A prophet—a poet, really—once proclaimed that no one could see the divine in the everyday unless they were born again. “How?” someone asked, understandably quite perplexed. The answer was no clearer: You are both body and soul. And while your body cannot be born again, your soul can.
Bringing ourselves into that archaic conversation, we might now ask, how? How do we too experience rebirth?
This teaching has become twisted through the ages. For many of us, the word “reborn” is laden with connotations of guilt and fear. Uninvited, unwarranted, it harasses us by way of graceless condemnation. The genuine human struggle to see the world another way—infused with the divine, like the prophet alluded to—has been lost. And the path to being reborn is now adorned with gaudy, misdirecting trinkets.
Were we to set aside the rough and thoughtless handlings of ancient wisdom we’ve been given, most of us would still have little idea what the act of rebirth actually signifies, what it unlocks. The great mystery of the divine has been hidden from us, and our words too often ring overwise and lacking. We are too drawn to safety to be set free.
But there is good news: What is hidden is at hand. What we seek is near. To see the divine in the everyday, we must simply—profoundly—experience rebirth. Our spirit’s weariness and irony must be sloughed off and replaced with a refreshed and renewed spiritual topic.
We must see like children again.
The poet who prophesied was most interested in how people see and hear and taste the world. He remembered that love for what is comes after the decision to accept it, to cherish it—amor fati. He remembered the truth of harmony through tension: the relation of the sun to the moon, the still to the stirring, auroras to eventides.
It might be easier for yoga practitioners to intuit and grasp this venerable teaching. They already know that body and soul are both separate and one. They already know that certain paths and postures and movements and states enliven both aspects. They already know that there is a world at-hand which reveals as much as it conceals.
But the question remains: How is one reborn?
I offer this: to see the divine in the everyday we have to choose to see otherwise, and this choice can only authentically be made once we accept what is. To see otherwise is a choice to adopt a sensorial second naïveté. And by experiencing the prosaic world—the usual and workaday world—with the eyes and ears and hands of a child we experience it anew. We sense its primordiality, its elementality, its full wonder. And as the world’s natural divinity is revealed, our own is awoken. We begin to feel differently. We value differently. We overcome ourselves.
And here our bond with the universe shows itself and our kinship with others is revealed.
Consider this an invitation to make rebirth part of your practice.
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