Sick Minds, Sick Bodies: The power of our beliefs to heal or harm
The Jewish Sages gave a spiritual rather than physiological explanation for the disease tsara’as (generally translated as “leprosy”) which affected not only the body but also clothing and the walls of houses. According to one source several sins could possible be the cause:
R. Shmuel bar Nachmani said in the name of R. Yochanan: Because of seven things the plague of leprosy is incurred, namely, slander, the shedding of blood, a vain oath, incest, arrogance, robbery and envy. (Arakhin 16a)
However, most Sages concur that the main cause for tsara’as was slander and gossip.
The Kabbalah teaches that the world you and I live in is a product of our perception of reality. The philosopher Immanuel Kant probed this concept. He asked: Do we see reality or do we see our perception of reality? Kant’s answer is that we do not see reality, but only our perception of reality. In other words, is this world reality? No, this world is your perception of reality. Therefore, the focus and clarity of your consciousness will determine the kind of world you live in.
Each one of us has a choice. You can believe that this world is filled with the presence of G-d who cares about it and guides it. Or you can believe that this world is one big accident, a chaotic mess. The choice is yours. But remember what you believe is ultimately what you will see and experience. What you believe creates the world you live in.
How would I act if I really believed that G-d’s presence filled my life, my home, my office, my city, my world? How would I speak to my wife and kids? How would I treat the stranger? To the extent that I think, speak, and act in accordance with this heightened awareness, to that extent, G-d can be present in my world.
The so-called “good- deeds” and “rituals” of Torah tradition are designed to be building blocks to nurture and concretize consciousness all day long, so that I can channel G- d’s presence into the world and into my life.
By increasing my consciousness of G-d, I thereby allow the light of G-d and all the gifts of spiritual wealth to pour into the world. Few realize the true goodness in deeds and the real richness in rituals. They are really invitations to G-d. What we are saying in both words and actions is, “G-d, I want to get You into my life!”
The Kabbalah teaches that you and I have the dimmer switch in our hands. We can either turn the light of G-d up, creating a whole and radiant world filled with health and joy, imbued with the presence of G-d, or we can turn the dimmer down, creating a dark, gloomy, ugly, Godless world.
Our consciousness, which is nurtured by our thoughts, speech, and actions, becomes the vessel to receive the divine presence and the vehicle to transmit the divine blessings into our daily lives.