Tishrei: The Beginning of Everything
Tony Robbins, a prominent life coach, discusses a fascinating case of a woman suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. This unfortunate condition is one whereby a person’s character is fragmented into multiple identities so that at different times they will exhibit personalities and behaviours which may be diametrically opposed to each other. To better understand the concept, just imagine a sweet little eight-year-old girl adopting the gruff voice, language, and bullish persona of a 50-year-old beer-bellied drunk, and there you have an extreme example of the condition.
In his book, Robbins describes a woman who shifted between multiple personalities, each of which had their own health issues. One of these personalities was supposedly afflicted with diabetes, and Robbins noticed that whenever the woman was identifying with this personality, her blood sugar levels would increase, mimicking a state of diabetes, until she changed personalities, whereby it would return to a normal level.
Undoubtedly, this proves a widely accepted belief; that the mind controls the body to a phenomenal extent; hence the reason that placebos have such a prominent place in medication. In short, it’s mind over matter. We can effect incredible changes on our physical state simply by changing the way we perceive ourselves.
Rearranging the letters of the upcoming month Tishrei, we get Reshit – which means beginning, or Rosh – head. More than just a new year, this month is the beginning and the head of the year. Just like our head defines who we are, so too this month is a defining period; the month that will pave the way for the rest of the year. Its zodiac sign Libra – scales – are often understood in the context that we undergo judgment in this month. Yet it can also allude to our brains, where we are constantly taking in pieces of information and weighing things up to make sense of our surroundings and then map out an appropriate response.
The work of the month is therefore clear. In this month which will define the rest of the year, it is our task to work out ‘where our heads are’, to re-evaluate who we are and how we define ourselves with regards to our Creator and our connection to Him, so that we can live the year that we want to live.
All of us have work to do in this world, work to do with regards to our connection with the people around us, with our Creator, and how we follow through our beliefs in our everyday lives.
Granted, it isn’t easy. The hardest yet most significant and greatest thing we can ever do is not to change the world; it is to change ourselves. However, reassuringly, we can remind ourselves that the real work begins in our head; in the small act of redefining ourselves. Choosing who we want to be and choosing to live by that decision. Because once we have changed our mindset, once we have stepped out of our self-imposed limitations, then anything is possible.
There is no person who is too far, no human who is too lost, that they cannot take this small step of redefining their connection to G-d in their head. Every Jew possesses a spark of fire, a soul, no matter how deeply it is buried. It takes but one decision, one small change of mind to fan this little spark to life, where it can be capable of becoming a mighty force.