Many people often ask me what has meditation and self-hypnosis got to do with quitting smoking.
The answer is not a lot. Meditation, however, enables you to see life more clearly. It cuts back the filters, preconceptions and prejudices through which we view life and allows us to see things more clearly and make better decisions.
Ever since your very early years, you have been experiencing the world whilst your thoughts have been buzzing and whirring away in the background, clouding your consciousness. Meditation quietens them down.
Language, religion and reality
Between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago human beings in Africa invented a basic language which was a catalyst for human civilisation. During this time there were changes in human behavior including the creation of cave art and sophisticated hunting tools.
Language benefited humans by aiding communication and abstract thinking. However, words superimposed categories and value judgments upon a world that had been whole and perfect.
Just as they divided up the world and recognised the difference between “lions” and “tigers” they also contrived the difference between “good” and “bad”.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – from Hamlet, William Shakespeare; Act II, scene ii
And not only was there are difference between “good” and “bad” but a difference between “you” and “me”.
It is interesting that also at this point, humans started practicing religion. The etymology of the word religion is also interesting, from the latin re-ligare (re: “again”; ligare: “bind, connect”) – to connect again back to something which we’d lost?
All the major religions of the world teach that a bad action against someone else is, in fact, a bad action against yourself:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” – Christianity
“What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow man.” – Judaism
“Do unto all men as you would they should unto you.” – Islam
“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.” – Buddhism
Thus emphasising the oneness of the universe. The idea is if you hurt someone else (even whilst apparently benefiting yourself) you are hurting the universe and therefore hurting yourself.
Returning to the source
The practice of meditation allows you to experience the world without the confusion of vocabulary. As you concentrate on your breathing and nothing else you begin to appreciate the perfect calmness there is when you are conscious of the present moment and nothing else.
And after regularly practicing meditation you will begin to experience this calmness in the rest of your life which has untold mental and physical benefits.
If you do have a smoking habit – or in fact any other behaviour or habit you want to get rid of – you should start self-hypnosis in exactly the same way as you should start meditation. Sit down and try to concentrate on your breathing.
Although, the purpose of meditation is to try to concentrate on feeling the breaths go in and out and nothing else, with self-hypnosis it is to use self-suggestion at the moment when the concentration is at its most intense and at the point when the relaxation is most pure.