Sometimes when we're out there in the big world surrounded by all the temptations wherever we seem to look, we cry out in our hearts "Dear G-d, where are you? I can't see you, I can't feel you! All I see is a beauty of a different kind, wherever I look!"...
But then the answer comes to our hearts from G-d, "my son, does there exist any beauty besides me? I am in the beauty you see as well!".
For G-d is indeed everywhere, and He - and only He - is the source of all beauty. The beauty that we see and crave here on this world is only a mere shadow of a manifestation of G-d's beauty.
We need to train our minds to realize that there are no two types of beauty. There is only one source of beauty in the world. What we see in women is also the beauty of G-d. But, G-d has decreed that in order to merit perceiving His true beauty, we must first learn to turn our eyes away from the physical beauty - that is only his creation, and instead turn our hearts to Him - i.e. to the SOURCE. In His great wisdom, G-d determined that only one who is ready to give up the physical manifestations of G-d's beauty should be worthy of experiencing the true beauty of G-d, in a much more sublime way.
My sponsor once told me (when feeling lust/temptation to lust) to try saying: "Hashem, whatever it is that I am really looking for in that image, let me find it in You!", and meaning it, and trusting Him to eventually do it. It really took the edge off and connected me to Hashem instead of to the the lust object. I use this occasionally. Clearly, going after the lust doesn't even come close to satisfying me, the big hole inside remains - or grows, when lust is used. So it's clearly something else I was killing myself for. Mamesh b'nafsho yovi "lachmo"!
It sounds along the lines of what Guard posted above. It's a free tool. Go ahead, take it!
Incidentally, a while later, he told me he didn't really like that approach cuz it was too selfish for him and he prefers to just give it up to Hashem and ask Him to help him be concerned with His Will, rather than with any of his desires, be they spiritual or otherwise. Nu. For everything it's time. Harbei drochim laMokom!!
I'd like to continue with this idea today by bringing a beautiful post from Dov in response to someone who posted the following question on the forum:
Ok, I fell because I looked at photos. Why did I do that? Because I get a "high" looking at beauty. I appreciate G-d's beauty in the world. Unfortunately, that leads to waste.... I feel that "staring" is a part of me. It's not like not eating kosher. There's something natural about a guy staring at a pretty woman. How can G-d expect us to not do behavior that is natural for us guys?
First of all, whaddayamean it's not natural for a guy to want treif? If he's used to treif, he wants more treif - we all have favorite foods, favorite restaurants, etc. So do the treif guys.
Second, who said that G-d expects us not to appreciate gorgeous women?! But what is pretty, really? Yeah, it implies sexual activity for the "guy", but isn't the beauty in any woman an apportionment of G-d's own beauty? If not, then where does it come from? Have you ever cried listening to Motzart, seeing a child laugh, or feeling true love for your wife, or even a friend? Where do these things come from if not from G-d Himself? The beauty is real. I believe it's G-d's. So why go for the girl if we can go straight for the G-d? She is but a spark, a shadow of His seductive and incredible beauty. This is clear in the s'forim. One who has a relationship with Hashem eventually lusts for closeness and attachment to Him with a constant preoccupation. The RMB"M says this clearly in the beginning of Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah. In the mitzvah of Ahava, He says that the lust for Hashem (one of the six constants!) is like the lust for a woman that can fill the mind of a man all day long!
It boils down to what you/I really want:
I can keep running after (the joke) of an image of a woman I know, a woman herself, a porn image, a fantasy - what will I get? Think a few scenarios through to the very end: the woman I may want has her own will and life, necessarily, including parents, brothers and sisters, body odor...sorry...and won't always put me first (except as long as it takes to get me interested and devoted to her, perhaps)... As much as that's the fantasy we all crave... the pretty (paid) image on the screen or paper will only grow into more powerful and advanced lusts within me clamoring for enactment - till I cross that next boundary that leads to - what? What end? Will I leave my wife? And if I respond in my heart "hell yes, I will", then where will that get me? To whom? To that true, me-adoring love of my life that will finally satisfy the lust I have forever? Really?
I have thought this through in years past, always to the bitter end. Do I really want to get old with this shiksa? I will, of course, one day.... so will she. Will we take care of each other as all old people are destined to do? Is that my joy? And if I just want to use her for the day or night, what does that say about my future? What next? Only more desire for someone even prettier, of course. Don't I know this in my very heart? I need nor want anyone to give me a shmuz about it. I am through with mussar about this - I am a recovering sex pervert. I look to sex and lust to answer my every need and it's stupid!
My lusting, the lusting of a man with a shred of conscience, inexorably leads me to shocking disappointment. It always wears off. And every woman comes with her blemishes. The ones without any blemishes on their outsides must have them somewhere, like in bitter selfishness, self-absorption, anger, or demands.... Those thing - when you live with them - become incredibly ugly. They have a horrible stench. And that's what I smell when I think it through. Two real people always means two contending wills - and that's forever.
So what is in it for me?