There’s an old Medieval rabbinical tale that says that before we were born, we each had a light that shined above us. This light looked backwards into our origins and forwards into our destiny. But just before we took birth, an angel named Lailah, who had been looking after us during our pre-birth development, came up to us and lightly struck us on the upper lip. At that moment, the light vanished, and we were born in utter forgetfulness about our true nature and our ultimate fate. The purpose of our life is to recover that light and remember who we really are and our purpose in life..
People say that this is why we have a crease in our upper lip (called a philtrum), and why, if you’ve forgotten something (e.g. the car keys) and suddenly remember where they are, you instinctively put your finger up to your lip (”ah! now I remember!”). There’s even evidence for this story from Eastern medicine. In Chinese acupuncture, there is a meridian called DU26 at the junction of the upper third and lower two thirds of the philtrum, which when stimulated accelerates the revival of consciousness from someone who is in a coma.
Lailah serves as a guardian angel throughout a person’s life and at death, and leads the soul into the afterlife.
For more legends and stories about pre-birth and birth, as well as of other stages of life, see my book, Thomas Armstrong, The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life (Ixia/Dover).