4 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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Five Hacks To Clear Your Mind    

Five Hacks To Clear Your Mind

Temptation arises during times of mental idleness, when we are in a physical and mental state where stimulation and excitement are exactly what we need…


We all have parts of our day where we are half idle with tasks that require little to no concentration. No matter where you are, the evil inclination knows that these are the best moments to pounce.


If you go to forbidden sites while at work, you will be caught and you will be fired. That's not the temptation. The temptation arises when we go to news sites and they show attractive faces, or people covered up, but in ways that unfortunately stir the imagination.


All you need is one image, and a chain reaction of forbidden thoughts is triggered right when you are most vulnerable to such an attack. We are sitting in front of a computer. We are physically inactive. We are also mentally inactive. We are in a physical and mental state where stimulation and excitement are exactly what we need. This is where the Evil Inclination tempts you with an “easy solution.”


Here are 5 hacks for creating an even greater stimulation: fighting this off.


1. Concentrate on a Torah shiur. If you are doing something that requires little concentration, and you know that listening to something else will not detract from your work, listen to a Torah shiur. It can be from your mobile device, or from the internet via your desktop computer. Once these thoughts attack, do everything you can to concentrate on every word the Rav is saying.


2. Call out to Hashem in your mind. Tell Him that you do not want to think these thoughts. You find them repulsive and you don't want it. Even while 90% of your emotions and thoughts are still lusting for this, scream to Hashem that you wish they would go away.


According to Rabbi Arush, just one hour of living in today's world confronts us with more lust than over an entire lifetime just 100 years ago. Can you imagine how much light you flood the world with by fighting?


3. Say the Shema. By reciting the Shema we combat these thoughts. This is a great, and immediate hack to chop away at these unwanted impulses.


4. Scream over and again, "You are not me!" These thoughts come from the Yetzer Hara, our Evil Inclination. This is not a part of you. It is an alien creation formed by Hashem to test us. Concentrate on the fact that these impulses are outside of you. They are a separate entity. It is something that can be cut off and thrown away. Focus on how every thought is not you. It is not a part of you and you can separate from it, even in this world. (Thanks to Rabbi Reuven Levy in his Garden of Emuna, part 8 audio lesson for this!


5. Take a walk. It's a lot harder to think about anything superficial if you are going for a brisk walk. Your senses are now being given stimulation of movement, new sights, sounds, and smells. Go out for a cup of coffee. Walk the entire floor of the office. Simply go to the bathroom and throw water on your face.


It’s a challenge to keep our mind clear of bad thoughts. We don’t choose what our co-workers will wear today. We don’t choose what will be on the websites we check every day. We don’t choose who will be walking the street beside us, and what they will be wearing.


Once we sit down and our minds begin to make sense of these stimulations, what we can choose is how we will react to those thoughts that are forced upon us: do we embrace them, or do we push them away? It is a moment to moment battle with millions of small victories that can be claimed in a matter of minutes.

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