“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3
Christianity teaches that Jesus was referring to salvation based upon a belief in him.
But Jesus was actually talking about being born “into the Spirit” – not about a commitment to himself.
So, what does it mean for one to be born “into the Spirit”?
I think, first, this requires a determination of the meaning of one’s “self.”
Each of us is born as a “true self” – but, at this moment in history, a “true self” probably wouldn’t be able to survive past his or her childhood. That’s why a person, while still young, accepts the substitution of an “ego” or false self in place of their true self – so that they can successfully integrate their “self” into the world – i.e., with their parents, community, and surrounding culture, including their nation and religion. This successor “self,” in most cases, takes the form of the strong and healthy ego that Freud described.
But what are the costs of living through an “ego” self, no matter how successful it may be in the world?
Think about consciousness as an open circle. Then picture the part accessible to the ego as a very thin slice – maybe 10% – 20%. From early childhood on, that’s the part of ourselves we choose to live within – with all our experiences needing to fit within that narrow slice or be excluded. Excluded how? The ego self requires, as the price of an effective existence, that each and every experience outside the scope of its chosen roles be methodically and ruthlessly pushed back into the unconscious – sealing those experiences off from our consciousness.
So, what happens when we’re “born again”? Upon being born again, we gain access to all our consciousness – all 360 degrees of it – and are able to experience full reality. We become completely “free” and totally open to all our experiences – just like when we first came into the world as a newborn baby – but we also retain all the experience and knowledge of the person we had become by the time we were “reborn.” This rebirth, however, doesn’t happen to an ego – it only happens when we’re able to break free of the ego we had earlier accepted – and start living outside it. That’s what Zen training, for example, prepares us for – to get “outside yourself” in order to become “free of your ego.” This is essentially the same path which Jesus taught – that we need to be “born again” in order to become our “true self” – the self God originally provided us with.
Once you become your true self, you’ll enter “Heaven” – and no longer be creating karmic problems in this world. That’s because you’ll be experiencing everything clearly – by being able to see yourself at the same time as you’re participating in the world – by an ability to stand “outside” yourself. This makes it possible for you to see what God wants you to do in any given situation – just like Jesus was able to – allowing you to act the same as God would act if God were a human being like yourself.
Let me say this as simply as possible – once you find your “true self,” you won’t be Jesus, but you’ll have become someone like Jesus – because you’ll have done what he recommended – spiritually, you’ll be “born again.”
All the “Angels in Heaven” start singing when this happens –
You’ll simply be able to hear the angels who’re always singing – once you’ve gained the “ears to hear” that everyone receives upon being “born again.”