How can I merit to have pure thoughts instead of my mind being filled with worthless things?
Now, if I could give you a perfect prescription for pure thoughts I wouldn’t be sitting here. I would be in an office with ten gabbaim at my door; I’d be a very great rebbeh, famous all over the world.
The truth is that there is no prescription to give you perfectly pure thoughts. But certainly there is advice for making progress in achieving them. So the first thing is to sur meira — you must turn away from bad. It means you have to keep away from things that cause wrong thoughts. It’s a big order but there’s no choice. Of course you cannot have a television. Anybody who wants to have a television and also wants to have pure thoughts is a lunatic. You cannot go to movies and have pure thoughts. You cannot be in bad company and have pure thoughts.
So first of all is sur meira, go away from evil. Don’t read the newspapers; just take a look at the headlines and finished; because once you start opening the newspapers and reading inside you are going to be flooded with the opposite of pure thoughts. Now, that’s a big achievement already; sur meira is a big achievement. It doesn’t guarantee that your mind will be perfectly clean but it’s a very big step in the right direction.
Now, one more suggestion – I am not going to exhaust this subject but I’ll say it quickly – and that is your mind cannot be a vacuum. The Rambam says that wrong thoughts are going to enter any mind that’s vacant of Torah, of Torah ideals. It means as follows: If you have an empty mind something is going to enter it and most probably it’s going to be the wrong thoughts that will enter. And therefore, you have to fill your mind with good thoughts. You must be busy with positive thoughts.
Now, listen to what I am telling you. In case you’re not a ben Torah, in case you’re not a baal mussar, get busy with some project like making money. A man who is making money has no time for bad thoughts. Like the Gemara talks about somebody whose parnassa is to match animals; he’s a shadchan between male and female animals; he’s mating them. So you’ll say, that’s something that can trigger the wrong kind of thoughts. So the Gemara says that if it’s his business – he’s in the stud business – so he won’t have bad thoughts because b’aviditei tarid, he is busy with his parnassa.
If a man is busy with his parnassa, he doesn’t have time for wrong thoughts. It’s only a person who is an idler with nothing to do – even if he’s sitting in a yeshiva but he’s not learning so his mind is vacant and now anything can happen; all kinds of thoughts will come into his head.
So now we learned two suggestions on this subject: One is keep away from those stimuli that cause wrong thoughts and secondly, you must have something in your mind at all time; whether it’s business, or a hobby like dressmaking, or yiras shomayim and Torah. Your mind must be filled with something otherwise the wrong thoughts will enter the vacuum.
TAPE # 511