A fellow once called me up that he was working with a young man who had an irrepressible desire for a particular woman, a married woman. He couldn’t help it, he constantly would see her, wherever it may be, and he couldn’t stop thinking about her. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. He was a frum (religious) boy, he was in yeshivah doing well up until this point, but these thoughts were consuming him. He constantly thought about her, day in and day out. And this fellow called me up, what eitzah (advice) can you give him?
So I said to this person I have a very simple exercise, but you have to trust what I’m saying and you have to do it as I say to do it. I want you to Google a picture of a cadaver. I want you to find a picture of a dead body as it’s decaying, and I want you to print it out. I want you to give that to this young man and I want you to tell this young man to study this picture, you have to burn it into your mind. You have to have it vibrant and strong in your mind’s eye. And from now on in, any time a thought of this beautiful woman comes to your mind I want you to pull up this picture of the dead body decaying and say to yourself that is her in but a few years.
The young man tried it and it worked phenomenally well. Why? Because that’s exactly the yesod (principle). You see, I can’t not think about that woman, but I can think about someone else. I can divert my attention to something else. And sometimes it requires strong medicine. It’s not so easy to stare at a picture of a cadaver, but if you’ve ever been at an autopsy, maybe if you’re on the Chevra Kadisha (burial society) and you were involved in a taharah (purification before burial), or if not, just seeing a picture of a dead body can be a very powerful exercise. You have to stare at it, you have to get it into your mind’s eye, and then you use it as but one technique in many to divert your mind’s attention to get control of your essence.