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 "Zen" Smokes-It's the process

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Briarbabe

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Age : 39
Location : PA
Registration date : 2013-07-30

PostSubject: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:01 pm

Since starting this hobby several weeks ago I've been frustrated a lot.  There is a very large learning curve to smoking a pipe and the more I learn the more I see that this is definitely something that takes time. And patience.  I am not really a patient person.  My dad used to tell me "Have patience before you become one.", all the time as a child and I still to this day don't know if it was a warning or a threat.  Knowing me, probably both. I have used more matches in the last four weeks than I probably have in my entire life.  My tongue is definitely ready to call this quits, although it is healing up nicely.  I have had so many questions and posted many; and scoured YouTube and I've learned a few things.  

I'm getting better at this.

When I rush, it's just a big unfulfilling mess.

If my bowl starts to get hot I put it down.

When I rush, it's just a big unfulfilling mess.

I still have a lot to learn.

When I rush, it's just a big unfulfilling mess.

Using a neti pot for the last ten years, I figured out how to "snork" almost instantly.

When I rush, it's just a big unfulfilling mess.

So I've stopped trying to smoke my pipe just for the sake of smoking my pipe.  I set aside some time.  I gather all of my tools ahead of time.  I pack my pipe (getting pretty good at it), I light, I tamp, I relight and then I take my shoes off.  This small step of taking my shoes off, has forced me to slow down.  I've had three really great zen-like smokes where I finally got a glimpse at what all the fuss was about.  Coincidentally, or not, those are the ones I didn't have to relight.  Everything was just right.  My cadence was perfect.  The smoke was cool and flavorful.  The world slowed it's spinning for a bit.  My feet felt firmly planted on the ground.  Or my butt was firmly planted on a pick up truck bed leaning close to my love.  These are what keep me in it, because I get it.  

I remember the look on my Dad's face when he was smoking his pipe.  I remember his slow, even movements from when he filled his pipe, right up to the point when it had cooled and he cleaned it out in the ashtray.  It's a process.  This is why I'm drawn to things like knitting, spinning, writing, smoking, even mowing the lawn and vacuuming.  It's a process.  Predictable, steady, even steps are taken to produce a predictable result.  And in all of the above mentioned it becomes muscle memory.  I can check out for a while, and my body can take over.  When I sit at my spinning wheel treadling quietly, it will send me into another world, and twenty minutes later, I look down to find that although my mind was somewhere else, my fingers stayed behind and there is a bobbin full off evenly spun singles. I know someday it will be the same with my pipe.

I'm learning, it's slow going, but I'm getting it and I love it.


eta:  grammar check!
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Jers

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Location : Ireland
Registration date : 2012-07-14

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:16 pm

Yep - I find pipe smoking to be a perfect expression of mindfulness.

Good for the soul...

Fraternally

Jers
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PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:43 pm

Trial and error happens to all or at least the honest.  Older folks would agree, if they can remember.  

I remember realizing I'd made progress one day in a convention lobby, I was chatting away and had my finger working away inside the pouch.  When I noticed what I was doing, it was a perfectly filled pipe in my hand.  You'll get there.  

BTW, that was many decades ago with a couple of intervening switch from a pipe.  Each return to the pipe was again a trial and error process -- just shorter in duration.
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KevinM



Age : 75
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:20 pm

Yah. Just breath steadily, slow down and enjoy what you're about. White dot briars, eBay bargains, hunting the Acadia mixture a/o chasing the elusive taste of truffle or whatever all have their place in pipery, but for me it's about achieving a state of relaxation and contentment in the company of an old friend who (usually) happens to be briar. There are certain "barriers to entry" to this hobby, but perseverence will see you through.
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Dutch

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Age : 53
Location : On the road.......
Registration date : 2010-11-06

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:06 am

BriarBabe, there was a time when I smoked my pipe while driving my pickup. One day I realized that it kinda stressed me out, trying to multi task while attempting to benefit from the relaxation of pipe smoking. At that point, I began to only smoke my pipe when I had time to give it my undivided attention. I do still read and surf the internet while smoking my pipe, but most other activities are not combined. The enjoyment of my pipe instantly improved when I made the change. I do smoke less tobacco now than before, but I enjoy the experience so much more.

Another thing that improved my pipe smoking was trying to stay as far away from aromatic tobacco as possible. Since the person smoking the pipe cannot smell the tobacco they are smoking, the only benefit is the room note other non smokers experience. In addition, the chemicals in aromatic tobaccos can really wreak havoc with your tongue and gums. Some people are more sensitive to this than others.

Another discovery I made was the effect that some of my prescription medications had on my pipe smoking. Any prescription medication that has a "dry mouth" side effect, will eventually cause gum disease for some people, even of they are not a smoker. Saliva production is responsible for keeping gum disease in check, so decreased saliva production will be a contributing factor in a person developing gum disease. It took me awhile to figure out, that the dry mouth condition my prescription medications created, was responsible for a lot of the tongue bite I experienced while pipe smoking. I discovered a non foaming toothpaste and mouthwash called Biotene. These greatly improved my dry mouth condition and in turn improved my pipe smoking experience.

The other aspect you discussed in another thread was drying your tobacco properly. The primary way I evaluate this is the condition of my tobacco in the last third of the bowl. If this last third is difficult to keep lit, and is a goopy mess, it will always cause frustration and tongue bite. The problem will either be the blend itself, or that the tobacco was not dry enough before the pipe was filled. The only exception to this would be a pipe with en extremely large or deep bowl. In that case, you might end up with a goopy mess, but regardless it will always contribute to high moisture content, lighting difficulties, and tongue bite.
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Briarbabe

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Age : 39
Location : PA
Registration date : 2013-07-30

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:22 am

Dutch wrote:
BriarBabe, there was a time when I smoked my pipe while driving my pickup. One day I realized that it kinda stressed me out, trying to multi task while attempting to benefit from the relaxation of pipe smoking. At that point, I began to only smoke my pipe when I had time to give it my undivided attention. I do still read and surf the internet while smoking my pipe, but most other activities are not combined. The enjoyment of my pipe instantly improved when I made the change. I do smoke less tobacco now than before, but I enjoy the experience so much more.

Another thing that improved my pipe smoking was trying to stay as far away from aromatic tobacco as possible. Since the person smoking the pipe cannot smell the tobacco they are smoking, the only benefit is the room note other non smokers experience. In addition, the chemicals in aromatic tobaccos can really wreak havoc with your tongue and gums. Some people are more sensitive to this than others.

Another discovery I made was the effect that some of my prescription medications had on my pipe smoking. Any prescription medication that has a "dry mouth" side effect, will eventually cause gum disease for some people, even of they are not a smoker. Saliva production is responsible for keeping gum disease in check, so decreased saliva production will be a contributing factor in a person developing gum disease. It took me awhile to figure out, that the dry mouth condition my prescription medications created, was responsible for a lot of the tongue bite I experienced while pipe smoking. I discovered a non foaming toothpaste and mouthwash called Biotene. These greatly improved my dry mouth condition and in turn improved my pipe smoking experience.

The other aspect you discussed in another thread was drying your tobacco properly. The primary way I evaluate this is the condition of my tobacco in the last third of the bowl. If this last third is difficult to keep lit, and is a goopy mess, it will always cause frustration and tongue bite. The problem will either be the blend itself, or that the tobacco was not dry enough before the pipe was filled. The only exception to this would be a pipe with en extremely large or deep bowl. In that case, you might end up with a goopy mess, but regardless it will always contribute to high moisture content, lighting difficulties, and tongue bite.

Thank you for the information. It's good to know and will be filed away for future use. Staying healthy while enjoying this hobby is a big concern of mine, so any information on that subject is greatly appreciated. I'm enjoying many of Boswell's aromatics, but I am ready to stretch out into some non-aros. Budget is a little tight for now though. I'm waiting for my 30/30 to be up, hoping to be able to trade some handknit pipe socks for some tobacco. In the meantime, smoking the aros is giving me practice at drying properly and getting a good feel for a cool smoke versus when things start to heat up and I need to put my pipe down. I believe most of my trouble all starts with my packing, and I know it just takes time to get it right. Besides which I actually do really like a few of the aros I tried. The Chocolate Cream in particular is really great stuff, as is the Berry Cobbler and the Boswell's Best.
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Briar Spirit

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Age : 50
Location : England UK
Registration date : 2012-08-30

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:24 am

In time my friend you will come to a realisation, the pipe is just a pipe and the tobacco is just tobacco, when you get there you can then spend less time worrying about how you smoke and concentrate more on what you're smoking, you're getting there nicely by all accounts. I've been smoking pipes for a little over 33 years now, for the longest time I just stuffed tobacco into a pipe and smoked it, then I joined a couple of smokers forums and got all tripped out by all the information out there, suddenly I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, slowly I got back to being myself and now I just stuff tobacco into my pipes and smoke it, the difference now is that I know some really great people and I enjoy spending time conversing with them here and on other forums. Try not to get yourself too lost in the 'way' to smoke your pipes, you will lose sight of the enjoyment, one of my favourite philosophers once said "it's like a finger pointing a way to the moon, don't concentrate on the finger or you'll miss all that heavenly glory". sunny 
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pepesdad1

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Age : 74
Location : Tallahassee, Florida
Registration date : 2013-03-03

PostSubject: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:34 pm

Kirk said:  "Try not to get yourself too lost in the 'way' to smoke your pipes, you will lose sight of the enjoyment, one of my favourite philosophers once said "it's like a finger pointing a way to the moon, don't concentrate on the finger or you'll miss all that heavenly glory".  

That is a fact!  The main point is to enjoy yourself.  

By the way...aromatics can be great...you just have to find the one(s) that appeal to you and don't have a lot of PG in them.  May I suggest Brigadier Black Alamo and 4-Noggins Killington (Killington has some burly in it, but that is what makes it so darn good.)

Smoking your pipe is a process that should make you calm and content...if you aren't there yet...you will be...just give it some time...and do listen to the BoB members here...they mean you well and good times.
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AJ

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Age : 69
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:14 pm

pepesdad1 wrote:
Kirk said:  "Try not to get yourself too lost in the 'way' to smoke your pipes, you will lose sight of the enjoyment, one of my favourite philosophers once said "it's like a finger pointing a way to the moon, don't concentrate on the finger or you'll miss all that heavenly glory".  

That is a fact!  The main point is to enjoy yourself.  

By the way...aromatics can be great...you just have to find the one(s) that appeal to you and don't have a lot of PG in them.  May I suggest Brigadier Black Alamo and 4-Noggins Killington (Killington has some burly in it, but that is what makes it so darn good.)

Smoking your pipe is a process that should make you calm and content...if you aren't there yet...you will be...just give it some time...and do listen to the BoB members here...they mean you well and good times.
THIS!^^^^^^^

AJ
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MisterE
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Registration date : 2009-08-24

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:20 pm

Jers wrote:
Yep - I find pipe smoking to be a perfect expression of mindfulness.

Good for the soul...

Fraternally

Jers

Very well put.


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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:21 pm

Jers wrote:
Yep - I find pipe smoking to be a perfect expression of mindfulness.

Good for the soul...

Fraternally

Jers

Kata, かた , as it is practiced in a Japanese approach, is a process, an application, and a method of "doing." It is done with specific repetition, reverence, simple precision, and through direct, interactive, whole approach. It's the foundation of oneness, being in the moment with what is being done, and...as aptly put, mindfulness.

Pipes are a wonderful practice of kata in my world.

Cool
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Jers

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PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:35 pm

We are singing off the same hymn sheet.......Cool

Fraternally

Jers
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PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:11 pm

Why am I thinking...

Two guys walk into a Karaoke lounge...
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:58 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Jers wrote:
Yep - I find pipe smoking to be a perfect expression of mindfulness.

Good for the soul...

Fraternally

Jers

Kata, かた , as it is practiced in a Japanese approach, is a process, an application, and a method of "doing."  It is done with specific repetition, reverence, simple precision, and through direct, interactive, whole approach.  It's the foundation of oneness, being in the moment with what is being done, and...as aptly put, mindfulness.  

Pipes are a wonderful practice of kata in my world.  

Cool

No self, no problem. Cool 

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-Yak
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Draagha

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Location : Merritt Island, FL
Registration date : 2013-07-02

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:56 am

Kyle Weiss wrote:

Kata, かた , as it is practiced in a Japanese approach, is a process, an application, and a method of "doing."  It is done with specific repetition, reverence, simple precision, and through direct, interactive, whole approach.  It's the foundation of oneness, being in the moment with what is being done, and...as aptly put, mindfulness.

I will forever refer to my pipe smoking as practicing my katas now. Thanks Kyle! Twisted Evil 
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:24 pm

E: If you ask me, "self" is okay just so long as it is awareness and not centered. Just another component in any kata. In our case, the pipe cannot smoke itself. It needs us to respectfully assist in its purpose. Not to get too deep here, but I honestly wonder if we're the kata for the pipe, rather than the other way around--it is us, much more often, who must change to the needs of the pipe and the leaf; our awareness and simple character that results is a beautiful symbiosis...

...or mere beautiful bullsh!t. I'm good with either. :zenface:

Cool
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DrumsAndBeer

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Age : 46
Location : Northern, CA
Registration date : 2012-04-04

PostSubject: Re: "Zen" Smokes-It's the process   Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:08 am

Briar Spirit wrote:
one of my favourite philosophers once said "it's like a finger pointing a way to the moon, don't concentrate on the finger or you'll miss all that heavenly glory". sunny 
cheers 

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