Alcohol & Cigarettes: the body’s cry for moments of stillness.

by Sue Kira, Naturopath, Gold Coast, Australia. 

When I am with clients who are suffering from fatigue, we discuss the things that may have been draining their energy.

Some share with me how they like to have a glass of wine or two at the end of each day to wind down. It can make the difference between them saying to their kids, “Ok it’s bath time darlings”, rather than angrily blurting out “get in the bath you little monsters or I’ll…!”

All they want is some peace and quiet at the end of the day. How often have we used a glass of wine, a cigarette or even a cup of tea or coffee to sit quietly and unwind? That moment when you have a sip of the drink, or drag on the cigarette and you are totally focused on the moment; think about it…the long drag in and then exhale with relief, or the sip, swallow and the ‘ahhhh’ as you breathe out with ‘relief’ and relaxation.

I realised that what people often miss when they give up these things is the time to simply relax and just ‘be’, because our bodies really crave moments of stillness.

I remembered how I did the same thing. These moments are our search for stillness, but the substances we choose to use actually take us away from true stillness. The caffeine in tea and coffee, the sugar in alcohol, and the nicotine in cigarettes, all make us racy, running faster inside than our natural rhythm.

At other times I would stop on my way home from work and just sit by the river to relax before going home to the family. It was a moment just for me; a moment of stillness to reflect and just ‘be’.

I chat with my clients about how easy it is to create moments of stillness that don’t have to be harmful to the body. By creating a space for ourselves of only a few minutes to sit, close our eyes, breathe very gently and feel our body, feet and eyes relaxing and our hands resting on our thighs, we can feel an absolute presence with ourselves. And then, by gently opening our eyes, we can hold that feeling of gentleness and presence and continue to be with ourselves.

When we share a few minutes of doing this together in the clinic, they are often amazed at how lovely they can feel in a very short time without substances, tapes or any cost and how they can do this at any time, even with their eyes open.

We may also discuss how being calm and present with children can bring them to gentleness and calmness. Some have noticed that when they are ‘actively present’ with their kids by maintaining eye contact and really connecting ‘with’ them, they are lovely and calm and less aggressive. They have also noticed that when they are stressed and cranky, the kids are harder to be with, which makes things worse for all.

While there is no need to speak about esoteric ways and esoteric healing or the fact that I learnt how to access stillness and presence through Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon and the many wonderful esoteric practitioners that I have had the pleasure to spend time with, it has been a deeply profound experience for me and for my clients to feel how easily we can feel this way any time we choose.

646 thoughts on “Alcohol & Cigarettes: the body’s cry for moments of stillness.

  1. Stillness is found in connection, but alcohol and cigarette do not connect and rather do the opposite by numbing, and it is never enough.

    1. I discovered for myself that using alcohol to numb myself so that I lessened the emotional pain I was feeling from a break up in a relationship didn’t work because the next day I woke up feeling sick and headachy from the alcohol and still felt the emotional turmoil I was going through. That clearly didn’t work.

  2. I have not tried cigarettes but it is so true of alcohol, definitely no stillness only numbness which is not that great really if you really think about it. How can numbness enhance your life? But hey I fooled myself it did for many years.

    1. Cigarettes, alcohol, films, food and exercise etc provide us with a temporary feeling of relief for the briefest of moments because they mask the feeling of unease that we constantly have gnawing away in our guts.

  3. What we perceive as relief and time out to ease our body from a busy and stressful day constantly pushing ourselves feels like an immediate fix but actually contributes to taking us further away from ourselves and is hugely harmful and it is not long before we feel the same way as before. I have found the Gentle Breath Meditation a simple and practical tool that with consistency establishes a steady connection to stillness within my body and a natural settlement that feels truly restful and self-energising.

  4. Children so quickly pick up on how you are and if you are feeling stressed from your day you can guarantee they will pick up on that stress and be a complete handful as it also affects their behaviour too. Life is so much simpler when we are calm and collected because everything around us reflects that same calmness back.

    1. …and its hardly fair to give your child a huge dose of stress, we need to consider what the ripple effects of this are going to be. It might even affect them for the rest of their lives.

  5. ‘they are often amazed at how lovely they can feel in a very short time without substances, tapes or any cost and how they can do this at any time, even with their eyes open.’ Yes, stillness is free, because it is already within us, all we need to do is stop and connect…

  6. A beautiful reminder of the importance of those moments of stillness and how easy it is to find those moments without the need of a drink or a cigarette, I have found a simple walk where I concentrate on how my feet feel as I walk a great moment of stillness as there is no chatter in my head just a moment of being with me.

  7. This is lovely Sue, your explanation of the body seeking moments of stillness rings true for me. I have been doing the Gentle Breath Meditation recently to reconnect to myself, it’s 9 minutes but the change in me is profound. Most people have such low self worth they can’t even respond to themselves for a moment of true rest, instead they add something harmful like alcohol, a screen, a cigarette, etc, I know this well myself. We are so worthy of our own love and care.

  8. It is very telling of the way many are living today, that we cannot stop and have a rest without an accompaniment of some sort, whether it be a cigarette, a cup of coffee, some chocolate and such like, with each of these examples actually placing more strain on the body as they are processed. This certainly exposes a very love-less way of living and calls for the answer to the question – why do we not want to be with ourselves?

  9. If I haven’t been still all day, I really find myself craving ‘me time’ at the end of the day – space to just breathe, without having to ‘do’ anything. This pattern of constant doing is taking a while to let go of, but the more space I allow, the easier work becomes and naturally flows.

    When we think ‘I don’t have time to stop’, we are short-changing ourselves: space is an essential ingredient in our lives, so that we can feel the direction, and the response, that’s needed, moment to moment. It’s not about sitting around and not doing for ages, but bringing space into all that we do. Not trying to do ten things at once, or worrying about what we did yesterday or are going to do tomorrow, while ignoring what we’re doing right now. Consciously focusing on what we’re doing, as we’re doing it, connects us to this sense of space.

  10. Coming back to the stillness we naturally have within, is as simple as breathing gently. The more I practice the Gentle Breath meditation, the more present and aware I am during the day.

  11. What a blessing to be offering practical examples to clients of what it is to have moments of stillness without harming the body. We seem to think we have license as adults to do ‘adult things; and drink, smoke, take coffee etc – when in fact they all actually stir up the body rather than settle it.

    1. It’s really interesting how “adult things” are in general all incredibly harmful – and it’s sad that in general we also don’t know the natural state of our bodies or ourselves because we are constantly using things that stir up and change the physiology of our bodies – like sugar and caffeine or tobacco.

    2. What’s interesting as well is how clients were ‘often amazed at how lovely they can feel in a very short time without substances, tapes or any cost and how they can do this at any time, even with their eyes open’. We have unnecessarily made so many things ridiculously complicated and bought into the belief that anything worth attaining requires either a lot of money or a lot of work or both. We have our body, we have our breath, we can connect to either or both and that in itself can lead to miracles, literally.

  12. I absolutely love those stop and connect to the stillness moments and bring them into my day often, but probably not as much as I could. Recently I could actually feel myself trying to avoid them and to keep on doing, but it wouldn’t be long into the doing before I realised it was a stop moment my tired body was asking for, not more motion. It’s been a wonderful lesson to learn and I can tell my body really appreciates the stops.

    1. It’s possible for life to be one very long stop moment of motion. We have bought into the belief that stillness is somehow tied up with physically stopping but it’s not. Stillness is a depth of quality that is known by us all and a quality in which we can get an awful lot done. In fact true stillness provides us with all the space in the world to get things done.

    2. I’m finding Ingrid that my body tells me loud and clear to stop and if I don’t it puts me to sleep. If I lie down for 10 minutes and deeply rest, my body feels re energised and ready to go again. So sometimes at lunch time I have a quick nap and feel so much more rested for it. Or at other times my body will ask to go for a walk, again just 10 minutes up the lane and back. The more I listen to my body the more it communicates to me, I love my relationship with me.

  13. Ultimately the quality of our health is determined by the breath that we inspire into our lungs and which source of energy this breath comes from; either all that God is or, all that God (love) is not. There is only ever this simple choice of two and thereafter the way we breathe will carry the propensity to either heal or harm us depending on which breath is chosen.

  14. It is true, that the fundamental principles of life that are being presented by Universal Medicine are so practical and so very normal, that they can be shared without any fancy language or fuss.

  15. Stillness is so beautiful and regenerating and you don’t even need to stop to be still!

      1. ‘Stillness is not movement arrested, it is space embodied’ Beautifully said Lianne and Esoteric Yoga with Universal Medicine trained practitioners) is a great way to support us in this understanding.

  16. The body is constantly communicating with us and we often miss its vital messages when we run ourselves faster than our body’s natural rhythm. Giving ourselves the space to just be with ourselves and connect with our body brings a natural pause to feel, listen and reflect on the truth of what we are feeling.

  17. It totally makes sense that kids (and others) react when we’re not still, not present, not with ourselves, or them. When we connect to that sense of loveliness, stillness, simplicity of just being, we take that wherever we go, and into every interaction, and others get reminded that they are that, too. A very beautiful and simple ripple effect.

  18. Isn’t it interesting how most things that seemingly help us ‘wind down’ are actually stimulating? A cup of tea (caffeine), a smoke (nicotine) or a glass of wine (sugar) – and yet we think it is relaxing. But are we truly sitting with our bodies and asking them how they are responding to these substances?

  19. There’s this emptiness so many people register and try to fill with all kinds of things, and I know for myself busyness and overwhelm can be a great distraction, too – but it’s like we try putting a square peg in a round hole, nothing quite settles the unsettlement, until we come back to ourselves in whole.

  20. So many of the expectations and standards of society pulls us away from living in connection to our stillness within, yet it is through this connection that we feel more at ease and more ourselves. It is vital for us in order to live with greater presence and connection, to take moments to stop, reflect and connect to our body, being and breath, honouring that which truly guides us to live with the quality of who we are.

  21. There are so many reasons behind our choices to engage with whatever we engage with, but at the root is our constant need for connection. Our need to connect to ourselves.

    1. Most of us are absolutely desperate to stop. Our bodies are crying out for a break but rather than change the way that we are living we bring in false ways of ‘stopping’ which are not true stop moments at all and what’s worse is that these supposed ‘stop moments’ put even more pressure on our already fatigued and fed up bodies, which in turn leads to us feeling even more desperate for a ‘break from it all’. It’s a vicious and relentless cycle.

  22. My biggest relationship was with alcohol, a prop up to be sociable, and now I have found that the deeper my relationship is with myself, the less I need anything to help prop me up, I have realised that all alcohol ever did was take me further away from my true self.

    1. I agree with you Sally we are not taught to resource within ourselves, but to look outside for the answers.

  23. It makes sense that if we are feeling overwhelmed and anxious in life we will reach for something to alleviate this. The problem is we look for that which will relieve it and not that which will release us from it. The need for alcohol is showing us we do not want to feel the tension we are in and the cigarettes show us that we know we are not breathing our true breath and this hurts us so misguidedly we reach for external substances that gives us what we perceive to be the necessary ‘space and pause’ when in-truth all they do is compound the problem and push it all deeper in, to which it will all have to come back out again further down the track. If we were instead taught to ‘go in’ first and draw on our inner resources then we would truly be given the adequate space to deal with the tensions as they arise.

  24. I know how people can say they have a drink to relax at night or watch tv but for me when I look at it it has been a way of retreating and withdrawing rather than connecting. It is like I want a moment of time out from the stresses of the day.

  25. “I realised that what people often miss when they give up these things is the time to simply relax and just ‘be’, because our bodies really crave moments of stillness.” yet we can choose to stop and have moments of stillness that we can bring to ourselves throughout our day. Esoteric Yoga has supported me to find and then bring these moments of stillness to my life.

  26. When we stop for small moments in our day and just ask ourselves how we’re feeling, what’s going on in our bodies, we start to build a relationship with our body and bring more awareness to things that we’re feeling that we might have dismissed or buried before. Our body is constantly communicating to us, but when we’re so busy racing around, we can’t hear its messages so clearly.

  27. I only started smoking to be like a boyfriend I had at the time. I never really liked it but the addiction had me in its grip for ten years. I’m glad I stopped, I don’t miss it now but I probably use food as a substitute.

  28. To pause for a moment to feel the sit bones on the chair, feet on the floor and observe the rhythm of the breath, immediately stops any momentum of rush or overwhelm. Practical and simple
    ways to simply be.

    1. It sure does Stephanie, I also find having a little walk, even just a few steps not thinking about anything other than walking, stops the feeling of anxiousness or overwhelm – it is like a reset button and is so simple, especially the quicker I catch myself getting caught in the rush.

    2. This would be a really good one for kids studying and for at work. It’s so simple it can be done anytime of the day.

  29. Creating moments of stillness is a very nurturing thing to do, allowing a stop moment where we can go deep inside and feel and know what we need to express in the world.

  30. This is a very important understanding, one that we all need to consider as we begin to look at our life, knowing that a behavior we are doing is harming us, but being unable to stop doing it. Forcing ourselves to stop often triggers another, equally harmful behavior. Whereas offering the body true stillness, as is shared here, provides a shift in how one lives in one’s body. It is this fact that is so very significant.

  31. “I realised that what people often miss when they give up these things is the time to simply relax and just ‘be’, because our bodies really crave moments of stillness.” I find Esoteric Yoga supports me with connecting with my stillness. Hard to believe that many years ago I thought the odd cigarette or drink performed the same!

    1. Sue it’s a good point and says a lot about our reference points. Once we have experienced stillness again we can look at our stress management strategies like a cigarette break with a whole new perspective.

  32. I am struck by the phrase a moment of stillness, in the way that we have mistaken a moment of numbness and relief from a tension in our bodies for a connection to our inner essence of stillness.

  33. I actually love moments of stillness, where you just can feel your breath and how gently it goes in and out and how our bodies don’t actually need to be tense and how our whole body actually has a pulse to it – it reminds me life is so simple and it’s a bit like it gives me a fresh platform for the rest of the day.

  34. After experiencing many times the positive calming and reconnecting effects of simply taking a few minutes to close my eyes and breathe gently, I am now wondering why we avoid taking this time for ourselves more often? Could it be because we are letting outside pressures to go constantly prove ourselves to others to influence how and when we make the space to connect with ourselves?

  35. When we live in a hectic way or have chaotic days, we can feel at the end of the day that we deserve a rest and with that often comes a reward. But what if there is no switch off time, and we choose to live a better daily rhythm, then we don’t need the chill out either. We can rest without checking out.

  36. When I allow myself to have moments of stillness the experience is so beautiful that there is no way that I would want alcohol or cigarettes to interrupt the experience. The more I experience the exquisiteness of stillness the less I want to put poisons like cigarettes and alcohol into my body.

  37. I also find Esoteric Yoga also supports with connecting to stillness- which can be lived and moved throughout the day – not just experienced in a class.

  38. Experience a moment of stillness and connection, and you wonder ‘how on earth have I missed this?’ its so stunningly beautiful it seems inconceivable that you will ever forget. And yet you do – a lot! This incongruous behaviour illustrates so clear that there is a part of us that steers is towards fear and away from settlement, harmony and Love. The more we face up to this fact, the simpler it is to choose truth. Thank you Sue for this moment.

  39. Sue coming up to 5 years ago I first read your blog and its still so relevant today, for how we are with ourselves, the quality and the movements we made in stillness ripple out and can be felt by all. I know with my daughter how different she is based on how I am.

  40. If, at the end of the day we are needing a substance of some sort to take the edge off our day, one that will prime us for what lies ahead in the evening, it would make sense to take a long and very honest look at how we have been living and working. Unfortunately, many people do not want to take this honest look as what they see might be saying that the way they are living and working is not supporting them, thus the drink is the quickest way to dull how they are feeling. By not allowing ourselves to feel we know that we won’t be asked to change and life will unfold as it always has.

  41. It is very natural for us to want to experience moments of stillness and presence, but we seem to do everything to fight or avoid this beautiful offering. If we begin to embrace this quality in our lives it certainly is life changing in many ways.

  42. It can be an impulse for repose and it can be an impulse to numb ourselves and it can be both in my experience.

  43. ‘By creating a space for ourselves of only a few minutes to sit, close our eyes, breathe very gently and feel our body, feet and eyes relaxing and our hands resting on our thighs, we can feel an absolute presence with ourselves. And then, by gently opening our eyes, we can hold that feeling of gentleness and presence and continue to be with ourselves.’ I must admit this is how I chose to say goodbye to smoking cigarettes a long time ago. This practice though, can be done just in order to be with ourselves again, free of outside influences, whatever they may be. Practised daily or even more frequently this supports us to support ourselves on all sorts of levels and we get to appreciate ourselves and become more caring and loving. We become more solid in ourselves and more able to face life’s challenges.

  44. Stillness is built in to the flow of the universe. It is inherent to our rhythm, and when understood, connected with, experience, felt, and lived, it supports us in everything.

    1. Chris your comment has really supported me to feel how we can connect very naturally to the stillness that is always there simply by choosing to stop running our bodies in ways that disconnect them from the Mother Ship.

  45. Our lungs represent our connection with divinity – the ‘breath of God’ we breathe into our body and out again, which helps to establish the rhythm and flow of life. When we live out of sync to this, we create a divide and then sensing this loss we seek to fill this self-created ‘void’ with a ‘false breath’, be that via the cigarette smoke we inhale or the food, music, thoughts, beliefs and ideals we ingest and let govern our life and thus validate the separation from our true and divine selves we have thus chosen.

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