A friend and member of my Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Chaburah pointed out a really powerful eitza from Rav Elimelech from Lizhinsk to completely take control of your thoughts. I think that this eitza is so powerful, I would characterize it as "the nuclear option."
In Tzeitel Koton #13, found in the sefer Noam Elimelech, he writes that one should keep track of and tell over all of his machshavos asuros to either his rebbe, or a very close friend, every day. Not only will this force a person to control and eliminate his forbidden thoughts because he doesn't want to be humiliated in front of his rebbe or good friend, but it also has the bonus benefit that the rebbe or friend may have good advice for him in changing his thought patterns.
This advice makes me think of a couple of things. One thing is that it shows that with proper motivation, we have the ability to control our own thoughts, notwithstanding today's conventional wisdom, which says that one cannot control their own thoughts. For instance, if I knew that my employer would withhold a day's pay from me for every time that I had a forbidden thought, then you could be darn sure that I would lose one, or at maximum, two days pay for the rest of my life! I would know and be conscious of the consequences of my thoughts and I would find a way to control them, notwithstanding the difficulty. Reb Mailech is pointing out that this great truth can be channeled into practical application by creating a similar disincentive by telling over all forbidden thoughts to a rebbe or trusted friend.
The other thing that this makes me think of is computer programs that one can install that monitor one's internet use and them creates periodic e-mails to an "accountability partner," that lists all of the questionable internet sites that he has visited during a certain period. I have not found an effective and fully operational program like this, but the concept is the same. He is essentially taking what a program like that does for one's internet use, and then expanding it into his entire brain! His rebbe or friend becomes his "accountability partner" when it comes to taking responsibility for his every thought.
I hope that someone out there finds this eitza effective. May Hashem help us all to be goveir on our thoughts, such that they should only be thoughts which bring us closer to Him, and not, ChV"Sh, the opposite.
(Picture courtesy of LoriWilliamsOnline)
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