ABSTRACT: From memories of his prenatal life the author presents a recollection, in the form of a poetic narrative, of how he started his heartbeat. He then gives a personal and transpersonal interpretation of the narrative in the adult-life context and proposes a theory of how an unborn may start its heart and what it learns from the experience. In support of his ideas he draws on examples from mythology, a modern-day ritual and common beliefs about the heart.
Prenatal studies have been and will continue to be advanced in a major way through personal memories of people who have the courage and make the effort to journey back into their prenatal life. Usually, the purpose of such a journey is to retrieve personal knowledge. However, if the memory relates to a type of event common to everyone's life, the retrieved knowledge will also be of transpersonal value, i.e., of value to other people or all humankind. I believe that starting one's heart is such an event. I will use the personal "I" to express a personal experience or opinion and the transpersonal, collective "we" when my intent is to speak for the collective.
First, I will present the memory of how I started my heartbeat as a narrative in a poetic form. This poem is part of a collection of poems about my prenatal life (Vlcek 1989). I will then interpret the content of the piece in an adult-life context, examining it from a psycho-physiological point of view, and then formulate a theory about how the human heart may be started and what this essential step in our development means to our subsequent psychological and spiritual life. I will then support the theory by discussing the fire episode of Prometheus from Greek mythology, the symbology of the dancing Shiva from the theology of Hinduism, the ritual surrounding the Olympic games and other images and common beliefs about the heart.
The notion of the presence of consciousness and intelligence in the unborn child has a wide acceptance, I assume, among the readers of this journal. However, we still know very little about the scope and dimensions of consciousness and intelligence in the unborn. Based on my personal experience I would say that consciousness in the unborn is a paramount and wide-ranging faculty (if one can call it a faculty), with far greater depth and subtlety than that of the adult. I propose that consciousness is the unborn's primary tool of communication. For example, I believe that, via consciousness, the unborn can access and communicate with its physical parts and with external objects that it perceives through its delicate and finely tuned sensorium. Although we may lack understanding about how this is accomplished, for the purpose of interpretation of the above poem, I ask the reader to keep an open mind about the subject.
In the poem, the developing unborn tells us how it "spark-jumped" its heart. First it became aware of an energetic "life-beaming source above" that kept inviting the unborn to join it. This "joyous force" is, I believe, the heart of its mother. The developing heart, as yet sleeping, hesitated at first, not feeling strong enough to accept the invitation, but after some growing it gathered enough "flame" to "leap" (in consciousness) to the mother's heart and "dance" with it and "celebrate friendship". Having learned the "step" the incipient heart tried it on its own, eventually succeeding in mastering the beat. The unborn then applied its "newfound power" to execute a move, succeeded, and looked forward to use "the power of the flame" in all its future life tasks.
The ideas and images introduced in the poem describe not only the process in which the unborn started its heart but also, more importantly, they imply the psycho-spiritual meaning of this essential primal experience to its subsequent life.
THEORY OF FIRST HEARTBEAT
Based on the recollection of how I started my own heart beating I wish to propose a new theory on how the unborn starts its heart and what this experience means to us in our lives:
* The unborn enters into heart-to-heart communication with its mother's heart that stimulates and encourages it to start its own heart beating. …