To renew yourself, die to the old every day. Jesus spoke about death as a prelude to resurrection, and he also spoke about the need to be born again. Christian doctrine has focused almost entirely on trusting in the resurrection of Jesus as a sign that every soul will be resurrected one day. But when he said, “You must be born from above,” Jesus put the emphasis on transformation in this lifetime, not some faraway future.
Being born from above means a rebirth in spirit. Some individuals may be able to organize their spiritual life around one dramatic breakthrough, but for most, spiritual rebirth is a process akin to the long process that causes people to mature psychologically.
The spiritual process brings transformation steadily, one step at a time, yet the overall result is dramatic. One’s attachment to the ego and its belief in separation, including the ultimate separation of death, is being jettisoned.
If being born again is a process, you can contribute to it every day. In fact, this is the only viable way to creatively shape the spiritual path so that it belongs to you personally. From Jesus’ perspective, however, none of these labels is the true you; they distract from the reality that you are spirit embodied in flesh.
If you wanted to, you could redefine yourself every day. As the fixed self gives way to a dynamic, fluid self that is open to the unknown, freedom dawns. In that freedom, you go beyond death by discovering that you encompass life and death in a state of pure Being.
The external influences aren’t the real you, and until you go through the process of detaching yourself from old definitions, you cannot confront the unknown. Everything new that comes your way winds up passing through a filtering process until it fits your likes and dislikes, social status, income, education level, and so on.
Spiritual experience is unfiltered; it comes directly and spontaneously.
Adapted from The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2008).