Thursday, August 06, 2009

Imagination & Shmiras Einayim

A person usually thinks of imagination as something that runs wild on the occasions that he isn't careful with shmiras einayim. Imagination, however, can actually be an extremely powerful weapon in the battle against the yetzer hara and its desire to run around unchecked in our minds.

Instinctively, a person may glance a second time after seeing a sight that he finds enticing, despite the fact that it may be improper to look at. The mind hasn't fully processed what the eyes have seen in the first split second, yet it knows that there is now something worthy of its attention and desires to get a better look.

This brief moment in time between the first and second glances is where employing the power of imagination is crucial. At this moment, a person must tell himself that he did not see anything at all. Once the brain receives this command signal, it looses its desire to look a second time. A person can than proceed along his way as if nothing happened and maintain his thoughts focusing on matters of kedusha.


At August 6, 2009 at 7:45:00 AM EDT, Blogger Staying Afloat said...

Interesting perspective. It fits in well with a post I just put up about fighting the yetzer hara largely by making sure you think first.


At August 6, 2009 at 10:34:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

How does this command signal to delete a very obvious input work practically? It may be easier/better just to shift attention to something else.

At August 6, 2009 at 10:36:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I have found that shifting attention to something else is just a temporary fix.

At August 6, 2009 at 11:17:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What works best for is thinking:
1. How horrible it is to look on improper sights since it will separate me from Hashem.
2. The sight is not enticing but disgusting as the Gemora Shabbos 152A says:
אשה חמת מלא צואה ופיה מלא דם, והכול רצין אחריה
3. How much destruction I’ll cause to my marriage, children, family, Klal Yisroel and also delay the geula all because of one improper look.

At August 6, 2009 at 1:48:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

"A person can than proceed along his way as if nothing happened and maintain his thoughts focusing on matters of kedusha."

The image is stored in the subconscious. I, also, think that shifting attention to something else is temporary fix, but so what?
In war (and really that's what this is) disctracting the enemy even for a minute can gain you an advantage.

Take Yosef and Potifar's wife...
Yosef saw the image of his father, Yaakov. That distraction was all he needed.
Great post.

At August 7, 2009 at 10:01:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

As I recall, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov ZY"A recommended shifting attention because the other tactics actually tend to reinforce the consciousness/memory of the initial stimulus.

Still, everyone has to find out what works for him.


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