The Gemara [Talmud] says that three things make your understanding wider, three things widen your mind.
There is such a thing as understanding everything, and then there is the wideness of everything. It is possible to understand everything in such a narrow way. I can understand and I know something, but it’s so narrow. And then there are some people who have the holiness of un-narrowness. They understand the same thing as others do and they say the same thing, and they mean the same thing, but they don’t mean it in a narrow way. It’s very, very wide.
The Gemara says something very strong. You need three things in order not to be narrow. You need a beautiful wife, you need a beautiful house, and you need beautiful vessels.
A beautiful wife
Besides that this is really true on a physical level, there is something to it physically. But Rebbe Nachman talks about this on the highest level, he says the soul is called the husband, and the body is called the wife. What makes your mind wide? When your relationship to your body is on a very high, holy level, on a beautiful level. If you look down on your own body, and you want to destroy your body, it’s a very bad scene. That means your mind isn’t wide. You see, if my soul is big enough to make place for my body, that means I have a beautiful ‘wife,’ that means you are very deep. Your relationship to your body is completely balanced.
A beautiful house
Then Rebbe Nachman asks, what does ‘my house’ mean? Rebbe Nachman answers, the most important part of the house is the door, because, if you can’t lock the house, it’s not a house, it’s still on the street. So he quotes the Gemara which says, “Woe to the one who has a house that has no door.” What is a door? The door is the way I walk into learning Torah. I have to tremble. The door to everything is a trembling before it. That’s the door. This is very deep. If I meet a friend, and we become good friends, it’s like building a little house. If I don’t tremble before him, the house has no door. You can walk in and out, and you don’t even feel that you’re walking out. So there needs to be this holy trembling. When I learn Torah, I study it and I tremble before it. It has a door. Open it. Close it.
Rebbe Nachman says that the holy vessels I have are holy pupils. I pour my light, my mind, wide and strong, into vessels.
Three things widen my mind
1) I know what to do with my body.
2) I have a holy trembling with what I’m learning, with what I’m eating, with everything around me.
3) I have someone to talk to. Someone to put my light into.