The day after I came back from Uman, I got hit with a super-whammy of a cold, aka 'The Uman Detox'. So many people get sick during and after their visits to Uman that there are a whole bunch of theories flying around as to why: it's the cold (a favourite of Israelis); it's the food (a favourite of everyone); it's because you only have one toilet for every 10 people (a favourite of Westerners).
As you're probably coming to expect, I have my own theory why so many people come back from Uman with bad colds and / or feeling generally unwell: their spiritual pipes are getting unclogged, and when that stuff starts to move out of the soul, it shows up in the body as mucous, snot, phlegm and inflammation.
This is not as crazy as it sounds. In 'The Body Ecology Diet', a great book about Candida, it talks about all the physical ailments that you can get when the bad stuff, in this case, Candida yeast, starts to die off and move out of the system.
This is exactly the same principle at work, except the process is starting much deeper down, in the soul.
A person goes to the Ukraine with a lot of heartache, or a lot of sadness, or a lot of repressed yearning for something, or someone, that they themselves usually aren't even aware of. They spend a few days visiting all the super holy Tzadikim over there - the Baal Shem Tov in Medzibuzh; Rabbi Levi Yitzhak in Berditchev; depending on their preferences, they may fit in the Alter Rebbe (Lubavitch), or Reb Zusha from Anipoli, or Rav Natan in Breslev, and then they wind up in Uman, by Rebbe Nachman.
Each one of these Tzadikim is working their own brand of spiritual magic on the person's soul, and then Rebbe Nachman is the piece de resistance. Whether a person knows it or not, the energy in their souls, in their bodies, has been profoundly affected by going to all these tombs. Things have fundamentally changed, spiritually. Spiritual and emotional blocks have been blasted open; hearts of stone have been broken; new pathways for people to become better them, or different them, have been prepared.
Many people feel the energy in the Ukraine, and in Uman, as a palpable reality. Lots of people can't sleep; lots of people start crying as soon as they get to Rebbe Nachman; lots of people feel completely at peace at the Baal Shem Tov.
As we've been learning on this blog, physical matter (ie, the body) follows energy (ie, the soul), and stories abound of serious physical problems disappearing after trips to the Ukraine. Pregnancies happen, lumps disappear, severe illnesses evaporate.
How can this be?
Because the Tzadikim, and particularly Rebbe Nachman, are moving the spiritual energy around, and this directly impacts our health, as well as our emotions and our neshama.
I know that my cold (and let me tell you, it's a doozy - probably the worst one I ever had) - is just the physical manifestation of all the massive load of negative emotions I currently have streaming out of me.
In Chinese Medicine, the lung meridian governs mucous (aka, snot). Lung meridian is associated with the emotions of grief, sadness, and letting go. That is exactly what I've been dealing with, in a super-big dose, the last few months.
So even though I'm now into week two of the snot, and it's still coming on strong, I know it's a good thing, and I'm actually feeling happier and lighter in myself than I have done for months (at least, today...).
I know it's just the physical representation of all the grief and sadness I had stored up for years getting unblocked, and flowing out of the system.
So it may be the punishing travel schedule, the weird food and the cold weather, but personally, I don't think so. There's a spiritual dimension to everything, even snot, and with the help of the Tzadikim, anyone can find out what that might be for them.