And the taste of the smoke was, most likely, disgusting.
But the need to fit in with your friends or to deal with stress and anxiety, made you go beyond your in-built safety mechanisms.
And forced your mind and body to accept the smoke as normal.
And now you’re an addict.
But there’s still hope.
You can quit smoking with correct meditation and correct attitude.
Many years ago when I was in my early 20′s I’d just started a new job.
I was sitting at a table in the staff restaurant with a group of people I didn’t know.
They were all chatting together and I felt anxious and ill at ease.
Then someone offered me a cigarette.
Although I wasn’t a regular smoker, I had smoked before.
So I took it and lit-up.
After taking a couple of puffs, I was transformed – the nicotine coursing through my veins had made it to my brain within seconds.
I felt great – relaxed, confident and no anxiety.
Of course, I had to keep smoking to keep my brain flooded with nicotine.
And I realised that I’d have to become a regular smoker if I wanted the same effect.
But I knew this wasn’t the answer.
Later, I learned how to use meditation to quit smoking or, I should say, the smoking quit me.
Because it wasn’t an effort of will on my part – I just didn’t want or need it any more.
I remember an interview with the English comedy writer, Dennis Norden.
He would regularly smoke 60 cigarettes a day.
But he gave up smoking in a split-second after a startling realisation.
He’d drive to various meetings and would smoke in the car.
At the start of the week he’d fill the car glove-box with packets of cigarettes.
Whilst driving he’d smoke and, when the packet was empty, he’d crush it and throw it into the passenger foot-well.
Then, at the end of the day he’d throw away the crushed packets .
On one particular day, he removed the old packets and to his horror realised that he’d smoked one hundred cigarettes.
He was so disgusted with himself that he never smoked a single cigarette ever again.
But what’s even more amazing is that he didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms.
And never even had the slightest desire to smoke again.
His feeling of disgust, shocked him into awareness.
If you want to quit smoking you must cultivate this awareness.
Because the effect of the nicotine is to make you less aware.
But regular meditation will make you more aware.
Then, with this awareness, you can respond differently.
If you’ve tried to quit smoking, you’ve probably used will-power to resist the craving.
But your will-power is not as strong as the craving.
Although you may start out strong, slowly but surely your will-power will begin to shrink.
And eventually your will, will have no power at all.
Because using will-power is like struggling when you’ve fallen into a swamp - the more you struggle, the deeper you sink.
And you’ll use-up all your energy until you’ve got none left and you’ll give up and give in.
So don’t use will-power to stop smoking, use awareness instead.
When you feel the urge to smoke don’t fight it, watch it.
Become fully aware of the feeling in your body.
When you take out your cigarettes, become aware of the weight and texture of the packet.
As you remove the celophane wrapping, become aware of the sound it makes.
When you take out a cigarette become aware of the smell of the tobacco.
Then, be aware as you put the cigarette in your mouth, light it and take a puff.
And an amazing thing will happen.
You’ll be able to taste the true flavour of the smoke – and it will be disgusting.
And be fully aware of that too.
Everytime you smoke, go through this process as it were the first time you’ve done it.
But you must also keep up your regular meditation.
Eventually you won’t even feel the need to smoke any more.
The pull won’t be there. The attraction won’t be there.
You’ll start to feel as if you can take-it or leave it.
And one day you’ll leave it for good.
Then you’ll be free.
And you’ll have quit smoking completely – without struggling and without withdrawal symptoms.