Take Rebbe Nachman's teachings about our spleen, an organ in our body that seems to be 'optional' enough to modern medicine that doctors often recommend that people should have their spleens removed.
A lot (if not everything…) that Rebbe Nachman teaches, even about the smallest, most inconsequential thing, needs to be turned over and examined again and again, to yield even the smallest fraction of his true wisdom on the subject, and nowhere is this more true than on his writings about health and the body.
Let's start with what he teaches us about the spleen, in Likutey Moharan II, 6:
Rebbe Nachman teaches us that: "Sadness is associated with the spleen, and the spleen deals with impurities of the blood, and when there is a surge in the blood impurities in the spleen, this causes illness."
'Illness' doesn't just mean physical illnesses; it also refers to all types of mental and spiritual illnesses, including sadness and depression.
So to sum up, Rebbe Nachman tells us that when the spleen gets overwhelmed by all the 'impurities' circling around in our blood, including both physical and emotional toxins, it can't purity our blood sufficiently any more, and sooner or later, this is going to lead to us getting ill, both physically and emotionally. Rebbe Nachman's cure for depression and 'illness' (which I hope to write more about in the next post) - is to to sweat.
Now, let's go over to energy healer Donna Eden's book called Energy Medicine for Women, to see what she has to say about the spleen: "Spleen and triple warmer meridians exchange energy in a teeter-totter kind of relationship. When triple warmer is activated, it springs into action and drains energy from spleen to nourish itself. Spleen meridian often gets so depleted that your immune system and your ability to adapt become compromised. When spleen meridian energy is low, your body insists that you slow down."
G-d willing, I'll explain more about meridians in another post, another time. For now, it's enough to know that there are 14 meridians in the body, as formally identified by Chinese Medicine, and that they are 'energy pathways', transporting energy, or koach, to various organs and parts of the body.
If your spleen meridian is weak, you probably found it pretty hard to stand up all the time in shul this Rosh Hashana (or pretty much any other time, for that matter.) There are other very simple ways you can test if it's working OK or not (come visit me, and I'll show you) - but you should now that these days, most people's spleen energy is very low.
We've been weakened by all the environmental pollution in our environment; by all the chemicals in the food we eat; by man-made electro-magnetic energy waves from our computers, and mobile phones, and wifi; and last but definitely not least, by all the emotional 'rubbish' we carry with us.
For example, if you're around a negative, critical person, they can knock your spleen energy out faster than eating a traif Big Mac, together with its polystyrene container.
And the result is: we feel overwhelmed, exhausted, like we have no energy. If this continues for any length of time, we feel tired, sad, depressed - and then we're looking at the scenario so brilliantly described by Rebbe Nachman.
That's the bad news. The good news, is that there is plenty you can do to strengthen your spleen energy. I'll cover some of these things in future posts, G-d willing, but one of the most powerful interventions is simply to hold the acupressure points for strengthening spleen.
All you do is hold the two points on the hand and the foot simultaneously, for around 2 minutes, then hold the same two points on the other hand and other foot simultaneously, for another 2 minutes.
Finish by gently squeezing both sides of your big toe nails for another minute, and you're done.
(I've photocopied the picture from Donna Eden's book, but please go buy it yourself - it's an excellent self-help health resource for any woman to have in her home.)
Many people feel an instant upswing in energy from doing this. Personally, it took me three days to really start to feel like my koach was returning.
As spleen plays a big part in maintaining our weight, a lot of people have also slimmed down simply by holding these spleen acupressure points, and doing nothing else.
And if that doesn't put a smile on your face for the New Year, then I don't know what will. ☺