“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.”
It’s not any more unusual to be born twice than it is to be born once. —
Ray Wylie Hubbard
God has two families of children on this earth, the once-born and the twice-born. —
Francis W. Newman
john 3:3 “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”j
John 3:6-7 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.”
“God has two families of children on this earth, the once-born and the twice-born.”
— Francis W. Newman
“Physical existence is so cramped. We grow old and bent over like embryos. Nine months passes; it is time to be born. The lamb wants to graze green daylight. There are ways of being born twice, of coming to where you fly, not individually like birds, but as the sun moves with his bride, sincerity.”
Part one: Sexuality and birth.
In nature the top purpose of any living creature is fertilization, giving birth and the continuity of the species. All living creatures are supposed to produce, and the production the new born.
And then after few years of being fertile, the living creature begins to wilt, it begins to lose gradually its vitality and wellbeing until a complete extinction. Nature wants from us a fresh and new version of ourselves, and when we pass our age of production it no longer needs us and it tries to get rid of us.
During our age of fertility we are encouraged to produce more new life and this is done by incentives, which are the sexual drives and pleasure of it. We continue to manufacture offspring’s, but with it, we put the incentive and the sexual pleasures on top.
Part two: from existentialism to consciousness.
Why do we put our enjoyment of sex as a priority? Well, this is because we have got a partial consciousness, with which we can give priorities not according to nature, nature wants us to give birth as a priority and the enjoyment just as an incentive, but we can reverse this priority. For If we accept (with our partial consciousness) that after the age of fertility we are on the road to decline and disappearances – we would sink into existential despair – for this is an existential absurd, of which Seren Kierkegaard, Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus – wrote about.
With our partial consciousness we can ignore this existential absurdity or face it, which if we do, would lead us to an existential horror.
But there is a third way, to try and have fuller consciousness, with which we can come to understand that on one level we are indeed born to recycle ourselves and then disappear, but on another level we could give birth not to our offspring’s but to ourselves. And then there is a meaning to this loop.
We human could create and give life twice, once on the biological level, the other on consciousness level.
The difference between this two levels is that on the conscious level we don’t just recycle ourselves but give birth to something new which did not exist before.
But the process of causing self-birth is not as the pleasure that comes with the sexual act of causing the biological birth.
Many of those who try to be on the road to the second birth, get disillusioned and return to the regular way of causing biological birth.
Giving birth to the second self is called: metanoia. And Metanoia, is a transliteration of the Greek μετάνοια, meaning of which is: “a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion.” The term suggests repudiation, change of mind, repentance, and atonement; but “conversion” and “reformation” may best approximate its connotation.
The partial, initial and undeveloped consciousness (which animals do not have of course) is enough to know that we are about to die, but not enough to get knowing about the possibility to give a second birth.
Part three: the birth of consciousness.
The biological mechanism of giving birth is automatic, the consciousness birth does not evolve automatically, mostly it remains as an unfulfilled potential.
How a birth on the consciousness level is being created?
Well, every birth happens by the union of the masculine element with the feminine element.
In the first, biological birth, the male element is active and the female element is passive and she is giving birth to the newborn.
In the second birth, the female element is active and the male element is passive. She fertilizes and he is being fertilized.
In the first birth the newborn is being born through a woman.
In the second birth the newborn is being born through the male aspect.
In the first time, fertilization is done by union of mother and father.
In the second time fertilization is done by the union of the soul and consciousness.
Birth at the first time is being done by two (man and a woman) and from one (woman).
Birth at the second time is happening by one (the human as an individual) and through two (soul and consciousness).
In the first birth the male element is moving and traveling towards the female element in order to fertilize it.
In the second birth it is the female element which is the one who travels towards the male element.
In the biological birth the male element is the man and the female element is the woman.
In a consciousness birth giving, the male and female elements exist in the person himself, it could be called: soul, or Shakti in Hindu, or anima in Carl Jung language. And consciousness, or Shiva in Hindu, or Animus in Carl Jung terminology.
And the mating of the female and the male elements in a person can give birth to a real and permanent self.
This idea is perceived as a hallucinatory idea in the eyes of those who see the human to be complete as he is, as the top of nature’s creation (for he possess logic and mind).
And now he only needs to give expression to this completion through science, technology, art, psychology and more.
But in the concept of transformation it is being claimed that the real human being was not born yet and that the human as he is is but a sketch for the possibility of his being. An extension of this idea could be found in a book: “The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution”
By P. D. Ouspensky . There he studies man in view of what he may become. Ouspensky proposes then that the definition of psychology should be the study of the principles, laws and facts relative to man’s possible evolution (p. 5).
This possibility, of man’s possible evolution did not come, generally, as yet to an actualization, and this is because we think that the way we are is the way we are supposed to be.
With it through history almost always existed groups of people that saw the situation of the human as he is – as a raw material for what he can be. This idea existed mainly in the mystic movements of the great religions, such as: Zen, Kabala, Sufism, fourth way, Alchemy and more. And each one of them brings analogies to explain this idea.
One of this ideas is consumption and creativity. The real life is the life that could be created, a man needs to create himself from the raw material of his personality.
There are few analogies for that in various mystical traditions:
Being born again (without dying, as an epiphany) is a metaphor used in a number of religions
• Arhat or ‘arhant’, the Buddist conception which succeeds the earlier Dvija concept in the Dharmic tradition.
• Born again is a Christian term for spiritual rebirth and salvation.
• Dvija the concept of being “twice-born” prominent in Hinduism since classical times.
Alchemy brings the analogy of turning simple metals (lead) to noble metals (gold).
In Kabala the talk about shells or peels and the spark.
In Sufism they use the metaphor of the heart.
In Zen the metaphor id the sphere of sounds – to come to inner quietness and the calming of the consciousness.
In the fourth way the analogy is sleep and the waking up from it. In “Search for the miraculous” there is a sentence: “in order to be reborn one has to die and in order to die there is a need to wake up”.
To use a different analogy we will take the mechanism of the eyes; the fact that we have eyes does not mean that we see. When opening the eyes – the first thing is the gaze, but we can gaze at something without seeing it, this use of the eyes is casual, general and superficial, in order to begin to see we need to look, which is more specific, then there is the focused look and then we observe, which means seeing the details, here it is an Interpretive, deep look, and only then we see. In other words – seeing does not come about just by operating the eyes.
What we usually miss in the ordinary look is what is not obvious, what is hidden, and only when the mechanism of the eyes manages to crack the hidden level then the seeing potential comes to be.
Another analogy is a rocket; in the rocket there are two stages; the first stage is supposed to eject the second stage, and it is this stage which is supposed to circle the earth, but if the second stage is not ejected then both stages return to the planet without the mission being completed. So are us, we end our life without the second stage is coming to be.
What is common to the ways above is that that which needs to be is not yet born. It is not enough to exist in order to be alive.
And so is our life; it is not enough to operate them mechanically – in order to be. There is the need of internal attention in order for life to happen with all their might.
There is a difference between life in the mechanical level and stimulations; life on the mechanical level (biological birth) needs a lot of stimulations to feel that he is alive. The second birth cancels the need for stimulations and opens the way to what is within what we meet.
The difference between living and being alive is in the difference between the mechanical and the dynamic level.
Part four: fire
In the first birth there is a need from the outside. From partner from the other sex to fulfill its duty. In the second birth there is a need for help from within the person, here the human gives birth to himself.
If the first birth is in the area of the pelvis and it involves matter and fluids, the second birth is in the area of the head and it is surrounded by air and fire. In the first birth the fetus is surrounded by water (in the placenta) and is born to air, in the second birth he is surrounded by air and born into fire.
The man is born to another level, another dimension, the dimension of fire. He looks motionless on the outside, but is burning and awake inside.
Part five: Personal experiences.
It is important to find out if there is a certain age in which this second birth is happening. In different sources it is known by different names: religious conversation, cosmic consciousness and more.
It is possible that religious conversion may be particularly likely at certain times in the life cycle. This article presents the results of a research (Kose, 1996) based on interviews with 70 native British converts to Islam that revealed conversions are more likely to occur beyond adolescence. The average conversion age was found to be 29.7 years.
This age might be the beginning of the second birth, to various individuals it might happen in the middle of life, somewhere around the age of 35.
According to Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke (18 March 1837 – 19 February 1902) which was a friend of Walt Whitman, certain people can reach a state of high consciousness. It is usually happening to men in the ages between 30-40, he wrote that it happens to people who possess high intelect, high morality and have a serious religious or spiritual approach.
He considered 13 such individuals that ‘woke up’ or had a second birth: Buddha, Jesus, Paulus, Plotinus, Muhamad, Dante, Bartolomé de las Casas, John Ypes, francis bacon, jacob Boehme, william blake, Balzac, Walt Whitman.
According to him the experience happens at once, without warning. There is feeling of being melted in a flame, and is followed by a feeling of ecstasy. And an intellectual and moral enlightenment. Walt Whitman describes the cosmic consciousness that Bucke is talking about as “an upper and rare light that cannot be described in words, a light which is beyond all signs, description and languages”.
With Dr. Bucke himself it happened in the beginning of his 36th year, and he is telling about it in his known book from 1900: “Cosmic Consciousness, London Inns & Sons, 1901; Reprint: Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, University Books, 1989,(pages: 7-8). After a whole evening of reading with friends from beloved poets, especially Walt Whitman, and all of a sudden, during a drive home, he felt as though he is surrounded by flames and then it is as it penetrated into him.
A similar thing happened to Walt Whitman (Bucke was his student) he was then 34 or 35. Bucke wrote that it happened to Whitman in one of the morning in the month of June, and since then it is a though he was born again (there, page 188). Whitman writes about it in “Songs to myself” and there it appears as a powerful sexual experience: Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, New York: Modern Liberary.
Part six: what signifies the new birth?
Change is what you do, a rebirth is what happens to you. A rebirth happens through you, and in this process a new creature which was not in you before, is coming out from you. You are more you then what you have been before, there is a layer which was not present in you before.
Before the rebirth you are dispersed in various ‘exiles’, in new birth you are being collected and reunited.
Part seven: and what after the rebirth?
We have got some insights about what happens after the rebirth, here, mainly from parts of: “in search for the miraculous” of P.D. Ouspensky.
Gurdjieff sees this period as a period in which all which existed so far cannot exist anymore in that fashion; social connections, couple relations, parenthood, family relations –everything disintegratess.
According to Gurdjieff he has no choice, seeing that he was reborn as a different entity. He needs to ‘learn to live’ from the beginning. His previous life are not fit for him anymore. He is like a fetus born into a totally different environment. And he is alone.
He supposed to see things different, and this is creating a distance between him and the once born.
His new being is free from the power of social, family and cultural deep conditions.
The fourth way claims that now he does not have the tools and cooperation, in a world which is no longer fit for the new creature that was born.
This would lead to great loneliness of the newborn, and one of the ways to live with it is to influence and help for the rebirth of other individuals, to become a midwife… so that he will have people with whom he can communicate.
One more problem of his is that now his life is not according to a roll. He has got an unknown course ahead of him. He writes his life as he moves on, nothing is known or guaranteed.