Saturday, 21 January 2012

Freedom is the Gateway to Pleasure

by Dov (See all authors)

Someone posted on the forum:

I'm trying to use only public computers. Being the only guy with a yarmulke for miles around, I'd be too afraid of getting caught, and of the shame that would ensue and the chillul Hashem. I hope that will be a strong deterrent for me.

Dov Replies:

Deterrents are good, but there comes a point where you need to ask yourself, "am I in control of myself when it comes to lust, or not?" (I'm not, even though I'm sober)

For a real addict, there's only so long that 'other people watching' or the spectre of chilul Hashem can be really expected to stop him.

Are you actually planning on 'beating' this problem mainly through ceaseless vigilance?

And finally: Does your heart tell you that the only real problem you have is environmental: i.e. the internet, pretty women, this stupid culture we live in, etc.?

After trying to "beat" it for many years, my heart finally told me that even though my environment was certainly a challenge, it was I that had a problem of some sort. It just didn't seem normal to have one's mind taken up by struggle with lust so often and so much of the time. If I "fixed" it here, it came out over there - if I stopped turning to lust when I was depressed, I found myself turning to it when I was happy! Also, just getting out of the habit didn't stop me from being preoccupied with it, and eventually succumbing later on. I was always counting the days I resisted it - as if reaching a mark of a month, year, or whatever, would mean something, much like a bar mitzvah of sorts... "Phew, I made it!"

Obviously, many people don't have this history and find success (however they define it) where I did not. I truly wish that success for you. But you have posted your frustration a number of times already, so I am sharing with you that for me, this is not the way.

For me, the Problem is as much a part of me my liver is, or as 'Fear' is - and it plays for keeps. All the external controls will not save my behind. The problem of my mental/emotional programming to use lust and human sexuality for purposes that it is not intended, will not go away just because I don't act on it. Hashem clearly didn't give sexuality to us to run to for courage or comfort when we feel scared, lonely, or too emotional. Its tremendous power was not meant just for creating that 'trance' many of us experience while searching for schmutz in order to forget our stresses. All the stresses of life have their own real and healthy solutions... none of them require lust to work. Sexuality, and the relationship that it is meant to be part of, is clearly meant to raise a relationship to a deeper level. More connection and fewer separations - not more secrecy and lying!! That is always what lust led to for me, before marriage and in marriage. I always had it totally backwards! I perverted what Hashem gave me to use and enjoy, into a drug.

You can't really enjoy something that you require. Freedom is the gateway to pleasure. Addiction eventually ruins our enjoyment of whatever we are addicted to, actually. Then it slowly ruins everything else, too.

'Charus al haLuchos'... When I think of Cheirus (Freedom), I hope to be thinking about it as the gateway to pleasure, bechirah, relationships, self-fulfillment, sobriety, avodah - Everything!

And in my own case, the one time I feel I have the least power of bechirah (freedom) of all, is when I am acting out on Lust, r"l. Thank-G-d I am sober today!