The Mind/Body Connection

The MIND/BODY CONNECTION in the writings of the Rambam (1138-1204): “It is known…that internal psychological movements (ha’hafalos nafshiyos) bring about dramatic physical changes in the body, clearly visible to all. We find verification to this in the following: Take an individual with a generally strong/healthy constitution (adam chazak ha’binyan), whose voice is strong and pleasant, and whose face is illuminated with light. If something, some greatly distressing event occurs suddenly, his face will fall and lose all its luster, the light of his face will change, his posture will droop, and his voice will become raspy and thin/weak. If he wishes to raise his voice and speak with all his strength, he simply is unable to do so. He feels feeble, and he may even begin to shake uncontrollably due to this weakness. The pulse of his veins [blood circulation] will be feeble, his eyes will dilate, his eyelids will become too heavy to lift, the outer surface of his body will become cold, and he will lose any desire to eat. The physical cause behind all these symptoms: his natural body heat and blood has sunken and contracted into his body.

Conversely, take an individual who is weak, whose visage is off-color, and whose voice is weak. If something joyous happens, he will become stronger, his face will shine, his voice will become powerful, his movements quick/agile, and the pulse of his veins strong. The outer surface of his body will become warm and joy and happiness will become readily apparent on his face and in his eyes. All this will become readily apparent without any need to look deeper. The physical cause of all these: is the activation of his natural body heat, and the blood rising up to the surface.

The same is true of those who are anxiety-ridden (baaley pachad) on the one hand, vs. those who live with hope and anticipation [that things will always be better]. The same is true of those who are mistaken/confused in their thoughts on the one hand, vs. those who are successful in life. For there are times when a person can, as a result of his grief and bad luck, lose his eyesight. The face of a successful person, on the other hand, radiates, and the light of his eyes shines, to such an extent that the light of the day seems to grow brighter in his presence. This is all clear and does not require long explanations.

It is for this reason that doctors/healers warn us to pay attention to subtle internal psychological changes (tenuos nafshiyos), to constantly keep an eye out for them, and to make every effort to equalize them (le’hashvosam) while a person is still healthy, and in the event of any sickness as well. Indeed, no other treatment or physical procedure takes precedence over them. The doctor/healer should understand that the heart of someone who is ill is contracted/constricted, whereas the soul of a healthy person is expansive. He should therefore make it his business to remove psychological causes (hispaaliyos nafshiyos) that bring one to emotional stress (kotzer ruach), for this prolongs health, and in addition, it is first and foremost in the treatment of sickness.”— Rambam, Hanhagas HaBerius (Health Treatment), Shaar Gimel (end), pp. 32-33 (Hebrew translation by Moshe ibn Tibbon of Rambam’s letter to Al-Afdai, son of Saladin)— English translation by the wonderful Avraham Sutton.

Initial Post by Rav Doniel Katz


Tikkun hamiddot


A 9-step TIKKUN HAMIDDOS process 





I find myself in a challenging life moment that has knocked my daas into exile, leaving me unhappy with one or all of my thoughts, feelings, speech or actions.

While my animal nature seeks to blame the external situation or person on my state and response, a moment of daas-awakening allows me to shift from blame to the ultimate reframe: it’s not really them – it’s me.

I realize that my middos are triggered because I’m expecting to have them somehow satiated by the external world rather than the internal world.

The external situation is just a Divinely ordained trigger and stimulus that is awakening me to the disconnect I’m carrying within that needs healing, re-aligning and elevating. 




As opposed to repression, suppression is the healthy, conscious and intentional exclusion from consciousness of middos ra’os - destructive thoughts or feelings.

Suppression means not allowing the destructive desires of the middah to continue to flare up and control your consciousness and sending you into exile - thus containing it and forcing it out of the realm of your machshavos and dimyonos, dibbur and maaseh.

This can be achieved in numerous ways, including:

  • showing the destructive middah force and aggression from your daas;
  • expressing compassion, validation and love for it;
  • or finding where the destructive middah is located in your body and visualizing its color and shape.

Use whatever tool works for you – since, in this moment, you are fighting for your life, mind and soul. 





We must now seek to clarify: What is the middah and what is it lacking?

Become fully aware and cognizant of the true nature of the middah that causes this destructive response in thought, speech or action.

What middah is it – exactly?

Peel down through its onion-skin levels to find its most core feeling and desire.

Use these questions as a guide:

  • What’s the middah behind the middah?
  • The feeling behind the feeling?
  • The need behind the need?

Remain cognizant that no matter how dark the middah feels at its root, it is really a fallen version of something truly Divine, currently in a state of exile, disconnected from its Infinite source and seeking to return to its positive expression.

This adds an essential tone of rachamim/compassion to the process.

When the base level desire is finally identified, now ask and sense: what does it feels its greatest lacking is? 



Now that we have identified the middah’s fundamental feeling of lacking, let’s flip it to understand what is the hamtaka or antidote -- the positive emotion or energy that it most desires and that will most satiate it?

Ascertain the complementary Divine emotional state that will repair the current sense of constriction.

Which particular light, energy, sefirah, Divine name or middah will counteract the lack? (e.g. If you feel disrespected, you might need honor, reassurance, respect).

Alternatively, determine the positive equivalent of the fallen middah to which it may be desiring to re-connect (e.g. Crippling fear seeks to be elevated and transmuted back into Divine fear). 



Now recruit your dimyon back to the side of your daas, and create a precise Machshava Map of positive images, beliefs and emotions to counteract the lacking.

Directly present the middah with what it most desires.

Proceed to cycle around that map, visualizing and generating the desired complementary state to satiate the emotion.

And remember – your heart doesn’t know the difference between reality and that which is vividly imagined. 



Launch beyond machshava level to deveikus level in order to connect to the Infinite and all-abundant light within.

There is nothing we seek in the external world that cannot be more powerfully felt, experienced, satisfied and satiated right now and here from your Divine source.

Draw in the complementary Divine light that heals and elevates the middah ra’oh.

Either feed it that which it most needs (e.g. send the crippling fear Divine love) or elevate and re-integrate it back up to its Divine equivalent (e.g. elevate destructive fear into Divine fear). 


Don’t stop until you can feel the melting and dissipating of the external part of the middah i.e. the klippah.

This will allow you to feel more relaxed, calm and open again.

After that, you may also choose to experience the inner holy light of the previously destructive middah now elevating and re-integrating back into your daas.

This experience of transmutation can bring with it a rush of expanded, blissful state of consciousness called gadlus hadaas (greatness), and sometimes even a download of deep psychic insight, too.

Through this process, you have created a cosmic rectification: returning the “fallen Divine spark” back to its Source and allowing it from now to function in its fully rectified, elevated and Divine state.



Bliss and deveikus are not enough.

Now comes the opportunity for complete birur, purification and clarification of our animal self.

The next step is to choose to allow the transcendent light we are experiencing above to penetrate back down into our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions and, in the process, heal, re-order and re-align them on each respective level.

Don’t be afraid to bring up any remaining darkness and consciously contrast and compare it to the sense and sensitivities of the light. This causes the final dregs to wash away, leaving a re-constructed and newly aligned self in the Divine image. 



Now, project that new, emunah-filled perception back into the original challenging situation or dynamic that triggered you.

Be conscious and appreciative of how your beliefs and perceptions about the original issue have shifted.

Now that you’ve realigned our mind and heart to the Divine intent, you can re-enter the world of action with new and expanded opportunities for your choice of response.

Proceed to act in a new way, with a new direction, that generates new results and destiny.

Alternatively, if the moment for action has passed, or the current circumstances no longer allow for a different response externally, make it internally!

As our tradition teaches: positive intent to act, combined with strong visualization, is considered by Hashem like an action itself, and has the same transformational effect on our consciousness and our destiny.

Thus: while in deveikus, take the time to visualize in depth the challenging scene that occurred, but this time envision yourself enacting the right choice in the end - that which you would choose if you were given the chance again.

Replay and watch and re-choose over and over, rewriting the script and generating a different ending, until your heart is rewired, and nature is rewired, forever transforming your consciousness and destiny.