Quitting Smoking is Not the Goal

goal post     The goal is higher consciousness, which means simply a more relaxed life, an easier life, a less stressful life, if only a little more relaxed, a little easier, a little less stressful. If today is a little less stressful, more relaxed, a little easier than yesterday, isn’t that progress towards  higher consciousness?
As mentioned a gazillion times, smoking is at root habit of attention. Our attention has been caught in the smoking loop, perhaps for decades, like one of those irritating computer glitches. “Wrong log-in or password. Please try again.” So we try again. Same thing. “Wrong log in or password, please try again.” Arrgh. Isn’t that how it feels when we keep trying to quit but not succeeding?
Wrong log-in or password. Please try again.”
When we put our attention on smoking or not smoking our attention is still on smoking. This is the wrong password.
So what’s the right password?Simply moving our attention away from smoking on to any of the ten thousand other things available to us– calling to us–   in our ordinary day life.

Can it be that easy?
Yes. Time and time again, when attention goes back to smokes, we simply let it touch there for a moment and then move on to anything else. Our two suggested practices– The Freedom Exercise and the Zoom-Love Prayer-– are our formal ways of moving attention, e.g. each of these practices offer a specified form for moving attention into a higher, more relaxed, more enjoyable framework. These forms—these practices—have been tested and proven to “work,” again and again.
But most of the time we won’t need a formal way of moving our attention. Most of the time we simply recognize that our attention has again gone to smokes, so we let our attention rest there for a brief moment, then move it, our attention, onto anything else. No big deal. No praise, no blame.
When we find our attention has once again moved to smoking, we don’t say, “I shouldn’t be thinking about smoking.” That’s impossible, and such a thought just keeps our attention on smoking. At the Smokers’ Freedom School we go easy on ourselves. So instead, we simply observe, “here I am thinking about smoking again. Isn’t that interesting. Hey look! The jonquil’s are blooming.
Again, smoking is an addiction of attention. Freedom from smoking is freedom of attention. We experience this freedom a moment at a time, freely moving our attention.
We are making progress when we directly observe in our own experience that, generally, when we are thinking about smoking we are not feeling deeply relaxed. Most of the time, thinking about smoking is not easy. Thinking about smoking is most often stressful. (We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.) Our thinking is a way of framing our attention. If we aren’t enjoying our attention, we can simply change the framework.
Our goal is not to quit smoking. “Quitting smoking” is the frame that keeps our attention on smoking. Our goal is a more relaxed life, an easier life, a less stressful life.
Just recognizing the simple truth about the nature of the smoking habit – – that it is a habit of attention – – is progress towards freedom from the habit. When we change our framework, change our goal, from “quitting smoking” to “a more relaxed life, an easier life, a less stressful life,” suddenly we begin to move again in the direction of freedom.

Password accepted. You may enter now, your whole new life.

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2 Responses to Quitting Smoking is Not the Goal

  1. Elaine Proudy says:

    Thanks Bear– Finally! Someone who seems to have a wider perspective on this whole silly habit. I’m just new to your site. I’ve been smoking forever. You give me hope. I’m going to buy your “Smoker’s Prayer” book. Thanks for what you are doing.

  2. Bear Gebhardt says:

    Thanks Elaine. Glad you enjoy. Let me know what you think of my new book. I’m tickled by it.

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