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Rabbi Infinity’s new mechanical pet, Feivel 3.2, is controlled by a mind-wave interface.

Walking Your Heart

Walking Your Heart

Episode XXII: Walking Your Heart

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Walking Your Heart: Episode XXII: Walking Your Heart

Rabbi Infinity’s new mechanical pet, Feivel 3.2, is controlled by a mind-wave interface.
Mind and Heart

Ever have an urge to do something you know you shouldn't do? Ever felt enslaved by obsessive thoughts about a food, behavior, person or event, cartoon character?

Jeff Schwartz is a nice Jewish research prof at UCLA psychiatry and the author of two popular books, Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain.

Jeff was researching treatment for OCD. That's Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and it ain't fun. People's brains get locked into obsessive thoughts that compel them into repetitive behavior, like washing their hands over and over because they still feel dirty, checking the doors every night 100 times because they might not be locked properly, or logging on to KabbalaToons.com every five minutes just in case a new episode might have been posted just now.

Jeff noticed something fascinating about these people: They know very well that what they are doing is ridiculous. He also noted that fMRI scans showed the limbic system in their brains doing strange things.

So Jeff showed these people those scans of their brains and said, "See, it's not you! It's this out-of-whack part of your brain making you do it!"

"Oh," said those people. "Then I don't really have to listen to a whacked-out part of my brain, do I?" And they didn't.

Jeff developed his method into simple steps. Basically, you observe this as a benign thought, rather than as an all-powerful master; you choose to ignore it; you get into some other more pleasant activity or thought instead; and you identify that obsessive kind of thinking with a part of you that's not really you. Just an out-of-whack part of the brain.

The real neat thing is, eventually that part of the brain gets unwhacked-out. The mind changes the brain.

Jeff says he got a lot of these ideas from his Buddhist meditation classes. Really, he could have just consulted his local Kabbalist. Or simply looked in the standard handbook of Jewish life known as the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, which advises, "If you have disruptive thoughts, these are from the yetser hara [i.e. evil inclination, contemporarily known as wild hormones]. Ignore them and think about something else instead, like words of Torah."

The Zohar tells us that the mind has an innate ability to ride the heart, as a rider upon a horse. But most of us are scared to death of our heart. When it starts panicking and screaming, we run fast to give it whatever it wants. (Some people do the same with their pets. Others with their two year olds.) Funny thing is, we all know our mind is so much stronger. But we reserve use of our mind for math and science, and let the heart and the hormones run everything else.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi gave this advice: When you are driven by one of those maddening passions, imagine that you are surrounded by a fire. Then, walk through the fire. You won't get burned, because, you see, the fire is only in your imagination. Just like that crazy obsession.

Liberate your mind from the tyranny of its pet brain/heart/hormones. Just say no to stupid urges, passions and obsessions. Then, cold-blooded, do/think/speak about something else altogether.

Like, check if there's another KabbalaToon episode out already.

Written and conceived by Tzvi Freeman. Rabbi Freeman is available for public speaking and workshops. Read more on his bio page.
Music by The Piamentas
Rabbi Infinity played by Andrew Torres
Animation and SFX by Pilar Newton of Pilar Toons
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Rob Mykoff N. America April 12, 2015

Rabbi INFINITY and scientist Jeff Schwartz ... amazing I have struggled w/ severe OCD for a few years longer than the last person who wrote a great response below (James). Whew. Incredibly, I *watched this episode* before--
yet didn't notice R. Tzvi's article on Jeff Schwartz, and yes-- the doctors treating me did give me a copy of his book "Brain Lock" years ago.

Truly great to be reminded AND to see it written as support for the KabbalaTOONS wisdom that links the understandings & teaching of R. Schneur Zalman's great book,
the TANYA, all about the animal-outta-control-element of our brain/heart (the Yetzer Hara).

I deeply appreciate this work to bring brain-disorders (and most of life's struggles) into perspective for those of us who have harsh struggles w/ these disorders -and- to help others get a sense of how brain-health can effect them *and their friends/relatives/others* who go through battles each day dealing with such issues.

Mental Health requires work w/ our whole-system, it's good to find it echoed here. Reply

James January 8, 2013

Here I am I'm the one you wrote this about!! Well, maybe not, but it is exactly me! I've been diagnosed with OCD for about 17 years and medicated for about as long. I have had it under control at times and other times not.
In the past, i have had problems with feeling "dirty" and was known to wash my hands till they bleed. Now that I'm getting into studying Torah this problem has resurfaced.
Actually, the whole aspect of "ritual cleanliness" definatly rings a bell within me as much of it parallels the feelings that I had before. At least my impression of "ritual cleanliness" does. What happened was that after meeting with the Rabbi at my local Chabad house, later that day, I had cause to feel unclean and experienced great guilt. I have since reconsiled that episode, for the most part, but cant shake the feeling of being so unclean as to "defile" the holy books, and Tefillin, and this is definatly holding me back.
I actually have have a copy of "brain lock" for years. I think ill read it!!
Reply

Anonymous THE WORLD April 11, 2017
in response to James:

That kind of pressure and guilt is what starts an OCD cycle in the first place. And then nobody shares timely understanding or a strategy, so it gets ingrained. Maybe later, supporting behaviors become necessary... like treating the sensitive, bleeding hands. Then it becomes a cycle. So receiving a meditative strategy is a G-D send... because one of the factors is often feeling that one is obligated... without understanding why. Reply

Anonymous January 5, 2011

Thank you Great script of encouragement. I need my brain examined for eating comfort food late at night. Even if i opened a Chumash, i would find something to snack on. Maimonides had the best diet. Only eat when you are hungry. Wise man. wish i could take his advice. Maybe putting Maimonides together with the toon and Jeff's findings can act as shock therapy. That would be sweet. One way i could definitely beat this 'vise ' is by donning teffilin. But noooh, you can't put tefillin on at night !

i wish Maimonides and Jeff lived down the street.

i know that the toon has ramifications far beyond a food vice.

Thank you for the wake-up call. Maybe going to Sunday Shachrit service and putting on tefillin can help. i am seriously going to try it. Connecting to G-d can never hurt Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma January 4, 2011

Severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorders I would be very interested in knowing whether in fact, the severe disorders I have encountered as a therapist are amenable to such thought control. In my experience they are not and people horribly suffer.

So many different therapies have been tried. Medications are only partially successful but I have never heard this. I will look on line further to research this.

Yes, to the yetzer hara, in terms of deflecting and the need to deflect thoughts that are thoroughly wrong and not ego syntonic.

One might say that the disruptive thoughts of schizophrenia are the yetzer. Could it be, and why would this happen? Tourettes is about OCD and is definitely genetic.

Many schizophrenics talk about mind control and we call the psychotic. But who controls the yetzer, and what drives consciousness? Reply

Kyle Rothgeb Kingston, NY January 3, 2011

Fiefel? Strange. But cute, and informative. Reply

Ilene Stackel naples, Florida January 2, 2011

Cartoon I ADORE this cartoon - Thank you. What a beautiful way to start my day (yes, I'm lazy) --with humor and depth :-) Reply

Debby Cary, NC June 15, 2010

Hysterical and Ingenius Love the brain animation. Kinda looks like an old guy. huh... Reply

Tania Sweden June 19, 2008

over and over because.... Everytime you do what ever it is in loop mode, u just go deeper to subconsciousness... where all detailz present them self in full state. Reply

Yael gedera, israel February 12, 2008

tefillin-our daily reminder! great job! I think maybe you need to explain the conection to the Tefilin which actually tie the arm to the brain, reminding us this lesson every day.
By the way-women have more of this abilaty to control themselves, and putting on teffilin would be an over dose of mind over matter.. Reply

Sarah Herzlyia February 12, 2008

I don't know what to say even!!! This is amazing... such a good demonstration of the power we have within ourselves. Thanks for the amazing episode!!!! Reply

Pooyan Tehran, Iran February 8, 2008

thank you thank you very much for sharing these good and worthy to know teachings Reply

J. February 7, 2008

Weaving together a thoughtful life These Kabbalah Toons are the best! Fantastic teaching. Thank you so much for sharing it. Reply

Yossi California February 5, 2008

Love it! Nice job guys! This one's a great, simple, easy-to-understand episode that we can all apply to our everyday lives! Thanks for the video! Reply

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