If you are addicted to smoking you have what might be called a “charge,” like an electrical energy charge, infusing and surrounding your smoking identity. As with any electrical charge, the” smoking identity charge” maintains its presence through a continual balance of both positive and negative qualities, i.e., “I want a smoke, I don’t want a smoke.” Sometimes the positive comes to the surface, sometimes the negative, but both “sides” of the electrical charge are always present. That’s the nature of the bio-chemical electrical process.
Traditional approaches to quitting smoking would suggest that it is your duty, your responsibility and challenge to give more energy and attention to the negative side of the charge— I don’t want a smoke – and less energy and attention to the positive side, I want a smoke. (Actually, which side is positive and which is negative continually flip-flops, depending on the day, the time, the company, who’s judging, how many beers you drank, etc. But for our purposes here we’ll simplify.)
Trying to quit smoking by giving more energy to one side and less to the other is why most traditional approaches fail. That’s like trying to charge up just the negative side of the battery. The law of physics will not cooperate with such a strategy, even though the strategy is approved and recommended by most “authorities.”
To free ourselves from the smoking habit we have to release ourselves from the “charge” surrounding the smoking identity. It’s a bit like getting outside a force field, or turning off the electro-magnetic field, or finding a place where there are no “bars” on the cell-phone. The identity itself will probably continue, at least for a while, depending on how long you’ve been smoking. Thoughts and feelings about smoking will still come up. But the “charge” is gone. Like with the no-bar cell phone, you can’t make connection. And thus the necessity to act on your thoughts and feelings about smoking is likewise gone.
So how to release the charge? The good news is that understanding the process itself can do it. Attention itself, awareness itself is the “force” that gracefully releases the electro-magnetic current, the “charge.” It’s useful, however, to see exactly how this charge around the smoking identity comes into operation in the first place.
While reading a Buddhist meditation and healing book, which on the surface had nothing to do with the “smoking charge,” a paragraph jumped out at me that explains it quite well. Here’s the paragraph.
“. . .pride is actually the cause of all problems, all of the suffering. If you shot the arrow straight at pride, you don’t need to shoot your arrow at your anger, your greed, your aversion, your restlessness, your craving; all of it is rooted in pride. So it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but if you go straight for the jugular then you can save yourself an awful lot of tap dancing. You try to pin the problem on, “Oh well, it’s my aversion,” or “I’ve got an addictive personality,” or “I’m a restless person” [or “It’s the nicotine,” or “It’s the tobacco companies,” or “My whole family smoked,” etc. etc.] All of these [excuses] are actually rooted in pride, i.e., how much self you smother your experience with. And as you clear the mess [charge] around you which is a reflection of your idea of self, then there is no mess [charge] around you, no sense of self, just an awake being engaging with what’s going on . . . Once you let your pride go, as you break down the attachment to self, then all of this stuff that was caused by this attachment to self falls away with it.” (Burgs, The Flavour of Liberation, Vol 1 &2, p.248) (Emphases and parentheticals added.)
The “charge” around the smoking identity is a charge of pride. We smoke because we are “prideful.” (It’s me against the world.) More pride, more self-will is not going to break the charge. To “not smoke” we have to swallow the bitter pill— swallow our pride, and simply allow the world to be what it is. Allowing the world to be what it is, is the end of suffering. The charge dissipates. We are awake beings, engaging with what’s going on.
The Smoker's Prayer: The Spiritual Healing of Tobacco Addiction with or without Chantix, Nicotine Patches, Hypnosis, Jail Time or Duct Tape.
I had to be an old guy, with thirty years in the business, before I had the gonads to write this book. You can buy it cheap-- just 99 cents-- on Kindle. ($9.99 for the print copy.) I'd love to hear your response.
Practicing the Presence of Peace
This is my non-religious "updating" of the 17th Century spiritual classic by Brother Lawrence, "The Practice of the Presence of God." But this book talks about retaining peace during traffic jams,homework assignments, election seasons..
The Potless Pot High: How to Get High, Clear and Spunky without Weed
This is a fun little book that does exactly what it says it does: gets you high, just by reading.
How to Stop Smoking in 15 Easy Years: A Slacker’s Guide to Final Freedom
If you're still smoking after many years of trying to quit, this radical little book will set you free.
How to Help Your Smoker Quit: A Brave and Happy Strategy
If you have a smoker in the family, or close by, your reading this book will help you relate and help more than any other book around.
Happy John: An Advaita (Non-Duality) Gospel
This is the Book of John (yes THE Book of John) rendered through a contemporary, non-dual point of view. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was Joy."
The Enlightened Smoker’s Guide to Quitting: Learn to Forget to Smoke
A classic book that has helped smokers all over the world.
A Wave of Thanks--and Other Human Gestures: 31 Quick Stories.
This is a small collection of small storIes-- flash fictions-- most written fairly recently, though a few from years and years ago. They were fun to write. Hopefully they are fun to read.
How to Quit Smoking in Seven Easy Steps
Obviously, quitting smoking is both a one step process---("just don't smoke the next one, pilgrim") and a 1,000 step process ("I quit a year ago yesterday, and so have not smoked more than 1,000 cigarettes.")
Here at the Smokers Freedom School we sometimes break it down into seven simple steps:
1. Relax, and then relax some more
2.Take a deep breath.
5. Set Your Quit Date: "A Year Ago Yesterday."
6.Start Practicing Your Quit Date
7. Repeat, steps 1-6, as often as possible.
Naturally, we give you much more detailed instructions for each of the first six steps. For example, some of the articles here, including your First Home work and The 5 Second Exercise, will help you understand very clearly why, if you're not relaxed about this whole quit smoking business, it will be much harder for you to quit! If you continue to beat yourself up about your smoking, if you stay uptight, worried nervous, you're going to smoke more! Isn't this already your experience?
So step one is to consciously relax, and particularly to relax about your smoking, maybe even do some self-hypnosis so that you enjoy yourself more, mentally, emotionally and physically. The Freedom Exercise will help you do just that.
And then in step two we show you how your smoking is, in a way, a type of poor man's "breathing yoga." Even though your smoking costs more than if you attended a regular yoga class, it is your current yoga practice. So we help you breathe deeper, live longer.
Step Three: grin. This is probably the most important step of all. Why? Because at the Smoker's Freedom School we suggest using the same door to get out of smoking as we used to get in to smoking. And as kids, weren't we all grinning to beat the band when we first started smoking? Yes, of course. So grin, again, and find your freedom. We'll show you how.
Step Four is forgive, yourself and those around you and the tobacco companies and anybody else you think is responsible for your current smoking habit. Or just lighten up. Get over it. Here's why: They didn't do it! It's like forgiving your brother for spilling the milk after finding out it was actually the cat that spilled the milk. Your brother's innocent and so are you! Forgiveness is easy when you realize, step by step, there's nothing to forgive.
Step Five is setting a quit date. Here at the Smoker's Freedom School we've found the best quit date is a year ago yesterday. We'll talk more about that.
Step Six is actually a meditation technique that you can do all day long. If you actually do this technique, which we explain in detail, you'll soon find yourself smoking a lot less, and then, none at all. Why? Because you already quit. A year ago yesterday.
Step Seven-- which suggests you start again at step one-- also recognizes you can take your own sweet time about this. We know that you'll do it-- quit smoking-- at just the right time, in just the right place, with just the right help. We are at root timeless beings, so in fact we've got all the time in the world.
Welcome aboard. First step? Relax. The train has already left the station . . . Read on . . .
How to Stop Smoking in 15 Easy Years:
A Slacker's Guide to Final Freedom
Here you can read the first chapter of my funky, heretical and somewhat revolutionary new book... Alas, without the nifty formatting which appears in the book itself. Maybe I'll have time to redo it all for the website. In the meantime, I'm sure with this rough version you'll get the idea... Hope it helps
Chapter 1 :
Homework Assignment # 1
Just Be Who You Already Are
and Enjoy Your Smokes
“Happiness it the highest spiritual practice.”
-- - Rupert Spira
Who you already are is already enough.
We’re diving right in on the first page of Chapter One with your first easy homework. I guarantee if you do this first homework it will immediately help you start to get unstuck from this silly smoking habit.
So here’s your first homework: Just be who you are and enjoy your smokes! Got it? I’ll repeat: Just be who you already are and enjoy your smokes. Yep. That’s it. Go ahead, you can start doing your homework right now, if you want. (This book is easy so far, yes?)
This is the same homework I give when clients call to set a first appointment. I tell them to stop trying to change things, simply be who they already are and enjoy their smokes. Most of the time they laugh and say okay, that’s easy. Sometimes, though, they insist that they don’t like being who they are as a smoker and can’t enjoy their smokes. So I encourage these folks to at least stop beating themselves up about smoking. (Most smokers beat themselves up all the time about their smoking. And if they don’t, someone near them will do it for them.)
If you’re going to try me out as your new stop smoking coach and this book as your new how-to-do-it manual, this is your first assignment: Simply be who you are and enjoy your smokes. Questions?
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We Need Stop Smoking Coaches
"If you want to learn how to do something, teach it"
Shortly after becoming sober, in his first week or so, Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, told his cohort Dr. Bob that he, Bill, needed to find someone else to help get sober, right away, that night, or he might start to slide. So that night Wilson asked around and shortly found a longtime drinker who was wanting to quit. Bill dove in, sharing his own story. The rest is history. From that sharing, a worldwide movement began.
With great respect and deep admiration for the AA folks, we here at the Smokers Freedom School offer a radically different approach--- which we have experienced to be much easier, more natural and in the end more effective than the 12-step approach offered by AA. (After all, our first homework for smokers wanting to quit is, “Just be yourself and enjoy your smokes.” That obviously is NOT what AA teaches!)
Although we take a completely different approach to addiction, based on our own long experience, we nevertheless have learned much from the 12-Step “Mother Ship” of addiction treatment. One of the sweetest lessons is how powerful it is for our own daily practice when we share it with others. As we do so, as we help others to also recognize their own natural freedom, our own practice naturally deepens, matures, becomes more specific and tangible.
Thus, for many years, from the very beginning, we have encouraged our students who have learned to walk away from their smokes using our simple yet radical techniques to freely share them with others. This encouragement has been not only for the sake of the many other smokers wanting to quit, but also to help our students grow in the exercise (and experience!) of their own happy freedom. Until now our encouragement to share this approach with others has been very honest, yet also very informal, unstructured, random. This is about to change.
The Smokers Freedom School will soon begin formally training people--- mostly ex-smokers--- in the art and science of helping other smokers quit. We still have 46 million smokers in the U.S. alone, 1.3 billion in the world. There’s a huge work ahead.
If you are interested in helping out with this work, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We will send you information as it becomes available. Or simply check back with this site.
Thanks for your interest--- Bear Gebhardt, Head Coach, Smokers Freedom School
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- First Chapter: How to Stop Smoking in 15 Easy Years
- First Chapter: The Smoker’s Prayer
- First Stop Smoking Step: The Freedom Exercise
- Personal Coaching
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- Zoom Love: How to Quit Smoking in 5 Easy Seconds