The cigarette is very symbolic; it is just like the nipple of the mother. The smoke that goes through it is warm just like the milk is warm, so it has a certain symmetry. You become engaged in it and for the moment you are reduced to a child who has no anxieties, no problems, no responsibilities.
You say that for thirty years you have been smoking, a chain-smoker; you want to stop it, but you cannot stop it. You cannot – because you have to change the causes that have produced it.
I have been successful with many of my sannyasins. First they laughed when I suggested to them…they could not believe that such a simple solution could help them. I said to them, “Don’t try to stop smoking, but rather bring a milk bottle that is used for small children. And in the night when nobody can see you, under your blanket enjoy the milk, the warm milk. It is not going to do any harm at least.”
They said, “But how is it going to help?”
I said, “You forget about it – how and why – you just do it. It will give you good food before you go to sleep and there is no harm. My feeling is that the next day you will not feel so much need for cigarettes. So you count.”
They were surprised…slowly, slowly the cigarettes were disappearing, because their basic need which had remained hanging in the middle was fulfilled: they are no longer children, they are maturing and the cigarette disappears.
You cannot stop it. You have to do something which is not harmful, which is healthier, as a substitute for the time being, so that you grow up and the cigarettes stop themselves.
Small children know this – I have learned the secret from them. If a child is crying or weeping and is hungry, and the mother is far away, then he will put his thumb in his mouth and start sucking it. He will forget all about hunger and crying and weeping, and will fall asleep. He has found a substitute – although that substitute is not going to give him food, at least it gives a sense that something similar is happening. It relaxes him.
I have tried with a few of my sannyasins, even sucking the thumb. If you are too afraid to bring a bottle and fill it with milk, and if your wife comes to know about it or your children see you doing it, then the best way is: you go to sleep with the thumb in the mouth. Suck it and enjoy it.
They have always laughed, but they have always come back and said, “It helps, and the number of cigarettes next day is less and it goes on becoming less.” Perhaps it will take a few weeks, then the cigarettes will disappear. Once they have disappeared without your stopping them…. Your stopping is repression, and anything repressed will try to come up again with greater force, with vengeance.
Never stop anything. Find the basic cause of it and try to work out some substitute which is not harmful so the basic cause disappears – the cigarette is only a symptom. So the first thing is, stop stopping it. The second thing is, get a good bottle, and don’t be embarrassed. If you are embarrassed, then use your own thumb. Your own thumb will not be that great, but it will help.