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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Smoke & Smoking- 22nd May 1991

CIGARS, CIGARETTES and pipe-tobacco, have in one form or another, assisted man's contemplative faculties over centuries. As an aid to draw one's thoughts and collect them, as one draws in the breath in intermittent rhythm, the smoke provides an artificial bubble-like enclosure; much like a suit worn by an astronaut within his controlled atmosphere. This buffer-zone created enables the man who smokes to keep the world at arm's length.

The smoker would have it that the world seems to impinge on every nerve, presses in from every direction and interrupts their ability to concentrate and interact with those around them. It also of course, aggravates such conditions and weakens the individuals who rely on such means, to a point where daily life becomes as an open wound ever patched up repeatedly by a razor-sharp bandage.

Not only can one picture the smoker to be contained in such a way that the world is held separate from the individual, but also the individual from the world. From this the individual who may be ordinarily quite passionate or emotional, is utilizing the habit of smoke enclosure to contain and restrain such passions and emotions. There is the tightness, the restrictiveness in the chest, the holding back and inhibition coupled with a desire to dynamically blast the world forcefully, and through fear of such unrestraint he imposes the composure that the smoke-world can bring.

It is not only the substance of the very nature of the tobacco that affects a man, but the manner in which it is ingested. For should the extracts of leaf be absorbed through stomach or skin, the glands would alarm to the poison in such a way that alerts the heart and shocks the entire system, but would not cajole the individual with the subtle change in conscious interaction as afore described.

It is the inhaling and expelling of the smoke- not the free particles in question, but the fiery element - that renders the immediate atmosphere surrounding a man with a shower of down-pouring sparks that interrupt all else in the ether, in fits and starts. With the individual held almost static, central to this activity, he is displaced and separated- for a short time, even from thoughts of his own.

To many, this condition can offer comfort - and in this the smoker is in constant juggle with the pattern of thinking he has been accustomed to use. There is a noticeable difference to those patterns, in regards to the non-smoker, and the smoker when he is smoking and when he is not.

There are many short-lived advantages that the smoker can utilize to help with new perspectives and in adjusting to his environment and according new opinions. However, as stated before, such means of containment artificially induced, render it extremely difficult for the soul to 'come out into the world', not only when trying to give the habit over, but in episodes daily, in between the smoky condition and during.

So unless the individual were to smoke one after the other, the pressures experienced radically in between are felt to a far greater extreme, to the eveness of pressure that the non-smoker encounters throughout the waking day. 

The Indians and the Arabs in the past, were not given over to continual smoking but rather used the practice strictly at specific times for specific reasons. With such a constitution that was not dependent or indulging for prolonged periods with overuse, the practice was helpful to that particular consciousness - as one could withdraw upwards for a time and view the world meditatively from many different aspects. However, as to the compulsive overuser this capacity is removed in the loftier sense, as the individual is in a sickened state by that very overuse, physically weakened and mentally overworked.

A superimposed calmness is quite wonderful, except when the calmness is interrupted by a corresponding and extreme expression of tension - twenty times a day! In short, therefore, there is little in the long-term to be gained by such a practice by the compulsive user. Rather the associated problems, outweigh the short-term merits.

As mentioned, the nature of the fiery element is paramount to the dependency of the smoker. In actuality, ask any smoker of the pleasure they receive in the initial 'lighting up': the burst of flame that begins the ritual. It can be of great assistance to those who are wishing to wean themselves from the habit to still carry the matches or lighter, and go through the process of this lighting up without a cigarette or pipe actually being lit. Incense may be of value also, an open fire in one's hearth, candles in the room and so forth - that they may still have in part some of the atmosphere surrounding them, cradling them, that they long for so desperately.

There are very strong and clear reasons as to why individuals get caught in any form of dependence. Judgment of such conditions can never be accurate, as no one man can know the whole condition of another before he may perceive with clarity that of his own.

The relationship of smoking with that of man can simply be viewed as the same as the relationship between man and a domestic pet. One can find grand, but simple companionship, own the pet that it might serve you, work to feed it, pick up after its mess, endeavor to restrain it - and hope that it will never bite you!

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