R. Buckminster Fuller, father of the geodesic dome and one of the great geniuses of the 20th century, was walking along the ocean toward sundown. He met a student and asked him: “What is happening when the sun turns from yellow to orange to red and then slips below the horizon as darkness ensues?” “Why it’s a sunset,” replied the student. Fuller sighed and said, “That is the trouble with this society. No, the sun is not setting, the earth is revolving.” Fuller was decrying conventional wisdom as did Socrates and Plato among the philosophers, Galileo, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein among the scientists and Isaiah, the Buddha and LaoTse among the prophets and mystics.
. Kabbalists speak of a passageway, a channel, that connects the mind to the heart. This channel enables the heart to feel what the mind is thinking. Through this passageway our thoughts travel on the way to becoming emotions. Thus a cold, distant, objective observation becomes a warm feeling on passing through the connecting bridge. As Dov Ber Pinson, in his book Meditation and Judaism, points out, the structure of the human body resembles in some ways the spiritual form of the soul. Spiritually, the neck represents the passageway through which our thoughts are channeled into emotions. But sometimes the grossness of our thoughts, our false values, our smugness and arrogance clog the passageway. On a physical level, when food gets stuck in the esophagus and we begin to choke, it takes the pressure and shock of the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the morsel of food. In the realm of the spirit, a personal crisis, marital, familial, financial, health or simply the search for meaning in life is the spiritual Heimlich maneuver. It jolts our misguided thoughts out of us and opens up the passageway from head to heart.
A young woman I know, at my suggestion, enrolled in a mind-body course organized by a leading expert in mind-body medicine. The people in the course suffered from a wide spectrum of ailments, physical, psychological and spiritual. Some were in pain. Some were depressed and anxious. Others suffered from hypertension, and still others could not sleep at night. There were people who had destructive marriages and family entanglements.