The Month of Tammaz - Fixing of the Eyes
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What do I need to know about the month of Tammuz?
Even though Tammuz is my birthday month, I approach this month with a bit of trepidation each year. I recommend that you also be respectful of the unique energies and opportunities of Tammuz. Kabbalah says that the months of the year are divided between Esau and Jacob. The first three months Nissan, Iyar and Sivan are given to Jacob. The next three months Tammuz, Av and Elul are given to Esau. After many spiritual battles, Jacob reclaimed part of Av and all of Elul but Tammuz is still in the domain of Esau, so the energies of the month are characteristic of Esau. The energies on full display this month are hypocrisy, anger, arrogance, war like behavior, and lust for physical pleasures.
As the gateway into the summer, from a secular perspective Tammuz is viewed frequently as a carefree time, a time to relax, travel, and have fun. According to Kabbalistic wisdom, Tammuz is a time of unique challenges and tests, particularly for the Jewish people. The most important lesson for this month is to recognize that what takes place in life this month is not what it first appears to be.
The Torah portion usually read to introduce the month of Tammuz relates the story of the spies sent to survey the land of Israel before the nation entered. Upon seeing thee inhabitants of the land, the spies, with the exception of two of them, report that "We were like grasshoppers in our eyes, so we were in the eyes of their eyes." They only saw their own fear projected. They did not see things as they really were and most importantly, they forgot that the land had been promised to them by God. Ultimately, their fears and desires were fulfilled. They did not enter the land.
The healing opportunity of this month is seeing. The challenge this month is to see life as it is and not as we want or fear it to be. The question this month is "Am I seeing things as they are, or am I simply projecting my own needs, fears and desires onto a person or situation?" When people project their own fears, anger, insecurities and other unresolved unconscious feelings onto others, they are disempowered. It is hard to go forward in life if we are blaming others for our own weaknesses. The change in perception has to begin within ourselves. We are not responsible for the projections of others, only for our own. No one has to be confined to an old narrative of low- self esteem and insecurity. We each have been divinely given the freedom to choose life and all that is good in spite of what is taking place around us. We can always see our lives in a new and positive way that honors the highest expression of who we are.
The Divine permutation for the month of Tammuz is reversed. We expect one thing to happen, but something totally different occurs, so it is helpful to be particularly flexible this month. In Tammuz, we are tested to see through appearances. What we held as true dear and true may now be seen as false and unnecessary. It is not easy to discern what is true particularly these days when there may be distortion, misinformation and even photo-shopping to promote different narratives of reality. If necessary, internal and external structures begin to break down in Tammuz to allow the truth to be better seen. The 17th of Tammuz is commemorated with a fast to acknowledge the beginning of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The physical and spiritual heat of the month of Tammuz encourages us too often to make quick judgments about people and our own life situations that are based on externalities and not the truth or essence. If you are triggered emotionally and become reactive this month, this is a sign that you are not seeing the deeper truth of the situation. We frequently see things from our vantage point. We rarely see the whole picture.
When triggered, always remember to take a few deep breaths to center yourself, question your assumptions, be discerning and mindful. It is important to make "I" statements rather than accusatory "you" statements. Tammuz is ultimately a wonderful month but only if we know how to use its intense energies constructively. When we purify our seeing and are willing to see God in this world and within each of us, we grow in Tammuz in ways that may not be possible at any other time period in the year. This is the challenge and spiritual opportunity of this month.
May we each be blessed to find the peace and love inside ourselves and in our relationship with God, even when what is happening externally may not be so peaceful. May we radiate blessings of calm, love and peace to everyone we meet and contribute to bringing forth the peace and love that we and others are yearning for.
(This Tammuz message is composed primarily from my out of print book Kabbalah Month by Month published in 2002. The Tammuz message seems particularly relevant this year)
A STORY WITH A LESSON THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE
"There was much opposition to Chassidism in its formative years. An opponent of Chassidism had heard many amazing claims about the Chernobyl rebbe and wanted to meet this rebbe himself to see if there was any validity to what his followers said about him. He understood that followers see their rebbe as a wondrous being, an angel, an intermediary, but he assumed this was just wishful thinking on the part of simple people.
He traveled to see the rebbe and had the privilege of sitting at the table with the rebbe for a meal. As he watched the rebbe eat, he did not see anything extraordinary. With the food falling out of the rebbe's month onto his beard gave the impression that the rebbe did not even have the manners of a cultured person. He was ready to dismiss the rebbe and all the claims he had heard about him, yet he stopped himself.
He excused himself from the table, went to the corner, and prayed to God. "Master of the Universe, please let my eyes be open to see the truth of what is. Please let me see the essence of the rebbe and not the externalities."
When he returned to the table, he now saw that the rebbe was shining from one corner of the world to the another. The rebbe was indeed a great light. his eyes had been purified through prayer so he could see the hidden truth."
So let us remember during the course of this month before becoming reactive or passing judgments on others or even ourselves, take a few moments to breathe, to feel our own feelings, open our hearts and pray for divine assistance and clarity to see ourselves and others as we really are.
May we be blessed with good eyes to see God in everything that is taking place in our lives and in the world today. Love and blessings, M