, we don’t even notice the emotions we suppress with cigarettes because they don’t get a chance to emote through the body. The emotions don’t even register consciously, it is the subconscious that registers the guilt, and before we can consciously feel it, the subconscious desire for the next cigarette has already been triggered. The smoking habit is taking place. We need to smoke before the guilt registers in our conscious mind, the monkey is afraid to feel the guilt and if enough time passes starts to panic. Enter the intense craving episode. The monkey rationalizes that the world will end if the painful emotion is allowed to surface, the world will end if we don’t smoke right now. We are losing control.
Why then do we not consciously feel that guilt? Because it is suppressed and buried under layers of tar and nicotine and every time it moves for the surface to be felt, like during the airplane ride, it gets mixed up with other emotions such as, stress, shame, fear and anger. We feel cranky when we haven’t had a smoke for a while because the repressed emotions are slowly making their way the surface. We smoke to repress one emotion, all other emotions are repressed as well, another side effect of smoking cigarettes. Trying to escape emotions is futile in the long run and so we keep smoking and subconsciously hoping that this next cigarette will evaporate all the emotions and we can finally live life as it was intended by nature herself, living life as emotionless robots geared for mindless work and mindless consumption, devoid of the very thing that makes us human, emotions. Of course, this doesn’t happens, and instead we reach for the next cigarette. We suppress our humanity because we imagine that our humanity is faulty somehow, we imagine a perfect life devoid of negative emotions, as if it is possible to only feel pleasurable emotions, it is not. Nicotine is a pesticide that not only kills grasshopper, it kills bees as well, bees that are important for the pollination of our crops, for our survival. Nicotine numbs not only painful emotions, it numbs all emotions without discrimination just like predestine, because it is pesticide for crops and pesticide for emotions. Smoking suppresses all our emotions. We can’t reason with a cigarette before we light up and tell it to only target the stress. We smoke and suppress all emotions and trick ourselves into believing that we can go through life without emotions and when we do happen to have emotions, we smoke more. The cycle is complete.
Our aim is not amplify our own shame or using our own guilt against ourselves. Although we can expect an initial rise in guilt feelings when we slowly allow the movement of emotions, all the guilt and shame that has been suppressed for so long will gradually dissipate. Those emotions when felt and released will leave holes behind them, holes that can finally be filled with love. All emotions will be intense after years of suppression and at times will seem unmanageable when we free ourselves from our emotional suppressors. Our goal is to open our eyes and hearts to our emotions and to understand that guilt will only hold us back until we feel it and release it. We need to feel all our emotions and release them. This is easier said than done, because some emotions are more painful than actual physical pain. This explains why people will prefer daily hangovers, coal soaked lungs and rotten livers over facing their emotions, because the physical pain is more tolerable in the short term. With the magic of the addiction the short term pain has been transformed into the long term pain of prolonged disease, we choose short term pain for so long that it is no longer short term, it is permanent long term pain. This permanent pain is the new state of being. Is this what we really wanted?