Gospel of John #28
John 3:7-8: “Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
To be born “from above” (also translated as: “again”) means that I let go of the effort to control my origins and my destination. One who is born of the Spirit is like the wind. We do not know where the wind comes from or where it goes.
How do I actually implement this advice?
In relationships, it is common to break up with somebody — or to have a falling out — while harboring the expectation that the relationship will come back, and be reborn, in some fashion. The same kind of expectation may occur in other spheres of life; for instance, as one may watch another’s death while praying for a recovery. The recovery may, indeed, occur. Yet, if we let go of the sick person – or the relationship – only on the condition that they may return, we do not exactly let these cherished things die so that they may be reborn. We cling to the effort to control the direction of a relationship, or a sickness, its origins (or: its inception and raison d’être ) and its destination.
A prerequisite for being “born again” or “from above” is that we let go of who we are now. If you think about it, when you are actually living your life fully, you are often governed by a power that is not your own, in its origins and destination. To deliver oneself over to that power is to release the self. How may I release the self (let the self die, spiritually) if I am still attached to a preferred outcome or reward for doing so?
“I will let go of control,” I say, “only if I may be assured that in doing so, I will become who I want to be or get what I want. I will let go of a habit of anger, for instance, only if the obstacles in life (which make me angry) are cleared away in the bargain. I will release my attachment to my professional role (which causes me anxiety) only if I am assured that I will perform even better in my profession without my anxiety than I did while being overly attached.”
Such demands constitute efforts at exerting control over outcomes, thus defeating the intention to let go of control. I seek to control the origins of my self (i.e. the animating power that propels me) and my destination (what I will become).
How may I be born from above? By standing constant in the intention to let it happen, unconditionally, no matter the outcome. A hard bargain! Except for the exhilaration and peace that I experience when I do so.