Authoring Our Own Story

As the night of Rosh Hashanah—the cosmic story of creation—is unfolding, lets begin our own journey with a story.

The Rebbe of Lelov awoke with the dawn, washed, and rushed to the synagogue for his morning meditations and prayers. While hurrying along the path, the Rebbe chanced upon a student. Surprised to see another awake at this hour, the Rebbe inquired as to his intentions. The student duly reported that he was on his way to the village bakery, where he was employed. He bowed his head in shame. “Master, it is shameful, you arise with the dawn for such noble a purpose, and I awake merely to bake bread.” The Rebbe gently corrected the young man. “In each of us lies the innate desire and power to create. This manifests itself as a yearning to create and share our creations with others. In each of us this manifestation is unique. My contribution is that of teaching and inspiring, and you, you give the village the gift of bread…”

We all strive to be creative and creators. Sefer Yetzira-the book of formation is perhaps one of the oldest Kabbalistic texts around. It speaks of the mysteries and deepest secrets of creation, and it speaks of the Creator as the scribe and creation as the story. Philosophers and mystics have attempted to decode its secrets for centuries. Traditionally, this sacred text had been read as a narrative describing the Creator’s process of creating; yet others have opted to view the text as a manual for our own role in creating our reality.

The process of creation is continuous, both on a cosmic and personal level. Largely, we observe on the outside what exists on the inside. What we see in the universe is a projection of internal universe, and this interpretation and reinterpretation is constant. Otherwise, how can we be responsible? How can we accept responsibility if we don’t acknowledge creatorship?

Internally speaking, a creator is one who masters life and not the converse. A creator’s emotions and character are based not on coincidental circumstances that occurred to him, causing him to be a certain way; rather, those emotions come from deep within him (or her). The creator is the architect of his/her own existential reality, and not at the mercy of “surroundings.”

There are those who must endure tragedy to gain empathy and those who must be surrounded by kindness in order to be open, loving and giving. The creator, however, does not allow himself to become what his external surroundings and experiences dictate; rather, he searches deep within his own mind and heart and develops empathy and kindness and all other emotions through true introspection and inner searching. He creates his own life experiences. This is on a personal level, building one’s character from within, rather than based on one’s surroundings. The Founder of Chassidic philosophy, the Baal Shem Tov, explained the words of the Torah in Genesis, “Let us create man” to mean, I’m giving you, the Creator says, your potential, now you create yourself together with me, develop yourself using your inner strength and abilities.

There is the outer and inner world—one is the realm of the effect while the other is the cause. The internal inner world is the essential and the cause of the outer. When we surrender to the outer, then life is merely the effect. We will then continually find ourselves in situations and predicaments where we feel we have no choice whether to be there or not. However, if we live from the inside out, we then become and live as masters.

And so, a beneficial practice would be to set the tone of the day during the first waking moments. The first thoughts, and especially the first words uttered, are very important in how the day will move along. If in the morning the first thing we do is become inner directed, that is we pray, reflect, become introspective, then the rest of the day will follow that course, and we will be the masters and creator of the day. We will be the cause of life and not the effect. However, if we choose to fill our mind in the waking hours with ideas that exist in the realm of the effect, then the day will follow that course, and we will find ourselves in the receiving end of life, finding ourselves in the effect, in circumstances and situations that seem beyond our control.


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