There is a reason people don’t dance at funerals and that is not because dancing causes cancer, it is because dance is an expression of happiness and therefore people don’t dance at funerals. We have the ability to suppress emotions momentarily so we can release them when it is safe to do so. It is safe to dance at home after the funeral, how appropriate this is up to debate. We are not forced to feel sad for people’s death, we just need to pay respect to the dead by not dancing at their funerals. To pressure ourselves to feel sad when we are not is counterproductive. To pressure ourselves to not feel what we feel is harmful in the long run. We will see people smoke at funerals and smoke at parties and we will know that those people are not feeling the same way at the funeral as they are feeling at the party. They smoke to numb emotions, positive and negative, pleasant and painful. The cigarette will find a way to attach itself to each and every emotion we have and it will succeed for every emotion. The cigarette becomes an insurance policy against emoting. The emotions are still there, they are just not allowed to emote. The more emotions we have, the more cigarettes we need to suppress them. Eventually our emotional life will be safely anchored outside our bodies, in the pockets of cigarette manufacturers and NRP-sales-people, our emotions will be anchored in the 20-pack and lighter. Our emotions are no longer under our own control. We are no longer living our own lives, we are living someone else’s imagination of how life is supposed to be, someone who is more interested in our money than our well being. As smokers we become averse to intense emotions, either good or bad and find it difficult to deal with intense feelings, because we have conditioned ourselves to be emotionally numb with smoking. We come to fear feeling and we come to fear it when feelings reach above our acceptable level of intensity. Eventually any emotion that is not a blank feeling of nothing is above the acceptable level of intensity and needs to be managed. Cigarette manufacturers rely on this and control us because we are trying to flee our painful emotions. NRP-manufacturers control us because we are trying to flee the guilt caused by fleeing our painful emotions. So long as we deny our pain, we will be easy to control by the snake oil promise of relief.
To numb painful feelings and emotions by smoking is the real harm we do to ourselves. To feel our painful emotions does not harm us, it releases and frees us. We have been taught the wrong way of dealing with our emotions and only we can learn healthier ways of dealing with emotions. The number of books out there on this subject is staggering and the cost of such a book is no more that the cost of a 20-pack. Few of us make this investment, because we cling to the illusion of control. We believe in the illusion that we can have total control and we invest so much of our lives in the illusion that it becomes reality to us. Trying to control emotions is like trying not to breathe, eventually we will expend all our energy and lose control, we pass out and breathing will return to normal. The same thing happens when we try to control emotions, eventually we will run out of energy. It takes enormous amounts of energy to hold back emotions and eventually we will break down and the emotions will break free. Fit of rage anyone? Emotional release is a prerequisite for internal change. We can either choose to feel and release our emotions or we can choose to have the emotional release happen to us. This is a real choice that we can make, that will have a profound impact on our lives. We can choose to become agents of change instead of being victims of change. The only way to control emotions is to stop trying to control emotions. Life is mysterious indeed.