One of the more practical results I got from the sesshin was the fact that I've finally been able to start work on quitting cigarettes. When I first stumbled on to Zen and Buddhism, I had recently reached a point in my personal life where I had given up drinking and smoking the not-tobacco. Finding that one of the precepts advises against abusing intoxicants was one of the first things that really endeared me to this path. However, I was struggling for a long time with whether or not cigarettes were something I should quit as well. Most of the people I asked about it said that cigarettes are an attachment and that I should examine how I was using them, and before sesshin I was at a point where I intellectually recognized that they were a crutch and that the money I spent on buying a pack every day could be put to a million better uses, but I couldn't make the leap and actually stop, mostly because a lot of my friends smoke and it's more or less impossible to have everyone around you light up and not reach for a cigarette yourself.
I didn't bring a pack with me to sesshin, figuring that it was probably a bad idea to do so and that if I wanted to quit there are fewer circumstances better than being at a silent Buddhist retreat for three days. Since I've come back, I've had all of one cigarette before I took the pack that I had and gave it to a friend. It's stressful but knowing that I went without for three days is a huge huge help. This morning I woke up with a craving but didn't indulge and went straight into my morning zazen sitting. When I finished, the craving was gone, but every time i go outside, I unconsciously think "I'm walking, time for a cigarette." It's less of a chemical addiction at this point it seems and more of a mental habit that needs to be broken. I'm going to see where this goes and hopefully withing the week not even be thinking of it anymore.
Just a late morning observation.