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Introduction The beginning
Part 1 The Mechanism
Part 2 The Problem
Part 3 The Solution
Part 4 The Seat of Ego
John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free"
A very long time ago on what suppose to be just another ordinary day, you chose to smoke your very first cigarette. You knew it was wrong. You were warned to stay away from it but “hey! What could one little cigarette do? Besides it, I won’t do it again. Just 1 cigarette and that’s it”. Right? That one day changed the rest of your life. You are here now reading this book because of that just 1 cigarette. After years of smoking you have come to accept your life as a smoker. Accepted here means you can't bear to live without cigarettes and terrified at the prospect of quitting. So continuing smoking is the only option you have. But you are not stupid. You know it's dangerous. You know it's killing you, but you are helpless to do anything about it. Though quitting is a choice but you know it isn't as simple as that. You know the desire to smoke will constantly gnaw in your mind. The fear of living a life without cigarette and going through the withdrawal symptoms is so terrifying that you would rather suffer the consequences from smoking than to overcome it. What is the worst that could happen? Death through lung cancer? Now that isn't so bad isn't it? After all we will still have the pleasure from smoking a cigarette. The fear of death has long vanished from our hearts for deep inside we know when all else fail death will not. It is the ultimate constant that will finally liberate us. But there was always something within us wanted to escape from this nightmare. What it is we do not know and yet it is compelling and cannot be easily ignored. It gives us hope that one day we might be free from this slavery and it gives us the strength to make an attempt to break free. We then make the decision to quit and through willpower try our very best to suppress the cravings and to a certain extent we do succeed. But as Allen Carr so eloquently put it "It is not the day 1 that is the problem but day 10 or day 1000". How long do you think you can hold on? Isn't there a very high potential you might relapse in a moment of weakness. To totally depend on willpower to quit smoking is extremely painful and unnecessary. The willpower method requires lifelong abstinence from smoking. Does that strike terror into your heart? Can you hold out for that long? While a selected few able to do it the majority of us fail miserably. The sincere yearning for a cigarette defeats our attempt to quit smoking again and again.
What a smoker actually wants is a cure to extinguish the desire to smoke. To remove the wanting for a cigarette. A way to overcome the fear that cripples him. A solution that can empower him to say "No. Enough is enough". My dear sisters and brothers let me help you. Like you I was a smoker for 14 years till I broke free. I do not have a method to quit smoking. All I have is the truth. Read this book and once you know why you smoke and the nature of the desire that perpetuates this habit you will instantly break free. You don't have to slowly become a non-smoker. The transformation is instantaneous. This book will dwell on your deepest and darkest moment of your life as a smoker. Nothing will be left out. Face your fear and I will show you a power that was always inside of you that will earn you your freedom back. You are living in an invisible prison and I am going to show you those walls and guards and the powerful taskmaster that keeps you in chains and locks. Once you are able to see the reality of your condition as it really is, believe me, quitting will be your utmost priority. From then on you will be grateful for the gift of life that has been given to you. You will cherish life. Everyday will be a celebration for life. You will grow wise and you will strive to keep your body from harm and danger. Yet I cannot force you to quit smoking. It will be up to you to choose to be free or remain a slave. But if you do decide to remain a slave and continue smoking even after reading this book, the knowledge gained from this book will make your life miserable. Every puff you inhale, every cigarette you smoke will be a bitter testimony to the lie you choose to live in. You have to make decision now if you are willing to give yourself a chance to be free by reading this book. The choice is up to you. If you are still hesitant, let me ask you this: what if you did quit and it was easy and effortless, would it not have been worth your while. Finally you can wake up tomorrow morning and the wanting to smoke is no longer there. You will be freed forever from this nightmare. Please do not jump ahead or skip any part of this book. The information presented in this book is incremental. Every page has to be read before moving on to the next, so please be patient and read from page to page.
It all started with “just 1 cigarette”. You probably tried it to look cool. You might have been influenced by a family member who smoke or maybe just for the sake of curiosity. Whatever your reason was you lighted that cigarette and inhaled in the smoke. You can still remember the moment you had that first cigarette. All smokers can still remember their first puff no matter how long ago it was. The taste and smell was horrible. Immediately your throat and lungs revolted. A spasm of coughing and spluttering followed the inhale and yet even as you trying to catch a breath of fresh air, you felt an intense good feeling building inside. A glorious buzz. A feeling of satisfaction unlike anything you ever felt before. A most satisfying “Aaaah” sensation. Whatever the feeling was you quickly assured yourself you will never get hooked to cigarettes. "How could anyone be smoking this nasty stuff. It tastes so horrible". This was your first introduction to cigarettes. A foul ranking roll of leaves burning at the end of your mouth that created an amazing feeling inside. With this believe that you cannot get hooked due to its foul taste you came back for your second cigarette. The despicable taste and smell remained and it again assured you that you will never get addicted to it. Despite its taste, the feeling generated from smoking was most satisfying. To make a long story short you went on to have your third cigarette and so on and so forth till today. With just 1 cigarette you took the bait and sprung the trap. A trap so elusive and sinister that even though you know for a fact that smoking causes "the" horrible disease which will eventually kill you, it still does not hinder you from reaching out for the next cigarette. It’s a mystery for normal people to think why would anyone actually would pay and kill themselves with cigarettes. But the amazing truth is it is the same with smokers. They have their reasons why they smoke but they just can’t seem to quit when they wish to. No other area in their life has so much grip on a smoker as compared to smoking. They can go on for months without indulging on their favourite food or recreational activities and it doesn’t even cross their mind that they have abstained for that long. But just to get through one day without a cigarette is an impossible attempt.
The following are some reasons given by smokers to justify their smoking habit - It relives boredom. - It helps me to concentrate. - A cigarette after a meal completes the meal - I enjoy a cigarette when I am in the company of friends - I love inhaling the smoke - It keeps me company when I am alone - When I’m tensed or angry, cigarette calms me down - Cigarette comforts me when I am down and depressed It is easy to see that a smoker develops an intimate relationship with his cigarette. It is always there for him. It shares his problem and joy. It never complains and it's ever present no matter what. But the fact is it is killing him. It is costing him a fortune. What kind of companion would plot your own death while you enjoy its company? Worst still, if you decide to quit the withdrawal symptoms is terrifying enough to keep you in line. So the question is: What makes a rational human being to continue smoking when he knows the final outcome is an ugly excruciating death? It is nicotine. You are chemically addicted to the drug nicotine. You are a drug addict. A junkie. This maybe a shocking revelation to some of you but the point is you have developed a dependency for this chemical. All, and believe me, absolutely all other reasons are nothing but a pathetic and a lame attempt by the drug addict trying to justify to himself why he should continue to smoke. This book is written to answer the following 4 questions 1. What is drug addiction? 2. Why does smoking a cigarette feel so good? 3. Why is it so difficult to break free? 4. How do I escape? The first three questions will be answered in part 1 and part 2 of this book and part 3 will cover the last question
Genesis 1:31 "And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good"
It is imperative for an addict to know the mechanism behind his addiction. This material is a brief discussion on how drugs of abuse affect the workings of our brain. This material also serves another purpose which I will conclude later in part 4 of this book. I am now inviting you to read through part 1 with an open mind As defined in Wikipedia:“Drug addiction is a pathological or abnormal condition which arises due to frequent drug use. The disorder of addiction involves the progression of acute drug use to the development of drug-seeking behaviour, the vulnerability to relapse, and the decreased, slowed ability to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli” To find meaning to the above definition and the answer to our first three questions let us first see how nicotine interacts with our brain. The human brain is a magnificent 3 pound organ. Its potential is almost limitless. Our ability to love and hate, create and destroy is mediated in the brain.
A cross-section of the human brain. Image courtesy of Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
The neocortex (the outer layer shown in dark blue) is unique to humans. No other creature in the animal kingdom has this part of the brain. It is called the executive centre as all higher brain function emanates from here.
Our ability to think, rationalize, plan, judge and evaluate happens at the neocortex . It is where abstract and analytical thinking takes place. Next is the limbic system (shown in light blue). This is an ancient part of the brain existing even prior to the arrival of mammals into the world. How old is it? It has been evolving for over hundreds of millions of years. The limbic system is also known as the “reptilian brain” or “lizard brain”. Unlike the neocortex, the limbic system cannot perform critical thinking. You cannot rationalize with it through an intellectual presentation. That ability belongs to the neocortex and not the reptilian brain. The reptilian brain function in the absolute total only: "pain" or "pleasure". There is no middle ground or room for negotiation. Everything is categorised either as pain or pleasure. Therefore our fundamental basic desires are driven by the conclusion that an event: If it's painful – avoid If it's pleasurable – repeat. Besides being responsible for the beating of your heart, pulses, blood pressure, breathing and etc the reptilian brain also ensures our safety. When your hand accidentally comes in contact with a hot kettle you pull it off immediately by reflex. That’s your limbic system. When the driver in front of you suddenly steps on the brake, you too by reflex slam on your brake. You didn’t think to do it, it just happened automatically. That’s your limbic system. When confronted with a situation your limbic system judges whether it pain or pleasure. When your hand touches the hot kettle, your limbic system sees it as pain and that means it is an emergency. It bypasses your neocortex, takes over your brain and body and immediately pulls your hand off to safety. Why does it need to bypass the neocortex? Your neocortex analyses a situation, weighs the different options available and then finally decides what it wants to do. Imagine what would have happen when the driver in front of you suddenly stops his car and this information had to pass through your neocortex. You most certainly would have crashed right into his car. It takes less than split second for the limbic system to kick in and save you from danger.
The 3 areas of life which the limbic system oversees are 1. Self preservation (Survival, Safety, Security) 2. Bodily appetite (Food) 3. Lust (Procreation) This is how our brain works. We are driven to repeat those actions that bring pleasure and avoid those actions that bring pain. How does our brain define pain or pleasure? Dopamine Dopamine is our brains happy chemical. The pleasure we get when we eat is the presence of dopamine. The pleasure we get when we copulate is the presence of dopamine. Dopamine is not candy for good behaviour. It is part of our brains “reward system” that exists to ensure our survival. You get “rewarded” for doing actions that are necessary for our survival.
It's the reptilian brain which determines which action is pain and which is pleasure. It decides solely for our self preservation. It drives us to repeat pleasurable action by rewarding us with dopamine. More like bribery but for a noble reason. Now, when a person smokes his first cigarette the nicotine in the smoke enters his body through the lungs. It goes right to the brain and starts of a chemical reaction that is worthy of a shot at the silver screen. The nicotine in the cigarette when inhaled releases a FLOOD of UNEARNED and STOLEN dopamine. This flood of dopamine generates the intense "Aaaah" feeling. The victim experiences his first "HIGH". The initial dopamine surge is so high that the brain records the event that brought about this surge in the most vivid and clearest of details. This is why all smokers remember their first cigarette. Why does the brain need to imprint (record) this action? Dopamine acts as a siren. When it is released, it alerts the whole brain to pay attention to what is being carried out. Our brain then focuses on the action which is then imprinted so that we will remember to repeat it again in the future. When we smoked our first cigarette we introduced a foreign chemical into our body which has the ability to release dopamine. Naturally any event that triggers the release of dopamine is considered an important action that is essential for our survival. Nicotine not only able to trigger the release of dopamine but it is able to release it in large amount. Hence our reptilian brain is fooled into believing that smoking a cigarette is essential for our survival.
Dopamine Released (Pleasure)
Essential for Survival
From here on it gets worse. There is an adaptability system in our brain that prevents dopamine surge for actions that is already known to be pleasurable. Why? So that we don't over learn it in case for some reason in the future we need to stop repeating those actions. Else it becomes difficult to stop doing it. The dopamine release from an activity done for the very first time will always be the pinnacle of pleasure. The initial euphoria is caused by the surge in dopamine level. All subsequent repetition will still be pleasurable but it will be unlike the first. Unfortunately for us drugs of abuse (nicotine, cocaine, heroin, etc) bypasses this process. Every time you administer the drug the dopamine release spikes to the same level when you had your first cigarette thus further imprinting those action deep into the recesses of your brain. Every time you administer the drug your brain learns again and again the act of smoking a cigarette. Your brain so ingrained by this over learning will start to create this overwhelming appetite for you to seek out and repeat those actions. Your mind starts associating everything around you with cigarettes. From having a meal, going for a walk, parties, problems, worries, celebrations, good times, bad times everything in your life will be associated with smoking a cigarette. But it is not the end yet. Things are about to get uglier still.
When the drug is continually administered the user starts experiencing an intense feeling of pleasure. The brain detecting this abnormally high presence of dopamine starts reducing the number of dopamine receptors. This creates a negative effect for the user. With the reduced number of receptors he's ability to feel pleasure and joy is also reduced. There aren't enough receptors to keep him in the normal state like he was prior to his drug addiction. Everything around him becomes lifeless and dead. Life becomes flat and tasteless. This is an unnatural state of existence. Humans aren't created to live in such a way. In our effort to return to the condition we were in before we started administering the drug, we then automatically tend to smoke more and more. We increase the frequency and quantity of cigarettes or foolishly certain people seek out for stronger drugs. From here on life becomes an unbearable burden. You are in a constant low point where there is no joy. Your low point keeps descending with every cigarette you smoke. The only time you ever get a glimpse of life as it was before is when you re-administer the drug again. Even then it is a just reduced and tone down version. The pleasure you get in smoking lasts as long as nicotine is present in the body. When nicotine level starts to drop so does the good feeling. When nicotine has dropped significantly, you will be left in a state of aggravation.
What is causing the aggravation? 1. Inability to feel joy from the simple things in life due to the reduced number of dopamine receptors. But nicotine is able to solve that problem since it can release dopamine in large quantity. Without nicotine you are always restless and agitated. 2. Your mind which is now completely warped by this destructive chemical wrongly assumes the aggravation you feel now is caused by the fact you have not smoked for some time. In a nutshell this is what we call cravings. Craving is the wanting to smoke a cigarette so to end the aggravation caused by the drop in nicotine level.
EFFECTS OF DOPAMINE IN THE BRAIN
Unnaturally high dopamine level
Further imprint the action into our brain
Number of dopamine receptors is reduced
More dopamine released
Ability to feel pleasure is reduced
Increase frequency & quantity of drug administration
Flat & empty life
At this moment I know you are thinking that things cannot get any worse than it already has. Unfortunately it will. Before I reveal to you the crowning jewel of drug addiction let us recap what has happened so far. 1. Nicotine is the powerful addictive drug found in cigarettes. Nicotine is administered into the body though inhaling the cigarette smoke. Nicotine causes large dopamine burst in the brain. 2. An intense pleasurable feeling is generated due to this explosion of dopamine. The smoking action is deeply imprinted in the brain so that we will remember to repeat it. 3. Nicotine and all drugs of abuse bypass the brain's adaptability to prevent future dopamine burst for action known to be pleasurable so that we do not over learn an action. Because of this bypass the drug administration method (i.e. smoking) is continually imprinted in the brain. 4. Large quantity of dopamine in the brain is unnatural hence the brain starts reducing the number of dopamine receptors. Life becomes flat and joyless. To return to the state we were in before the drugs, we start administering the drug in larger quantity and more frequently. This self sufficient cycle turns addiction into compulsion. The imprinting continues with every cigarette we smoke. 5. This chain of events causes our brain's reward system to be hijacked by the drug and the limbic system falls for the trap.
Jewel in the crown of addiction With the brain's reward system fully under the control of the drug, the reptilian brain is fooled into believing that smoking is the quintessential action that must be repeated at all costs for our survival. The reptilian brain starts to take over. Whenever the nicotine level drops, just like when our hand came in contact with the hot kettle the reptilian brain will see it as pain. It will bypass the neocortex, takes control of our brain and body and immediately pushes us with incredible force to replenish the nicotine stock. From a drug addict we have now become a slave bereft of our freewill.
THE ADDICTION CYCLE
Smoke a cigarette
Nicotine level replenished
Nicotine level drops 2 hours later
Now let's look at the whole thing from the point of a smoker. Foolishly the would-be addict tries a cigarette. The revolting taste in the first puff ensures him he will never get hooked to smoking. But unknown to him the nicotine in the first cigarette has imprinted itself in his brain. The dopamine surge through the action of the nicotine creates an intense pleasurable feeling. The imprinting then creates in him the drive to repeat again the action. So he decides to have another cigarette. What may have seen to him as a choice to smoke the second cigarette in truth was nothing but the drive to re-experience the euphoria from the first dopamine burst. What was the triggering point to create the drive? Drop in nicotine level. Whenever the nicotine level starts to drop the addict starts to feel aggravated. He experience what is called "cravings" for a cigarette. With every cigarette he smokes the imprinting becomes more pronounced and he keeps falling deeper into the trap. The addict is thinking he is consciously deciding to smoke but actually he is being been driven to make that decision. After a prolonged period of continuous drug administration, smoking becomes so deeply imprinted he loses control over his ability to make rational judgement. His mind starts to warp and his thoughts twisted. He starts to associate everything around him with smoking a cigarette. He starts to build a false believe system and truly believes in them. His whole life starts to revolve around cigarettes. By now he is totally enslaved by the drug. Whenever the nicotine level drops, he starts to panic. He becomes restless, agitated and irritated. He needs his "fix". The craving is unbearable. He then obediently lights up a cigarette and feels calm again. Now he no longer smokes because he likes to but he smokes because he cannot bear the aggravation caused by the drop in nicotine level. Worst yet, since he sincerely believes he needs a cigarettes, the fear of not being able to smoke or denied the opportunity to smoke simply amplifies the physical aggravation. He smokes because he cannot bear the aggravation caused by the drop in nicotine level. He smokes because he cannot overcome the overwhelming craving created by his warped mind. He smokes because his limbic system is powerful enough to override his neocortex and ensures he lights up a cigarette. This is why an addict finds it difficult to quit smoking. Quitting means pain. Pain which he wrongly interprets as sacrifice.
He believes he is giving up something precious and thus has to suffer for it. In actual reality what he sees as pain of sacrifice is just the drop in nicotine level. When he lights up the pain of craving seems to vanish. This leads him to a false believe that smoking a cigarette does indeed alleviate the pain of aggravation. He never suffered this before he became a smoker. His dopamine release was functioning naturally. All hell broke loose the day he smoked his first cigarette. An Article in the "The Times of India" "In an experiment, an electrode was implanted in the brain adjacent to the pleasure centre of a caged mouse. When a lever was pressed, a small current would be released which would stimulate the locus of neurons and the mouse experienced a sensation of pleasure. When the mouse realised that pressing the lever was the cause of the wonderful sensation, he endeavoured to keep pressing the lever tirelessly till he died of exhaustion" From the book "Freedom from Nicotine (John R. Polito)" Two inmates housed in a smoke-free prison near Johnson City, Tennessee ended a six-hour standoff in February 2007 when they traded their hostage, a correctional officer, for cigarettes. According to a prison official, "They got them some cigarettes; they smoked them and went back to their cell and locked themselves back in. From the book "Freedom from Nicotine (John R. Polito)" In January 2003, a Miami based company, the Vector Group Ltd., began marketing a nicotine-free cigarette called Quest in seven north-eastern U.S. states. A novelty item, thousands of smokers rushed out to purchase their first pack of nicotine-free cigarettes but locating any smoker who returned to purchase a second pack has proven near impossible. This is drug addiction in its rawest form. The mouse didn't even stop to rest. The pleasure from dopamine was more important. The two inmates could have been violently taken down and they knew it was a possibility but no, cigarettes are more valuable than life itself. Cigarette is only a delivery system. It is nicotine that a smoker craves for. No one wants to smoke a cigarette that is free of nicotine.
Now you can see with your own eyes the mess that you have got yourself into. I sincerely hope part 1 of this book has partially answered the questions which I posed earlier. If you have any doubt, please re-read part 1. You can also do a search in the internet. There are plenty of articles out there which deals with the neurochemistry of addiction.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you
In the previous section we learned about the mechanism behind our addiction. In reality quitting smoking has nothing to do with stopping smoking. Not lighting up a cigarette is not the beginning but the last step in quitting smoking. Our problem lies inside of our head and it's there where the battle is to be fought. Let us begin then. Firstly there are two things you need to know to quit smoking. 1. Why do we smoke? 2. How to deal with life after we have quit smoking? So why do we choose to smoke? The truth is we never had a choice. We never liked it and always hoped we could escape from it one day. But fear driven by ignorance has kept as prisoners. The only reason we ever light up is because we are compelled to do so. Our body has fallen into a trap. Since we do not see any means of escape and due to the drug effect on our brain, our mind starts rationalizing why we should continue smoking. So why do we smoke? Because we are forced to. How are we forced into smoking? The presence of certain condition causes our mind to believe that we cannot live without cigarettes. What are these conditions? Fear of life without cigarette. Fear of withdrawal symptoms. Misinterpretation of reality due to lack of information.
But if we are slaves to this drug, how then so many have escaped their captivity? Humans are not just mere biological creatures because if we were then once we are addicted we will always be addicted just like the mouse pressing the lever. But there is more to us than eyes and legs. We are spirits dwelling in a physical body. When our whole body was chained to this chemical and subjected to the powerful pull of the reptilian brain it was our spirit that kept the light of hope that one day we will escape. It is our biological body that is trapped. It's the reptilian brain that is driving us to re-experience the pleasure from smoking a cigarette. It is the reptilian brain who is fighting, resisting and creating friction when we want to quit smoking. It is the reptilian brain's resistance to change that is causing discomfort. Our soul is free but our body is trapped. Our soul cannot be harmed but our physical body can. Our soul can overcome anything, but our body by itself can achieve nothing without the aid of the soul. You are not your body. You are not your arms or legs, eyes or hair. Losing a part of your body does not mean you are no longer human right? You are a soul dwelling in this temporary physical body. By your own fault you have caused your body to be trapped by a powerful addictive drug. This drug has hijacked your brain's reward system and has the powerful limbic system under its control. You are trapped because of the presence of nicotine inside of your body. It is nicotine that is sustaining the trap. It is through the effect of nicotine that your mind is warped. All you have to do is stop administering the drug (smoking a cigarette) and when nicotine has completely left your body and the imprinting reversed the problem will cease to exist. This is the only solution. Now let's look at the second question: How to deal with life after we have quit smoking? The rest of part 2 of this book will deal with this question. When you have quit smoking there are two things you will have to face 1. Withdrawal symptoms 2. Desire (wanting) to smoke
I will now briefly introduce to you the withdrawal symptoms and how to overcome each of them. As we proceed further I will expand on the material until you have a final picture of the addiction and how all the 6 different withdrawal symptoms interrelate to each other. Every drug addict experience the following 6 withdrawal symptoms 1. Restless Feeling 2. The Pull 3. Internal Conversation 4. Doubt 5. Fear 6. The Drive 1. Restless feeling The restless feeling has 3 components 1. A state of restlessness 2. Tingling of nerves 3. Sour feeling (feeling of unjust or unfairness) When nicotine starts leaving your body physically you will experience a restless sensation which includes the tingling of nerves and a tinge of bitterness. These sensation is neither painful nor it's a discomfort. It is just an extraordinary sensation. It is important for you to realize that you have been living with this sensation all your smoking life. You might have not known about it because it is so subtle that some people don't even know they are experiencing it. You do not have to fear this feeling but at the same time you can neither run nor hide from it. You only suffer when you try to evade it. When the sensation arises this is what I want you to do: Focus on the feeling and experience it. Do not try to stop it from happening or numb the sensation. Don't ignore it or "hope that it will end soon". I want you to completely accept the feeling. Totally immerse yourself in it. Let it completely wash over you. Drown yourself in the feeling. Once you have done that look at the feeling as it is. Do not judge it. Do not attach any thoughts to it. Look at it for what it actually is. When you can objectively look at the feeling, you will realize that the feeling by itself is nothing. It is just a physical reaction. All your past discomfort was not generated by this feeling but rather from our misinterpretation of it. We did not suffer because of this feeling but rather we suffered because of our thoughts of it. The good news is that the restless
feeling last only for a minute or two. Focus and accept the feeling as it is and it will cease to be a problem for you. 2. The Pull The pull usually comes in tandem with the other withdrawal symptoms. It's truly an amazing event. I believe this is the moment when the limbic system bypasses your neocortex and takes over your body. When your hand touches the hot kettle and you pull it off to safety, it usually it happens in a split second. But in the case of drug addiction this process is slowed down a thousand times. You will actually sense every moment of it. This is what will happen: You will suddenly find yourself being pulled to go and have a cigarette. But surprisingly even as your body being pulled, you will have the awareness that you are moving but you know that your motion is without your full deliberate consent. The most amazing thing at that moment is that: 1. You might not even want to smoke a cigarette 2. You might even be disgusted at the thought of smoking a cigarette 3. You will realize that you have all the power in the world to easily and effortlessly break the pull but you are just reluctant to do it. My dear friends, We drug addicts are actually privileged to experience this. I believe no normal person has ever had this opportunity. It is neither painful nor something to be feared. The sensation will be something like when you hold two magnets of the same pole facing each other. The tug you feel that prevents the two magnets from coming any closer is liken to the pull of the limbic system. It's truly something to be experienced. So what should we do to overcome the pull? Suppose if I ask you to put your hand over a burning candle and put out the flame with your bare hands can you do it? Easy isn't it. Even though your reptilian brain will object (sees it as pain) but you can still do it if you want to right? All it takes to break the pull is a firm decision. The depth and the gravity of your decision to quit smoking can overcome the pull of the reptilian brain effortlessly. What's more, the human spirit has proved from countless ages that fear can be overcome no matter what the circumstance is. Many of our
sisters and brothers who were once drug addicts like us have faced what we think and insurmountable hurdle and came through victorious. 3. Internal Conversation This is a nuisance we all have to go through. It is the incessant dialogue in your head that revolves around cigarettes. Some of these conversations can really turn nasty. You might suddenly realize that your mind without your wilful consent has made a decision for you to smoke again. When this happens you will be caught by surprise. Too late to react you will start to question your commitment to quit: Why did I make the decision to smoke again? Maybe I still want to smoke I feel guilty for being so weak I think I will smoke just 1 more cigarette and quit after that. Do these excuses sound familiar to you? What to do when the conversation starts in your head? Never take responsibility or ownership for the origin of these thoughts and conversation. They are from your warped mind and not you. Completely detach yourself from it. The danger of entertaining these kinds of thoughts is that finally it will make you feel guilty. And if you did feel guilty you will put yourself in a vulnerable state. Do you want to be in such a state especially when you have just quit smoking? There is an easy way out: just treat it as noise. It is as simple as that. PLEASE DO NOT FEEL GUILTY OR DISAPPOINTED if such thoughts come up.
4. Doubt Please read this carefully for this is one of the most important piece of information in this entire book I can ever give you. If you ever doubt your decision about quitting or if the thought ever arises that "just 1 more cigarette" and I will quit after that, please understand this 1. You are here now not because of 10 cigarettes or a pack of cigarettes. You are here now because of just one cigarette. So having another cigarette is not going to help you in any way. That is just junkie talk. 2. It is not you who wants to smoke but rather it's your reptilian brain driving you to re-experience the pleasure from dopamine surge. 3. The resistance you feel inside of you now is from your limbic system fearful of the coming change. It is not you who is resisting. You are a spirit in a body that is being controlled through fear by the reptilian brain. It is not you who is doubting. So what are we suppose to do about it? Let me suggest to you a simple but profoundly efficient solution to this problem. When doubt arises in your mind, immediately stop the conversation. As I said before you cannot rationalize with your reptilian brain through an intellectual conversation. That ability belongs to the neocortex. So don't waste your energy trying to talk you way out of it. But if you do decide to continue with the conversation you will be like a fool talking to a brick wall. In vain you will hope that you can convince the aggravation to cease and the cravings to stop. Mark my words for no help will come. No mercy will be shown to you. As the moments pass you will become weaker and weaker. You will see that your efforts are fruitless. Your cry for pity will go unheard. The cravings will get stronger and darker and you will be left grovelling and begging for mercy. Finally, confused and totally overwhelmed by fear you will fall.
I will now show you how you can end it with a snap of a finger. Immediately decide what you wish to do when the conversation or the doubt arises. Decide if you want to smoke a cigarette or not. "Yes" or "No". Please do not try to find reasons why you should say "No" at that moment. We have already done that in this book. Your job now is to make a decision in a split second. Just say "No", and carry on with your job at hand or say "Yes" and go and light up a cigarette. Don't waddle in the conversation. Don't mope about it. Don't feel trouble about it. End it instantaneously with a decision. I know, even if you did say "No" at that moment it would seem to be just mere empty words to you. You will feel you are not convinced by your decision. What is required at this time is "faith above reason". Only faith has the power to break through the wall of doubt. The following example is for the purpose of clarification only: Let us assume that you have accidentally dropped something important into a hole. As you peer into the hole you see it is wet and covered with moss and grass and just where the darkness begins you see the silhouette of a dark menacing eye full of evil intent staring right back at you. Your mind cannot conceive the possibility of you putting your hand into that hole. Your mind is reluctant because it cannot perceive that which is beyond its grasp. Faith above reason is that even after carefully evaluating the risk of you putting your hand into that hole, you still choose to do it. It is like you have heard what your mind has to say but you still choose to do something that is higher and beyond your mind. What am I asking you to do? I am asking you to walk blindly in the dark. To take the leap of faith. I am asking you to say "No" even though your mind and body say "Yes". I want you to say "No" even when your mind comes up with the most convincing reason why you should smoke again. I want you to defy reasons, logic, your mind, your body, your comfort, your ease, your happiness, and your very sense of self and hang on to faith alone by saying "No" to cigarettes. Please do not hesitate to make the decision. Indecision is the scourge of the mind. It is indecision that empowers doubt. It is indecision that amplifies fear. The longer you remain indecisive, the stronger the fear becomes. The longer you remain indecisive preferring to weigh all the available option why you should or should not smoke, the more confused your mind will be and since addiction is an irrational behaviour in the end you will light up a cigarette.
Make that decision the very moment the doubt appears. Never prolong it. Do not wallow in it. Make the decision and you will be relieved of the burden of doubt. A strong firm decision made through "Faith" helps to remove all other possible options. It clears the fog in the mind. When you decide your brain receives a clear directive of what you wish to do. That alone is reassuring. You will feel you are in control. No matter what happens or how situation might look, a clear direction by deciding will help you to navigate through the storm of doubt.
5. Fear All smokers are afraid of how they will feel when they can't smoke. The fear of this unknown is so overwhelming that it cripples any effort to quit smoking in the first place. You have been smoking for so long that you have completely forgotten how life was before that fateful day. You have been living in the dark for so long that now you are afraid to return back to the light. You are afraid of how you are going to handle pressure without cigarette. Worst yet, not only you have to cope with the pressures of life but also the loss of pleasure from smoking a cigarette. It seems to be a double blow.
My dear friends, I would like you to take a look at the pictures above. It is serpent wine. Look at the content of the bottle. Is there anything there that sends a chill down your spine? Is there anything there that frightens you? Is there anything there that creates fear and discomfort in you? Look carefully. Good. Let's move on to the next bottle.
Now as before, look into the content of these empty bottles and see if there is anything there that frightens you. I am talking about the content of the bottle not the bottle itself. Are you sure? Look carefully. Is there anything there that frightens you? Look into the emptiness again. Look carefully. Does the emptiness create fear in you? Take your time and look carefully. Are you sure you are not afraid of this nothingness. Are you frightened? Is there fear in you? Do you want to know something? That empty bottle is your life in the absence of nicotine. It is just empty. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of once you have stopped smoking. This is how we were before we started smoking and this is how we will be after we have quit smoking. Clean and Clear.
You were afraid to quit all this while because your warped mind created all sorts of imaginary fears. You stuffed all this fear into a bottle created a psycho drama out of it and frightened yourself into submission. It was a self imposed prison where fear ruled unchallenged. Pathetic as it may sound this is the reality inside of every drug addict. There is absolutely NOTHING to be afraid of once you have quit smoking. Now look at the empty bottle again and ask the question: How would I feel when I can't smoke? Keep looking at the empty bottles. 6. The Drive Most people may not perceive the restless feeling but the drive on the other hand is very apparent. It is the force you feel inside pushing you to take action. From a neutral point of view what needs to be done is unknown. You just feel something is wrong at the current moment and you feel the drive as the force that wants you to change it. All drug addicts describe this feeling as the wanting to smoke a cigarette. For now, all you have to know about the drive is that it is a mechanical process pushing you to change your current state of being. You will have a clearer picture of it as we proceed further.
The Desire to Smoke
To know why we have a desire to smoke we must first know why relapse happens. I will then show you an analogy of the drive. From there you will understand the nature and origin of the wanting to smoke a cigarette. Reason for failure to quit smoking Why does someone after much preparation both mentally and physically to beat the addiction still fail? What is the cause of their failure? There are so many people who overcame their addiction. What is the difference between them and those who have failed? The general conception is: - Drug addiction is something difficult to overcome. - It takes several attempts before you can actually break free. - Some people are more vulnerable to addiction due to their genetic makeup. - The time was not appropriate Do you know what I think about the reasons above? RUBBISH
We are talking about a drug that has hijacked our body, slowly mutating our healthy cells to cancerous cells, robbing us of our peace of mind, our money, our freedom and our dignity as a human being and the best excuses we can come up for our failures are these lame pathetic one's. Quitting is easy. There is nothing difficult about it. The restlessness we feel in our body is negligible. Your commitment easily overcomes the pull of the limbic system. The incessant conversation is easily overcome by not taking responsibility for its origin. Doubt is overcome in an instant through faith and a quick decision Fear of the future (Life without cigarettes) - is just an empty illusion Effortless isn't it? Yet we still fail. Why? Everyone who has ever try to quit smoking and failed is because of one reason only "Secretly harbouring in the depth of their heart the arise of an opportunity to use as an excuse to smoke again" Relapse happens because very deep inside the heart there is still a yearning, a hope, a wish that circumstances will give rise to the opportunity to smoke a cigarette. You can overcome any hurdle life can throw at you but how do you overcome the hurdle that you yourself have become to your body. Your body cannot go against you. On the outside it may seem that you have quit smoking. You may act as one who has quit. You may talk as one who has quit but deep inside if you let that selfish hope to fester, than most assuredly sooner or later you will fall. Allowing yourself to have the option to smoke is liken to a crack in your defensive wall. The enemy knows where to apply the pressure. Your enemy does not need to bring down every brick. That crack alone is suffice for your downfall. What am I trying to say? Your failure is due to your own reluctance to let go of your addiction by being insincere. You want to quit smoking but at the same time you do not wish to lose the pleasure you get from smoking. So by clinging on to this destructive hope you have sabotaged any attempt that you might have given yourself to succeed.
Where does this false hope come from? To our mind smoking a cigarette is a source of great pleasure and quitting means the loss of that pleasure. It is a great sacrifice that we cannot bring ourselves to make. Why should I suffer this enormous loss? It is unjust. The most painful part of it is the fear that if we do decide to quit and endure the hardship, what will happen if we relapse sometime in the future. Does that mean all our effort goes down the drain? Can we pick ourselves up and try quitting again? What happens if we fail again and again and again? How many failures can we afford before we truly give up? A thousand times? Five thousand times? The traumatizing effect from a single relapse leaves a profound deep scar in our soul. Do we have the strength to fail a thousand times just to earn our freedom back? Now along comes our warped mind and quietly assures us: "Don't worry all is not lost. If you fail at least we will still have the pleasure from smoking again". Why do people hang on to this destructive hope? We cannot bear the cruelty of being denied of the pleasure from smoking. No matter how we look at it the loss cannot be mend or replaced by another. And in the event of relapse the prospect of being able to smoke again is so heart warming that you blindly hang on to it. You have to understand something important here. This hope is not quite apparent in the beginning. Those who try to quit smoking do start off with good intentions. They really do want to quit. But as the days go by and as they go through the withdrawal symptoms this false hope becomes more and more pronounced. Our hearts will no longer be sincere as we hold on this false hope. One day in a moment of weakness when you entertain the thought of smoking just one more cigarette, your warped mind will immediately use this opportunity to mercilessly hammer in you the joy and sweet pleasure of smoking. What do you think is going happen then? This is why the willpower method works only for a selected few. They succeed not because they have super human strength but because they have completely removed all possible options to ever smoke again. They never allowed their hearts to be corrupted by twisted desires. They have kept their hearts true and sincere. They started off with only one possible outcome: Victory. But for the rest of us who harboured this hope it is just a matter of days before we are defeated and return back to smoking.
So how for the sake of all that is good do we overcome this problem? To answer the above question let's look at the problem from the perspective of the reptilian brain. What do people who have strong conviction for moral and ethical values as a way of life share with those who have renounce the world and live a religious and monastic life? Their sincere willingness to endure discomfort (resisting the blazing desires of the reptilian brain - i.e. lust, gluttony, pride and etc) Sincerity to endure discomfort means staying true to the decision you have made and enduring whatever discomfort that arises from it. It is an act of being faithful to your decision. It is an act of not allowing anything to corrupt your heart. It is a willing act of to suffer the consequences for staying true to your decision. Since the reptilian brain's sole purpose is to avoid pain and seek pleasure, resisting pleasure means choosing pain. Smoking is pleasurable Quitting is pain But the discomfort we are to encounter is not pain. Discomfort from quitting smoking is the resistance put up by the reptilian brain against your decision. So right from the beginning, before we even make the commitment to quit we should understand our brain is going to resist our decision. Ours is a choice opposite to what the reptilian brain exists for. Discomfort is incompatible to the reptilian brain hence the resistance. Since we cannot fight or rationalize with it, the only thing we can do is to stop the administration of the drug until the imprinting is reversed. It takes no longer than 3 weeks. Meanwhile we have to sincerely endure the reptilian brains objection to our decision (not pain but discomfort). The discomfort will be experienced as a driving force in us to end the pain of aggravation from quitting. This is what "The Drive" is. A simple mechanical process by which the reptilian brain tries to achieve its goals. The withdrawal symptoms can be effortlessly overcome. It is easy but must be endured sincerely.
Your complete freedom lies in your willingness to accept the discomfort caused by the reptilian brain. If you are willing endure the discomfort then all false hope will cease to exist for smoking will no longer be an option. What does it really mean to quit smoking? Quitting smoking means making a decision and staying true to it. It is about being honest to yourself. It is about standing your ground and sincerely willing to endure all discomfort which arises from your reptilian brain. Quitting means taking control of your reptilian brain and its blazing desires.
ANALOGY OF THE DRIVE
Let us assume the circles above are the two states a drug addict constantly moves to and fro. When he just finish replenishing his nicotine stock (smoking a cigarette) his state is like the complete circle. He is fulfilled and content. But this state lasts only as long as nicotine is present in the body which is not very long. As soon as the nicotine starts leaving the body he feels restless. He feels something is missing. At this point his state is like the circle with the gaping hole. The gap is abnormal and it's very discomforting. It is constantly gnawing in his mind. It is unnatural. The mind then starts creating this overwhelming appetite and drive so that his sole purpose is bent on closing the gap and he knows exactly what to do: smoke another cigarette. Once he has readministered the drug, the gap magically closes. Peaceful at last. The purpose of this simple illustration is to show you that: - You smoke not to relieve boredom but to close the gap. - You smoke not to concentrate but to close the gap. - You smoke after a meal not because it taste good but to close the gap - You don't enjoy a cigarette in the company of friends but rather you smoke to close the gap - You don't love inhaling the smoke rather you love closing the gap - You don't smoke because you are angry or depressed but you smoke because you want to close the gap. - You don't smoke because you like it, you smoke because you can't bear to stand the gap
Why is there a gap in the first place? The gap appears when nicotine starts depleting from the body.
Desire to Smoke
When nicotine starts leaving your body all that you will experience is a restless void sensation. I repeat: What we will feel is a "Restless Void Sensation" It is when we misinterpret that feeling that craving happens. Our problem is that instead of looking at the sensation for what it actually is, we always interpret it as something missing in our life or something is being currently denied to us. Hence the deep profound suffering all smokers experience when they can't smoke. We are completely rendered useless until we smoke a cigarette to satiate the craving due to this misinterpretation. Since nicotine does indeed end the aggravation this further strengthens the believe that life is intolerable without cigarettes. What is our problem? Our problem is our misinterpretation of the restless feeling. Yes it is uncomfortable but it is tolerable and bearable. All you have to do is stop misinterpreting the restless feeling and see it for what it actually is. What we are feeling is a "Restless Void Sensation" due to nicotine leaving the body. The feeling is NOT suffering due to not smoking. What happens if you continue to misinterpret the feeling? Cigarette will always remain precious in your eyes. Life becomes intolerable without cigarettes. You will always crave for a cigarette when the nicotine level drops. But if you were caught in a situation where you cannot smoke and the urge is very strong you must be prepared to re-experience the two most frightening forms of craving which I am sure all addicts have gone through 1. Severe Blinding Mental Confusion 2. Violent Panic Attack Answer honestly, do you really wish to go through that attack again?
This is the root cause of our problem. The feeling of restlessness is an internal one. We continuously employ an external solution to end the discomfort because of our misinterpretation. I promise you the next question we will be discussing will change your life forever. Why do we look for an external solution (misinterpret) and where does the desire to smoke actually comes from? The answer for both these questions is intertwined. They are inseparable and it's the bitter truth. We look for an external solution because we are afraid to face our internal feelings. We are so scared to look inwards and face them that we rather run and hide behind the fleeting pleasures that cigarettes can give. In truth all drug addicts are cowards. We often put on a mask of a tough character when we face the world but in actual reality deep inside we are just shivering in fear. The mask is just a compensation for our inadequacy inside. But... choosing not to face our internal feeling does not end the pain of aggravation. It is still there because it is caused by nicotine leaving the body. Our mind then in an attempt to end the pain of aggravation offers us an alternate solution. It creates in us the desire to seek out for a cigarette since it knows that smoking can end the pain. Even though it is only temporary solution but it guarantees relieve. By smoking you replenish the nicotine stock in your body which triggers the release of dopamine. The reptilian brain's nature is always to avoid pain and seek pleasure. If we are afraid to face our own feeling and overcome the aggravation permanently then a temporary solution is required. Either way we are still trying to avoid pain and gain pleasure irrelevant whether it is a permanent or a temporary solution. It's the fear of facing our own feelings that compels us to smoke. It is our cowardly behaviour that creates the desire to smoke a cigarette so as to end the pain from nicotine leaving the body.
How do we actually face our feeling without misinterpreting it? It is difficult to define what it means to face the feelings. All I can suggest is that you query the feeling when it appears. By asking questions you can focus your awareness towards that feeling and start probing for answers. Here are a few examples of questions you can ask yourselves when the feeling arises: 1. What is it about these feeling that made me runaway all these while? 2. Is it really as bad as I think it is? 3. Am I really that helpless and powerless to endure and overcome it? Ask the questions and pause to look for the answer within the feeling. Remember, you have to look at the restless feeling objectively. Do not describe it based on a preconceived notion that the feeling is painful or unbearable. That is a misinterpretation. If you believe the restless feeling is painful then it will be painful. When the feeling comes, let it be as it is. Attach no thoughts to it. View it as though this is first time you are experiencing this sensation. Look at it without prejudice and see if it is actually what you thought it was. You will be amazed. My dear good friends, do you want to know something? You may rejoice in hearing it but it also might make you sad. When you sincerely start facing the feeling you will notice that the feeling will cease to exist, leaving you all alone with your question without the opportunity to look for an answer. The truth is the feeling is a bigger coward than us. It only fights in the dark. But the moment we decide to stand our ground and face it, it does not hide or run away but completely ceases to exist. Sad isn't it. If only we knew this truth earlier I am sure we could have overcome our addiction years ago.
How to avoid misinterpreting the feeling? Remove the word "cigarette" from your vocabulary. Stop using the following phrases for these are the ones that cause you to misinterpret it. 1. I need/want/craving for a cigarette 2. I am suffering because it has been so long since I smoked my last cigarette. 3. I just cannot go on without a cigarette 4. How nice would it be if I could smoke just 1 more cigarette. 5. This is my last cigarette. I will never smoke after this again. The feeling you describe as:1. Pleading/begging/wanting for a cigarette or the drive that pushes you with incredible force to have a cigarette is a misinterpretation of reality. It is actually the drive in you pushing you to end the restless feeling (to close the circle) which is caused by nicotine leaving the body 2. Suffering or grieving you experience because you cannot have another cigarette Pain of sacrifice created due to misinterpretation of reality 3. That you will always be a smoker and never be able to quit Fear created due to misinterpretation of reality 4. That you will always crave for a cigarette Fear created due to misinterpretation of reality The truth is: There is no fear except the fear you create through misinterpretation. There are no cravings except the craving you create through misinterpretation. There are no withdrawal symptoms except the withdrawal symptoms you create through misinterpretation. "There is nothing there except what you create through misinterpretation"
What is the correct interpretation?
What I am experiencing now, and the drive pushing me to end it, is caused by nicotine leaving my body
Say this and only this for the next 3 weeks and I guarantee you it is going to be easier than a walk in the park. We have almost reached the end of part 2 but there is still one burning question that needs to be answered. Regardless of what has been discussed so far I still have to endure the loss of pleasure from smoking a cigarette wont I? Indeed a painful one isn't it. You will be surprised to know that all tobacco companies market their product as a pleasurable item in one way or another. You just have to see their advertisements. The message is carefully hidden in the way the actors portray themselves. Confidence, vigour, wealth, fame and every other trait that we secretly desire for. And just at the end of the commercial, cigarette comes into the picture. It may seem nonsense to you but your mind on the other hand makes the connection. It's a technique now commonly used by many companies to trap consumers into believing that their product is able to make them what he or she secretly desires to be. For an example: On Dunhill's Cigarette box "Created by our blenders using high quality tobaccos to Dunhill's highest standards." "Perfectionist in tobacco" Marlboro's famous cowboy advertisement "Come to where the flavour is. Come to Marlboro Country" It's pure nonsense. It has no meaning and yet it is brilliantly crafted to deliver a potent message directly to the smokers mind that smoking is pleasurable.
The message "pleasure" to your mind is what nicotine is to your physical body. Nicotine enslaves your physical body but more powerful is the message "pleasure" for this is what imprisons and warps your mind. But is it really pleasurable? Smoking is not a pleasurable act. What you experience is a chemically induced "High" sensation as a result of the dopamine explosion. It's the result of your bodies reward chemical undeservedly pumped into your brain. Your twisted mind then misinterpret this intense "High" feeling as pleasure and you think it is your bloody right to experience it. When you quit smoking all that you are doing is preventing from getting "High" again. That's all. But your twisted mind thinks you are being denied of pleasure. Hence the feeling of sacrifice when you quit smoking. Hence the pain. Hence the suffering that you go through. Technically if smoking a cigarette is pleasurable then smoking raw sewage with nicotine should be considered pleasurable as well right? True pleasures can never be found in chemicals. It only wells from eternal truths. If smoking is not pleasurable, then what is drug addiction? Drug addiction is about getting "High". You smoke a cigarette to get high. It's your misinterpretation of this sensation that makes you think it is pleasure. 1. "High" is not pleasure. It is only a chemically induced sensation. 2. Quitting smoking is not loss of pleasure but rather the loss of reward from dopamine surge. 3. You don't have the right to experience the feeling of "High", for the dopamine release is unnatural, unearned and stolen. Your brain reward system has been hijacked and now being misused by you for your own self gratification.
THE WARPING OF THE MIND
The restless feeling, incessant thought and the pull is the mechanism that drives you to close the circle. But if you think smoking is the wanting to get pleasure then you will NEVER quit smoking. Your misinterpretation of this mechanism causes you to believe that it is pleasure that you are forsaking and the discomfort is the pain of sacrifice. But in reality there is no pleasure involved in drug addiction at all. There is only the wanting to close the circle. When you smoke a cigarette the discomfort does indeed end (which is a relieve) and it is this that creates the illusion that smoking is pleasurable. If you can look at drug addiction for what it actually is then quitting becomes easy. Since there is no pleasure in drug addiction then there is no loss of pleasure from quitting. The restless feeling, the pull and the incessant thought is only caused by nicotine leaving the body.
We couldn't say no to cigarettes all this while because we were just too frightened to say it. We thought it was pleasure that we were forsaking. We assumed that the restless feeling was suffering caused by the loss of this pleasure. The sacrifice was just too painful and unjust. This created enormous suffering which bound you to your drug. But the funny thing is it is not the loss of pleasure. It is not sacrifice or being denied of pleasure. Smoking a cigarette is about getting high and refusing to endure the restless feeling. This is what addiction is. A never ending cycle of wanting fuelled by fear created through misinterpretation. It always wants. The vacuum it creates is further than infinity and longer than eternity. You can never fill it. No matter how long or how much you smoke you can never permanently close the gap. The longer you choose to smoke a cigarette the bigger the gap becomes and the more intolerable your life will be. Cigarette addiction is about using a powerful chemical to force the release of dopamine into our brain so that we can get "High". It is a selfish and self-centred act. A blatant violation of the sanctity of our own bodies. All you have to do to is correctly interpret what you are going through. Close your eyes and totally immerse yourself in the restless feeling. Welcome it. Accept it. Then all of a sudden something magical happens. All doubts, fear, panic, and the restless feeling itself will seem to dissolve away. Nothing will remain except an empty emotionless state. This is why it is called a void. There is nothing there until we misinterpret it. Then it is no longer a void but a dark chasm full fear and terror - your worst nightmare One final question before we move on to part 3. If you feel confident now that you can finally break free this time, why do you suppose it is so? Do you think by knowing all that you have learned so far makes the drug hold on you less powerful so that you can easily slip your way out of it? Or is it because you see a weakness in your prison where you can use it to your advantage to escape? Or is it because you are so full of hope that it gives you strength which you think you can use to stop smoking long enough and hope by the end of it you would have completely removed the addictions grip on you? Sincerely ask yourself what makes you think you can succeed this time? What brought about this hope? What changed?
The answer is it is you who actually changed. You are now able to rise above your identity as a smoker and looked down at it and see all the weaknesses and fear that surrounds it. You are no longer bounded by the belief system which you created for yourself and so you are able to see, though in a distant, a glimpse of life without cigarette and it gives you so much hope. Can't you see? Cigarettes and nicotine are inanimate objects. No matter how compelling they can be it was not them that held you as a prisoner. The impenetrable wall you see in quitting smoking is none other than you. This wall is the false identity that you have assumed for yourself. You not only misinterpreted your feelings and thoughts but you don't even know who you really are anymore. Such is the damage caused by drug abuse. As long as you hold on to this false identity cigarettes will always remain precious in your eyes and quitting will be thought of as pain. But you have seen for yourself they are not true. There is no pain. There is no fear. There is no loss of pleasure. You never realised this before because you always looked at it from the point of a smoker. But as you step out of this identity, you see the reality as it is. This is why a normal person can never understand the true extent of fear and terror an addict suffers throughout his life. Your prison, pain, suffering, slavery and misery only exist in the identity: "I am a smoker". It is in this identity alone you hang on to false hopes. When you quit smoking not only it requires you to stop the administration of the drug but you should let go of this identity as well. In the absence of this false identity what will be left is not another identity but your true self. When you willingly choose to let go of this false identity and returned to your true self and hold on to it you will finally be freed. What am I trying to say? I am not going to show you how to break free from this prison. I am going to show you how to break down the prison itself and remove its very foundation from your life.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Let us now briefly recap what we have learned so far 1. Through our own fault we smoked our first cigarette. 2. The chemical nicotine hijacked our brain's reward system and warped our mind. 3. Every aspect of our life was associated with smoking a cigarette. 4. Quitting brought discomfort which arose from nicotine leaving the body. 5. Due to lack of knowledge in the inner workings of drug addiction we misinterpret the sign as pain. The profound suffering we felt was due to the belief that being denied of cigarette is the cause of the discomfort. 6. Fear took control of our lives. Cigarette became very precious to us. We lost our freedom, forfeited our freewill and become slaves to cigarettes. 7. All attempts to quit smoking ended in failure. We were just too frightened to look inside ourselves and face the feeling. The traumatizing effect from past failures to quit added another shackle to our already incarcerated mind. 8. The only thing that is real when we quit is the restless feeling and the drive to end it. It is caused by nicotine leaving the body. But when we decide to misinterpret the feeling and believe in a lie, the incredible power of the mind makes it real.
The identity "I am a smoker" is a way of life you created for yourself. Smoking a cigarette is what you do. Cigarette is the centre of this identity and your whole life revolves around it. The limits and boundaries of this identity became your belief system. You never dared to stop smoking because what will this identity be without a cigarette? It was fear and not the power of the drug that held you to this identity. It is in this false identity that you believe that everything is going to be okay. You hid behind this lie and shut out the truth of the impending death that is approaching fast. All the withdrawal symptoms that you will experience when you quit smoking were present throughout your smoking life. You just didn't realise it because they so insignificant that they can be easily ignored. But when you quit smoking the withdrawal symptoms became very apparent and it is not because of the drug but rather because of the fear that drives it. You have seen for yourself in part 1 and 2 of this book that there is nothing to fear. There is no pain and there is no loss of pleasure. The effect of the drug and the false identity you have carried with you all this years has left a deep impression in you. They immediately start to fade when you stop the administration of the drug. Your return to your true self takes about 3 weeks. To do this you have to stop misinterpreting the withdrawal symptoms. You have to stay true to the decision you have made. You have to accept to endure the physical sensation that arises when nicotine starts leaving the body. What you will be experiencing is the outcome of your action when you falsely misidentified yourself as "I am a smoker". You made a mistake in the past and now making amends to it. You are just paying the price to return to your true self. It is not punishment or loss of pleasure or being unjustly treated. It is just a mechanical process. Is our true self strong enough to overcome this false identity? I will let Marianne Williamson answer that question. Please read the poem in the next page.
Our Deepest Fear Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are we not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. - Marianne Williamson Our spirit is powerful beyond measure. It is who we are. You do not have to look for external support to overcome your addiction. You always had the power in you. But to unleash this incredible power you must: Have faith on what you are doing is only for your own good. Keep your heart true and sincere to the commitment to quit smoking. Do not waste your time and energy thinking about the withdrawal symptoms for they are just wisps of clouds soon to pass away. It is the state of your heart that will determine the outcome. Let us now begin our final journey to freedom.
Deciding to Quit Smoking
Fundamentally smoking a cigarette and quitting smoking both serves the same purpose: to close the gap in the circle. One is a temporary solution and the other is a permanent solution. The gap creates an unnatural state of existence that is so intolerable that it has to be closed one way or the other. You either quit smoking and let the circle to be permanently closed or you smoke a cigarette and temporary close the circle. Now we have two methods to close the circle. Let us compare both methods to see what each has to offer us. Comparison Item Efficiency in closing the gap Required Energy State of your Soul State of your Body Money Final Outcome Smoking Only for 2 hours Plenty Living a false life - Slavery Constant suffocation, bad breath, stained teeth, restlessness, agitation, blinding confusion and panic attack Extremely Expensive Excruciating death through a horrible disease Quitting Permanent Effortless
(in fact you don't have to move a single muscle)
Return to your true self - Freedom Peace Zero Cost
(you will start saving instead)
A fulfilled life
Smoking Wanting to get "High" Wanting to end the discomfort that arises from nicotine leaving the body
Quitting Refusing to get "High" Accepting to endure the discomfort that arises from nicotine leaving the body
How Your intention to quit must be true and sincere Your intention to accept the discomfort must be true and sincere
Study the table carefully. Your ultimate goal is to close the gap. The method you have used so far is smoking and it is has only brought you pain and misery. You also had to forfeit your freedom for it. Please take your time and think very carefully which of these two choices you would rather choose now. If you think about it you will realize that quitting smoking is indeed a loss. You will lose the "High" sensation. You will lose the never ending fear that terrorised you. You will lose all the pain, suffering and misery that arise from drug abuse. You will lose the madness that surrounds your mind. And most importantly you will lose the chains and locks that keep you as a slave. Isn't this something worth losing? When you quit smoking you gain everything. You only lose your slavery to the drug. Your very life and your freedom will be yours again. When to quit smoking? Many quitting program advises that we should set a date to quit and mentally prepare ourselves for the arrival of that day. I believe it is a ridiculous advice. You cannot quit tomorrow or next month or next year. It is non-existent. We can only change the present moment. This is the only moment we can quit smoking else the future will be what is today. The future is just an extension of today and it certainly doesn't care of our understanding of a day as the rising and setting of the sun.
There are 6 things that you should be aware of after you have quit smoking. These are mistakes commonly made which you should avoid.
1. Fear of relapse
This is a self created nightmare. As you let go of the false identity you will begin to realise how precious life is. You will begin to love who you really are. You will appreciate your freedom more than anything else on earth. Fear of losing your freedom will drive you to protect it at all cost. You will start to lookout for signs of cravings and pain. You will always be on your guard and prepared to wage war on anything that might make you relapse. Fear of relapse drives you to constantly watch your feeling and thoughts less they betray you. You are in this constant fear that if you did not manage yourself well sooner or later something might trick you back into smoking. Please think carefully. Isn't this what fear is? There is nothing there, nothing is going to happen, nothing needs to be managed and nothing is going to trick you. You don't have to do anything. You don't have to prepare yourself for something to happen. All you have to do is to lay back and completely relax. If you wish you can take a day off tomorrow. Lower your guards. Let you shoulder slump. Close your eyes and just drift away. There is nothing to look out for and certainly nothing to manage. Remember there is nothing there except what you create through misinterpretation. So why burden yourself? Why stress yourself? Just let it go and relax.
2. Increase in Appetite
When you have quit smoking your appetite will improve and you might find yourself looking for a bite even after having a meal. Though it may seem harmless to you but there is a hidden danger in this. Please remember that the pleasure you get from eating is the release of dopamine. While you may have solved your addiction problem you are now on the verge of creating another. Constantly eating between meals will make you feel sluggish. You will feel bloated and guilty. By then you will be just 1 feet away from misinterpreting your current predicament. What do you suppose will happen if you misinterpret your overeating as the result of quitting the wrong way? Our good friend "fear" steps in. I don't think I need to remind you what is going to happen then. This is what you should do 1. Have your breakfast, lunch and dinner. 2. You may have a generous helping during each meal. 3. Avoid any bites between meals. If you have to have a piece of fruit or a glass of fruit juice or just plain water. When your mind realises it is not getting the reward of dopamine through smoking it starts looking for other sources. Since eating guarantees the release of dopamine hence the increase in appetite even after a heavy meal. This is why certain people suffering from chronic problems tend to eat a lot. It is not a need to eat but a need for the reward from dopamine release. If the common things in life cannot give it then food will have to do.
We will discuss more on this in part 4.
3. Warped Mind
This may surprise you but the truth is there is only 1 withdrawal symptom that you have to be careful of: "Internal Conversation". On the first day of your life without cigarettes you will know how easy and simple it is to quit. You will sincerely start to enjoy the presence of the restless feeling for you will know it is caused by nicotine leaving your body. There will be no fear for it only exists if you want it through misinterpretation. So unbelievable will it be that your confidence rises above the clouds. You will feel you are invincible and nothing and can bring you down. You are right. There is nothing there that can defeat you. But do not forget, your warped mind caused by the imprinting is yet to be reversed. It takes about 3 weeks for this to happen. In the meantime your warped mind will try to use your confidence to assure you since it is so easy to quit why not smoke "just 1 more cigarette" and then quit for good. The moment you engage yourself in the conversation you warped mind will give you the most convincing excuse why you should smoke just 1 more cigarette. Though it is easy to overcome the thought, what I am stressing here is that you should never ever get involved in the conversation. Naturally those who have just quit will always talk to themselves recalling the reasons and logic behind their quitting. Engaging in the conversation means you are still associating yourself with the false identity. This is very dangerous. You must always remember that your reptilian brain is deaf. Your analysis is meaningless to it. One wrong turn and you will find yourself with a very very good excuse why you should smoke again. That excuse alone will be enough to undermine your commitment and create fear in you. Does that mean we have to fear the internal conversation? No you don't. The problem only exists if you decide to entertain the thought. All thoughts and conversation about cigarettes has this remarkable ability to make you feel supremely confident that you can have "just 1 more cigarette" and quit permanently after that. This is why it should be avoided all together. When the thought arises recognise it as the outcome from your previous identification with the identity "I am a smoker". It is not you who is thinking about them. There is a clear distinction between them. Accept the fact they will continuously return to trouble you for the next 3 weeks but never identify yourself with it.
Why so much emphasis on this point? Because you cannot trust your mind. Your mind is now under the influence of a drug. It has been completely warped and distorted by this drug. Your mind is now an agent of nicotine and it only recognises nicotine as its master. It serves nicotine with only one purpose: To continuously persuade you to light up another cigarette. If the excuse does not get you to smoke, sooner or later your warped mind will pop the following confidence wrecking question into your mind: What will happen if I fail to quit smoking? What if I am fated to spend the rest of my life as a smoker and quitting is not for me? Do you even want to try answering these questions? Do you think reasons and logic can come up with a satisfactory answer? What do you think is the answer for the following question? Should or should I not smoke just 1 more cigarette? You and I both know there is only 1 answer for the above question. Would you not fail if you give yourself such an option? This is why you should end the thought instantaneously as it begins and never take responsibility for the origin of these thoughts for they are not yours. Ask yourself why is your mind persuading you to continue smoking which will eventually kill you? Is it doing you a favour? Do you think your mind is asking you to smoke for your well being? Or is something else is benefiting from you smoking a cigarette? Since we cannot trust our own mind what can we rely on? Faith above reason. You can never use reasons or logic to overcome your addiction. The only part reasons and logic played is to help you to make a decision. A decision to quit smoking or not. That's all. From that moment on you can only rely on faith. Reject every thought and hang on to faith alone. Do not go to your mind for counsel for only chaos reigns there. Rise above your thoughts. Go beyond your mind and you will find faith there. Through faith you can accept the thoughts as the fading cry of the madness that surrounded your mind all through your smoking life.
Think about it. This is the very last hurdle you have to go through. Learn to distrust you thoughts. If you can reject all thoughts on cigarettes then the very option to smoke is eliminated, you will not misinterpret the restless feeling and you will not create fear. Truly then there will be nothing left except a void restless feeling. Quitting is not like a game of tug of war where brute force determines the outcome. Quitting is about relying on faith alone and not the reasoning of the mind. It is a subtle feather soft process.
4. The failure of reasons and logic
Never tempt fate by smoking even one cigarette no matter how long you have quit or how confident you are that you can break free again. The psychological impact from forsaking your freedom to smoke "just 1 more cigarette" and regretting later is just too much to bear by any human being. Its better we face that situation here and now in this book than to re-live it later in reality. Drug addiction is the wanting to re-live the euphoria from dopamine surge which is a physical sensation. The aggravation created when nicotine starts leaving the body is also a physical sensation. When we can no longer bear to endure the endless wanting, pain and fear created by the drug, we are then finally motivated to say "enough is enough; I want to break free now". Always remember this: Your motivation to quit is your inability to no longer endure the pain from drug abuse. No one ever breaks free from their addiction because they think it's dangerous for them. You always knew smoking causes cancer and a host of other deadly diseases. There are so many posters and advertisement out there that can scare the living day light out of a normal person, but did any of it had any effect on you? The answer is a definite no, isn't it? Since reasons and logic never helped you to quit before why should it now? But.. all the pain and suffering arising from drug abuse ends in the instant when you quit smoking. The pain only existed when you administered the drug. When you have stopped the drug administration the pain ends. Now here is the problem: When you have quit smoking and when the pain ends, so does your motivating factor. That which was your worst nightmare and at the same time your greatest motivation to quit ended with the last cigarette. During the 3 weeks healing period, when nicotine starts leaving your body you will experience the restless feeling and the drive. All that remains in you is memories, reasons and logic. But though memories, reasons and logic are powerful by themselves, they are still just a concept or an idea in the mind. Reasons and logic can never sufficiently recall the suffering which you endured to remind you why you quit in the first place. Hence they fail miserably in motivating you to hold on to your decision to quit smoking.
On the other hand, the drive though harmless is in a better position to motivate you back to smoking. This is because it is real and it's tangible. The drive to end the restless feeling will be far more compelling than reasons and logic. The more you entertain reasons why you had to quit smoking, the greater the anticipation becomes to smoke a cigarette. Try as you might reasons and logic will utterly fail to convince you why you should never again administer the drug. A desire will awaken in you to smoke just 1 more cigarette for the very last time. Your thoughts will remind you how nice will it be to smoke just 1 more cigarette. How complete will you be if you can just smoke 1 more cigarette. How satisfying will it be if you can just smoke 1 more cigarette. How confident will you be in kicking the habit forever if you can just smoke 1 more cigarette. How life can be perfect, your dream coming true and your heart finally at peace if you can just smoke 1 more damn cigarette. Now... completely disorientated, a thick fog of confusion envelopes your mind and you make that decision which you will bitterly mourn later. "Yes, I was meant to smoke 1 more cigarette for the very last time" Lost and confused you go and get yourself a cigarette. And as you bring that long awaited cigarette close to your mouth, your heart starts thundering in your chest. You will feel the rush of adrenalin as it tears through your veins. The rush numbs your sensation and you will feel lightheaded. Your mind will be empty of all thoughts except for a single powerful will commanding you to smoke that cigarette. Time slows down. Every second will you savour as the climax build towards that first inhale. The excitement will be so overwhelming that you start to tremble. You light that cigarette. You take a deep pull and inhale in the smoke. Nicotine hits your brain like a truck and pumps huge amount of dopamine into your brain. Aaaah, What a glorious feeling. The pain from drug abuse returns and the reality of your stupidity in believing and falling for the same trap again dawns on you. Is that all there is to it? Did I just threw my life away for that cheap feeling of "High"? What have I done?
Terror stricken your soul screams, mocking you with questions: Why did you smoke that cigarette? How stupid can you be? What did you get from it? Did it give you happiness? Is your life perfect now since you had that cigarette? All your efforts have now gone to waste. You will die for this decision. All that you hoped for that cigarette to deliver has turned to ashes in your mouth. You agonise knowing that you have fell for the same trap again. Your self-worth feels cheaper than sewage. Not even an equal to a mindless animal. Your heart breaks and you mourn in deep sorrow. By your own decision you have brought this upon yourself. You tear yourself apart in your mind finding all kinds of reasons and excuses trying to justify why you had to smoke that cigarette. As you continue to finish that cigarette silently, you shed a tear for your miserable existence. Death seems so much sweeter than life. But unknown to you, deep beneath the neocortex, a clump of tissue, which has existed for over millions of years, called by some as the reptile, is basking in the radiant glow of dopamine. The truest sign you have let go of your false identity is when you stop trusting reasons and logic from your warped mind and start relying on faith instead.
5. The Discomfort and The Restless Feeling
Quitting smoking is a journey you undertake. It is a journey that requires you to feel and experience the discomfort and the restless feeling. It is the only path to freedom and do not believe anyone who says there is an easier way. All those who broke free before us took this path and so shall we for there is none other. You feared this feeling all through your life. You thought it was suffering. You thought it was pain. You assumed you were treated cruelly and unfairly. You cringed when you felt it. But you now know it is only a mechanical effect from nicotine leaving the body. You know if you fear or resist this feeling you will immediately begin to desire for a cigarette. Our purpose is to be free from the slavery of addiction. To be free means every last drop of nicotine must leave the body. We do this by not replenishing the nicotine stock. Naturally the body will do its part to get rid of this poison. As nicotine level starts to drop you will experience the discomfort and the restless feeling. It was only our thoughts and our cowardly behaviour that turned this mechanical process into a nightmare. Accept and endure the feeling. Endure it. Do not resist it. Let it freely aggravate every cell, nerve and fibre in your body but do not fear or resist it. I know it is discomfort but it is tolerable and bearable. But most importantly, the freedom that which you have searched for all this years is just on the other side of this feeling. The discomfort and your freedom are the two ends of the same stick. You can either have both or none at all. The regret from relapse when you choose to smoke a cigarette is incomparable to the discomfort and the restless feeling. Such horror would you feel. No matter how weak or low you feel never give up. Know that that if you misinterpret this process and decide to smoke a cigarette; the regret will be so overwhelming that it will shred you to pieces. In comparison the regret will be like the sun and the discomfort and the restless feeling will be like the flame of a candle.
Regret from relapse wrecks your emotion. No words can properly describe what you will experience. But it is not the physical pain that will torment you but the knowledge that you have returned to a state where you have to relive all the pain, misery and anguish of being a slave to a chemical. The pain comes from the knowledge that you had the opportunity to escape and it was so easy and effortless and without hindrance and yet by your own freewill you made the choice to smoke another cigarette. You know you have no one to put the blame on except yourself. It always begins with a lie. The temptation will be so gentle and soothing. The fangs of death will be hidden behind loving thoughts. If the intention in your heart is not sincere you will believe its lies. You will think that this time it will be different. You will think that this time you will truly enjoy the cigarette and be rewarded for believing in it. You will trust the thought with all your heart, soul and mind. The lie will be so powerful and convincing that you will feel so confident that you are right and cannot be wrong. So luring will be the seduction that you will yield to it completely and freely. And just a little while later the sheer terror of regret reminds you how sweet and lovely the temptation was.
Pillars of Faith
I will now show you how to tap the incredible power that is inside of you. Commit yourself to it and faith will deliver you.
1. The Choice between the Spirit and The False Identity
Your commitment requires you to make a choice where you wish to make your stand. There are only 2 options available. Your freedom is the result of your decision to choose discomfort over pleasure. Choose and hold your ground at discomfort. This is where we were meant to be. This is our stronghold. Nothing can defeat us here except by our own free conscious decision. Do not let any crack to appear in your defensive wall by harbouring false hopes. Embrace the discomfort as your home. Do not listen to temptation urging you to leave the discomfort. On the outside you will only find pain, suffering, slavery and death. Do not doubt your decision to stay in discomfort. In here you are well protected. You can sleep peacefully and have your rest. Have faith. Never interpret your current condition in discomfort as suffering. It is only your body getting rid of nicotine. No matter what happens refuse yourself the pleasure offered by the reptilian brain. Never leave from this place. It is in here alone that you can truly be free
2. The Stand
When you have quit smoking, a mechanical process will automatically start. Its sole purpose is to sustain the action that causes the surge in dopamine. Assisting this process will be our warped mind. We will be driven both physically and mentally to light up the next cigarette. We will be driven and pulled again and again to assume that false identity and live the life as a smoker. Overcoming these hurdles is effortless provided we interpret them for what they are and not for what we think they are. Though countless times I have said before it is effortless to quit smoking, a little effort is required when it comes to overcoming the drive. It is required of you to exert an internal force. If you hope to end the drive with this internal exertion of force you will be disappointed. Its purpose is not to end the drive but rather it is a show of defiance that you will hold and stand your ground to quit smoking no matter what happens. It is a statement from your heart that you will accept and endure the drive but will not allow it to defeat you. It is the stand you make that you will remain true to yourself and never again assume that false identity. It is a stand that it is your will that you quit smoking. Now, you don't have to do it alone. Why depend on yourself? Bend your knees, prostrate before your creator, throw away your pride and with all humility ask God to help you. Ask him for his strength so that you may overcome your addiction. Ask him for his strength so that you may be able to honour him by respecting the gift of life that has been given to you. When the intention in your heart is truly sincere that you will never smoke another cigarette, when you can stop entertaining excuses, when you are willing to stand by your decision, when freedom is all that you want and when you have done everything humanly possible and finally cry out to God for help, he will send you strength more than you can ever ask for. But never ever mock God by harbouring false hopes, for he sees the hidden desires in your heart. God will never violate your freewill to help you to quit smoking if you harbour such hopes. Your victory or failure will be the fruit of your sincerity.
Quitting smoking is a decision to change. It is a decision to let go of the false identity and return to your true self. It is not a onetime event but rather living the reality of your choice. Having the knowledge of the mechanism behind your addiction empowers you to make a decision but it cannot and will not make you quit smoking. The reason behind relapse is: Secretly harbouring in the depth of your heart the arise of an opportunity to use as an excuse to smoke again This false hope is the self deception that we have created for ourselves to ease the conflict between the two opposing forces inside of us fighting for dominion. Our true spirit is fighting against this false identity. It's our responsibility to choose which of these forces should emerge victorious. But whether we like it or not the choice has to be made. I know it's not right, it's not fair. We shouldn't be here in the first place. We shouldn't have to make such a decision. But what can we do? Be ignorant of the truth and continue smoking and foolishly hope that we can escape from the impending cruel death? You cannot runaway anymore. You may hide behind ignorance but you can never deny the truth. You have to accept the truth for there is no other way. Your mind and body have the capacity to overcome the withdrawal symptoms effortlessly. They were always ready. They were just waiting for your heart to lead them. But what possible chances you have to succeed if you allow doubt, fear and lies to corrupt your heart? How can you succeed if the strength your body and mind draws from your heart is corrupted? This is why our attempt to control our thoughts always ends in failure. No matter how much you try you can never ever change your thoughts or the thought patterns that repeatedly plays in your mind. For the thoughts that arise in your mind is the fruit of the desire that resides in your heart. If the desire of your heart is to smoke a cigarette then that's the kind of thoughts that will arise in your mind. If anger resides in your heart then anger will be your thoughts. If filth is what is in your heart then your thoughts will be of filth.
But if you nurture compassion, love, justice, purity, sincerity, honesty and truth in your heart then your thoughts in turn will nurture your mind to be like your heart. There is no escape. Your thoughts will show you who you really are. You will see yourself beyond the mask that you put on in front of others. You may deceive the world but you will never be able to lie to yourself. Your actions are not the sum of your thoughts but the intention that resides in your heart. No matter how careful you are in hiding the desires of your heart, they will eventually crystallize into actions. The fact is without having a pure and noble intention you will never be able to control your thoughts or actions. If your heart is sincere and true then you will find quitting smoking ridiculously easy. There will be no more “oops” and “accidents” and “if only I stayed at home” or “If only if I had turned right there or left here” for these are only excuses of an insincere heart. God will strengthen your heart if you keep it true and sincere. With sincerity accept your decision to quit smoking. Accept to endure all known and unknown discomfort to come and plague you. Accept the fact that freedom is only and only for the sincerest of hearts. Do not lie to yourself by making a commitment to quit smoking by professing it with words. It is meaningless. But rather your commitment should come from deep within your heart. Your intention to keep your heart true and sincere that you will never ever administer the drug into your body is what will gain you your freedom back. Your sincere commitment to never again to administer the drug is the force that you exert internally. It is the power of sincerity that brings down the wall of your prison. It is the power of sincerity that breaks the chains of your slavery. It is the power of sincerity that will earn you your freedom back. Sincerity is the truth in your heart that will set you free.
Faith is silent. It does not confuse us with reasons or mislead us with analysis like the mind. Faith will not explain nor justify. We are expected to believe in her with all our hearts by listening to the voice of our conscience which is a simple "Yes" or "No". To accept it without questioning is being faithful for faith is the test of persistence in the presence of obstacles. The gift faith bequeath to those who believe in her is unlike the pleasures of the world. It is lasting and fulfilling. It is a gift far more precious than gold or silver. It is a gift that is the envy of kings. But faith in order to render this gift, exact an equal amount from those who seek it. Her gifts cannot be bought nor could you possess it unearned. Only through complete blinding trust in her will she bestow it on you. She wants you to cling on to her with both hands and surrender everything to her judgement. In her alone she wants us to trust. Your journey to freedom is a path through faith. This path challenges those who seek her and her gifts. You will be discouraged. Your steps will be confounded. Your heart will be filled with doubts. Pain and suffering will be your companion. Past memories will stumble you. You will be left walking all alone in the cold darkness completely devoid of all hope and reason and even then she will not lift a single finger to help you. She wants you to completely trust in her and follow the path that is lit by the flame of sincerity that burns so fiercely in your heart. Every step you take, every day you claim victory faith will renew your spirit. You will feel life returning back to you. Your strength grows and you will feel fresh and whole again. You may have been walking blindly but faith never allowed you to go astray or harm come your way. She watched over you as put your trust in her. And at the end of your journey, she would have corrected all of your defects. All emptiness will be filled. Your spirit, mind and body renewed and returned back to you. And that which you have prized the most, the deepest yearning of your heart, that which cannot be seen, touched or tasted and yet the most important thing in the entire universe will be finally given back to you: Your freedom
You are not being forced to smoke so you cannot force yourself to quit smoking. You are not told to smoke so you don't have to quit smoking. You have no responsibility to smoke so you are not obligated in any way to quit smoking. You are a human being with freewill. You can freely choose to quit smoking and your freewill will never be violated. Quitting smoking is a choice. It is a decision that has been made and willed by a sincere heart. It means you understand and willing to endure the withdrawal symptoms by your own free choice. It means your choice is free of conditions, expectation and reward. But too long we have lived in such wretchedness that we now no longer fear death itself. Though our heart yearns to be free but we have almost lost all hope in life. We have completely forgotten how is it to live as a free person for we have only mechanically existed all these years. Nothing the world can do to help us if we do not have the will to live. Do not give up hope. Fight back. Persevere for the sake of living. It is your life and you have the right to live it to the fullest. At temptations greatest moment, it is only our will to live as a free person that will bring every ounce of strength from within us to stand and fight for our freedom.
In the first few days it is normal to feel a sense of stubbornness to let go the identity as a smoker. This is perfectly natural for so long we have lived our life as a smoker. But now the time has come for change and our mind is simply reluctant to let go. Fighting your way through this stubbornness creates enormous amount of friction that eventually wears you down. You only weaken yourself if you opt to fight because what you are fighting is not the power of the drug but only yourself who is resisting change. Who will win if you fight yourself? Acceptance is the last step you take to freedom. You may wonder is it possible to accept change when your own mind is in doubt? Yes you can. Through faith you can accept that cigarette is no longer a part of your life. Through faith you can accept that you will never smoke again. Through faith you can accept to endure discomfort. Through faith you can simply let go and take the leap into the unknown. Do not resist but accept everything that is going to happen. And believe me in the end you don’t have to have faith to accept happiness and joy that comes from being able to live with freewill, health, peace of mind and your freedom. The first 3 weeks of healing period is not about letting go of your addiction. It is never about quitting smoking. It is a journey homewards where you learn to accept and live your life as a free human being. It is about learning to accept and live with your God given freedom. As you put out that last cigarette stop resisting and start living in full acceptance of your new life.
Never think it is you who is having the thought. Just accept it as the noise created by the warped mind due to the imprinting. End the conversation and be still and silent. Give your mind the silent treatment.
The body can take care of itself against the restless feeling. It is stronger than you know so don’t worry about it. Just say to yourself “I don’t care what my body is going through now. It is my commitment that is important to me”. If you really care for your body then focus on the state of your heart instead and let your body be.
It is when you are pushed with incredible force to go and light up a cigarette. If you are not fully committed to quit smoking or if you harbour false hopes, then your brain will find it easy to take control over the muscles in your body and easily push you to go and smoke a cigarette. To be in control you must be sincere and single minded at all times. Choose if you want to smoke or not. If you say no, then this decision will create the action signal which will command, direct and will the muscles in your arms and legs to move as far away as possible from cigarettes. Without a sincere heart you will realise how weak you are against the will of your addicted brain because it is constantly directing your body towards smoking a cigarette. Only the will of a sincere heart can triumph over the will of an addicted brain.
1. The Long Road Home
As you cross over do not fear or dread the coming days. Celebrate it. Enjoy every moment of it. It is the greatest event in your life. Look into the distance. Can you see the fireworks? Life has started a great celebration for your return to the land of the living. It takes about 3 weeks for you to reach where the celebration is. And you know what; you are the guest of honour. In your journey, you will experience discomfort and doubt. Don't be bothered about it. Look at the bigger picture. Look around you. You are home again. Hold on to your decision and keep walking. Whatever problem you may encounter on your way, tell yourself there is only one possible outcome from this. Only one option will you choose from. That is triumph over your addiction. Don't look back. Never look back. Never go back. There only pain, suffering and death awaits you. Come, let us break free now.
2. Self Assessment
Please answer the following questions 1. What do you want? I want to live. I want my freedom back. 2. What are you willing to do to earn it? I am willing to endure every pain and discomfort that I will have to face. 3. Are you willing to stay true to your commitment? Yes I am. 4. Is it your Will to quit smoking? Yes it is my Will that I quit smoking. 5. Would you falter, doubt, hesitate or turn back at the first sight of pain? Never and I won't fight and resist it either. I will stand my ground and wholeheartedly embrace it. 6. Are you willing to keep the intention in your heart true and sincere to your commitment? Yes I do. 7. Do you understand that freedom is only for the sincerest of hearts? Yes I do. 8. Do you understand God will only help you if your heart is true and sincere? Yes I do. 9. Would you corrupt your heart by harbouring false hopes? Never. Forever will I keep the intention in my heart true and sincere to the commitment I have made. 10.Do you understand that you can only trust in faith and not your mind? Yes I do. 11. Do you really want your life back? Yes. 12. Are you now ready to cross over? Yes I am.
3. Commitment to Quit Smoking
1. Administer the drug into your body for the very last time. 2. Make the commitment that you will never again allow any destructive drugs to enter into your body. You create real impact if you personalise your commitment by giving it a face. It could be your parents, your spouse or children or someone near and dear to you. Everyday bring them to your mind questioning you on your intention in staying true to your commitment. But ultimately the only thing that matters is you keeping the intention of your heart true and sincere to your commitment. 3. Believe and trust in faith alone. Know that from this moment onwards until the end of the 3 weeks healing period every thought that comes from your mind is going to be a powerful seductive lie. Its purpose is to confuse you by getting you involved in the conversation. The final outcome of the conversation is a very good excuse why you should smoke again. End the thought as soon as it begins and your mind won't be able to give you an excuse. 4. Commit yourself to endure the discomfort and the restless feeling. You reach your freedom through the discomfort and the restless feeling. 5. Pray unceasingly. Take a warm bath. Go for long walks. Drink plenty of water. Have plenty of rest. Try to get 8 hours of continuous sleep. Exercise your mind and body back to health. 6. The moment you make that commitment to break free your identity as a smoker ceases to exist. You are not a smoker any more. You are not even an ex-smoker. You are a normal person again. This is who you are. This is you dwelling in your physical body. Claim it and live it. It is your birthright.
Keep the intention of your heart true and sincere. Accept every discomfort with open arms. Your body and mind is powerful enough to endure and overcome all hurdles but it needs the heart to be sincere. Never fail your body and mind by corrupting your heart with twisted desires. Keep it pure and true. When you feel the withdrawal symptoms say the following: Keep the intention of your heart true and sincere. Nicotine is leaving my body My body is experiencing discomfort from it My mind wants to end this discomfort It is my will that I accept and endure this discomfort It is my will that I keep the intention of my heart true and sincere to the commitment I have made to quit smoking. Keep the intention of your heart true and sincere.
5. Daily Recollection
1. It is God’s will that all men should live with freewill and not as slaves. It is then my will to quit smoking. No other “Will” will supplant it. 2. Quitting smoking is refusing to get “High” and accepting to endure the discomfort from nicotine leaving the body. Quitting is about getting rid of nicotine from our body, healing the mind and removing the mechanical process which sustains the addiction. 3. It is not pleasure that is found in drug addiction but the wanting to close the gap. Don't try to talk or think your way out of it. Just say no and embrace the feeling. 4. Every thought that comes from your warped mind will be a lie with deadly consequences. End it immediately. The truest sign you have let go of your false identity is when you stop trusting reasons and logic from your warped mind and start relying on faith instead. 5. Say no to cigarettes even when your warped mind and body says yes. Say no to cigarettes even when your mind comes up with the most convincing excuse why you should smoke again. Say no without thinking. Say no without considering. Defy reasons, logic, your mind, your body, your comfort, your ease, your happiness, and your very sense of self and hang on to faith alone by saying no to cigarettes. By saying "No" you are exercising your free “will” against the mechanical will of your addicted brain. 6. Through faith we can see that fear is an illusion. It was only an empty bottle all along. But our mind cannot see this for it only sees what our senses tells it. The mind is afraid. It is feeling discomfort. It is sensing change. It does not know what to make out of it. It badly wants to return to its old comfort zone where it is familiar with. All that is required is a day or two for your mind to get used to your new life. You will be amazed at how fast the mind can adapt to changes but for this to take place you must be whole hearted and sincere in your commitment to quit smoking else the fear will paralyse you.
7. You are a free person the moment you made the decision to quit. You are now just waiting for your body and mind to catch up with you. In 3 weeks time they will and you will be one and whole again. 8. The moment of truth will come when everything will culminate to a single moment in time and you will be called to face your fear and overcome it. If you fail it does not mean the addiction was stronger than you but rather you came to the realisation that you have the power to overcome the hurdle but you were just simply afraid to do it. You were afraid of how life will be without cigarettes. You were afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. You are afraid of leaving the familiarity of your comfort zone. You are just simply trembling in fear. If the intention in your heart is corrupted then fear will overwhelm you. But if your heart is true and sincere you will find strength to stand and persist on without wavering in the face of obstacles. 9. It is not YOU but the reptilian brain that is resisting. It is trying to avoid pain and gain pleasure for you but it cannot see the damage that it is doing. It does not know that drug addiction is morally wrong. But in 3 weeks time the imprinting would have reversed and your reptilian brain will be finally free from the clutches of nicotine. The reptilian brain is the only part of you that is going to be miserable when you quit smoking. You will feel its objection to your decision as a discomfort in your body. Remember it is not you who is resisting so don't misinterpret it. But should we care how the reptilian brain is going to feel in the mean time? Never again. Let it whine and sulk all day long but never fall for its sinister trap again by assuming that it is you who is feeling miserable. Let it be miserable. Let it grumble. You don't have time for it for you have a very important job to do: You have to enjoy and celebrate and be glad and rejoice and laugh and giggle and jump and run and sing and shout and dance and clap your hands for the nightmare is finally over.
10.The discomfort and the restless feeling is caused by nicotine leaving the body. It is not loss of pleasure or the wanting for something. Resisting the restless feeling will create the desire in you to end it. Be courageous. Stand your ground and face it. Ask yourself if it is really as bad as you think it is? Ask yourself if you are really that helpless and powerless to endure and overcome it? It is easier to accept and endure the discomfort than to face the horrible reality of regret from relapse. But it is not all discomfort. If you can just faithfully endure a single discomfort what you will be left with is worth tens of thousands of discomforts. For you will find hope at the end of it. Hope beyond hope. That very hope which silently waited all these years that one day we will be finally free blooms like a flowering meadow serenading your heart with joyful chorus. And it is this hope that keep us going as we patiently wait for that one day when the discomfort and the restless feeling finally ends it cease to return again. If we can be faithful and endure all hardships then one day we will finally find our rest. But this is only reserved for the sincerest of hearts. Faith will not fail us. Our trust in her will not be in vain.
Do not be afraid anymore. Do not live in fear anymore. Do not run away. Do not hide. Do not lie to yourself and fall for the same trap again. For once, just once stand your ground and face your fears. Relentlessly pursue your freedom until you have gained it. It is an opportunity to make amends for our mistake. To correct the wrong that has been done. To be given a second chance at life. To live with dignity like a human being and not like a beast for the sake of a chemical called nicotine. All you have to do for the next 3 weeks is: To have the zeal to fulfil the commitment you made to quit smoking. Everyday recall the commitment you have made to yourself. You alone will be held responsible in fulfilling this vow. For the next 3 weeks the only thing you should do is to keep the intention of your heart true and sincere. To have "Faith Above Reason" You will be tried and tested for the next 3 weeks. The reptilian brain will tempt you with the sweetest of words to taste the forbidden fruit for just 1 more time. Utterly reject it. Keep your heart true and sincere. Embrace the discomfort. Rise above your thoughts and go where your mind cannot go. Cling on to faith, step over the edge and take the leap into the unknown. Do not be afraid anymore. Faith will deliver you to your freedom. Correctly interpret the discomfort and the restless feeling Correct interpretation will keep you in the right path. There is only one truth. You have to choose how you wish to view the internal feeling. That decision is in your hands alone. No one can force you to misinterpret the feelings except by your own conscious decision. Remember this, by misinterpreting you will utterly destroy yourself but "The truth will set you free" Celebrate My dear sisters and brothers, when you have finished smoking your last cigarette, I want you to be thankful and be grateful for life. Be happy and celebrate with all your heart and soul. Prepare yourself for life is about to begin again for you.
Effortless isn't it. Didn't I tell you it is going to be easy? Good Luck.
In his book Allen Carr mentioned that non-smokers were preserved from this hell "only through the grace of God". Non-smokers can only intellectually study and comprehend the mechanism behind addiction but they will never know the true pain and horror that we had to go through every waking day of our lives. Through no fault of theirs they think we are "spineless weaklings". But this doesn't mean we are abandoned by God. Maybe we were chosen to show to the rest of humanity how everything can go wrong if we put pleasure before life. Life at level is precious and must be protected at all cost. We are called to respect life and not pursuit pleasure as a means to an end. The very existence of these death dealers growing fat on innocent people's life and our willingness to allow them to continue to do so is proof that mankind never cared for the truth. Abortion, war, euthanasia, human trafficking, prostitution denigrates the sanctity of the human person and we wilfully allow it to continue. We can never protect the younger generation from picking up this destructive habit. Their curiosity will get the best of them. It is not their fault. It is just part of growing up especially during the adolescent years where the world seems to be an open book for them to taste and experience. And all that it takes for their whole life to come crashing down is just 1 cigarette. It is time we put all these death dealers out of business and wipe them out of history. Let no more innocent lives be destroyed by drugs again. For this to take place we must first break ourselves free from the grip of nicotine. When we have driven them out of business we should rally together to push the government to introduce severe repercussive laws on the production, manufacturing and sales of addictive drugs other than for industrial and therapeutic purposes. But for now the time for thoughts has come to an end. Do not waste anymore of your precious time. You can start contemplating again once you have crossed the 3 weeks threshold. Focus now on what is important: Action. If you do not want to quit smoking then you have accepted to pay the ultimate price of all: Pain, slavery and death.
Quitting smoking is neither a sacrifice nor a loss of pleasure. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. The only hurdle that stands in your way is doubt and fear. Defy it, challenge it and you will see it's only an empty bottle. The taskmaster of your prison was fear and its lies were the law. They only existed because you empowered them by believing in it. We were like children, frighten, afraid of what was in lurking in the dark. But when dawn came the fear dissolved into nothingness. So it will be with you. Do not put off any longer what you should have done years ago. Make that commitment now and break free. When you have crossed over and claim your victory hold on to your freedom. Nothing is more important in life than having your freedom back. Even if the worst were to happen it does not matter anymore. Eventually the body returns back to the earth but your soul remains forever. So never allow your freedom to be taken away from you again. Stand by it and guard it with your life. We have suffered the consequences from our foolish pursuit for cheap thrills by smoking that 1 cigarette. We paid the price, learned our lesson and thank God, now have the opportunity to gain our freedom back. So cherish your freedom. Treasure every second of it. You know how precious and vulnerable life is. You will soon realize that every day is going to be a reason to celebrate. Tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day. Right from the beginning, the very first moment when you open your eyes, you will realise something very significant about the day. It is going to be the first day of the rest of your life.
Deuteronomy 32: 46-47 Take all these words to heart; I intend them today to be evidence against you. You must order your children to keep and observe all the words of this Law. You must not think of this as empty words, for the Law is your life.
The Seat of Ego
My dear friends, A life without freedom is no life at all. We found that out the hard way. There a just too many false pleasures out there that can easily rob us of our freedom again. Many vices are now openly exulted and propagated by society itself. Some of these vices may seem harmless and we can easily fall for its deadly trap and not even know about it. The world has become so dark and deceiving that unless we have something solid to stand on we are going to lose our freedom again under the pretext of moral relativism. After what we have been through I doubt we want to leave our freedom to chance. There must be a way to know for sure. So let us begin then by taking a closer look at the workings of the reptilian brain.
The brains reward circuitry. Image courtesy from http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/
VTA – Rewarding aspects of behaviour Amygdala – Emotional and motivational aspects of behaviour Limbic Cortex – Involved with self and species preservation Olfactory Cortex – Body’s response to odours
THE BODIES SURVIVAL SYSTEM
The body at homeostasis All the different sensory inputs (red dots) of our body connect to the limbic system. From here it is send to a bundle of nerve cell called the Nucleus Accumbens (NA). Basically the NA receives information regarding our internal, external and emotional condition to be processed and output the appropriate action signal. The human body at default is at a state of rest. This is a state of non action or homeostasis. The limbic system purpose is to ensure our body stays in homeostasis. Changes in the body are feedback to the limbic system through a hormone called glucocorticoids (GC).
The body when homeostasis is disrupted For an example, when the body needs food the chemical changes in the body triggers the release of GC which activates the NA to release dopamine. Dopamine besides being our brains pleasure chemical also plays a role in the learning process.
When dopamine is released the need of the body comes to our attention. The brain then creates pain which we describe as hunger pangs. Our thoughts start to revolve around food and the greater the hunger the more irresistible our thoughts become. This combination of pain and involuntary thoughts motivate us to get nourishment for our body. Where does the motivation come from? The motivation is the result of the action of dopamine. Dopamine focuses our attention by creating many connections in the various part of the brain. The brain creates pain or discomfort as a driving force to push us to find a solution to end the pain. How does the motivation end? The motivation ends through the action of serotonin. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter like dopamine, but it constraints the action of dopamine. When we have eaten and our belly is full, serotonin level increases. Serotonin prevents further connection to be made in our brain thus our attention is decreased. We feel content and the need for further action ends. Summary When the body's homeostasis is disturbed, GC is produced which activates the release of dopamine. Serotonin level is decreased so that connections can be made to the various part of the brain. The need is brought to our attention and our thoughts become involuntary or irresistible (depending on the severity of the need). The brain creates pain. We are motivated (driven) to find a solution to end the pain. Once the required task has been achieved, serotonin level shoots up and we feel contented. Now consider the following two scenarios: If you were inside of a building that caught fire, what would you do? If you saw a stranger in the distance holding a gun, what would you do? Millions of years ago when the reptilian brain was evolving there were no buildings or guns. So how does our brain know that it has to flee from these two scenes? Pattern Recognition.
Pattern recognition is where the brain is conditioned to recognise an event as either a threat or something of beneficial for the self. The Burning Building Through conditioning from a young age we came to recognise a burning building as a threat to our survival. When we are in that situation our body's homeostasis is disrupted. GC triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin level drops. The need of the situation is brought to our attention and our thoughts become irresistible due to the severity of the need. Intense pain is created within us. A solution must be found else we perish. The brain then finds the closest pattern that it can execute that will ensure our survival. The pattern to distant oneself from the burning building is the only solution that can ensure our survival so we are then driven to get away as far as possible from the building. Once outside in an open area where there is no sign of danger and especially in the midst of other people the brain recognises the pattern to be safe. Serotonin level spikes and the need for further action ends. From the point of the limbic system it is either we survive or die. The pain must end and the body must return back to homeostasis. Pattern recognition through conditioning and learning has allowed the brain to recognise dangerous situation and execute the proper action signal which ensures our survival. Never underestimate the power of pattern recognition for this is what is keeping all humans and animals alive today. It is through pattern recognition that the limbic system kept our ancestors safe from predatory animals, forage for food and procreate by continuously scanning the environment for patterns that might be dangerous or beneficial for their survival.
Pain Pain is an unavoidable part of life. Work, debt, bills, traffic jams, crimes, health, responsibilities, family, loans and almost every other aspect of our life creates pain in one form or another. Pain from daily life can never be solved and it stresses upon our body. There is nothing wrong with this. It is now commonly accepted a moderate amount of stress is actually good for you. It is how we deal with it that matters. Studies have shown that stress triggers the release of glucocorticoids which then sets off the whole sequence of survival reaction. Let us assume you are in a stressful situation (not life and death) like in a crowded market where you are unable to avoid it. The brain creates pain and drives us to end it. But since we cannot avoid the situation the brain has this remarkable ability to adapt and push this information back to the subconscious part of our mind where the thoughts cease to trouble us. But the pain remains for the problem has not been solved yet. When you finally able to leave the crowded area to a more a spacious and open environment the pain ends and you are finally at peace. This is what happens when we get stuck in traffic jams, a long queue in the bank or the noisy antics of a child. The information is pushed back but the pain and the drive to end it still remains. The pain only ends when the problem is solved. But the pain that is caused by the various problems of life never ends. No living person is ever going to be free of stress. Now what do you think is going to happen, if after a long stressful day, a friend offers you a cigarette and says this will help you to feel better and you foolishly accept his offer. The resulting dopamine explosion in your head through the effect of nicotine is going to create pleasure beyond your wildest imagination. For the first time you are able to forget all your problems and be drowned in pure unbridle pleasure. Your limbic system which was looking for a pattern to solve you inescapable stress from life sees a solution that not only ended the pain but derived great pleasure from doing it. Though the pleasure was only momentary but the pain did end. The best solution has been finally found. The body can return back to homeostasis. Our survival is ensured. But the problem which was the inescapable stress has not been solved. It still remains and it will return again and again and it will never be solved. But the limbic system does not care. It now has a wonderful pattern to recall at the next emergence of pain. In the perspective of drug addiction this repetitive recalling of this learned pattern is what craving is. This is what happens to people when they turn to food, lust, drugs and gambling as a means of escape from the pressures of life. The act gets imprinted due to its ability to end pain
and it becomes a compulsion due to the never ending recall of the same pattern when stress arises. I understand how drugs can become addictive but how do you become addicted to food, lust and gambling? We get addicted to those actions that can release dopamine. Food, lust and gambling do trigger the release of dopamine. Though the dopamine release is not as powerful as compared to drugs, yet the brain can be conditioned to learn this behaviour. The act can be addictive because the mechanism behind the recalling of the pattern remains the same irrelevant to the pattern that is being recalled. The warping of the mind and the craving that it creates should be of the same intensity as compared to drug addiction. How can gambling release dopamine? Gambling is game of chance where there is risk and reward. Nature has created man to be innovative by rewarding him if he has able to achieve a task that ensures the security of his survival. Now a person feels immensely satisfied when he is able to win large sum of money. He feels safe and his survival is guaranteed hence the reward of dopamine. Thus the limbic system establishes this pattern and recalls it every time to end the pain of stress from daily life. The limbic system always recalls a pattern that can successfully end pain from stress so to return the body back to homeostasis. The problem of stress can never be solved and since it is usually pushed back to the subconscious part of our mind, we cannot see the problem. All we experience is a violent craving to execute a pattern that is familiar to us. And in repeating the pattern all that is accomplished is the release of dopamine without the problem being solved. Why only certain people get addicted? Is it nature or nurture? Fundamentally every human being is created in the same way. We share the same physiology. Though some are more prone to addiction due to their genetic inheritance ultimately it is through nurturing that one becomes addicted. In our case the first cigarette did started it all but it was not the cause of addiction. Our whole body revolted from the first puff. It was disgusting and horrible. But through our own intention we conditioned our mind to learn and accept the smoking pattern till it became a compulsion. Our freewill was not forcefully taken from us. We consciously and freely surrendered it to the drug.
Think about people who suffer from compulsive eating. Everyone eats but only certain people become addicted to it. This is because they wilfully turned to food again and again as a source of pleasure to escape from the pain caused by the stresses of life. The reality is pain from stress will never end. Our limbic system will adopt any pattern that is capable of ending this pain. If the pattern we continuously employ is able to release dopamine like drugs, food, sex and etc then that pattern is going to be established as the quintessential act to be recalled at every sign of pain. Once you have conditioned your mind to recall a pattern, the limbic system takes over and recalls it automatically. This is where an act becomes a compulsion. Though previously I did use words like "hijack" and "trap" in reality this is not true. All addiction begins with freewill and it ends as a compulsive behaviour.
1. Through conditioning we have imprinted a set of patterns which our brain uses to end the pain of stress. When the body is stressed the limbic system will recall the most efficient pattern in its storage to end the pain. 2. The irresistible thought can be imagined as the play button being continuously pressed driving us to action. The involuntary and irresistible thought creates within us a false wanting. We actually never wanted to smoke but this false wanting created by the irresistible thought makes us believe that we do. Since we believe it is we who are having this thought we are easily overwhelmed by the thought and act on it. 3. When we have executed the pattern dopamine level increase thus ending the pain momentarily which in turn ends the craving. But the problem which initiated the whole sequence of event can never be solved. Hence at the next emergences of stress we will go through the whole cycle again. To break this cycle we must first make a firm commitment that we will never repeat the act that we are addicted to (Drugs, lust, food, etc).
4. Since we cannot fight and trust our thought we need something more powerful than thought itself. We need faith above reason. When the thought arises, you must hold your ground and keep that driving thought at a distance. Be in control of your mind. Accept the thought as part of the mechanism that drives your addiction but never allow it take you for a ride. The only thing in the entire universe you have control of is your mind. Please remember the thought is not going to go away anytime soon. If you going to be complacent than eventually it will overwhelm you. Do not be too gentle when it comes to taking control of your mind but rather you should take a hard stand. I am not asking you to fear the thought but just don't entertain it. That's all it takes. You are the master of your mind. You can will it if you want it. As a conclusion the repetitive recalling of the learned pattern will create a sense of false wanting within you. It is just false desire. This false desire if not recognised for what it actually is will create suffering when denied of it. The thought of suffering then creates intense fear in us which sustains the addiction cycle. But in reality it was nothing but a lousy thought. 5. Keep the intention of your heart true and sincere to the commitment you have made. Make the commitment and never stray from it. Utterly reject all other thoughts. You must be whole and single minded at all times. This will start to create empowering thoughts. The pain created by the brain has to be endured willingly. In addition to this you are going to be stressed from other areas of your life as well. Endure it for this is much easier as compared to the nuisance of the incessant thought. 6. When we transcend our thoughts and take ownership of our mind, and when we willingly endure the pain created by the brain all that we are doing is reconditioning our brain to stop calling this pattern as a choice to end pain. Soon the brain will delete this pattern and start looking for other sources to end the pain caused by stress. This is why we should exercise, rest and eat well. We should continuously pray and live a sound and healthy life. 7. But as an immediate solution the brain will call on the food pattern as the best option to end the pain for it guarantees the release of dopamine. Hence the increase in appetite even after a heavy meal. So don't turn to food else you are just shifting the problem instead of solving it.
Now think about it for a moment, the pain one endures during the healing period is it good or bad? It is good isn't it? But due to lack of knowledge we always misinterpreted the pain of withdrawal symptoms as suffering due to the sacrifice we had to make. Now take one more step and ask yourself where is the crippling fear that we have lived with all these years? Knowing the mess that we have got ourselves into we should immediately repent of our ways. Repenting of your mistake means taking the appropriate action so that we will not return to our old lifestyle again. Our job then during the 3 weeks healing period is not to stay idle but rather we should vigorously search for better ways to handle pain from the stresses of life. We should replace the destructive imprinting with positive ones. Exercising and praying are two examples of good positive acts to be imprinted. Why should we pray? Has not science proven that praying only causes serotonin level to increase in our body which causes the sensation of calmness? Yes it does. But that does not diminishes anything but only proofs how completely human we are. We have seen how weak and susceptible we are and how much more we need prayer in our daily life. Praying is a much better option as compared to being a slave to a destructive pattern. But there are other forms of addiction that is far more dangerous and damaging than drugs, sex and gambling can ever be. 1. Anger, aggression and violence A learned pattern where one resort to hostility and cruelty towards others to ensure one's survival or belief is not violated. Self preservation. 2. Greed A learned pattern where wealth/material is hoarded and consumed beyond what one requires. Self preservation. And finally the mother of all 3. Pride A learned pattern where one's self interest is defended and promoted without care or concern of its impact to others. Self preservation.
So what is the problem? The limbic system has no sense of moral right and wrong. It is all about survival. From its point of view it is either we perish or we survive. The body has to return back to homeostasis. If a pattern is able to do exactly that, than no matter what the impact is this pattern will be recalled again and again. So the question is whose responsibility is it to ensure that a correct pattern is established for our limbic system so that we do not act in a way that will cost us our freedom? Where can we find such a pattern?
Absolute Moral Law
Moral relativism is the belief that there is no absolute moral truth. Everything is relative to one's own interpretation. It is a belief that an action can be viewed as either right or wrong depending on the preference of the self, religion, society or upbringing. If one choose to view fornication, adultery, homosexuality, paedophilia, divorce, drugs, bribery, euthanasia, abortion, violence, murder, slavery, torture, oppression and discrimination as morally right then one' does not feel guilty but virtuous in doing these acts. But can men make such a decision? Can our weak mind comprehend all the implication that will arise from making such a decision? At the Nuremberg trial the members of Hitler's Nazi party defended their position by claiming their action was legalised before they carried out their systematic extermination of the Jewish people hence there was no fault in them. 37 years after Roe vs. Wade worldwide abortion now stands at 42 million innocent lives destroyed yearly. That is like 314 Boeing 747 planes packed to capacity crashing and killing all the passengers inside on a daily basis. Can you imagine how would you feel waking up to 314 plane crashes every day? Frightening isn't it and yet that is the truth with abortion. In Sudan in many villages men are killed and their wife's and daughters are sold as sex slaves. Even young pre-pubertal girls are sold as sex slaves to Sudanese soldiers. Society is in chaos. Millions of people are dying needlessly. Many are forced into a horrible state of existence just because people think they are righteous enough to define for themselves what is right and wrong. What is the history of our planet but mankind's repeated failure in creating paradise on earth? Everything can’t be relative if there is nothing to be relative to. There must be some independent standard otherwise nothing could be measured. Nuremberg Trial
Why would people wish to create their own truth? Man can only perceive himself through his senses. This is the self or "I" he comes to refer to himself. In his mind the "I" is the only thing that is important so his actions are driven by his instinct to secure his own ends for the sake of his survival. But for most people the "I" becomes the most precious thing on earth that they are willing to do anything for self preservation without concern of the implication of their actions on others. The belief that the only thing matter in one’s life is the happiness and survival of the "I" is known as pride or hubris. Pride is a state of existence where one becomes arrogant and self conceited and thinks only about his own needs. The self is happy when it is able to fulfil the desires it seeks out for. The desire of the heart is always to gain pleasure and man is willing to do anything to gain that pleasure. But absolute moral law limits the conduct of a person. On one hand man desires for pleasure and on the other hand the law prohibits one from committing vices. So what does one do? Men twist the truth and declare that there is no right or wrong. He claims that everything is relative to one's own interpretation. By twisting the truth one feels virtuous in committing a vice. He feels justified and proud. And what do you think he gets from committing the vice? Do you think its pleasure? No, pleasure is only a by-product of the action. It is the validation of the "I" in receiving that pleasure. He just fed his pride. Lust, gluttony, anger are but the tools of pride used to validate the importance of the "I". But something happens along the way that he is not aware of. His brain recognises the vice as a useful pattern to be recalled to end the pain from stresses of life hence it gets imprinted. Once the act is imprinted the brain takes over. He losses the very thing he set out in the first place to validate: his self. The "I" is replaced by a destructive pattern and his life is dominated by it. He freely forfeits his freedom and does not even know about it for he is busily enjoying the pleasure he gets from committing the vice. Driven by the pattern again and again one does not live anymore but merely biologically exist. The act though maybe pleasurable but it's not lasting for when the pleasure ends aggravation sets in. The feeling of emptiness and disgust at his miserable existence constantly looms around him. Life becomes meaningless and worthless. The more pleasure he seeks the greater the emptiness within him becomes. So when men finds himself empty and without any self worth he creates a world of illusion and fantasy in his mind where he alone is worshipped. His creates his own perfect Camelot and his pride sit at the throne.
Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure. When you have exhausted that last dream and you find it leaves you barren or empty” Ravi Zacharias How can things get out of control? Aren't we endowed with freewill? Freewill is what separates human from all other creatures. You cannot describe a human being without taking into account of his freewill. It is a great gift because to have freewill means we are not a slave. Nothing can violate or take away our freewill except pride. We either give it up freely or someone slave to his pride forcefully takes it from us. In the pursuit of pleasure to validate the importance of the self is how one comes to lose his freedom. An act becomes compulsive or addictive because of its nature to release dopamine. Freely we condition our brain to accept the act as a means to end pain thus automating the process. Once the mind is conditioned the brain takes over and you no longer have a say in the matter. You no longer freely choose but driven to repeat the act. A pleasure driven life is not an expression of freewill but truly it is the antithesis of freewill. It is self imposed slavery. The universe is in a state of order and not chaos for there are laws governing everything from motion of celestial objects, seasons, tide, gravity and many others. Likewise there are also laws that govern our conduct and it is moral law. Absolute moral law does indeed exist and it is independent of men's pathetic weak little mind. If there is no law that transcends the human person how can we know sure what is right from wrong? We cannot create our own moral law for we are bounded within the law. By being disobedient to the law one is willing to murder and destroy another whom he thinks is a threat to his way of life. One is even willing to treat another human being as a mere sexual object to satiate the lust in his heart. But these very things that he hope will validate his own existence become his master. It takes over him and he becomes a slave to it. In the end not only he creates hell for himself but for others as well. It cannot be refuted anymore that all human beings are weak in the sense that we can easily be addicted to the many vices in the midst of our society. Our pride and arrogance can misdirect our self preservation system which in turn can destroy our life. Men by nature have the propensity to unleash unimaginable amount of suffering upon his fellow brothers and sisters and only the law can show how one should properly live in relation to oneself and others.
What is the purpose of Moral Law? The law exists to protect us and others from our own pride. The law sets limits and boundaries to our action. The law prevents detrimental patterns from establishing itself in our brain. The law let us enjoy pleasure to its maximum potential without becoming a slave to it. Through the law we can truly live as free human being with self worth and respect for only the law can guarantee us of our freedom. The law is our very life. How to know for sure that an act is actually wrong? The law prohibits but never explains. Can the law be wrong? Actually there is fool proof system that resides within all human being that tells us right from wrong. It is our conscience. Our conscience transcends our mind, environment, upbringing and even religion itself. Every human being knows what is right from wrong. No matter who you are or what your belief is murder is always wrong. Your conscience will never approve the taking of another's life. Your conscience judges the intention that is in your heart and it tells you if it is right or wrong. But people can become so hardened with pride that they can easily ignore the voice of their conscience but still you can never escape its judgement. When one commits a vice it is always deliberate, consented and freely willed. Life is short and cruel. Is it that wrong if we indulge ourselves in those little pleasures that comes once in a while in our way? If we keep it in moderation what harm can it do? There is nothing wrong indulging in innocent little pleasures, but for those act that your conscience clearly state is wrong you must stay away from it. For the law is absolute and eternal. You cannot break it. I understand. But whose fault is it that we have so much desire in our hearts? We didn't ask to be created in such a way. Aren't we just lying to ourselves if we deny those pleasures that we desire for? Those desires that exist within us have a purpose. It exists so that we will grow and develop. If we never had them we would have never progressed and still be living in caves. The problem is not the desire but our pride which is running loose creating havoc in every aspect of our lives. But either way you still don't understand. The law is absolute and eternal. You can never break it. The law prohibits fornication, adultery, murder and others. These laws have never been broken, they cannot be broken and they will never ever be broken.
What are you saying? Everyday people are being murdered; thousands of marriages are wrecked due to infidelity. If the law that that is not been broken then what is? It is yourself. You only break yourself against an absolute and eternal law. The law is not a piece of glass for you to break when you think it is standing between you and pleasure. It is absolute and eternal. Do you think we can break the law of gravity? The existence of planes and jets are proof that we will always be bounded within the action of gravity. If you jump off a building in attempt to break the law of gravity you are only going to get hurt. But the question is, the physical body that is hurt can heal in time but can our spirit heal once it is broken itself against moral law. Moral law show us a proper way of living for the mutual benefit of society as a whole but how can our spirit be broken if decide to break moral laws? The problem lies not in the law but the law giver. Who? God. You are saying that God is the law giver? What God? Where is he? From the beginning mankind has been looking for God and no one has seen him or found him. No one can even proof that he even exist. How many wars have been fought, how many innocent lives have been lost over the idea of a loving benevolent creator. Every self appointed righteous fool is selling their religion like pastries in a bake sale. Some even have the audacity to say that if we join their religion we will get to go to heaven and if we don't we will end up in hell. If it is true that God does indeed exist then whose fault is it that we are created with so much desire in our hearts? Whose fault is it that so many people have to end up begging for scraps in the street? Whose fault is it that there is famine, war and disease? Whose fault is it if we end up in hell just because our beliefs were different from another? Whose fault is it that man has the ability to create hell on earth for his fellow brothers and sister and worst of all it is all done in his name? Where is justice? Where is fairness? I know what you trying to say but there is a God and he has chose to hide himself.
What? Why is he hiding? Let him show himself. Wouldn't the world be a better place if he can just show himself for a moment? All wars and famine will end. There will be no more pride and self interest in man. Everyone will live and care for each other. Peace will finally come to earth. Isn't this his purpose or he prefers to hide and play dice with our lives? The answer to that question is men's freewill. The very essence of God is love. He is perfect and complete in himself. He does not require human being to make him any better. But out of his sheer goodness he created human being to share his love with us. In a way he is very much like us. He created us for love and all he wants from us is that we love him back. So naturally the question arises that if he wants our love why does he want to hide himself? He hides because of our freewill. He created us not as a mechanical beast but creatures with freewill. If he shows himself to us, peace will come and everyone will be united and follow him for finally humanity will know what is the purpose of his existence. We will learn to love and accept his ways. But is this love? If he shows himself our freewill will be violated. We will love him not because we choose to but because we will know that there is no better option. Would a God whose very essence is love would want such a love from us. God chooses to hide because he wants us to freely choose him without force. He will never violate our freewill. But in the absence of his light how can men find his way back to God who is hiding? That is why he gave us the law. The law shows us of God's character. The law shows us what God is. When we are obedient to his law our life is moulded into his image. But when we break the law we become what God isn't. We are then left at the madness of our pride and start living like animals. We become abhorrent in his sight. Men purposes to be free but so does God for men. But men's understanding of freedom is diametrically opposite to God's. It looks like one of us got it wrong. But it is clear that it is we who have got it wrong. What we want is not freedom but pleasure from the release of dopamine to validate our own importance. So we make a mockery of his moral law and turn to a decadent way of life where the only thing that is important to us is money, power, drugs, sex and the self. Our whole life becomes immoral. We think that by committing a vice we are just exercising our freewill to gain pleasure which validates the importance of our existence.
All our filth, muck and slime then crust into a thick wall of pride and arrogance. We then justify to ourselves that it is okay to commit these vices so long I belong to this or that religion. For surely "Faith Alone" is enough to get me to heaven. Our pride makes us believe we are righteous to do anything we want. We feel secure under the banner of religion. We become corrupted, wicked and evil. Our prayers become mere lip service for deep inside our heart we are just waiting for the opportunity to commit another vice and enjoy the pleasure. What is there to worry as long as I fulfil the tenets of my religion? I can do whatever I want, commit any crime I wish to, enjoy any pleasure that I desire for, and in the end God will take me to heaven for I am in the right religion and the rest of the world can burn in hell for all I care. In their arrogance certain men are even willing to violate another person's freewill when God himself will never do it. Fools. It is God who created the universe and not us. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Our ways are not his ways. If there are so many religions in this world then God has purpose it to be so. Our weak, feeble, pathetic mind slave to carnal pleasures can never comprehend God's will or his purpose. One day we will all die and come before God to give an account of our lives to him. And if you think you can use religion to make a fool of God and buy your way into heaven you are going to be in deep trouble. For when God created men he burned conscience into every soul. And by that conscience alone will he judge us. Everyone knows what is right and wrong. No one can claim ignorance for his action. Every act of ours was deliberate, consented and willed for we are creatures with freewill and God never violated our freewill. The intention of your heart will be revealed that day. The sincerity of your intention will be brought forward. Every act, every thought, your deepest and darkest secret will be brought out and reveal to you. If your conscience then accuse you of being a wicked, evil, unrepentant law breaker then no religion, no theologies, no reasons, no logic and no argument is going to save you.
Is all religion wrong then? Religion has a purpose of delivering and teaching God's law to the people. It is a guide not a ticket. Do you really think God would allow anyone to question his fairness and justice? He has given us the law and freewill. Every man will stand before him and will be answerable for his actions. On judgement day we will know who we are and what we deserve. His judgement will be just and fair. The deepest yearning that resides within all men is the yearning to be reunited back to its creator. Try as we might no pleasure on earth can fill the emptiness left vacant by God for the pleasures of the world are only chemically induced. Only by being obedient to moral law one begins the journey back home to our heavenly Father who alone can give us true peace. Our life is a priceless gift and the law show us how to live it to the fullest. The law prevents destructive pattern from getting imprinted in our brain thus protecting our freedom. The law is absolute and eternal for it comes from God. It is only our disobedience to the law that is the cause of society's problem now. We are called then not only for ourselves but for everyone's benefit to be obedient to the law. Only his absolute eternal moral law can bring peace to our heart and to the world. You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. St. Augustine
And if we have repented of our sins and start living in obedience to the law, we will get to go back home one day and be united back with our creator and live in his love for all eternity right? ........! Right? Actually we have doomed ourselves to hell for all eternity. Why? Because we have sinned against God.
I know. But you said if we truly repent and be obedient to his law everything will be okay. I'm sure he will understand. He created us and knows our weaknesses. He is infinitely merciful isn't he? He will find it in his heart to forgive us right? Yes he is infinitely merciful. But why stop at his mercy alone. The one attribute all religion address to God is that he is perfect. But actually he is just not perfect but infinitely perfect. He is infinitely loving, infinitely powerful, infinitely wise and infinitely merciful. God is infinite. Would you worship a being that is finite like a human being? The answer is a definite no isn't it. God is God because he is infinite. We can trust in God because he is infinitely good. Meaning his intention for us is always good. He will never lie or mislead anyone. He only cares for our well being. But the primary attribute of God is his infinite holiness. Holiness of God means his absolute perfection and purity. All of his other attributes flow from his infinite holiness. Our filthy mind can never even start to fathom the meaning of holiness and purity let alone if it’s infinite. The prophet Isaiah in his vision saw that even sinless angels cover their face and feet at the presence of this holy God. God in his unfathomable purity and holiness can never tolerate the presence of the slightest form of filth in his presence. God in his infinite holiness and purity has an infinite hatred towards filth (sin) for it opposes his holiness. Sin is wilful transgression of the law of God. Hence, it is an act of disobedience to God, an offence against Him; for it is the choice of our own will in preference to His, and thereby a violation of the sovereign right of God. And guess what, we have deliberately and freely chose to sin against this infinitely holy God. We have chosen to celebrate the god of sex, money, power and worldly pleasures. We chose to live a life of debauchery, of filth and of slime and muck and grime. We made a mockery of him by rejecting his law and arrogantly created our own truth for cheap pleasures. We have freely and deliberately chose to partake in what God has an infinite hatred towards. Hence our sins amounts to an infinite offence against a Holy Holy Holy God. God's infinite holiness and infinite justice demands an infinite punishment for our infinite offence against him.
But here is mankind's problem: We cannot even live up to our finiteness how are we going to pay the price required by his infinite justice for the sins which we have deliberately committed? But he is infinite right like you said. He can forgive our sins for everything is possible for him? You mean you expect him to close one eye, forgive our wilful transgression against his infinite holiness and let us live in his holy presence for the rest of eternity without his justice being met. If he does that than his justice is no longer infinite but finite which does not make him a God anymore. You asked earlier where justice and fairness was. Here it is and it is more than we can ask for. So what should we do? There is nothing we can do. We have brought this upon ourselves and there is nobody to put the blame on. But wait there is still hope. If the atheists are right that there is no God then we have nothing to worry about. If there is no God then there is no absolute moral law and that means anything goes including murder and addiction. But in the remotest of chance that there is a God and infiniteness is his nature and his infinite holiness requires an infinite justice for our sins then we are doomed. We have deliberately chose to live a life of filthiness and by it we have offended an infinitely holy God. So creation is a failure then. In our finiteness we can never meet up to God's infinite justice and in his infiniteness he cannot just forgive our sins. Do not give up hope. For though he is infinitely holy he is still infinitely merciful and loving. His very essence is love. He created us to share his love with us. When he endowed us with freewill he knew we will fail miserably and won't be able to pay the price required by his infinite justice. He knew we will deliberately offend him through our actions. Knowing this he still created us. Such is the love he has for us. If man cannot pay the price then God in his boundless love for mankind has decided to pay for it for he alone is holy and infinite. So God made a covenant with his people that he will come and rescue them. But when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that he might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4-5
God sent his only begotten son to the world to pay the price for our sins. Infinitely pure, infinitely holy, yet completely human like us. For 33 years he walked and lived among us. He preached the Kingdom of God and taught us to call God Father. And when the time came he was captured and was condemned to death. The infinite punishment which mankind could not pay is now going to be borne by the sinless one. Men's wilful transgression against God must be punished for the forgiveness of our sins else there is no hope for us. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 God's only Son is going to take all of our filth into his pure and sinless body and bear the full brunt of God's infinite wrath. God to satisfy the requirement of his infinite justice is going to utterly crush his infinitely holy Son till every last drop of his precious blood is extracted. Justice is going to be served and it is going to be without an ounce of mercy.
The Passion of the Christ
A medical perspective from Dr. C. Truman Davis
Gethsemane The physical passion of Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of His initial suffering, the one which is of particular physiological interest is the bloody sweat. Interestingly enough, the physician, St. Luke, is the only evangelist to mention this occurrence. He says, "And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:44). Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away the phenomenon of bloody sweat, apparently under the mistaken impression that it simply does not occur. A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting the medical literature. Though very rare, the phenomenon of hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock. Although Jesus' betrayal and arrest are important portions of the passion story, the next event in the account which is significant from a medical perspective is His trial before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. Here the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him, mockingly taunted Him to identify them as each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face. Before Pilate In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and worn out from a sleepless night, Jesus was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. We are familiar with Pilate's action in attempting to shift responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was then, in response to the outcry of the mob, that Pilate ordered Barabbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion. Preparations for Jesus' scourging were carried out at Caesar's orders. The prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire stepped forward with the flagrum, or flagellum, in his hand. This was a short
whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip was brought down with full force again and again across Jesus' shoulders, back, and legs. At first the weighted thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continued, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produced large deep bruises that were broken open by subsequent blows. Finally, the skin of the back was hanging in long ribbons, and the entire area was an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it was determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner was near death, the beating was finally stopped. Mockery The half-fainting Jesus was then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with his own blood. The Roman soldiers saw a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They threw a robe across His shoulders and placed a stick in His hand for a sceptre. They still needed a crown to make their travesty complete. Small flexible branches covered with long thorns, commonly used for kindling fires in the charcoal braziers in the courtyard, were plaited into the shape of a crude crown. The crown was pressed into his scalp and again there was copious bleeding as the thorns pierced the very vascular tissue. After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers took the stick from His hand and struck Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tired of their sadistic sport and tore the robe from His back. The robe had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, caused excruciating pain. The wounds again began to bleed. Golgotha In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans apparently returned His garments. The heavy patibulum of the cross was tied across His shoulders. The procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion began its slow journey along the route which we know today as the Via Dolorosa. In spite of Jesus' efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious loss of blood, was too much. He stumbled and fell. The rough wood of the beam gouged into the lacerated skin and muscles of the
shoulders. He tried to rise, but human muscles had been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to proceed with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus followed, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650-yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed. The prisoner was again stripped of His clothing except for a loin cloth which was allowed the Jews. The crucifixion began. Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic, pain-relieving mixture. He refused the drink. Simon was ordered to place the patibulum on the ground, and Jesus was quickly thrown backward, with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire felt for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drove a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moved to the other side and repeated the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum was then lifted into place at the top of the stipes, and the titulus reading "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" was nailed into place. The left foot was pressed backward against the right foot. With both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim was now crucified. On the Cross As Jesus slowly sagged down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerve, large nerve trunks which traverse the mid-wrist and hand. As He pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of this feet. At this point, another phenomenon occurred. As the arms fatigued, great waves of cramps swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps came the inability to push himself upward. Hanging by the arm, the pectoral muscles, the large muscles of the chest, were paralyzed and the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable to act. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, the carbon dioxide level increased in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subsided.
The Last Words Spasmodically, He was able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in lifegiving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences that are recorded. The first - looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment: "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do." The second - to the penitent thief: "Today, thou shall be with me in Paradise." The third - looking down at Mary His mother, He said: "Woman, behold your son." Then turning to the terrified, grief-stricken adolescent John, the beloved apostle, He said: "Behold your mother." The fourth cry is from the beginning of Psalm 22: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" He suffered hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, and searing pain as tissue was torn from His lacerated back from His movement up and down against the rough timbers of the cross. Then another agony began: a deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart, slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart. The prophecy in Psalm 22:14 was being fulfilled: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels." The end was rapidly approaching. The loss of tissue fluids had reached a critical level; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood to the tissues, and the tortured lungs were making a frantic effort to inhale small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasped His fifth cry: "I thirst." Again we read in the prophetic psalm: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death" (Psalm 22:15). A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine that was the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, was lifted to Jesus' lips. His body was now in extremis, and He could feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This
realization brought forth His sixth word, possibly little more than a tortured whisper: "It is finished." His mission of atonement had been completed. Finally, He could allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He once again pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a deeper breath, and uttered His seventh and last cry: "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit." Death The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the leg. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers approached Jesus, they saw that this was unnecessary. Apparently, to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. John 19:34 states, "And immediately there came out blood and water." Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and the blood of the interior of the heart. This is rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium. Resurrection In these events, we have seen a glimpse of the epitome of evil that man can exhibit toward his fellow man and toward God. This is an ugly sight and is likely to leave us despondent and depressed. But the crucifixion was not the end of the story. How grateful we can be that we have a sequel: a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man--the gift of atonement, the miracle of the resurrection, and the expectation of Easter morning.
At the cross we see God's infinite hatred towards sin. We see how God is infinitely in love with us that he was willing to crush his only Son so that our sins can be forgiven and we can reconcile back with him. But most importantly, at the cross God's infinite holiness and purity was vindicated. With the death of Jesus, God's infinite justice has been met and his forgiveness can now freely flow for all. Men has freely received an unearned forgiveness. If forgiveness is freely given and we don't have to earn it, what is God asking of us? God wants us to be obedient to the law and put our sincere effort in trying to be holy as much as possible. But still your freewill will not be violated. You can choose to live a moral life and accept his forgiveness or you can choose to live an immoral life and reject his salvation for you. God will never violate your freewill. But by choosing to continue living in filth is like spitting on the truth that came to save you from damnation. Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16 What is this law that we have to be obedient to? In the words of Jesus himself:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself'. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. “Matthew 22:37-40
What is love? Love is not what the media commonly known to portray it to be. Love is actually a verb like walking or running or jumping. It has nothing to do with feelings or emotion. If you are happy, angry or sad can you walk? Of course you can. The act of walking (verb) is independent of your emotion. You may feel resentful towards someone but you can still love them if you choose to. So if love is a verb can you love an enemy who wants to harm and kill you? Yes you can. Your feeling or emotion towards him has nothing to do with the act of charity you may do for that person out of love. Love is God's law for man. The most amazing thing about God's greatest commandment is that there is no request for adoration and bowing and worship. I am not saying that we shouldn't do it but to love him took precedence above all else. Another way to look at it is that if we sincerely don't love God then there is no need for adoration bowing and worship for then it becomes a mockery in his sight. All the mechanical rituals, prayer and worship only have meaning if the heart is pure and clean. He wants us to love him by trying our very best to behave like him. He is only looking at the sincerity of the intention that resides in our heart. His second commandment is to love your neighbour as yourself. We are all God's creatures. We are all brothers and sisters for we are children of the same God. We are commanded to love and be merciful towards each other especially those in dire needs. We are to care for the hungry, the homeless and the rejected. To stand for justice and truth for those who have none. We are to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the afflicted, admonish sinners, forgive offenses, bear wrongs patiently and pray for all. We should never ever take advantage of a person or a situation for self gain. As the golden rule goes, treat others as you would like to be treated. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (Corinthians 13:4-7)
How can love protect my freedom? The human body is very delicate and fragile. We suffer when the body is hurt. No one wants to feel pain and suffering for we were not created to suffer. So God created for us the limbic system so that we can learn to avoid pain. It is our natural inclination then to avoid pain and gain pleasure. But if we live our whole life in pursuit for self pleasure then we are going to end up addicted to immoral vices. Addiction is about ending pain. We end our pain by getting high. We get high when dopamine is released. Dopamine is released through the actions of drugs, sex, food and others. As we become slaves to our pride we are willing to inflict pain and denigrate others so that the pain in our own life ends. Knowing this God gave us his law. His law demands that we love God and others as we much as we love ourselves. To truly love God means that we should reject all earthly desires that are directed towards the self and start living a life that is acceptable in his sight. The pain we are to endure to overcome our addiction then truly becomes blessed for it is done out of love for him and not of necessity or fear. It's through our action by correcting our decadent way of life is how we show God that we love him. In relation to our neighbour we should strive to end the pain and suffering in other people's life as much as we are trying to end our own pain. Love will always direct our attention to others needs first. Our own self interest becomes secondary. If love is what is in our heart, then pride which exists for the self is eliminated at its root. With pride removed we will be finally freed from the bondage of all earthly desires. We will finally live as a free person for we will no longer be dictated by our desires. This is what gives worth and meaning to life. Love is the greatest imprinting we can have to live a life that is truly free. Unless a life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile” Mother Theresa Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. Albert Einstein Why should I repent and change my ways? What is the point of it all? Because you don't have a choice. You either live as a free person or remain a slave. Your moral standard for living is only as high as the lowest base thought you are willing to entertain. If you quit smoking but unwilling to let go of the rest of your addiction than at that lowest point is where your moral standard is. The filth that arises from that low point will eventually give way to other filths to enter into your life. And once you are addicted fear will take control of your life. The fear of loss of pleasure will never stop haunting you. If you truly wish to be free then you have to let go of everything.
And what is the point of it all? I don't know. Repenting is the only right thing to do. Death does not scare us nor the fear of hell or the reward of heaven. There is no motivation for why we should repent. We can only have faith in goodness, fairness, justice and equality because it is right. How to know if everything you said here is true? It looks like you are just another self righteous fool trying to sell your own relative truth? I know, but there is only one way to know for sure and that is the law. Repent of your ways and start living a sound moral life. All truth comes from God alone. If he cannot show us the way then no one can. He will not forsake nor abandon us if we pray with a sincere contrite heart. He will reveal his truth to us if we ask him and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
- The End-
With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me. I forget all the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice in their return. . . . What joy fills My Heart when you return to Me. Because you are weak, I take you in My arms and carry you to the home of My Father. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy.... Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. Jesus words to St. Faustina Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
“There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.” Arnold Bennet
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