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How can I give up smoking and find my life's purpose?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
I believe humans are a collection of experiences and all we ever do in life is seek and collect more and more experiences. I am a Hindu.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
To lead a life wherein I fulfill my duties (to my family and society) and then to retire for God contemplation.
I am unable to find my purpose in life. This leaves me very frustrated as I am unable to enjoy anything, get disinterested in anything new after a short while and always feel dissatisfied. I smoke very heavily and don't want to quit despite knowing the ill effects of smoking and the health benefits of quitting smoking, having actually experienced them for a brief period when I had quit smoking, because I feel smoking to be the only thing that gives me any purpose in life.

I have a big family, and career wise I have started very well and want to experience life to the fullest for which smoking is creating obstacles. I believe that my condition of not being able to find purpose in life and smoking may be connected. Nothing seems to motivate me, or if it does it is only for a short while. I also feel unable to get in touch with myself (I meditate regularly), as I always am in a semi-drugged condition. How do I find purpose in life and experience the pure joy of healthy, purposeful living that I know is possible? How do I get motivated and find purpose in life?

Wallace's reply
I agree with you - your compulsive smoking and your lack of life purpose could well be connected. I want to give you two related tasks, the first that gradually weans you off cigarettes and the second that stimulates your sense of life purpose. These two tasks are to run concurrently because by doing them together each task will support the other.

First Task
Get a small blackboard, the type used for writing on with chalk. Then buy a box of teacher's chalk, take out one full length stick and give the others away to local children. Every morning when you get up after your morning shower, I want you to write on the blackboard with the single stick of chalk the affirmation:

"With God all things are possible."
Write this once every morning and at night before going to bed rub the words out. Do this every morning and evening. As the days go past and the piece of chalk wears away, I want you to cut back on the number of cigarettes you give yourself to smoke in a day. Enroll your wife in what you are doing and ask for her support. Every morning ask your wife to allocate to you your ration of cigarettes that reflects the diminished size of your piece of chalk. Never exceed the ration for that day. Then as the chalk disappears, so will your cigarette habit.

Second Task
Every day, between writing your affirmation and rubbing it out, I want you to perform one task that will move you into your life's purpose. Start by choose from among the following:

  1. Dream about what you loved to do as a child and talk about it to your wife.
  2. Notice, reflect on and become aware of what in your current life brings joy to your heart. Write these intuitions down.
  3. Read and reflect on the further help and resources available at the foot of this article. Write down any promptings or intuitions you receive from this material.
  4. Keep all your written thoughts etc in a file and share these thoughts on new activities you might like to take up with your friends (chose supportive friends).
  5. Picture yourself doing something you love by drawing images of yourself or pasting photographs of yourself in a made up image that shows you happily engaged on your own or with others, in new promising activities.
  6. Write about the activities that might interest you under the headings of 5W - Who Which Where Why When.
  7. Draw a diagram of the 5W to help you visualize your new direction.
Aim to complete these 7 preparatory steps before half your chalk has worn away. Then before reaching the half way point begin to merge reflection with action. Follow up your inner guidance (God's Voice) received from carrying out these 7 steps by taking practical steps to move in the direction that it suggests. Use the 5W and other material you have created to suggest lines of enquiry and lines of action. Find the people who can support you. Look up that business activity which seems promising. Go to the place where your intuition is guiding you. Find out why you feel drawn there. Do the things your intuition is prompting you to do when it suggests you do it.

If you attend to these two tasks together, cutting back on your smoking and nurturing your sense of direction and life purpose, then as you cut back on your smoking you will be filled with hope, optimism, direction and clarity about your purpose in life. Do not feel concerned that your purpose may not appear to yield an income. Simply find your direction and put the simple gift of love, energy and initiative into that direction every day. That daily gift of love will take you along the path that is gradually being revealed. As you walk this path prepare to be surprised at what God has in store for you.

Your frustration will subside as your creative expression starts to blossom. You will feel motivated, healthy and purposeful. Then once your chalk runs out go out with your wife and celebrate new beginnings!

Further Help and Resources
If you want help learning to tune into and follow your inner guidance to help you with this process, I suggest you order my book Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off.

Read more questions on this topic

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