The spiritual life - topic three
What is being twice born?
Osho, - Maturity: The Responsibility For Being Oneself
The first step in the art of living will be to understand the distinction between ignorance and innocence. Innocence has to be supported, protected—because the child has brought with him the greatest treasure, the treasure that sages find only after arduous effort. Sages have said that they become children again, that they are reborn.
In India the real Brahman, the real knower, has called himself dwij, twice born. Why twice born? What happened to the first birth? What is the need of the second birth? And what is he going to gain in the second birth?
In the second birth he is going to gain what was available in the first birth, but the society, the parents, the people surrounding him crushed it, destroyed it. Every child is being stuffed with knowledge. His simplicity has to be somehow removed, because simplicity is not going to help him in this competitive world. His simplicity will look to the world as if he is a simpleton; his innocence will be exploited in every possible way. Afraid of the society, afraid of the world we ourselves have created, we try to make every child be clever, cunning, knowledgeable—to be in the category of the powerful, not in the category of the oppressed and the powerless. P.xi - xii
Society socializes us, conditions us, diminishes and eliminates the innocence that we were born with. That child-like innocence is our natural inheritance, our birth right, but it gets destroyed by, first our families, and secondly our community, and thirdly the wider society.
The goal of this socialization and conditioning is what we are told is “success” in the ego world. What parents, what teachers, what coaches, what religious mentors, what other societal authorities don’t want the individual to be successful? And so children are taught their manners, their etiquette, the right way to behave, to manipulate, to find the loopholes, to be pleasing to others or to dominate others, to be charming or be a bully or both.
The child is taught to perform to gain status and prestige through competition so the parents, the school, the community, the team can be proud. And then after the ego is stroked and celebrations are held, what’s next, but more prizes to be sought after or to coast and relive the ego stroking in memory for weeks, months, years, and decades.
The sages tell us that ego prizes and ego stroking does not lead to a satisfying and fulfilling life well lived. What leads to peace and joy is the eschewing of the path of the ego and embarking on the path of the Spirit which is based on Unconditional Love and remembering the innocence and wonder and awe from which we have separated ourselves and have forgotten.
As we mature spiritually, we give up the things of the ego and come to appreciate the inner world more than the outer world. Jesus teaches His followers to be in the world but not of the world.
Today, we can ask ourselves not “what is this going to get me” but rather, “what would love have me do?” It is in asking the second question rather than the first that we are being twice born.