Step 1: Just be your ordinary self.
Step 2: There is no step 2. So just repeat step one.
Disciple: What is enlightenment?
Zen Master Huang Po: “Your ordinary mind.”
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God [love, peace, beauty] he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1-27
Most of us most of the time are unconsciously running away from our ordinary selves, and are habitually at war with our ordinary minds. We run away from our ordinary selves by running after more money, more fame, more sex, more security, a cleaner house, better friends, faster car, and/or peace and justice for the poor and overworked. There’s lots to run after, here on this planet.
We run after these things because we have been led to believe that more of these things will make us happier, more secure than we are now. And when we get these things they do make us happier, more secure, for a moment. But the happiness and security we experience from these things fades very quickly, so we’re off and running again.
Not only do most of us run after all these things but most of us, while we are running, are also at war with our ordinary, daily minds simply because the daily mind itself is always running, first here, then there, chasing after one thing, running away from another, angry with this piece of life, wanting more of that piece.
So to give ourselves a little rest from all this running we stop, take a break, have a smoke, just trying to relax a little, enjoy life a little. Who can blame us?
But the habit of running, running, running is so ingrained in us that we most often keep running, running, running, mentally, emotionally and physically, even when we stop to have a smoke. So since we didn’t get what we were looking for, we need yet another smoke.
So what can we do to break this habit? (Not the smoking habit, — the running away from our ordinary self habit.)
Step 1: Stop, for just a second, what you’re thinking, feeling and doing
Step 2: Relax, let go, of the tension, just be for a moment.
Step 3: Just love (just be, just enjoy) your ordinary self, your ordinary feelings and thoughts, ordinary challenges appearing in this moment. Just love your ordinary relationships, ordinary circumstances. Just love your ordinary self for whatever it is thinking, feeling and doing here in this moment,. Enjoy what’s happening, if only a little, if only for a second. Right here, right now.
Step 4: Zoom Out, just for a second, in the same way the football announcer says, “Let’s get a few from the blimp.” See yourself from a distance, from up above or maybe even from way beyond the solar system. Let your ordinary perception take a wider, higher view for justa moment. What do you see? Life itself, awareness at rest. Awareness itself is your ordinary self. This “impersonal awareness” is what we’ve been looking for in our smokes and all that running around. We want just a simple moment of life, of love, of rest, peace.
Step 5: Carry on. The last step of this quick little exercise is to do whatever it is you were doing before you did the exercise. Just continue on. Go wherever you need to go. Be who you normally are, after gifting yourself this quick little refresher.
This “Zoom Love” exercise takes just five seconds or so (one second for each step.) If you can stretch it out to 10 or 15 or 20 second, so much the better. But five seconds will do. This exercise is not (at first, or necessarily) a replacement for your smokes. Rather, as you do it, you will discover that it eventually makes the smokes unnecessary. Here’s why:
Your ordinary self—the one that’s relaxed, at ease, at peace, enjoying the moment– does not need smokes. Or even simpler than that. your ordinary self doesn’t even think about smokes! Doesn’t care about smoking one way or another.
The more your practice being your ordinary self, the easier it will be to let the smokes fall away. Again: 1. Stop 2. Relax 3. Just love 4. Zoom Out 5. Carry on.
You are free to do this little exercise (prayer) 5 times a day, or 10 or 20 or forty times a day— two or more packs worth. This exercise is absolutely NOT hazardous to your health! On the contrary, it’s the absolutely best thing you can do for your health, day after day, year after year. Try it.
(P.S. My latest book, The Smoker’s Prayer, The Spiritual Healing of Tobacco Addiction with or without Chantix, Nicotine Patches, Hypnosis, Jail Time or Duct Tape, goes into great detail on the uses and healing properties of the this Zoom-Love prayer. I offer it for cheap, (99 cents on Kindle) because our goal at Smokers Freedom School is to help a million smokers quit smoking. We hope you’ll join us in this happy parade! )