I remember my Mom sitting in the pre-dawn morning reading the Bible with a cup of coffee by her side. I would often sit with her, sometimes with the Bible, sometimes with other readings. This morning, I am continuing the practice.
Along with my coffee, I am drinking in the story of Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night (the night of his own consciousness) for the true skinny, for the heart of the matter (and what is matter but dense formings and reformings of spirit, the life force?)
Nicodemus is no lightweight. He is an expert in Mosaic law. His mind is opening. He wants to know more. So Jesus gives it to him straight on. If Nicodemus truly wants to know more, he must be born anew, born from above.
We humans exist between heaven and hell (the above and the below). We know how to give ourselves hell. We are pretty expert at that. We work on giving ourselves heaven (chocolates, sex, vacations, etc.) but these efforts do not truly achieve liftoff. We are like the Wright brothers in their initial flight experiments. We get off for a short while then crash resoundingly to earth.
Jesus has a different take on it. He speaks from his own experience. This is why he speaks with such authority. He says to Nicodemus that if he wants to transform (both “see” and “enter the kingdom of God”), he must be “born of water and the Spirit.”
Of course, this confuses the heck out of Nicodemus. Jesus is talking about two births. Nicodemus thinks immediately that he has to go back into his mother’s womb and come out again which is clearly impossible. So he gives Jesus a WTF?
Jesus says: You’ve got all that learning and you don’t know these things? (An education is not the same as a transformation.)
As I sit here sipping my coffee, I contemplate what Jesus said. For transformation of being, we must be born from above. I have been reading Martin Buber lately so my mind opens to the use of his terms: I - It and I - Thou. The world of the “below” can be seen as the world of I - It; the world of the “above” as the world of I - Thou.
Nicodemus is in the I - It world of separative consciousness, where he stands alone against a world of objects, of Its. He has adopted the “I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul” stance. Evidently he is having second thoughts about that.
George Breed is the author of several books published by Anamchara Books including The Inner Work of the Warrior: A Manual for Embodying Spirit, Jesus and Lao Tzu: Adventures with the Tao Te Ching, and The Hidden Words of the Living Jesus: A Commentary on the Gospel of Thomas.