‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall find comfort in cheap smokes and liquor.’
One of the things that puzzles me the most in this space-time dream in which we find ourselves, is why so many of us are addicted to the dreaded nicotine! Oops ~ before proceeding I’d better set the record straight; I use the word ‘us’ figuratively, trying not to appear as some form of self-righteous Puritan to my faithful blog readers.
One of the few benefits of my sheltered, Northern Irish Presbyterian upbringing was that I never have, presently do not and hopefully never will smoke the diabolical invention known as the cigarette. Instead, my addiction of choice became Charismatic religion but that’s another story that you might have already come across in my little memoir, ‘The Prodigal Prophet’. No, I write here as a recovering religious junkie, though hopefully one with a deep compassion for those chained to the cancer inducing weed.
We’ve been bombarded with all the dreadful facts regarding the ill effects of tobacco smoking and yet multitudes the world over are still hooked on the experience. This loyalty to the ciggies reminds me of my loyalty to religion and it ‘s got me thinkin’ outside the box.
Here goes with my conclusion!
Tobacco smoking is a religious experience
‘No, Dylan. I think you’ve got it mixed up with the wacky backy, weed, grass puffin’ of the Indian Holy men and their contemporary chilled imitators.’
Yes, I’m aware of that kind of holy smoke, but I really do believe my statement above. Let me explain why!
Smoke and Fire have always been around the religious scene. Burnt offerings were at the very birth of attempts to keep the gods happy. For some reason these divinities were understood to love the frenzied smell of cooking dead meat, human or animal. Generally these deities were assumed to be ‘pissed’ off with the human race and could only have their anger averted by a bloody death and the sub-sequential roasting of flesh ~ clearly the gods above weren’t vegetarians but real meat approving guys and gals. Projections of ourselves perhaps!
The fallacy in this whole religious model of course is that the gods weren’t there in the first place and that the genuine Source of all wasn’t and never could be ‘at enmity’ with His/Her/It’s creative extensions. viz. us. At its basic essence the religious sacrifice can be seen as a self inflicted death sentence transferred onto some poor sheep or in the worst case scenario, human child. Why such a need for these barbaric rituals?
Simple ~ human guilt. A deep sense of inner loathing interpreted as a consequence to displeasing the deity above. Yet, I believe, such a guilt is not based primarily on ‘wrong actions’ but on a wrong perception viz. that we are or can ever be separate from Divine Love, the Oneness that embraces all within. ‘I have left the Divine and if I were Him/Her/It I would kill me’ is our constant cry within, the ego’s broken record to keep us from awakening to baseline truth. ‘In Him/Her/It we live and move and have our being‘ No hatchet’s being sharpened there!
So, lets get back to the cigarettes. Smoking, like the common man’s ritual sacrifice that it is, carries out the sentence of our ego jury. ‘You deserve to die so die, but do it slowly and be your own firing squad’. Each little 5 minute puff seems to pull the trigger that little bit more, bringing with it a reassuring sense of calmness where the inner angst is stilled under the illusion of justice done.
Unfortunately, like all religious acts of self sacrifice, the psych-spiritual effects are temporary as the ego jury once more sits to pass judgement.
What is the solution? Like religion, it’s better given up; but how?
For some folk sheer self-will seems to do the trick, breaking them free from the psychic attachment involved. However how many folk return once more to the ritual when the inner going gets tough?
I believe that nothing less than a dramatic psycho-spiritual shift is required at the very roots of our being.
Someone needs to turn the Light on, deep within, where the unconscious self loathing that energises our addiction lurks in the shadows. For some therapy may be the road to recovery but ultimately only an overwhelming Spirit encounter will dissolve the lie. ‘Awaken! You are my beloved, loved within and outside time. You dwell within my House, never having left. What separation? Only a fantasy of the night – the time of your slumber.’
Blessings upon all of us who walk in the darkness of addiction. May the morning come as we ditch our religion dressed up as the friend of freedom.