A leading international magazine recently printed some amazing pictures taken inside a mother’s womb, showing the evolution of a two-week-old fetus into the full term baby just prior to birth. The extrapolation of complexity and fullness from seeming simplicity is simply miraculous.
A curious feature, however, is the posture. From the earliest state, the curled and folded shape of the fetus is garishly out of sync with the upright posture of the human being. The obvious explanation is the limited space afforded in its temporary abode within the womb. A deeper explanation is offered in Chassidism as follows.
The functionality of the unborn body is limited. Most pointedly, the head is drooped down between the knees. This limp state is also indicative of a lack of consciousness – brain function, in the sense of mindful activity. The dominant body function is that of the stomach, attached as it is through the umbilical cord to the mother. The growth and maintenance of the fetus is through this amazing ‘hose’ that feeds the fetus directly. Only when birth takes place do the other potential functions spontaneously activate with the first cry of the newly born. The head is lifted and the neck muscles give it s support. The cord is cut and the state of independence established.
Hassidic teachings of Kabbalah compare the unborn baby to the current state of the world and history. The Torah notes that we “have eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear”, as does, substantially, an unborn child. More significantly, our consciousness is severely limited, as is evidenced by the small portion of the brain that is currently used — estimated at 5% of its ultimate potential. Our tendency is to seek understanding of the mechanics of life, and struggle imperfectly to comprehend the purpose of life. Ours is a cold cerebral approach to the workings of the world. This is akin to the state of activity and insight of the fetus in the womb.
Kabbalah informs us that a stage of “spiritual fission” will suddenly emerge — a spontaneous combustion of insight and higher consciousness known as Moshiach. Like the birth of a child and transformation of a bent-over fetus into an upright sentient human, so will humanity become a world of higher awareness and the spiritual underpinnings of reality will become open and apparent. The other 95% of the brain will function as will the aptitude of all our deeper perceptions of reality. The state of oneness and unity of all things will be fully apparent, resulting in a state of balance as yet unfelt.
The Chassidic teachings describe this phenomenon as the emergent balance of the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, manifesting their spiritual contribution to the embryo that we were. The patriarchs provided the spiritual ‘seed’ that we evolved from. It is their input that will become open and revealed in the time to come, resulting in our ultimate self-realization.
Through our self-mastery and insight we are constantly preparing ourselves for this transformation, and in this quest for higher consciousness we become active catalysts in the acceleration of the process.
MASTERY: The Abraham aspect of your personality is your compassionate nature. The Isaac aspect is your strength and resolve. The Jacob element is your sense of truth and balance. Spend three consecutive days focusing and becoming aware of each of these three spiritual characteristics, one by one, sequentially over the three days. And as you become aware of their place within you, commit yourself to strengthening them and re-balancing yourself as necessary should you find that one or more of these is either lacking or in low gear.
MEDITATION: Think of an idea. Trace it back to its birth. How did you think of it? Where did it come from? What was the spiritual space – the potential that allowed the thought to be conceived? Which parent’s characteristics transposed this thought-disposition into your genetic code? How did it jump across time, space, and person, to become an aspect of your personality? Where did it reside before your parents, and their parents, and onwards? Remain in a state of wonderment and awe at the mystery of creation.
Follow-up resources: What is Kabbalah and Achieving Inner Unity and Balance (audio) available at Rabbi Wolf’s Website.