Stop, Look and Listen
If you let it, the humble cigar has a lot to teach you.
The simple, ritualistic, everyday action of selecting, lighting and smoking your chosen cigar can be taken allegorically, for example.
Let’s take selection as your starting point. If you’re blindfolded and shoved into a walk-in humidor with instructions to grab the first cigar you lay hands on, what are the chances you’ll find something you like? Very slim.
The size, the ring gauge, the strength, the flavour profile; all are bound to differ from your favoured style of stogie.
This is a teaching to take our time. To stop and smell the roses. Think mindfully about what you’re doing and why. The same goes for clipping and lighting up your stick once you’ve made your mind up. Slow down, breathe deep, enjoy the journey, instead of hankering for your destination.
As you smoke the cigar, apply the same logic to stop your brain running away with you. If you’re not careful, you’ll reach the end of the smoke, put it down and hardly remember a thing about it. That is the danger of a lot of what we do on a daily basis; far too often we’re on autopilot.
Taking stock and finding the good in our everyday lives is reckoned to be a key cornerstone of happiness. And that’s why we love cigars, for they make us do that – time and time again.
We’re sorry Mr Freud, but we reckon you’re wrong. A cigar is always more than just a cigar.
Consider it some more. Living in the present – being in the here and now instead of worrying what you didn’t do yesterday and what you need to do tomorrow – is not something many people achieve. And they are then prone to go through life feeling somehow unsatisfied. They’re never really happy with their lot and they don’t really know why. It’s an empty ache for something, and an ache that’s often misconstrued as a hunger for material possessions. More money, better car, bigger house.
None of those things can make you happy. They can certainly be part of a happy life, but in themselves, they are not the be all and end all. And even if you don’t yet realise it, your chosen moments with a cigar make you realise this.
For a few minutes, you have permission to be in the present. As you watch the smoke curl and shift like your thought patterns, you are in the Cigar Zone, where clarity of thought and purpose come swiftly and easily. You’ll find the answer to niggling questions and thorny issues that you might have percolated in your mind for days will suddenly come to you, blindingly obvious.
Old grievances are seen for what they truly are instead of becoming all-consuming. A clear path through awkward relationships and conversations can suddenly be seen.
The is the art of the cigar – stop, look and listen, for those dried leaves always have something to show you.