Jiddu Krishnamurti on Smoking
Question: I am a smoker, and I am trying to break
myself of the habit of smoking. Can you
help me? (Laughter)
Let us find out how to understand this whole process of habit forming and habit breaking. We can take the example of smoking, and you can substitute your own habit, your own particular problem, and experiment with your own problem directly as I am experimenting with the problem of smoking. It is a problem, it becomes a problem, when I want to give it up; as long as I am satisfied with it, it is not a problem.
The problem arises when I have to do something about a particular habit, when the habit becomes a disturbance. Smoking has created a disturbance, so I want to be free of it. I want to stop smoking; I want to be rid of it, to put it aside, so my approach to smoking is one of resistance or condemnation. That is, I don't want to smoke, so my approach is either to suppress it, condemn it, or to find a substitute for it - instead of smoking, to chew. Now, can I look at the problem free of condemnation, justification, or suppression? Can I look at my smoking without any sense of rejection?
Try to experiment with it now as I am talking, and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is not to reject or accept. Because, our whole tradition, our whole background, is urging us to reject or to justify rather than to be curious about it. Instead of being passively watchful, the mind always operates on the problem. So, the problem is not smoking but our approach to smoking, which creates the problem. Because, if you find smoking rather stupid, a waste of money, and so on - if you really see that, you will drop it, there will be no problem.
Smoking, drinking, or any other habit is an escape from something else; it makes you feel socially at ease. It is an escape from your own nervousness or from a disturbed state, and the habit becomes a means of your conditioning. So, smoking is not the problem. When you approach smoking with your memory, your recollection of previous trials and failures, you approach it with a conclusion already made.
Therefore, the problem is not in the fact but in your approach to the fact. You have tried by discipline, control, denial, and you have not succeeded. So you say, "I shall go on smoking; I cannot stop" - which is, after all, an attempt to justify yourself, which means your approach is not very intelligent.
So, smoking or any other habit is not a problem. The problem is thought, which is your approach to the fact. You are the problem, not the habit which you have created; and thus you will see, if you really try, how difficult it is for the mind to be free from the sense of condemnation and justification. When your mind is free, the problem of smoking - or any other problem - is nonexistent.
Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti Second Talk in Colombo 1949/50