If all the medicines known were thrown into the ocean, it would be the better for the human race and the worse for the fish.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1809–1894
The "War" against Disease
The great 19th century Boston author, poet, and physician really didn’t have a thing against the fish; it’s just that he recognized within his own profession a central flaw that persists to this day. The vast majority of medicines, along with allopathic surgery and radiation techniques, treat the symptoms and ignore the causes of disease.
But first, let us make sure we are spelling the word right. It should be dis-ease, with a hyphen, because a loss of ease in the world of chaos is exactly what lies at the core of everything from chickenpox to cancer. Dis-ease, fostered by our own emotional outlooks and hidebound beliefs, literally means disruption of ease, a disturbance of the resting, motionless state of mind that leads to good health. It implies imbalance, lack of order, and the existence of chaotic conditions so omnipresent in our world. We react to dis-ease with still another word that needs a hyphen to be fully understood. We become up-set, which is to say we experience a sensation of things not being set, and hence in disarray. We also can become distressed, depressed, dejected, and despondent, and all the terms have one common usage: they explain the symptom, not the problem.
Therein lies the fundamental barrier to finding solutions for the problems that plague us. We are unable or unwilling to probe further into primary causes, preferring the quick fix rather than any real mental or spiritual analysis. Even antibiotics, which were supposed to ring the death knell once and for all for infectious diseases, have been so overused as to be rendered virtually impotent. The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (1993) concludes that 90 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions now issued are "unnecessary or inappropriate."
Modern medicine’s allopathic approach tries to cure disease by producing a condition within the system either different from or opposite to the disease itself. If you have a fever, allopathic doctors say kill it with aspirin; if you have indigestion, they say reverse it with a spoonful or two of antacid. In short, in what might be described as the quantum of symptom disorders, they treat the superficial, outward symptoms of all illness, whether they be physical, mental, or sociological, while paying no attention whatsoever to the internal, metaphysical cause. Temporary relief thus becomes the prime goal in a corrupted perspective on the life sciences. A great deal of attention is paid to "winning the war" against disease, but the "war" seldom gives even lip service to prevention.
Still, even with a track record that might be regarded as dubious in any other field, allopathic medicine still holds sway, while healers using other approaches remain widely regarded as quacks and charlatans. Physicians alone, says conventional wisdom, have it in their power to heal bodies, but the truth is this: no physician ever healed anybody. When orthopedic surgeons set a broken arm or leg, do they actually do any healing? Of course not; the healing is a natural property of the body. The physician, who essentially acts as a mechanic or, if you will, an enabler, has no role in it. "Healers" of other disciplines also fall into this category.
There is only one force of energy that truly heals and that is the Light of the Creator. All other healing consists of a variety of support mechanisms that permit the unobstructed spiritual Light to perform its duty, which is to search out and destroy harmful foreign bodies and repair, if necessary, the damage inflicted by the darkness of the Opponent. From such minor ailments as back pain, fatigue, and skin rashes to afflictions as serious as cancer, heart disease, and AIDS, the critical factor for a cure is the flow of energy from the spiritual Light.
A sick body is a body with a low-level Light. Illness may result as a direct response to situations of sadness or bereavement in which, as we have seen, the Shechinah abandons the patient, leaving him or her vulnerable to severance from Yesod consciousness. The Shechinah, you will remember, is the metaphysical force that serves as a screen to protect us from the direct power of the Light of the Creator as well as the means by which we make a connection with Yesod consciousness—to vaporize negativity. By connecting with the flow of the spiritual Light, any number of humanity’s afflictions can be eliminated. Our immune systems are the key to their eradication and Kabbalistic meditation can make it happen.
We have the ability, in other words, to become our own healers. If we permit it, spiritual Light will flow through us, healing as it moves through our bodies and souls. Yet, at the same time, we labor under the illusion that we may freely interfere with the normal rhythm of bodily functions through negative thought, drug or alcohol abuse, inappropriate medical nostrums, over- or under-eating, or any of the myriad other things we do to the detriment of the heart, liver, kidneys, and other vital organs. We have essentially two bodies. The first is the illusory physical construct we occupy here in Malchut. The second is a concealed metaphysical body directly connected with the Tree of Life. It serves as an interface between the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life where the only real healing takes place.
Seeing and Believing
Before we examine the actual discipline of Kabbalistic meditation as it pertains to healing, let us first explore a significant self-healing technique that we can incorporate into the process. It is the use of imagery.
The placebo effect is well known in all applications of medicine. To call something a placebo means that its benefits arise from the belief-consciousness of the patient rather than from anything inherent in the medicine itself. The healing that has occurred from placebos proves beyond a doubt that thoughts can trigger the body’s own self-healing abilities. Through directed imaging, our beliefs, desires, and resolve to enhance recovery are translated into substantive healing. In short, just as we can deceive ourselves into self-healing because we have been tricked by a placebo, so we can do it deliberately, with an intentional consciousness.
Much research has focused on the connection between mental activity and the physical body, and most of it indicates that the mind actively participates in curing sickness. Kabbalists have always known this. They have engaged in what has popularly come to be called the power of mind over matter, but they take the concept one step further than physical scientists looking into the same phenomenon. The Kabbalist suggests that more than being a mere participant in the metaphysical-quantum scheme, a man or woman, utilizing the power of thought, can determine both physical and metaphysical activity.
To accomplish this, we bring into play the seven Sefirot represented on the Tree of Life schematic (Tikun Hanefesh or Correction of the Soul) from Chesed down to Malchut. These energy quanta, also known as the Tetragrammaton, directly affect specific parts of the body through astral influence.
The top triad in the tree, consisting of Keter, Chochmah and Binah, represents the motivating forces that empower and direct the external senses of sight, sound, smell, and taste. Each packet governs and influences the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth. The Sefirot therefore open the door to Kabbalistic healing of every part of the body.
To utilize the power of the Tetragrammaton, the practitioner simply has to meditate upon the combination of holy names pertinent to the physical area afflicted, then, through kavanah, direct their power to that area. As the most powerful channels of the raw, unshielded power of the Light of the Creator, these names are never to be pronounced, but in healing, they can be meditated upon with complete safety and effectiveness.
The basic idea of using astral forces to influence human life is as old as the human race itself. Ancients recognized the “magic” of light and worshiped the sun, the moon, and other celestial bodies. They understood that astral influences existed, but they could do little to utilize or overcome them. We know now that the effect of light on our minds and bodies is less magical than biological. The healing power of light is a subject of inquiry in clinics and laboratories around the world. Science finally is acknowledging something humans always have instinctively known: light uplifts and energizes; light vaporizes what darkness conceals; light makes us feel good. Science can use light to alter our body clocks, moods, sleep patterns, and possibly even our immune systems. And if light on the physical level can do all that, how much greater are the opportunities when the metaphysical spiritual energy of the Torah is brought to bear?
Before we can heal ourselves, however, we must overcome the obstacles of our own negativity and of grief, sadness, and depression—the foul klippah that covers us and shields us from the all-healing Light of the Creator.
Scientists now are systematically studying bereavement and sadness and their effect on physical health and on the human immune system. They have found that the immune systems of grieving individuals indeed are weakened. But the reason eludes them, as does the mechanism. Most researchers attribute the impact to stress, which is only a label, not an adequate description. The Zohar attributes the link between grief and the immune system to a disruption of the Yesod consciousness—a disruption stemming from the fact that bereavement and sadness cannot coexist with the Shechinah. And, as discussed earlier, it is the Shechinah that channels spiritual Light to the immune system. The longer the disruption continues, the greater the danger to the immune system because, to function, it requires the sustenance only the Light of the Creator can convey. The immune system is the instrument that marshals a body’s defenses against cancer and a host of infectious diseases, but it must be charged with energy to work, and only the Light can do that job. The Opponent, the master of chaos, knows exactly how to keep a gulf of darkness between us and the Light. He does it with stress.
It has long been recognized that stress is a major contributing factor where dis-ease is concerned. Stress paves the way for afflictions ranging from fatal stroke and heart attack to ulcers, which increasingly are reported even in little children. Stress breaks up sleeping patterns, diverts us from positive action, and clouds our lives with anxiety.
Therefore, proactively, we must shed the negative mind-set through Kabbalistic meditation techniques covered earlier. The degree of our healing depends entirely upon our ability to restore the inner Light to its fullest revelation, and that can be achieved only by transforming our negative desire to receive for the self alone to a positive attitude of sharing. Only then can we take on any microscopic invaders bent on disrupting the natural balance of our bodies.
The transformation of our inherent desire to receive from one of greed to one of sharing has nothing to do with religion, or even with morality and ethics. It is a matter of supreme self-interest. Any time we behave in a negative fashion, yielding to greed, envy, hatred, and intolerance, we are, in effect, tampering with the natural healing powers within our own bodies. With every negative thought or act, we are putting ourselves at risk. There is only one reason why our society as a whole will become a sharing community and that is because it pays to do so. Religious prohibition of “sin” has very little to do with it. Without the higher consciousness of spiritual Light, we are doomed to walk all our lives on the cyclical treadmill of success-failure, tomorrow-yesterday, health-disease.
The only reason for the physical body to undergo pain, suffering, degeneration, aging, and death is the Opponent’s control over the material universe. Eliminate the Opponent and we eliminate all those debilitating conditions. When we permit spiritual Light to infuse our corporeal bodies with the life-giving force of energy, we all will begin to enjoy the benefits of the Creator’s original intent toward His Creation, which is to share His eternal beneficence and life.
To learn more about Rav Berg's teachings on healing and spiritual tools that can assist us in removing illness and any other form of chaos from our lives, read Taming Chaos.