Archive for December, 2010

Smoke Mindfully to Quit Mindfully

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

smoking and quitting mindfullyDon’t underestimate the importance of timing. The timing of your attack on the smoking habit is extremely important.  In life, timing is the essence of a winning strategy.  […]  The popular concept among behavioral therapists is that no time is better than the present to take action against an addictive habit.  In theory, it sounds right.  But the cold light of reality presents a different picture.  I am convinced that there is a tremendous advantage in a well-prepared, preemptive attack against the smoking habit.

Balasa Prasad, Stop Smoking for Good

The standard smoking cessation quit-date timeline is 1-2 weeks.  Here’s an example of this kind of blitzkrieg quit-date advice from a 2003 American Cancer Society publication, “Kicking Butts:” “Pick a quit date – about seven to fourteen days from now.” (p. 88).  Other programs are more generous: they suggest 2 to 3 weeks.

1-3 weeks, 7-21 days?  Really?! 

Emerson’s Lotus Effect

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

One of the original American sages, Ralph Waldo Emerson, in an essay called Experience, writes:

“[S]ouls never touch their objects. […] If tomorrow I should be informed of the bankruptcy of my principal debtors, the loss of my property would be a great would be a great inconvenience to me, perhaps, for many years; but it would leave me as it found me – neither better nor worse.

So is it with [any] calamity: it does not touch me; something which I fancied was a part of me, which could not be torn away without tearing me nor enlarged without enriching me, falls off from me and leaves no scar.

[…] I grieve that grief can teach me nothing, nor carry me one step into real nature.

The Indian who was laid under a curse that the wind should not blow on him, nor water flow to him, nor fire burn him, is a type of us all.  The dearest events are summer-rain, and we are the Para [rain-] coats that shed every drop.”

After I stumbled upon these lines I had four thoughts:

A Cup of Timelessness

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

I drank a cup of tea and watched the flowing and stillness.
Quietly and naturally I seemed to forget the return of time.


Tamara Colloff-Bennett, a connoisseur of life’s moments (as  far as I can tell from our epistolary exchanges) writes, in Tea Stories from the East to the West:

“[I]n Korean homes […] tea […] is served about one-half to three-quarters full in dainty china tea cups.  I once asked why it was never a full cup that was served, and the family whose home I was in at the time told me it was a tradition to suggest the wish for balance in the life of the person who is being served the tea – so the water is poured in up to the middle of the cup.”

Indeed: as life brews, balance it by emptying the mind-cup now and then.  A half-full cup is harder to spill.

So, have a cup of timelessness!

Resources: read the rest of Tamara’s article

Suchness Falls

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

each snowflake is one of a kindDecember 1st: first light snowfall (in Pittsburgh). 

Having grown up in Moscow, Russia, I know snow.  Not with that proverbial expertise of the Eskimos who can find more types of snow than there are ice cream flavors at Baskin-Robbins.  No, not like that, of course.  But intimately, nevertheless.

For me, snow has always come with that built-in intuitive insight that we are all unique even if we don’t see it.  As a kid I remember always knowing this: each snowflake is one of its own kind, no two are the same.

I remember looking for that suchness and never finding it.  You catch one on the palm of your hand to examine but it melts on contact, escaping any verification of its idiosyncrasies.  Just like all these moments of time: each as anonymously evanescent as the next.  And just like we are ourselves.  Day in, day out, we are we, in that ineffable, inexpressible way – no matter what flows through us. 

Select books by Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.:
Mindful Emotional Eating Reinventing the Meal
Present Perfect
Eating the Moment

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