“We are all Buddhas,” I thought as another piercing headache jabbed through my cortex like an icicle.

I navel-gazed in the drain for a moment, the swirling water reminded me of the shower scene from Psycho. I could almost see the filaments of blood lacing through the warm water. Four days. Four days of insurmountable craving, pain, irritability and roaming psychotic episodes.

Four days without a cigarette. I’d smoked for about 16 years. I can hear some readers thinking, “16 years? Ha! I’ve smoked for 40!” It’s not a contest; there’s no gold medal for being the oldest lifelong smoker. Well, maybe there is, I don’t know—I’m not up do to date on things like that.

“Fuck me in ear!” I mumble-shouted as the mind quake finally started to subside. I thought I understood craving and dukkha before I quit smoking. I didn’t know shit. The experience really did show how much desire is a part of our lives, how it’s at work behind pretty much everything we do.

But then there are those moments, those flashing respites, when the mind doesn’t want or need anything. It’s like the manic cymbal-crashing monkey runs out of batteries, and there’s a moment to just breathe. That moment didn’t come until several hours later. I was about to do my last sweep of the store for the night, and there it was: peace.

It’s like my brain, after throwing a tantrum for 4 straight days, finally realized I wasn’t going to give in. “Fine! Just fuckin’ fine! Ya know what, I don’t even want a cigarette anyway, so screw you. Here’s some endorphins… asshole.”

We are all Buddhas.

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