Saturday, January 14, 2012


"You became what you became by remembering it, because it was very literally in your body before birth." Martin Prechtel. A mayan belief that beautifully mirrors the Talmudic teaching of the philtrum, the angel and amnesia. It states that in utero, the baby knew all Torah, all truth. But at the time of birth an angel comes and removes the memory by stroking the child above the top lip, leaving the cleft between the nose and mouth. " 'Hush' it whispers to the stirring child, 'Now you must forget.'"* These teachings bear the hope that heaven and all its laws and motions are in our physical body, and the work of life is to remember and recognize it. They evoke the Tibetan sage Milarepa's statement that the body is a tutelary deity, containing secrets and powers and protective efficacy that happens in secret, in the secret world of the kidney, the spleen, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the silent council of the city of the body, as if each one were a passage of forgotten Torah.

*Terryl Givens, When souls had wings: pre-mortal existence in Western Thought.

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