I read your editorial called, "The Thoughts of Our Heart" (in
the Rosh Hashonoh issue) encouraging Klal Yisroel to
channel their thoughts, to flee from bad thoughts as from
fire and that we should fill our hearts and minds with the
high and holy thoughts that they are capable of holding, etc.
I would like to add some more practical suggestions to
support your meaningful words of encouragement.
This area of self-development can be extremely trying, even
for those who are very careful regarding what they expose
themselves to. I would like to recommend a sefer for
those who would like to gain insights into the functioning of
the mind, a very descriptive sefer that can be a
practical guide to refining one's thoughts, elevating our
entire beings. It is called, Cheshbon Hanefesh and is
by Rabbi Mendel of Satanov (foreword by Rabbi Y. I. Sher of
Slobodka). We can feel very inspired when encouraged;
however, many of us need the "How to do it" as well as the
"What to do."
The very last chapter of the sefer describes a strong
desire broken down into four stages, using visual imagery to
explain the thought process. The author describes how one can
actually deal with being mentally engulfed by negative
thoughts and, in a successful way, prevent further
aveiros. This particular moshol can be very
helpful to people trying to conquer other negative traits as
well, i.e., anger, etc.
A second sefer containing practical suggestions is
called, Towards Meaningful Prayer, by S. Feldbrand.
The following is an excerpt from sefer Cheshbon
Hanefesh: "As long as a man's mind is settled, his
intellectual spirit quietly stands guard, spreading its light
upon his mind as if it were a torch atop the edifice of his
body" (Perek 1, Menuchas Hanefesh).
It appears that one of the tricks is to train one's mind to
be focused on any given task, even when there are no negative
associations taking place, i.e., training oneself not to be
overwhelmed, compartmentalizing, etc., so that when one is
caught with more serious negative infiltration, one has
already had practice and "mental exercises" become more
manageable. Working on Menuchas Hanefesh appears to be
a vital step in helping us achieve the lofty goals in your
article. "The tzelem Elokim in man is the
mo'ach and lev and these two words have the
same gematria as Elokim" (Rabbi M. Glazerson
Faith and Healing).
I personally feel very grateful to Hakodosh Boruch Hu
for having stumbled upon the above two seforim, and
felt prompted to share this information.
Mrs. S. D. Chrysler