Born Again

 Written by Joe Hawley


I want to share my perspective on what’s happening in the world.

We’re living in a time of immense upheaval. Life feels as if it’s moving incredibly fast, but somehow time feels as if it’s slowing down. Things are changing, and changing fast. Our governments are outdated. Our financial systems are corrupted by greed and scarcity. Our social interactions have become dull and void of any depth into the mystery we exist in. We’re destroying the very planet that’s gifted us with the experience of life by over consuming, as we distract ourselves from the one absolute truth - impermanence, death and the unknown.

What’s the future hold? A question even the most intelligent people on the planet can’t predict. We’re on a trajectory of exponential growth and it’s hard to comprehend and impossible to predict what the world will look like in the coming decades. We now possess the technology to move into the age of abundance. We don’t have to live in a place of scarcity. But in order to move into the future, and create a more beautiful world, we have to let go of the old stories, the old narratives, all of the things that no longer serve us, both individually and collectively. We’ve been taught that we’re separate from life, nature, the cosmos. That God is somehow “out there” and we’re stuck on this planet, in these mortal bodies, just waiting to one day die. But people are so scared of what might happen after death, the ultimate unknown, they hang on to beliefs that give them solace, and ease their fear, when thinking about death. But are these “beliefs” the answer to dealing with the fear of the unknown (aka death), or is it better to go through an experiential process, and actively participate in your own death, the death of who you think you are, the death of your story, the death of your ego? 

 I grew up going to a Christian Church. I was taught that salvation lived inside one simple belief - “If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you’ll receive eternal life.” And if I didn’t? Well, eternal hell and damnation was the other option. This created a profound fear of not “doing it right” and feelings of unworthiness in the eyes of God. I was taught that humanity was inherently sinful. This created a profound sense of internal shame that slowly eroded the love I had for myself, and ultimately kept me from experiencing real, unconditional love - God’s Love.  

In the Bible, in reply to Nicodemus, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3

Now, many Christians believe this rebirth to be, like I mentioned above, accepting Jesus into your heart and believing him to be the one and only lord and savior. And so, I accepted Christ into my heart, but it felt void of any real essence. It wasn’t an experiential process, it was just a belief structure. I felt like I was doing it, just going through the motions, so that I could find my way to heaven. And I hung onto this belief, not because I really wanted to, or out of a real desire to end up in heaven, I just didn’t want to end up in the other place, hell. I believed it out of fear. 

I’ve come to find, through a deeper understanding and going through my own experiential process, being “born again” requires a death of what was, in order to be born again in spirit. And when I walked away from the NFL, it was an initiation into this death/rebirth process. I’d lost my identity, and it felt like a part of me had died. And in order to answer the deeper questions like “who am I?” I had to go on a journey of Self-discovery, an initiation that provided the opportunity for me to find myself again, to remember the truth of who I am which allowed me to connect with a Love I’d forgotten somewhere along the way. And I’ve gone through many death/rebirth processes ever since. In order for an internal story, limiting belief or fear to be fully let go of, it must die. And death requires grief. Grief is how we heal, how we release, how we are born again. It’s the most beautiful process, to grieve, but we’ve never been taught how, given permission or felt safe enough to surrender into the process fully.

This is what, I believe, it means to be “born again.” And what Jesus was referring to when he said “no one will enter the kingdom of heaven unless they are born again.” The kingdom of heaven is here, now, but we must have the eyes to see. This is a level of consciousness we have access to but in order to reach this level of awareness, to walk in the kingdom of heaven, we first have to die. By now, I hope you know I’m not referring to a physical death but rather, a psychological death. 

In our society, we’ve lost any real rights of passage - “a ceremony or event marking an important stage in someone's life, especially birth, puberty, marriage, and death.” Most indigenous cultures had some type of rights of passage or initiatory process signifying the transition from child to adult. In our culture today, we lack any real significant experiential process during puberty that provides guidance into, and through, the death/rebirth process. The result? Psychologically underdeveloped boys walking around in grown men bodies. Narcissism, egocentrism, greed and lust for power are the result. 

Do I have the answer or know how to fix these very real systemic issues we’re facing as a collective? Absolutely not. But I do know, in order for us to evolve collectively, we must first actively participate in the psychological death/rebirth process. We’re being called to let go, to grieve and, in that process, find wholeness once again. 

I’m very much still in process, we all are, and it’s time we support each other through these unknown waters. The most powerful tool in my life has been COMMUNITY. And my purpose continues to be growing a strong, accessible community for anyone ready to support the evolution of humanity by doing their own work, diving into their own stories and actively participating in their own deaths, so that we may all be born again, and in that process, create a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. 

If you’re searching for community,  or want to surround yourself with other heart-led leaders,  join the conversation in The Härt Collective Telegram discussion circle. And for anyone looking for an initiatory experience down the path of Self-leadership, freeing yourself from fear is an invaluable tool for acceleration, check out our Fear Alchemy course.

If you're feeling called to an ADVENTURE and looking for an opportunity to reconnect with  your soul, we're offering a one of a kind retreat experience. Join 20 other heart-led leaders doing a variety of big things in the world on our 2nd annual river rafting retreat!

This experience is open to both men and woman looking to deepen their connection with nature, community and Self.

2nd -7th of September, 2022

Find out more about The Stillness and Surrender River Rafting Retreat on the Retreats page on our website.

I love you all. I hope you know that you’re not alone. Let’s come together and hold this vision for a brighter future while we support each other through the process. 

 With love and gratitude,

Joseph Hawley 


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