Smoke Meditatively
[Vinod Anand]
Many people cannot drop the habit of chain-smoking. They do try hard but they normally fail. Some people say that is a sin to smoke. I would suggest that don’t make a mountain out of a molehill!

Now, what are you really doing when you are smoking? Just taking some smoke inside your lungs and letting it out. It is a kind of pranayama filthy, dirty, but still a pranayama! You are doing yoga, ma stupid way.

There is only one sin and that is unawareness, and only one virtue and that is awareness. I am less interested in your chain-smoking; lam more interested in your habit.

Any habit that becomes a force, a dominating force over you, is a sin. One should live more in freedom. Do things not according to habits but according to situations. Life is continuously changing but habits are stagnant.

The more yow are surrounded by habits, the more you are closed T to life. You are not open, you don’t have windows. You don’t communicate with life; you go on repeating your habits. That’s the failure of your life.

Habits are all bad because habit means you are no more the deciding factor. The response is not coming out of awareness but out of a pattern that you have learned in the past.

If you really want to do something about your life, dropping smoking is not going to help - because I know people, who drop smoking; then they start chewing gum or paan; it is the same. You will do something or other. Your unconsciousness will demand some activity, some occupation. And it is only a symptom; it is not really the problem. Whenever people feel tense they start smoking.

The problem is tension, the problem is emotional disturbance — the problem is somewhere else; smoking is just an occupation. You have not tried to be conscious of it; without trying to be conscious you have tried to drop it. It is not possible.

It will come back, because your mind is the same; its needs are the same, its problems are the same, its anxieties, tensions are the same. And when those anxieties arise, what will you do? Immediately, mechanically, you will start searching for the cigarettes.

You may have decided again and again, and again you have failed — not because smoking is such a great phenomenon that you cannot get out of it, but because you are trying from the wrong end. Rather than becoming aware of the whole situation — why you smoke in the first place—rather than becoming aware of the process of smoking, you are simply trying to drop it.

It is like pruning the leaves of a tree without cutting the roots. And my whole concern here is to cut the roots, not to prune the tree. By pruning the leaves and the branches the tree will become thicker; the foliage will become thicker. You will not destroy the tree; you will be helping it, in fact.

If you really want to get out of it you will have to look deeper, not into the symptoms but the roots. I will suggest: smoke as much as you want to smoke —just smoke meditatively, If Zen people can drink tea meditatively, and why can’t you smoke meditatively? And you will be surprised: by watching your smoking, slowly smoking will become less and less. And one day is gone. Ah, This!

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.