Wanna quit smoking? Try meditation

Cease the buzz and seek the peace instead. Photo credit: Dave Iba

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Cease the buzz and seek the peace instead. Photo credit: Dave Iba
Cease the buzz and seek the peace instead. Photo credit: Dave Iba

There are many methods that supposedly help one to quit smoking cigarettes. And over the nine years that I smoked, I tried most of them. However, only one of them has provided long lasting effects, and this method did so with great ease and little anxiety or side-effects. That method: Meditation.

Follow the instructions below, and with a bit of patience and persistence, I promise that kicking the habit of smoking will become easier and easier every single day.

These two types of mediation are very simple. You should begin with the first, become comfortable with it over a couple of weeks, and then transition to the second.

Meditation 1: Breathing.
The first type of meditation simply entails paying attention to your breathing for 5-10 minutes a day. First, find a comfortable and quiet place to sit – the quieter the better. Sit cross-legged if you prefer, but whatever feels most comfortable (while keeping your back straight) will work just fine. Then, just close your eyes and pay close attention to your breathing process. Focus on the sound you make as you inhale and focus on the sound of your exhalation. Don’t try to alter how you are breathing by taking deep breaths or anything like that, just breathe comfortably, and focus closely. Your mind will assuredly wander, but every time it does (whenever schoolwork, your job, or anything else emerges into your thought process) just revert your focus back to your breathing. If it helps, count how long it takes to inhale and how long it takes you to exhale. But after doing this for a little while, stop counting, and really focus in on the breathing process itself. Perform this routine for at least five minutes per day, every day, for as long as you comfortably can. Do this two or three times a day if you wish. Continue this routine for 10-15 days, until you find it easier to sit and focus on your breathing. Once this process becomes more natural to you, move on to the second method.

Meditation 2: Letting Go
For the second method, sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place once again. Start this meditation by focusing on your breathing, just for a minute or two, to help calm yourself. Then, once you’re calm, focus on the concept of SUFFERING. Think of every single thing that you can relate to this concept: genocide, poverty, death, pain, sadness, and anything else that emerges into your mind.
Continue this process for approximately five minutes (however, do not open your eyes to check the time, an approximation is just fine). Again, your mind will wander, just like when you focus on breathing, but just the same, revert your mind back to anything that you can associate with SUFFERING. Don’t stay too long with each thought, just let them come and go naturally. After five minutes or so, while keeping your eyes closed, shift your attention to the word SUFFERING. Focus entirely upon the word: how it is spelled, how it looks, and so on. Just think of the word itself, and look at it with your mind. This time, those related concepts will probably come flooding back in to your focus. But when that happens, it is very important that you do not run from or fight with these thoughts. Let them emerge, recognize them, and let them pass. Focus back on the word “SUFFERING”. Another negative thought emerges, recognize it and let it pass. Practice this routine for another 10-15 days – until you are comfortable with it, and then comes the moment of truth.

Jay Arcansalin/UVU Review
Jay Arcansalin/UVU Review

At this point, we’ll apply these methods to your everyday life, and to smoking cigarettes. Don’t declare your cessation from tobacco products quite yet. Rather, while continuing these meditations every day (or multiple times per day) make the commitment not to buy any cigarettes for a week. Again, don’t quit yet, just don’t buy any for a week. Then, whenever you feel the desire to smoke a cigarette, just like the intrusive thoughts which emerge while you focus on the word SUFFERING, just recognize these urges, and let them go. DON’T fight them and DON’T run from them. Recognize them, and let them pass. If they emerge too often, then tell yourself that you will go buy some cigarettes if you still want to smoke in an hour – then let the thought pass. And by all means, if the thought stays with you for the entire hour, go buy some. However, in recognizing the desire and letting it be, rather than fighting with it or running from it, usually the desire will not stick around for too long. And from here, continue on as you see fit.

I personally quit smoking this way over a year ago. I smoked somewhere between four and seven cigarettes in the time I was “refraining from immediately giving in to my urges”, but eventually the desires just disappeared altogether. Whenever I find myself in an extraordinary stressful situation, a miniscule urge to smoke may emerge in my mind, but I just recognize it, and I let it pass – and that’s the end of it.

As you continue this meditation process, you will find it much easier to let go of other intrusive thoughts: about anger, annoyance, anxiety, and so forth. In the process of quitting smoking by utilizing meditation as a catalyst, I inadvertently rid myself almost completely of panic attacks (which I had suffered for decades).

Give it a try. All you have to lose is 5-10 minutes of your day. And all you have to gain is control over your mind, your intrusive and harmful desires, and your life.

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