'Life begins at conception!'
Or does it?
First, one might question, 'what is life?' The pro-life mantra quoted above seems to be predicated on the assumption that life is biological existence. If life is more than biological existence, though, which most would probably admit to, however grudgingly, does this life begin when the spirit enters the body, or does it exist before the spirit enters the body? When does the spirit come to be? On the other end of the spectrum, what happens to the spirit when biological life ceases? Does life cease, or does the spirit persevere? Many questions could doubtless be asked when it comes to the nature of life itself, but maybe the most nagging one, staring us all in the face, is, 'if we are more than this body, why do we focus so much on this physical existence; why do we cling to this biology so fervently?'
A long time ago, I was asked what the meaning of life was. Being steeped in religiosity as I was at the time, I responded simply with, 'Jesus is the meaning of life!' Looking back on that statement, some twenty or twenty-five years ago, I can still say that, though I have come to realize that there is more to it than I thought at the time! Jesus, as the Son of God, was raised to the Life of the Spirit, which we all can now share, through the realization of the Christ, or Chrism Within.
'Life goes on!' Most times, when this, or a similar statement is uttered, the speaker is most likely thinking that though it has ceased for one individual, it perseveres for another, or others. While this is true in a sense, that ones biological life, or existence in the body they inhabited up until that time is over, whether one believes in reincarnation or not, life continues on for that one, either in the Spirit, or in a new body. By 'a new body', I simply mean another ( biological ) manifestation of the Spirit Within, that Divine Spark that moves us all.
It is without question that we are more than this biology! Whether one goes to Scripture to prove this or not ( which I have previously done ), it cannot be denied that there is a Spirit that controls our every movement. This Spirit Within enables us to choose. Depending on our choice, we may observe which nature has control, if only for the moment. If we choose rightly, according to the Spirit Within, then we may know that we are acting from our True Nature, which is from Above, our Higher Self & if we choose wrongly, which we often do, we perceive that we are acting from our base, or animal nature, that which is from Below, our lower self. For instance, most often when we instinctively react to what we perceive as wrong-doing ( usually against our self ), we end up perpetuating the wrong-doing. However, when we act out of love, rather than waiting for the other to act, it is evident that we have, through whatever means & to whatever extent, realized our True Nature & are acting from it!
Our True Nature, like the True Nature of Life itself, is Spiritual! Any motion of this biological machine, however involuntary we may perceive it as being, must begin in our Spirit, or it will not happen, for it is the Spirit that gives Life. Some may choose to disagree over the veracity of the former statement, but none, Scripturally speaking, can disagree with the latter! One must choose, whether consciously or unconsciously, with the Higher or lower mind, to do this or that, one thing or the other, before any action can be manifested by the physical body.
Put simply, Love is the meaning of Life! Our actions, when motivated by Love, come from our True Nature, which, like the Creator God's, IS Love. One may act in kind, for good or evil, but this is simply a reaction; when one acts in love, no matter the action of the other, this is truly our Higher Nature shining through! This biology is the manifestation of the Spirit Within; if we allow our lower, animal nature, to control our actions, then our biology will be subjected to many forms of dis-ease, but ( this is a hard pill to swallow ) when our Higher Nature, our True Self, dictates what we do or say, then we will find that our physical bodies will be relieved of much if not all that seems to plague them! As is said a lot in this world, 'easier said than done', but when we do act from our Higher Consciousness, we do find ourselves feeling a lot better; this wellness then manifests in our physical bodies.
Scripture tells us that when our biological body dies, it returns to the substance of which it was formed & 'the spirit will return to God who gave it' ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ). Whether one believes this or not, it is unclear what happens after this. Does the Spirit remain in a disembodied state, in 'the Glory Cloud', so to speak, or are we given a second chance to right the wrongs we have done in the past? Is it possible that, as spirit beings having a physical experience, we are allowed ( to infinity? ) more than one chance to live in this biology, to learn to act according to the Love that we ARE, rather than reacting according to our animal nature, instinctively doing what our base human nature tells us is right?
Religion, at least the prominent Western ones ( even some Near Eastern ones ) tells us that we have but one life to live, then it's off to one or the other 'place', Heaven or Hell, for all of Eternity. Though there are many who persevere in this belief, we know that this is not so, that both Heaven & Hell, at least as classically described, are but states of existence. One chooses, whether consciously or unconsciously, to live in either state of existence, for both are here & now!
In conclusion then, to act from the Higher Mind, the Spirit Within, is simply to BE; reacting to the other ( person ) is to be controlled by our lower mind, our base ( animal ) nature. Realizing that we are of the same Essence as our neighbor, we know that, despite our differences in physiology & psychology, we are ultimately One & the Same. In this sense then, we might well be observed to act in Love towards ourselves when we cease reacting toward others! Is this not what Jesus had in mind when He said, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' ( Matthew 19:19 ( Leviticus 19:18 )?
Charles Haddon Shank