Welcome the month of Tevet. Beginning sunset on December 12 and 13th.
According to kabbalah, every month offers unique spiritual opportunities and blessings. Just as there are fluctuations in the weather, so there are changes in the spiritual energies available. Those who are attuned to these energies are aware of these changes and know how to use this knowledge for their personal growth and success.
This month of Tevet, the coldest month and darkest time of the year, is a time of great light, a time of transformation and redemption. The light of Tevet is hidden in the darkness. As the Baal Shem Tov said, that because God’s light is so powerful it needs to be concealed in darkness. The letter for Tevet is Tet, which is also the first letter of Tov which means ” good”.
Unlike the expansiveness of Kislev, the previous month, when we take steps to go forward to realize our dreams and visions, in Tevet, we uproot the remaining negative forces that keep us from realizing them. During the month of Tevet, there is a natural tendency to restrict oneself, to be prudent and focused. This is an optimal month to establish and strengthen a routine this month that truly supports your well-being.
Do not be surprised if you witness around you or even within you greater anger this month. According to Kabbalah, the month of Tevet is devoted to the purification of negative emotions, particularly anger and jealousy. Tevet offers an amazing opportunity for clearing and healing negative emotion.
The Hebrew letter Ayin (eye) is associated with this month. The ability to see the good in every person and in everything that happens is a worthy goal for this month and one that will offer protection. Jealousy, the root of so much suffering and anger personally, communally and globally, comes from the incorrect perception that someone can have something that is meant for you. It is not possible! We can only have what we have the vessels to receive.
Take care, and always pause to breathe if you find yourself becoming angry or jealous. Before we cast judgement on ourselves or others, we need to be aware that our eyes may deceive us. What we see may not actually be true. Remember that often times the reason the qualities of a person bother us so much is that they are mirroring something within ourselves needing healing. When we judge others in a negative light, too often we are simply projecting our own negative qualities onto them. Projection is a defense mechanism used to protect oneself from the experience of one’s own vulnerability. Our freedom lies in “true seeing” of the Godliness within the person with moving from being reactive to being able to make conscious heart centered responses in the face of challenge.
The feelings of jealousy and anger are indicators of a need for greater connection with ourselves and God. The inner work of Tevet asks us to be grateful for what we do have and to take responsibility for what shows up in our lives. The inward tone of this month invites us to see reality more as it is. Though this process may be painful and disillusioning, it actually strengthens us. Through this kind of introspection, we touch the essence of truth, which in itself brings an inner joy and goodness with it.
This month we have an amazing opportunity to heal the anger we carry inside that continues to limit us. It may not be an easy process, but working though it will yield greater well-being, freedom, and joy in our lives. We must begin with the awareness of how we limit ourselves through our anger. Awareness is the first step. It does not matter if the anger is directed at ourselves or toward other people. Blaming oneself or others is simply disempowering.
On the first days of Tevet, when we are still lighting Chanukah lights we must consciously shine the Chanukah light into those places within us that call out for healing, light and love. The last days of Chanukah offer us the most healing and transformational blessing of teshuva. Teshuva means to return, to return to who we really are, to the experience of our true most glorious beautiful souls that shine so brightly within our bodies like Chanukah lights.
Just as the Maccabees searched for a pure vial of oil to rededicate the Holy Temple, during the remaining few nights of Chanukah when we gaze at the candles, we must quiet the mind, and search our heart and soul for that part within ourselves, that is pure, and unaffected by what is happening externally. That is the light of our own soul. The soul within us is pure, it is a part of God, it cannot be contaminated. On Chanukah, we restore our access to our inner light. Our soul is God’s candle in the world. Sit with the visualization of being God’s candle.
The challenge and opportunity this entire month is cultivate patience, practice forgiveness, and continually remember that nothing happens by accident. There is goodness within each challenge. Everything that is happening to us, what appears as good and what may feel as not so good, is designed to take us forward in your life. During this month, make a conscious effort to let go of the need to be right and attempt to see everything and everyone in the best light. We will know how we are progressing spiritually by observing our anger level. Becoming angered easily is a sign we need to purify ourselves.
We must make a decision to work on anger because being stuck in anger has so many negative consequences. It renders us victims who are powerless and unable to go forward in our lives. When we are angry we are not free. We are slaves to our emotions. We are out of control. We lose contact with our own souls when we blame other people or events for our own unhappiness. That is why during this month the Torah portions we read all about slavery.
Long before the holistic movement made the connection between the mind and the body, Kabbalah said that anger was the root cause of illness, because it actually disconnects us from God’s energy and from who we really are. If we want to heal ourselves from illness, we have to heal and transform the anger we feel inside. Joy and love are powerful healing forces in life that we need to nourish in our lives.
If you find yourself becoming angry this month, here are a few suggestions. Make an effort to calm yourself and not speak or act impulsively. Train yourself to take long deep breaths, visualize the release of tension through the breath. Make a habit of speaking in a soft and gentle voice so when you are angry you will not raise your voice too much. Give yourself time to look at the situation differently before responding. Try to be detached, objective, as if it were happening to someone else. Imagine yourself on a mountain top looking down from that vantage point. Assume responsibility for your feelings, making I statements such as “I feel this __- when you do___. Do not blame the other person for your feelings. It is ultimately your choice whether to be hurt or angry. Raise your vibration by doing something nurturing or enjoyable.
While it is not helpful to be angry and reactive, it is also important that in the face of conflict that we not become doormats or passive. It is not healthy to stuff our feelings inside. Denial does not in itself make the anger go away. Anger continues to occupy psychic space within us. whether we are conscious of our feelings or not.
It is therefore important to create safe venues for oneself to process, feel and release anger particularly this month. Give yourself time to feel, rather than avoid or deny yourself or your negative feelings. If you are angry, do not deny your angry feelings. Your feelings are beautiful, even your angry feelings. It is really okay to feel your feelings. It is safe and healing to do so. Yet feeling one’s angry feelings is quite different than acting upon them and dumping them on another person. A person will often find that underneath the anger they feel is hurt, and a call for greater love and acceptance. Love Yourself and All Your Feelings Unconditionally!
When the root cause within yourself for your anger is revealed to you, you will appreciate the growth opportunity that the anger offered you, and you will then be able to truly heal yourself. And after that, if it is necessary, you may be able to express yourself to the actual person who has hurt you in a way that invites healing and reconciliation rather than defensiveness and hostility. It is possible to stand up for oneself and assert one’s truth without being angry, defensive or making another wrong for their truth.
In the course of the month particularly, as a general principle, it is helpful to continually remind yourself that the challenge or problem in front of you is an opportunity to change, heal, and expand yourself in the way that your soul wants to take you forward. Take time to meditate and speak to God about your hurt and anger and ask how you can heal and better respond to people in a more loving and positive way.
This month of Tevet is a time of great light, for the greatest light is hidden in darkness. Everything is a mirror. Whatever we see is reflected back to us. If we see the good, the good is reflected back to us. If we see the negative, the negative is reflected back to us. So let’s try to see the good in others and in ourselves, particularly this month.
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I’m in the middle of having a contractor remodel a house for me, work that I have always done myself in the past. The comment “[anger] renders us victims” hit me right between the eyes. It is really helpful to realize that much of the anger I sometimes feel toward the contractor (who is actually doing a pretty good job!) stems from my own feelings of helplessness and lack of control in the situation.
As usual, thanks to Debbie for the blog.