Addicted No More

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I wrote previously I was sightly anxious but also excited that that Monday 15 February 2016 would be my Quit Smoking day.

I am writing now to report five days on that indeed, on Monday, I quit an addiction I had: smoking cigarettes.

Since Sunday, I haven’t bought or smoked any cigarettes πŸ™‚

Due to the fact that I indulge in pot smoking however, I haven’t yet completely quit tobacco. The amount of tobacco I use in my joints however is negligable and I don’t smoke that much pot.

I don’t want to quit pot, I am very happy with my level of consumption and the positive effect it has had on my life – probably for another post – however I was scared of smoking it pure. For two reasons:

1 – I don’t want to smoke blunts, as they are called in that world (joints with no tobacco), because I don’t want to have my head blown up by the effect of pot (I don’t like feeling stoned),

2 – I fell on an article recently talking about a study that was done on the effect of smoking tobacco, pot and tobacco and just pot on the brain which revealed the pot/tobacco combination increases memory capacity, whilst smoking just pot reduces it. I don’t smoke pot to increase my memory, but I’d sure rather it didn’t destroy it!

My lodger suggested I used some left over rolling tobacco he had (he quit smoking three weeks ago) in my joints and I decided to try that. I hate the taste of rolling tobacco see so I thought it would work well.

And well it has worked: I actually feel completely free of my smoking addiction πŸ™‚

There wasn’t a day at work where I “craved” a cigarette this week, barely a thought was given to smoking, I had got some nicotine replacement mints just in case, and I have probably had five in this past week.

And I really really don’t miss smoking – that, to me, is a result πŸ™‚

The End of the Ego Struggle

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Since I have started my self-development/self-actualisation journey, the theme of the Ego has come up regularly in various talks and books, going from neuroscience (does it actually exist?) to spiritual (you should kill it as it is not good for you!) to the more moderate: what is it, how does it affect you and is it useful?

Recently I read a book, The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, which put the Ego into a different context, for me anyway.

It may not have been the intention of the book but as the author described Man being made of part Essence part Personality, I related this to the Soul and Ego concept, Essence being Soul and Personality being Ego; Essence: what you are born with, Personality: what you develop throughout your life via your experiences.

I then decided to look up where Ego came from historically, interested in when the concept first appeared and I fell on a good article talking about its origin.

In short egotistical straits can be traced back thousand of years ago when Man started to mix in “tribes” types of environment:

“The fossil evidence from 200,000 to 300,000 years ago indicates that our ancient ancestorΒ Homo sapiens first appeared in evolutionary fashion from prior ape-like creatures in Africa. Homo sapiens is unique in having a large brain in proportion to body size which fostered the development of abstract thinking and complex social interaction.”

Before this, survival, mainly alone, was his main concern, then when he started to group with other individuals, self image came into the picture, as of course, he had others to “compete” with, I guess then still on a survival level.

I found this quite fascinating. As soon as you mix with others, you have this need to “prove” your worth, both to yourself and to them.

Obviously in this day in age, “survival” is not quite as dramatic as it was then – you aren’t very likely to die if you are not the fatest runner – yet the “Ego” is still in action, possibly constantly when around people, but also when on your own as many people spend a lot of their time thinking how they should be better or are not good enough, thoughts which come from comparing oneself with others and therefore “Ego” based.

When you see the Ego as Personality instead however, to me, it makes the whole concept more manageable as Personality can and does change and when you realise it is shaped by your experiences, or more to the point how you perceive those experiences, you realise you have some control over this – how did I perceive the experiences? Was this perception correct? How does this perception affect me? What bias has it left me with? How do I change this?

Suddenly this mystical concept they call the Ego becomes mundain, clear and easily rectified, should one want to do the work – which is merely question whether your perception is correct, which you will find is rarely the case.

Quoting from another book I read recently:

“The perceiving eye is weak; the observing eye is strong”

One could describe the purpose of a self-development/self-actualisation journey learning to shape your personality into something more useful than just responding to emotions based on perceptions.

So, in my world, the “Ego” is no more, it’s all about developing my personality now. And finding out my Essence, which unfortunately gets buried if one lets one’s personality take over!

Both are useful though, and that’s a relief. I never like the “Death of the Ego” idea. Seemed a bit drastic, and inachievable, to me. And I am happy being human, so I don’t mind having a personality πŸ˜‰

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Quit Smoking Day is Nigh

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As I had been otherwise engaged having fun and also dealing with starting a new job, I realised some time last week that I didn’t have long to prepare for Quit Smoking Day – which I elected to be the 15th February back in December.

No time at all!

As much as I had started the preparation pretty well back early January- downloading an App which was supposedly designed to help you reduce your smoking until D-Day, which I abandoned after running it for a couple of weeks – dealing with the “stress” of starting a new job – a cigarette was a welcome break, particularly fun meeting the smokers there – and then enjoying a little sexual fantasy with some stranger, eventually put any preparation by the wayside.

So I have been spending this past week trying to concentrate on getting ready. I am not sure how this short preparation will work out – I’ll soon find out – but I seem to have managed to change my mindset somewhat about cigarettes.

I started to restrict my smoking to a 10 cigarettes pack a day and for the past six days, that pack has lasted me two full days.

When on occasions my mind thinks about smoking, particularly at home I am pleased to report as this was the time I had showed less resistance, the thought just doesn’t appeal much.

There may be one or two cigarettes I really enjoy during the day, however none particularly comes to mind. So I am hoping there are none that I “couldn’t do without”.

I am also hoping to quit before D-Day (Monday), ideally on Saturday instead, so I don’t go to work on Monday feeling a bit weird that I won’t be smoking – Mondays can be a bit of a downer as it is (although so far in this new job, they haven’t been, I am pleased to report).

It’s funny, when you set yourself a Quit Day, at the start, you want the period until D-Day to last as long as possible; closer to the day however, you can’t wait for it to come – to get it over and done with, and see what you are made of.

I will admit I am a little scared I can’t do it – even though I know I can, having done it twice for long-ish periods of time (two years the longest). Still, addictions can be suckers, quitting them, or at least the idea of, can feel quite daunting.

Still, needs must. My heart (literally) has been telling me it needs me to quit. I really have to listen to it.

I just hope quitting smoking will be as easy as quitting drinking πŸ™‚

The Truth about Love…?

This realisation I had about Desire unsettled me somewhat these past few days. I now realise it is because it brought up a few questions about this thing called love and whether it actually exists.

See, this past month I got to experience desire. Rather, I got to feel desired. By three different individuals on three different levels. I would venture:

  • A soul connection with the Amsterdam homeless artist, with whom I spent many many hours unveiling the newly discovered inner me. And with whom I decided nothing physical would happen, because it would spoil the experience, and he somewhat relunctantly agreed.
  • An intellectual connection with a chap I came across on FB, who told me when we got chatting that he had been attracted to my mind for a while. And who with interestingly when he saw my pic, the intellectual connection seemed to go out of the window. And as he was married, I preferred to sever our connection the following day.
  • An intense online “physical” chemistry with someone I got chatting to on a swingers site which became an intense physical attraction when we met up. [This latter encounter also made me realise I couldn’t do sex without feelings.]

So you could say I have experienced strong desires from those individuals, yet none of those desires were founded on anything real. None of those people really knew me, not even the slightest, yet, they were attracted to me.

This is what has made me realise that desire is never based on anything real, but rather on an imagined, pure speculation outcome.

I also realised how intoxicating feeling desire can be. All because you are getting some attention.

Lastly, I realised that you only desire someone for the effect they have on you (the imagined effect as, remember, you don’t know that person in the slightest at the beginning). So you could say desire is purely Ego driven. And Ego driven emotions certainly have to be avoided.

All this got me thinking that desire isn’t real. Cannot be real.

Yet, “love” comes from desire. You always desire someone first then, move on to Love.

However, how can you love someone when the feeling comes from a false emotion (desire)?

And that question makes me think possibly love (the romantic one) doesn’t exist.

That’s kind of unsettling.