Rebirth is not something I associate only with life after death, nor only with the Christian notion of being “born again.” I see rebirth happening in my counseling clients’ lives all the time, as they achieve new understandings of the ways in which earlier chapters in their life histories have unconsciously limited them and then begin to choose directions in life that are truer to them. This awakening to the self is often profound enough to constitute a rebirth in this lifetime.
The Self is Sacred
Each of us is imbued by God or the universe with thoughts, feelings, opinions, dreams and goals that constitute our inner self. This means each of us as has a unique purpose in life and unique potentials. That fact is nothing short of miraculous.
Seldom does a person realize his or her deepest purpose and most powerful potential without false starts, detours, periods of underperforming and other periods of significant, sometimes profound, struggle or pain. All of these, however, can set the stage for a rebirth as an individual far truer to his or her core self.
Adversity and the Self
It is often, in fact, through adversity that rebirth of the self becomes possible. Success is wonderful, but generally leads to more cycles of sameness. Human beings don’t tend to change what they are doing, when they are being rewarded for doing it. When we encounter storms in life, however, we have the chance, sometimes at the edge of utter darkness, to reach deep into our core selves and not only survive, but discover our most pure and powerful paths forward.
It is often when our backs are to the wall that we discover levels of courage we didn’t realize we had inside us. It is often when our finances falter that we finally choose the richness of our true career intentions. It is sometimes when our relationships are most challenged that we can finally feel the love that has quietly sustained them, all along.
Waiting for Rebirth
When we encounter trials in life, it can feel as though the sun is in perpetual eclipse. But this is never the case. The sun always, always reemerges, often illuminating a renewed individual, with more wisdom and with more clarity about how to live life more honestly and completely. Having faith that this process is underway is what allows a person in a “dark night of the soul” to keep his or her eyes open for new chapters of his or her life story.
According to the Bible (Isaiah 43: 18-19), “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Finding a Guide through the Dark
It can be tremendously helpful to find someone to help navigate the winding road that leads to rebirth. This is the terrain of psychologists, psychiatrists, pastoral counselors, life coaches and clergy. In the best cases, any of these professionals are searching for their clients’ true selves. Because then a non-fiction narrative of that person’s life, going forward, can be visualized and internalized and actualized. And, for all intents and purposes, a person who comes to be in command of his or her non-fiction story—a story he or she was meantto live out—is a person who has undergone rebirth in this lifetime.
Keith Ablow, MD
Founder, The Ablow Center