Question: Sir, we all have weaknesses we don’t like. Something like smoking, for example. We don’t like them, but we have them. How can we work on them?
Sadhguru: The more you say “I don’t want something”, that becomes the basis of your mind. That will rule your mind. As an experiment, right now, don’t think about monkeys for the next 10 seconds. Try it. Only monkeys come to your mind, isn’t it? This is the nature of your mind. You cannot do anything head-on with your mind. You need to understand the process of your mind and see what to do with it.
People are always coming to me and saying “I want to give up smoking what should I do?” I tell them, “Why would you smoke? Your body is not that kind of machine which smokes. Automobiles do, but not your body. If you don’t want to smoke, don’t smoke”. Then they say, “No, I am a smoker I am trying to give up smoking and it is not working”.
The question is not about smoking or not smoking. It happened like this. One day a man who was friends with his neighbour, a lady, just drove with her and parked somewhere. Then suddenly his hands were all over her. She said, “You fool! What are you doing? I thought you were a decent fellow and I came with you. What is this nonsense?” He said, “No, I gave up smoking.”
If you compulsively give up something, this is what will happen to you. It will take shape in some other way. Now, what is it that you are trying to do with smoking? One thing is, probably you are down, so you are trying to stimulate yourself with nicotine; or psychologically you feel incomplete. By holding a cigarette in your hand, you feel a little brave and man-like. Kids start smoking because they want to grow up soon, isn’t it? A 10-year-old kid wants to smoke because he wants to become a man instantly. When he just inhales and blows it into somebody’s face, he feels like a man. Not anymore, but it was so 10 years ago.
It happened like this. There was a Sufi saint called Ibrahim. In his ashram, two disciples were sitting very morose in the garden one evening. One said to the other, “I want to smoke but we are on a spiritual path. How to smoke?” The other one said, “Even I want to smoke. I don’t know what to do.”
Then they decided, “Let us go and ask the master whether we can smoke or not,” because in the past, there have been many Sufi saints who smoked continuously. The next evening, one disciple was sitting in the same spot in the garden, totally miserable, and the other disciple came smoking. He said, “Hey! Why are you smoking? Master told me not to smoke.” So the other disciple asked, “What did you ask him?” “I asked him if I can smoke when I am meditating,” and he said “No.” “That’s your problem,” said the second one. I asked him whether I can meditate when I am smoking, and he told me go ahead. So don’t try to give it up, bring awareness into your life. Bring awareness to every aspect of your life. You will see everything that is not necessary will simply fall by the wayside. If you try to give it up, you will only struggle.
Even if you manage to give it up, probably you will cause more damage to yourself smoking in your dream than actually smoking. If you give up something that you want to do, in your dreams you will smoke a huge cigarette. These things are not necessary. Please see that something else is lacking. That is why you built these habits. If you go a little deeper and bring a little awareness to your own nature, these things will just disappear.