Eric D. Goodman

The Truth is This

We’re smarter than you think. Young children, I mean. We’re more aware than grown-ups realize. We have an innate knowledge that adults are no longer consciously in touch with. Call it the collective consciousness, greater enlightenment, being one with God; call it what you will. Humans are all connected by this common knowledge in the beginning. It isn’t until later that the cord is cut and the connection fades.

If you’re old enough to read this, chances are you’re skeptical. But it is true. We youngest of the young may not be able to communicate our wisdom, but it’s there as sure as I am here. We haven’t developed physically, but our awareness — the essence of who we are — is something within our undeveloped bodies from the start. We’re not able to walk, not able to talk. We can’t use a fork or tell you what we want. But we’re little philosophers.

How do I know this? I’m tuned into her, into everything. You’d be amazed at how much adults forget in the quest to learn. Degrees and decorations, the greatest breakthroughs in science and philosophy: these are faint echoes of what each and every person already knows at the start.

I know things about myself that even my own parents don’t know. I knew who I was before they’d even considered me a possibility. They still think of me as unknowing, unaware. They have no idea.

I’ve observed things about my parents that they don’t know about themselves. For example, they need to relax. They’re searching for some future life so intensely that they don’t seem to realize they’ve already arrived. If I could communicate with them, I’d be able to help them, I think. Give them some advice. In a few years, I’ll physically be able to talk — if I survive. I just hope I can keep the thread from weakening. The connection is thinner than an umbilical cord and more fragile than an infant’s skull.

Forgive me if I come off as a bit of a know-it-all, but I kind of am. It’s when we’re born that wisdom begins to drain away. Soon after, we shed all but a dreamy shadow of our enhanced awareness. The more self-conscious we become, the less aware we are of the universe surrounding us. Not long after the umbilical cord is severed, so too is our association with the greater consciousness. My challenge is to retain what I know.

As parents mold us, our own molds — the essence of who we are — loosen. We’re instructed to focus on ourselves, and we begin to lose our innate understanding of the universe. In becoming individuals, we shed the better part of our humanity.

Adults have the best of intentions, teaching us to fit into a world where self is more important than community. As we learn to crawl and babble, to eat and spit, to walk and talk, we forget what we once knew: that the whole is more important than any piece. We become more attached to our physical bodies than our spiritual souls. As we enter the larger world, we exit a greater one. We no longer maintain the strength to meditate on the universal. Important ideas are lost in the struggle to suck the nipple, grasp our toes, hold the spoon, dress ourselves.

For some, it’s a sudden loss. The stress of childbirth can be enough to vanquish all memory of previous existence. Great thoughts are often left behind in the womb only to be expelled with the placenta. The blinding light of the outside world — this womb you call Earth — is shock enough to block out everything. The clamping and cutting of the cord can cut us from our memory. Intuition may be washed away as the nurse gives us our first bath.

For others, the shedding is more gradual, forgetting just a little with each lesson learned, each skill acquired, every baby step taken. Until, by the time we’re able to speak, we have no memory of what we wanted to say; just an elusive inkling of something missing, like a dream you think you remember until you try to put it into words.

I know what you must be thinking, but don’t be too quick to dismiss my words without your own personal memory of the womb. You may have once participated in the experiment of walking around with a sack over your head to see what it’s like to be blind. But you know that’s not really what it’s like to be blind. I remember the moments before my eyes had developed, my vision left to imagination. You must be enlightened to pass judgment on enlightenment.

We lose what we know in the same way that adults lose their desire to play, to pretend, to get lost in imagination. Most adults have forgotten the immense joy of simple play, of pretending you were the hero or the villain, of adventuring through the woods, or hiding and seeking. You can remember doing it, and you remember it was fun. Maybe you still play with your kids. But stop. Think. Is there anything in your life that brought as much joy as playing make-believe with your friends when you were a child? And yet, no matter how hard you try, you’ll surely find it impossible to recapture that feeling. Go ahead, romp through the forest and proclaim that you’re Robin Hood, Indiana Jones, Huckleberry Finn, or the hero of your taste. I suspect you’ll be more likely to feel foolish than giddy.

I’m certain it’s still there, that it’s all within you. All your memories, dialogues, and thoughts — they’re within your mind. Everything you’ve experienced and known is recorded there, like outdated cassettes in the attic. It’s locked away, and the map to the key’s location is hidden behind that locked door.

Once that door is sealed, it’s next to impossible to budge it. It creaks open on its own at times. Dreams drift from that sealed-off area. Sudden memories, long lost, come at odd times from the crack beneath the door. Look up at the ceiling while contemplating a subject, and a feeling or thought or memory may rise up. “I’d forgotten all about that,” you’ll say. Perhaps the memory, once rediscovered, will remain yours; maybe it will meander back into the locked-away attic of your subconscious. Stick with me and maybe you’ll recall your own memory of the womb.

Whether it’s at one month old or one year, we squander the greatest lessons, the ones we knew before being taught. We just close the doors and misplace the keys at different times.

I use the all-inclusive ‘we.’ I’ll resist the temptation to let go. I’m determined to get through childhood with my awareness intact. It’s the only way to teach my parents, and the world, that a greater existence lies within us than without — that true enlightenment comes in helping others, not ourselves. I want to teach people to remember the important things and to let go of what doesn’t matter. The truth is: this is what we have, here and now, and we should enjoy it because it will be over before you know it.

When you know enlightenment, there are no longer any questions. No more worries or problems, depression or doubt. Only peace. The knowledge we have in the womb would make a world of difference if delivered to the outside world.

I can feel Mom restlessly striving for something she believes is out of reach. Like so many adults, she never stops for peace and quiet. If she would just stop and listen, she’d find that what she’s looking for is within her.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Before I share my hopes for the future, I should probably tell you a little about my past. Mine is a short history. I haven’t been born yet.

© Eric D. Goodman

Eric D. Goodman writes in Baltimore about trains, wombs, and animals gone wild. Tracks, his novel in stories, won the Gold Medal for Best Fiction in the Mid-Atlantic Region from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Like him or poke him at or

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