Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells us (Likutey Moharan I, 54): “A person must guard his eye against the influence of the power of imagination. Even someone who has a ‘good eye’ still needs to guard themselves against this. Just as we observe that a person with excellent vision can still be mistaken about what they see from afar so that what they imagine is the opposite of the truth, so it is with the mind’s eye in several respects. For example, sometimes a person imagines that another person is straying from the truth, or that they are acting improperly towards them. Because of this, the person harbors resentment against that other person, and conflict may thereby flare up.”
The Rebbe continues, “The person then imagines they are opposing or antagonizing the other person for the sake of Heaven when, in fact, it all stems from an error generated by the power of their imagination, which is causing them to entertain false and unfounded beliefs about the other person. Similarly, there are many different ways in which the mind’s eye strays from the truth due to errors caused by the power of imagination – since the imagination can even delude a person with a ‘good eye.’ Therefore, a person must exercise an extra measure of caution and guard themselves with the utmost vigilance against the errors induced by their imagination.”
Elsewhere, Rebbe Nachman once remarked that all of the material pursuits and worldly desires that people pursue can never bring them satisfaction because this is akin to a person sitting in a dark room with a single ray of light shining into the room. If the person would try to grasp the ray of light with their hand, they would surely not be able to do so, because the ray of light isn’t something that can be grasped by the hand. So too, says Rebbe Nachman, the desires of this world only give the illusion that they will satisfy the person. In truth, the soul can never be satiated by physical pleasures. It is only due to the power of imagination that we mistakenly think satisfaction will be found in worldly pursuits.
Our Sages tell us (Vayikra Rabbah 21:4), “If you did bundles of sins, now do bundles of mitzvos instead.” As Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter explains, this means that in the same area that you sinned, now do mitzvos; in the same place that you stumbled, now repair your mistake with a corresponding good deed. If we have been misled by our imaginations, let us now use our minds for holiness by constantly thinking about Torah and seeing the good in our fellow Jews. May Hashem help us to do so.