The Mind-Body Connection is a Two-Way Street

Shabbat Parashat Tazria-M’tzora
April 20-21, 2018 – 8 Iyar 5778
Torah: Leviticus 12:1 – 15:33
Haftarah: II Kings 7:3-20

The mind-body connection is a two-way street.

In this week’s two Torah readings we grapple with the issues of unknown diseases that even infect houses. Our ancient ancestors tended to connect behavior with health, without any evidence, and we still do the same thing.

The “positive thinking” movement has many of us believing that if we only have the right attitudes, then our health will follow. (For more on the pitfalls and the history of American ideas of “mind over body” take a look at Barbara Ehrenreich’s fascinating book, Bright-sided: [See Bright-Sided on Amazon]).

I believe that most of us recognize the terrible harm in this idea. When we struggle with our health or our health is good, our outlook and our attitudes are as much affected, if not more, then the degree to which our positive outlooks might influence our physical health.

In other words, we need to remember not to blame our minds, hearts, and souls, for our physical ailments and struggles.

Can we do things with our habits and attitudes to influence our health? Absolutely!

Can we control our health with our minds? Absolutely not.

Let us ever work to inform ourselves with the best teachings from our traditions and current scientific understandings.

Wishing everyone a healthy week, in body and mind, and hoping that the season will soon help improve our moods soon!