True JOY vs. Counterfeit Joy
Do you want JOY in your Life??
Of course you do!! Who doesn't want JOY in their life? What's wrong with being a "thrill seeker?" In fact, we learn from the Ramchal that HaKodesh Baroch Hu specifically created man to bask in His light and receive His Joy. How can there be anything wrong with us if we seek Joy in life? After all, we are "wired" that way by the Creator Himself!
The problem that we face in our addiction is NOT that we seek Joy. The problem is that we can NOT tell the difference between "True Joy" and "Counterfeit Joy".
In other words, it actually feels the same to our mind and body whether we're in the midst of enjoying our sexual addiction or when we're in the midst of enjoying a mitzvah, like chesed for example. That doesn't seem fair, you might say. How can Hashem really expect us to break our addiction when He makes it so enjoyable to be acting out?
That's why I suggest we practice an EXERCISE to FIND TRUE JOY, as follows:
Find a quiet time and space to sit down and write in your notebook. On one page, write down some of the TRUE JOY in your life. For example, you might write on this page:
- "spending time with my kids at supper time"
- "taking a leisurely walk with my wife"
- "the experience of bentching my children on Shabbos"
And on the "Counterfeit Joy" page, you might write:
- "the Billboard I drive by everyday on the way to work"
- "the young girl I see at Starbucks dressed provocatively"
- "the pop-up that shows up while I'm on my computer with the latest news about some celebrity or another".
How do we distinguish between True Joy and Counterfeit Joy? True Joy is something that when we experience it, we feel close to G-d. And more than that, when the experience is over, we feel good about ourselves. And later, we look back with fond memories about the experience. Counterfeit Joy however, is something that when we experience it, we feel removed from G-d. Afterwards, we feel impure and full of shame. And later, we look back at the experience with regret and remorse.
Since our bodies can not tell the difference between True Joy and Counterfeit Joy, by doing this exercise, we "concretize" the experiences that we often face in our lives. And the next time we encounter something that is written down on our "Counterfeit Joy" page, a light will come on in our mind and we will be able to "point" at that opportunity for joy and say, "hey, you're on my "Counterfeit Joy" page. I don't want to have anything to do with you!"
This Exercise is so simple and yet so effective.
See more info about Duvid Chaim's phone conference here.