Guard Your Eyes

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Mind Tips

There are many different mind-frames that one can use when he is faced with a strong challenge in Shmiras Ha'ainayim or Shmiras Ha'bris . Each person can choose the one that works best for him. There also may very well be times when one way will work better for you than the other ways, so it is important to train your mind in all these powerful attitudes.

Another possible idea; choose one of these attitudes and try to work with it for a while. When / if you feel you need a change of attitude, try another one of these mental methods.

Tip #1) Mind Frame 1. There is nothing there! Tell yourself it is all air, a big bubble of the Yetzer Hara! True, it looks so tempting, but as Chaza"l say, "a woman is but a barrel of excrement, and her mouth (allegorically) is filled with blood - and yet all run after her!". Indeed, R' Nachman of Breslov once said that there is no greater foolishness than sexual desire, and that anyone with wisdom can overcome it. Even as a person sins, he is asking himself what is he gaining from this, what is so amazing about this?! Rash Lakish (who was once the head of the robbers), writes in the Gemara that the desire to look at women is much more than the pleasure of the actual deed itself!". The minute a person has had his few second pleasure, all the fantasies and arousals vanish like smoke, and the bubble, which seemed so big just a few minutes ago, pops in his face! And how the Yetzer Hara laughs at him, for he has given away his world to come for a big bag of empty air!

Remember, the only reason it seems so hard is because G-d wants us to work on ourselves, therefore, he gave us this "imaginary" struggle. The minute that one realizes that it's all a "trick" of G-d to test our loyalty to him, one won't let his heart be swayed any more by this "hot air". 

 Tip #2) Mind Frame 2. Enjoying the Challenge! Imagine you are playing a video arcade game called "Life", and the enemy is called "Temptation". If a test comes and you overcome it, you get many points and move to higher and higher levels each time. (Remember though, there's one small thing about this game. You you are playing here for your ETERNITY). So, when faced with a test, learn to think to yourself; "Common, I'm ready for you! I enjoy the challenge!" 

Tip #3) Mind Frame 3. Bitul (self-nullification). Learn to think "Who am I to want anything? We are not here for pleasure. I am doing the work of the king every time I say "No"! What more can a Jew want in this world?

Along these lines of Bitul, R’ Nachman offers a powerful suggestion. Whenever you are feeling weak and about to break, go into a room alone. Close your eyes, lie on the floor and put yourself in a place of total Bitul (self annulment). Repeat over and over again “I am nothing”, “I am nothing”.

Tip #4) Mind Frame 4. Bearing the Pain. Learn how to bear the mental pain of saying "No" to yourself. Naturally, we go to what feels good and we stay away from pain. We got that from cows. Animals don’t understand that a painful experience can be beneficial. Try and explain surgery to a cow. All the cow understands is “Food”, I go. “Pain”, I go away. But we humans were endowed with wisdom! Tell yourself, the pain I feel is GOOD for me, the pain I feel is HEALING me, and it is fixing all that I have damaged in the past. Can you imagine the pleasure we give G-d every time we see something that pulls us to go astray, and instead of letting it get to us, we go against everything in our nature and scream out to G-d from the depths of our hearts and say "G-d!! Take this powerful desire of mine on your heavenly alter as a sacrifice for your honor!". This method teaches us how to to give up our desires to G-d (which is similar to steps 2 & 3 of the 12 steps).

Here's something an x-addict wrote about pain on an Arutz Sheva Forum:
Many find themselves in destructive behavior when they feel pain and don't see a way out. When I felt pain, I wanted a way to avoid it ... which only took me further from reality.
It's OK to sit with pain ... it's better than the mind-numbing behaviors that remove us from the world.
Thank G-d that we FEEL AGAIN! ... even if it's pain.
Be assured that you are making progress.

Tip #5) Mind Frame 5. Uplifting the Desires. Instead of letting yourself feel the pain and having to sacrifice it to G-d, train yourself instead how to uplift the beauty that you see to G-d. In other words, instead of letting the beauty and desire get to you, immediately cry out to G-d in you heart  "Oh G-d, how beautiful YOU must be, that you created such beauty in the world! For you, Oh G-d, are the SOURCE of all beauty and pleasure that exists!"... "I want you G-d, as much as I want this! I want you G-d, instead of this!"... "G-d! You are the true source of all love, beauty and desire! Help me to love you, instead of loving flesh and blood! Replace these desires with desire for you!"...

This frame of mind is a beautiful method of uplifting your heart to G-d and not letting the desire get to you. Think how holy a person can become, if he trains his mind to think in this way!

The Holy Sefer, Noam Elimelech from Rav Elimelech of Lizensk writes that Yaakov Avinu's attribute was that of Tiferes, meaning "Awesome Beauty". This implies that Yaakov Avinu had the ability to be awestruck by G-dly beauty in all he saw. For example, the Noam Elimelech continues, "When a person eats a tasty food, he should say to himself, "if this food is so good in taste, is it not obvious that all the good and pleasantness is to be found in the Creator--may his name be blessed--without any limit or boundary!...and this is the secret of the Pasuk "and Yaakov kissed Rachel". (Click here for the original piece in Hebrew).

How uplifting and beautiful it is to try to apply this midah of Yaakov Avinu to ourselves. Whenever we see something that turns our hearts to sexual desire, we need to tell ourselves, "If this woman is so beautiful and I desire her so much, how much more beautiful it must be to connect with G-d, who is the infinite source of all beauty, pleasantness and pleasure!”

Tip #6) Mind Frame 6. Recognizing the Harm. Learn to realize and internalize that this desire is out to destroy you, not to help you. He claims to be your best friend, but he is your worst enemy. The Yetzer hara’s goal is that the value of your life should be zero. His job is to damage. To do this he was given permission to use pleasure and illusionary "fulfillment" as a bluff to be able to cause us damage. Otherwise, how could he possibly damage, we would tell him to get lost! But we need to realize,  it is like Arafat offering us a piece of cake. We know he doesn’t mean the cake, he means to use the cake to damage us somehow. Isn't it obvious that he wants your soul, not the pleasure? Otherwise, why is a thousand times never enough?! We need to internalize, that it is an addiction, a disease, an immaturity. That these are not-normal, non-healthy desires. These false pleasures that he offers you, destroy your relationship with (your wife and) your family, with your own self, and most importantly, they destroy your relationship with Hashem.

More mind tips...

Tip #7) Increase your Yiras Shamayim by viewing this video clip called "The Seal of Truth". It's an emotional account by someone who was non-religious and experienced death, the after-life and his heavenly judgment, and how he was sent back down to earth and became a Ba'al Teshuvah. The video is in Hebrew with English subtitles. Special effects and sound were added, but the interview is all real. It is about an hour long, but for the purpose of Chizuk in Shmiras Habris, the most important parts to watch are from the beginning until 17.40 minutes into the story. If you have even less time, please watch at least from 12.00 minutes until 17.40 minutes. If you can't access it or don't have the ability to view it, click here for a transcript of the most important parts (12-17.40 minutes).

Tip #8) Make the Decision. It's not half as much a matter of "will power" as it is simply deciding that this is what you want! Hashem doesn’t ask of us that which we can’t do. The Torah says "Ki karov elecha hadavar me’od" it is very close to you (meaning that it is not difficult), but this is only true if you decide that this is what you truly want! It’s only hard as long as you still think you want it. Decide forever: You don’t want to go back to Egypt!

Tip #9) Always remain happy, no matter what. The Yetzer Hara's biggest tool in getting people to sin, is depression. Read this parable from R'Nachman to help.

One way to always remain happy is to remember that everything we go through in life, including all of the "unfulfilled" desires that we think we need, and all the suffering we endure, it is all only for our good. We are designed and programmed by God to attain lasting pleasure. That's our function. God is not stingy. He wants us to have the premium -- the greatest possible pleasure, just like most parents want nothing less for their children. Anything less than the very best would smack of imperfection, in contradiction to God's perfect essence. We must believe that this is the best possible world, since it is a reflection of God's perfection. "Since God desired to bestow good, a partial good would not be sufficient. The good that He bestows would have to be the ultimate good that His handiwork could accept." (The Way of God, 1:2:1). Since God is perfect and has no needs, He cannot take; He only gives. Creation is not for His benefit. It is one continuous gift of pure altruism, an act of complete giving without getting anything in return. "God's purpose in creation was to bestow of His good to another." [Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, The Way of God, 1:2:1]. Obviously, this frame of mind requires a lot of Emunah, but if we work on it enough we can be given the gift by God to start to truly feel it. And with this frame of mind, a man can indeed achieve the ultimate happiness.

Tip #10) It's not You. Learn to view the addiction in 3rd person. Realize the addiction is not you, it has a mind of it's own and it's out to destroy you. Don't let IT control you. Don't give into IT. Realize IT has always, and still continues, to lie to you.

Tip #11) Curiosity killed the cat. Often, most of the difficulty in guarding the eyes stems from the human nature of curiosity. You see a link on the internet that looks enticing, or you see a woman coming down the street and you ask yourself, "do I know her?", or "have I seen her before?", or "is she attractive enough to warrant me even wanting to look at her?". These are all tricks of the Yetzer Hara. It's not even so much the desire to look at the woman, as it is the curiosity at first. So the way to fight this is to train your mind not to give in to curiosity. Next time you are curious about something that you know may lead your heart astray, tell yourself "No! Curiosity is the Satan's tool!". (For an example of an indecent picture that can turn your heart astray click here).

Tip #12) Some more thoughts to think about when feeling weak...

- "Just once" is always too much. A thousand times is never enough.


- The more you feed it, the more you want. The less you feed it, the less you will want.


- Say NO to the child within you. You are a mature adult who can make the right choices.


- Think of consequence of your actions. The world won’t end if you don’t get what you want now.


- Stay clean, just for today.


- Believe in the importance of saying no, each time on its own.


- Believe you will be cared for if you say NO. Trust in Hashem to help you cope and to take care of you when you say no.


- Recovery is not a test of endurance. Rather learning to flow with life.


Tip #13) Here are some more beautiful thoughts to think about, from an X-addict (click here)

Life is for pleasure, for enjoying...but only if it feels right and good. (A brilliant question to ask oneself is, whether this action will make HASHEM happy) - This is what its all about: remove the ego and live for Hashem

Teshuvah must be a happy, and enjoyable process; you are growing and developing yourself!! Think positive thoughts, be calm, weigh up the consequences before you act.

And this is what it comes down to: Do YOU take Yourself seriously? Is Your life serious to you?

It is never to late to change your thinking pattern of behavior, and decisions

Commit to making the best of your decisions and create your life the way that you want it to be.

Live for your values, for what you believe in and for that which makes you (and Hashem) - truly happy!