A cousin of mine sent me a short fable about two babies having a conversation in the womb. The conversation is about the nature of their reality and existence, and what is going to happen to them after birth, if anything.
There are various different versions of this story, the most famous one from a man named Henri Nouwen. The version below is one that I have adapted. Enjoy!
Two babies, Ego and Spirit, are confined to the wall of their mother’s womb and are having a conversation.
Spirit: I really believe there is life after birth. And I believe we’re here to prepare ourselves for what will come later.
Ego: Don’t be ridiculous. Look around you. This is all there is. Why do you always think about something beyond this reality? Just accept your lot in life. Make yourself comfortable and forget about all this life-after-birth nonsense. There is no life after birth. What kind of life would that be anyway?
Spirit: I don’t know, but I think there will be more light than there is here. Maybe we’ll walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we’ll have other senses that we can’t understand just now.
Ego: Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Are you mad? The umbilical cord supplies us with nutrition and everything we need. And because the umbilical cord is so short, life after birth is physically impossible.
Spirit: Well I still think there is something out there and maybe it’s different than it is in here. Maybe we won’t need this cord anymore.
Ego: If there is life after birth, how come no one has ever come back from there? I’ll tell you why, because birth is the end of life, and in the after-birth there is nothing, just darkness and silence.
Spirit: Ego, don’t get mad, but I want to say something else. I also believe in Mother. I believe we’ll meet Mother and She will take care of us.
Ego: You actually believe in Mother? You’ve never seen Mother. Why can’t you accept this is all there is? The idea of Mother is crazy. You’re here alone with me. This is your reality. Now go into your corner and stop being silly. Trust me, there is no Mother.
Spirit: Ego, please just listen. Somehow I think that those constant pressures we feel, those movements that make us so uncomfortable sometimes, that continual repositioning and all of that closing in that seems to be taking place as we keep growing, all of this is getting us ready for a place of glowing light, and we will experience it very soon.
Ego: Now I know you’re absolutely insane. All you’ve ever known is darkness. You’ve never seen the light, so how can you even contemplate such an idea? Those movements and pressures you feel are basically YOUR reality. You are a distinct and separate being. This is your journey and you’re on your own. Darkness, pressures, and a closed-in feeling are what life is all about. So you’ll have to deal with those things as long as you live.
Spirit: I believe all of these pressures and all of this discomfort is not only going to bring us to a new celestial light, but when we experience it, we are going to meet Mother face-to-face and know an ecstasy that is beyond anything we have experienced.
Ego: Okay, so where is Mother now?
Spirit: She is all around us. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not exist, we would not exist.
Ego: Well I don’t see Her, so it’s only logical to say that She doesn’t exist.
Spirit: Sometimes when you’re silent you can hear Her, you can perceive Her. I believe there is a reality after birth and that we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality.
Ego: You really are crazy, Spirit. Now I’m truly convinced of it.