There is a Sufi legend that before a child is born an angel teaches her all the wisdom of the universe by which enlightenment is attainable and suffering is eradicated. However just before the child is born another angel arrives to cover the child's mouth causing her to forget everything she has learned. Why teach the unborn child in the first place if it is made to forget before it can even to begin to make use of the teaching? The legend says that in the recesses of the child's mind the impression of the teaching remains. It then becomes the challenge of every life to bring the teaching into the open, allowing the teaching angel to have the last word. The search for recovery of the unutterable source must be conducted in the silent recesses of the creative self.
This lovely story seems to me to be the essence of prenatal and perinatal psychology - the deep and genitive understanding of the authentic soul.
Since, as may be true of some of you, I have found the search for this wisdom to be life long, I take comfort in the thoughts of the founder of the Sufi order in the West, Hazrat Inayat Khan who in his book The Music of Life wrote:
The more a disciple gains the more humble he becomes. When any person makes this gain a means of proving himself in any way superior to others it is a proof that he does not really possess enlightenment. He may have a spark within himself but the torch is not yet lighted. The greatest lesson of Mysticism is to know all. Gain all. Attain all and become silent.
So in the words of the Nobel Prize Laureate, Pablo Neruda: "Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still for once on the face of the earth. Let's not speak any language. Let's stop for a second and not move our arms so much."
Now I'll count to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go, taking with me the lessons I have learned and leaving behind with all of you my love.
Editors note: Thank you Ruth and all my esteemed predecessors for making this special edition of JOPPPAH possible. "Now I'll count to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go [for now], taking with me the lessons I have learned and leaving behind with you all my love." jmr
JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.