Let’s lay a foundation. Within the totality of creation there are six elements: earth, water, fire, air, space, and consciousness. Things that arise by dependent co-origination from the six elements fall into two categories: physical things and things of the mind. Physical things arise from the first five elements while mental things arise from the sixth element, consciousness. All six elements are mutually pervading. The first five elements wholly permeate the sixth, consciousness, and consciousness in turn wholly permeates the other five elements. In other words physical thing and mental things interpenetrate without hindrance.
Consequently, all things have consciousness, not just humans, and will respond accordingly to our consciousness. In other words, everything has a consciousness that is all connected in a web of life extending out and back to the farthest star in the most distant galaxy.
And here is where it gets interesting. We are born with a consciousness of radical nonduality where spirit (absolute) and matter (relative) mutually pervade—spirit within matter and matter within spirit. This is a consciousness of the oneness of this world and the Otherworld—no separation[i] only unity.
Thus, our birth consciousness is a consciousness of oneness. This is not the thought of oneness but the consciousness of it. In other words, our thoughts flow from our consciousness. And our thoughts determine our reality. As we think, we become.
Even though we are born with a consciousness of oneness, within an unknown period of time, it is overlaid by a dualistic consciousness. This is the reason why the majority of people have a dualistic consciousness, which also means their thought patterns are dualistic—right and wrong, good and evil, win and lose, success and failure. This dualistic mindset is further evident in the conflict between the pro-life and pro-choice people. In other words, you are either pro-life or pro-choice. But what if; pro-life meant pro-choice? Take a moment and consider that pro-choice is pro-life without the baggage of religious intolerance dirtying the waters of reality.
Life is choice and choice is life. Our choices in life influence to an extent our life destiny. I would have to assume that many of the pro-lifers are very adamant about the freedom of choice for one issue—guns. Now, this choice is clearly not in the province of furthering life. Of course you can target shoot but why; to become more adapt at taking life –animal and/or human; no plant life is in danger yet except for the ones that can’t shoot straight. Ah, the second amendment; would it surprise you that I agree with the second amendment. The point is that our choices are just that—our choices. No person has the right to prohibit a person’s choice. It is my body, mind and spirit—my fate and destiny. A woman’s body is her body—end of story.
The Meaning of Pro-Life in America
Abortion was legal when America was founded.[ii]
Pro-life as it is used today is, in reality, selective life. The male-dominated church and institutions are focused not on life—that is, all life—but on controlling women’s bodies through fear, dogma, rules, and regulations. The illusion presented is the concern about life, but not all life, just the life of the fetus.
For pro-lifers there is no choice for a woman to abort after becoming pregnant through rape, as it is “something God intended.”[iii] An example of pro-life being selective life is that it is God sanctioned and OK to kill an abortion doctor or nurse, but aborting a fetus is murder. Pro-life is totally focused on the fetus, not the welfare and life of the child after he or she is born—another form of their hypocrisy.
Pro-Life Is Pro-Choice
Being pro-life, and this means all life, even down to the smallest ant, does not mean that we are not pro-choice. In fact, the reality is that being pro-life makes us pro-choice. Believing that all things are alive, responsive, and intrinsically important and precious, we determine our actions and behaviors, words, and thoughts totally based on this most basic, but important, paradigm of life. This is a paradigm of life that encompasses choice and power.
Yes, power—empowerment. Self-power based on our belief in the divineness that is within us as well as within all other things of creation. This is true faith, not the hollow faith of the church. If we have the power within, we do not need religious or secular institutions telling us what to think and what choices to make—especially if it concerns our bodies.
For women, pro-life as pro-choice presents a different view of abortion, one based on common sense and love, not fear and guilt. We know that the question of when soulful human life begins is the source of the conflict between pro-choice and pro-life. It is also one of the greatest human spiritual and religious mysteries. And because it is a mystery, it cannot be proven one way or the other. On the other hand, even a mystery such as this may still have some light shed on it. However, the church would rather keep you ignorant and in the dark.
Christianity’s dogma states that the soul enters at conception, while Judaism believes that ensoulment occurs at birth:
“Jewish law not only permits, but in some circumstances requires abortion. Where the mother’s life is in jeopardy because of the unborn child, abortion is mandatory. An unborn child has the status of ‘potential human life’ until the majority of the body has emerged from the mother. Potential human life is valuable, and may not be terminated casually, but it does not have as much value as a life in existence. The Talmud makes no bones about this: it says quite bluntly that if the fetus threatens the life of the mother, you cut it up within her body and remove it limb by limb if necessary, because its life is not as valuable as hers. But once the greater part of the body has emerged, you cannot take its life to save the mother’s, because you cannot choose between one human life and another.”[iv]
Since ensoulment is a spiritual and religious mystery, where can we turn to discover some truth? It seems that common sense, as well as biblical teachings, may provide us with the key to the contentious issue of when soulful human life begins. The key is breath.
Have you ever seen or felt a baby’s first breath of life? Have you ever heard a baby’s initial cry—the soul’s cry of life? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a newborn baby and seen that spark of life? And have you ever viewed a person that has died—passed over—and recognized the absence or lack of breath and that spark? At the moment of our first breath, the divine spark, pure and untainted (no sin, no metaphoric dirt), entered us from the heavens.
I know by experience the fact and truth that breath is life. Inversely, the lack of breath is death. In all cultures breath was accorded a special place within their spiritual and philosophical traditions. In the Hebrew Tanaka, the word ruach is translated as “divine wind, breath, or spirit.” “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”[v] In other words, it is a striking image of “an apparently lifeless body being slowly revived by artificial respiration. God himself breathes the breath of life into the first human being. For all his earthy substance, man has something divine about him.”[vi]
“According to the bible, a fetus is not a living person with a soul until after drawing its first breath.
After God formed man in Genesis 2:7, He ‘breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being.’ Although the man was fully formed by God in all respects, he was not a living being until after taking his first breath. In Job 33:4, it states: ‘The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.’
“Again, to quote Ezekiel 37:5&6, ‘Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’
“According to the bible, destroying a living fetus does not equate to killing a living human being even though the fetus has the potential of becoming a human being. One cannot kill something that has not been born and taken a breath.
“There is nothing in the bible to indicate that a fetus is considered to be anything other than living tissue and, according to scripture, it does not become a living being until after it has taken a breath.”[vii]
One last point, the fetus is a potential human being, not a separate, soulful life. Of course, it is alive and receiving the essence of the mother as well as the genetic or the earthly lineages of both the mother and father—a potential human being. But it is still not a soulful human being. The mother and the fetus are alive but are not two separate, soulful lives. Thus the loss of the potential baby, in my estimation, although I am not a woman, is one of the greatest losses outside of losing an actual child that a woman may experience during her lifetime, either through abortion miscarriage or stillbirth. I am not equating abortion with miscarriage and stillbirth. Abortion is a choice; miscarriage and stillbirth are the sufferings and struggles of life happening. And I believe that there is not enough help and support in our male-dominated society for women to heal from this loss (if they can actually ever totally heal).
In my mind, the conscious choice to abort a fetus is the hardest and greatest choice a woman must face in life. But again, it is a choice. The woman is not killing or taking a human soulful life. She is losing a part of herself and a potential child. This loss is great, and it needs to be mourned and then healed—not only the loss itself but also any guilt or sadness. If there is anything lacking in legalized abortions, it is the absence of comprehensive emotional and spiritual healing after the abortion.
[i] There is no veil, as some teach, that separates the unseen and seen worlds.
[ii] Jonathan Dudley, “How the Bible Began Saying Life Begins at Conception,” November 19,2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-dudley/how-the-bible-began-saying-life-begins-at-conception_b_2132951.html.
[iii] Julie Pace and Steve Peoples, Seattle Times, October 26, 2012, A4.
[v] Genesis 2:7 (King James Version).
[vi] John Ashton and Tom Whyte, The Quest for Paradise, 58.
[vii] “The Bible Tells Us When a Fetus Becomes a Living Being,” October 31, 2012, http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/tcl-blog/the-bible-tells-uswhen-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being.