I started smoking at 11 years old. First, it was just curiosity or wanting to be like the cool, older kids. Then it began to seem like something I really wanted to do. I can even remember the moment that I decided to actually be a smoker. I was 16 years old.
At that time began my years of smoking, quitting smoking, wanting to smoke, smoking, and trying to quit smoking. During the times that I quit smoking, I still always wanted to smoke. I was always frustrated that smoking was bad and bad for your health.
However, as the years went by, the feeling of my imprisonment by cigarettes grew. I felt imprisoned by the ‘have to.’ Smoking was no longer my own choice. It was an addiction. Like many addicts, I planned my life around my addiction. Did I have cigarettes, and a way to light them? Did I have a backup if I needed it? When could I smoke? When could I smoke next? Who was judging me? Of course, I was also constantly and harshly judging myself.
Finally one day, I decided that I no longer wanted to be a smoker. I did not want to be someone who ‘quit’ smoking but still wanted to smoke. In fact, I wanted to be a non-smoker. So I devised a plan.
I chose a date over a year into the future. It was a date that was quite meaningful to me. That was the date upon which I decided I would be transformed into a non-smoker. Then I decided that I would smoke quite freely for one year. No trying to quit, no harsh judgments towards myself. Just smoking.
I started out my year. The familiar feelings and thoughts arose, of course. I judged myself. I wished I didn’t smoke. I urged myself to be a better, stronger person with more willpower. Each time a judgmental or negative thought would enter my mind, I would say, “You are totally okay. You are going to stop smoking on ‘this date’. Until then, smoke as much as you want.” As the months passed by, the judgments began to quiet. My attraction to smoking began to dim. My excitement about being a non-smoker and being free of it grew and grew.
The day arrived and I have never smoked again. It has never once crossed my mind that I want to smoke. And that was a long time ago!
The conclusion I drew was that the previous times that I quit (but then re-started), I had not been desiring the right thing. All I really ever would say was that I wanted to quit smoking. I never looked past that. It never occurred to me that quitting smoking was not enough. As long as I wanted to smoke, my quitting was temporary. I had to absolutely change my intent to become a non-smoker, to become a person who had no attraction to smoking at all.
I also saw that to be able to put clear energy towards my intention, my inner wars had to stop and surrender was the only way. Once I stopped fighting my thoughts and kept telling myself that I really was going to do this, the negative thoughts ceased all on their own.
DESIRE and SURRENDER are two key points on the spiritual path.
Another example of this could be hating your job and wanting to quit. Every day your mind is racing with negative thoughts about your job. There is a possibility that you will either quit prematurely and be financially unsound or that you quit and simply attract another job you don’t like.
Instead, clear desire would ask you to become excited about a new job. Imagine what all the great qualities of a new job would have.
Surrender would ask that as you have your negative thoughts, you parallel them with the positive thoughts of your more accurate desire.
At some point, a spiritual path requires that you desire more than feeling better, more than fixing your life. A spiritual path requires that you find your own inner desire for absolute freedom, inner peace, and unconditional love.
In order to achieve your desires, surrendering exactly where you are is in order.
Accept your judgments, negative thoughts, and weaknesses, while creating the picture and feelings and thoughts of what your goals are.
I love you dearly.