We’ve come to the end of our series on the fundamental Unity principles. We covered the first 4, let’s review…
Principle One: There is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and
as my life, God the Good. God is all power, all knowledge and everywhere present. God is not out there somewhere, but in us and around us. (Take that in and truly feel it)
Principle Two: Our essence is of God; therefore, we are inherently good. This God
essence, called the Christ, was fully expressed in Jesus. We are not born into sin, but
into blessing. Jesus came not to be an exception, but to be an example to us all. (Take that in and truly feel it)
Principle Three: We are co-creators with God, creating reality through thoughts
held in mind. We recognized this as the Law of Mind Action – Our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs have the power to create our reality. In other words, how we see our experience, and what we make our experiences mean, create our reality. (Take that in and truly feel it)
Last week we looked at, and experienced, the Fourth Principle: Through prayer and
meditation, we align our heart-mind with God.
When we take the time to get quiet, to go within and connect with our true
essence, that of Spirit, we align our hearts and minds with the One Mind and One
Heart, God. Denials and affirmations are tools we use. (Take that in and truly feel it)
Throughout this series, we’ve looked every week at how to live the Truth we know
through our thoughts, words and actions.
We saw that to live the first principle is to become grateful for whatever appears in
our lives, to trust that it truly is all good; to know as we learned in Romans 8:28 that
everything is working together for good for those that love God, and work according
to God’s purpose.
To live the second principle is to recognize our own innate goodness, and the
goodness of others, and to act accordingly. This means to not only see the best in
each other, but to expect the best from one another…. to truly behold the Christ in
everyone we meet. We saw that practicing the second principle is to become more
loving, more forgiving, more compassionate, more interested in the awe and
goodness around us than in whatever else is showing up.
Using the first and second principles as a foundation for practicing the third principle,
we saw that living it requires us to examine our most closely held thoughts, beliefs
and opinions, and to become willing to let go of those that don’t fully support us in
showing up as our true wonderfulness. The third principle teaches us that we live
from the inside… out. We are creating our world through those thoughts and beliefs.
Last week, we practiced the fourth principle in the service, using Unity’s five step
prayer process: Relax, Concentrate, Meditate, Realize and Give Thanks. As with all
the principles, it’s important that we live this practice daily. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, co-founders of the Unity movement, knew this to be true and spent hours every day in prayer and meditation. Still at Unity Village, the staffs schedule regular prayer times throughout the day. And of course Silent Unity is our 24 hour a day prayer ministry.
Prayer is at the heart of our Unity message and movement.
SO we come to Principle 5 – Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. Or, it is not enough to know the Truth; we must put that Truth into action in our lives. Or as we like to say, Put feet to your prayers.
You have probably seen this quote on Facebook, though I do not know who wrote it, but I love it just the same; “Spirituality must be lived, not just studied. All the books in the world will not help us if we do not live what we have learned.”
The Truth you know is the Truth you use. Otherwise, it is only theory and has no power to change your life. We must live the Truth we know. This principle frees us from inertia and stuck-ness. It frees us from pain, caused by the split we feel, between what we believe, and how we can behave. It frees us to act on our beliefs and live the rich fulfilled life that God has intended for us from the very beginning.
We talk a lot about truth in Unity, as evidenced by the Fifth Principle. We talk about
“truth principles” and refer to ourselves as “truth students.” We talk about capital “T”
truth and little “t” truth. We consider Lessons in Truth to be one of our foundational
texts, and become more than a little offended when someone, anyone, questions
I mean, don’t we love our truth and don’t we always tell the truth?
Well, no, not really. We tell our perceptions of the truth, or we share our opinions
about what happened, but very frequently, this isn’t actually the truth. It’s not that
we’re deliberately not telling the truth, it’s just that we see people and things through
our filters, our history and our perception of what’s happened. That old ‘domestication’ keep showing up. To tell the truth, literally, is to tell what has happened, or not happened, in physical reality, regardless of how we feel about it. And we are responsible for how we act no matter how we feel.
So what does it mean to truly live the fifth principle? It means that through our thoughts, words and actions, we are willing to live the Truth we say we know.
As a community, what are these truths that we say we know? First, we say we know the five principles, and are committed to practicing those principles in our daily lives.
Motivational speaker and author, Jim Rohn has said; “Some things you have to do every day. Eating seven apples on Saturday night instead of one a day just isn’t going to get the job done.”
People can only see what is in your heart through your actions. That’s the Truth you know. Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86, 400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course?
Each of us has such a bank. Its name is time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no over-draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against ‘tomorrow.’ You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, love and success. The clock is running. Action is needed Make the most of it.
One of the greatest challenges in creating a joyful, peaceful and abundant life is taking responsibility for what you do and how you do it. Again, living your Truth. As long as you can blame someone else, be angry with someone else, point the finger at someone else, you are not taking responsibility for your life.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall. IN other words, how you spend your seconds.
To merely abstain from wrong thinking is not enough, there must be active right thinking. Thoughts create action, action creates habits, habits create character and character creates destiny. See how negative thoughts can change your life just as positive thoughts can?
Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
James 2:14-18, tells us; What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?
The common question we ask is, “Where did I meet God today? And where did I miss God?”
The Five Principles – #4
Welcome back as we continue our series on the Five Principles, Unity’s five basic,
To recap, Principle One: There is only one Presence and one Power active as the
universe and as my life, God the Good. God is not out there somewhere, but in us
and around us, both transcendent and immanent.
God. Divine Spirit. The Universe. It’s all good. There is nothing but good.
Next, we explored Principle Two: Our essence is of God; therefore, we are inherently
good. This God essence, called the Christ, was fully expressed in Jesus.
And WE can express that Christ by being open and receptive to who & what we truly are. We are Divine Expressions of our Creator. Each individually expressing as ourselves. How we do that is our choice. And THAT choice leads us to Principle 3: We are co-creators with God, creating reality through thoughts held in mind. Thoughts held in mind with emotion, with feeling manifest in our world. And if we are thinking thoughts with feeling, with energy and others are thinking similar thoughts with feeling, we often find major manifestations – like a cure for a disease or some idea coming to fruation. That can work in reverse, and we can see negative manifestations like riots and war, or even family up-heveal.
We must watch our thoughts and our words, and the energy we place behind them.
This week, we move onto the Fourth Principle: Through prayer and meditation, we align our heart-mind with God. Denials and affirmations are tools we use.
Another way to say it is there is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our awareness of God.
Prayer and meditation are essential elements of the spiritual life because they keep us awake and aware of our Oneness with God and all creation.
Prayer is where Spirit meets language.
In her book, “The Five Principles,” Rev. Debenport says:
Of course the universe does not need our words; it responds to energetic vibration. Words resonate within us; we say them for our own sakes. They clarify our thoughts and intentions. They are the voice by which we call forth what we want from the field of possibilities. When we speak consciously, we release our words as if shooting an arrow at a target. We refrain from saying anything we don’t want to see in our lives.
That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “Ask and it will be given.” Asking is not begging or beseeching, a many of us were taught. It is focusing our thoughts, aiming our intentions. Prayer is the time we take to focus, to align ourselves in oneness with the divine and affirm that whatever we need is already ours. This is affirmative prayer.
Like the other principles, affirmative prayer-declaring that our needs are already fulfilled-sounds presumptuous to any who were taught that humans should grovel before God. We may fear that claiming we attracted whatever shows up in our lives drives God out of the process or fails to acknowledge our gifts and blessings. But remember Principle One: It’s all God. Jesus taught us to pray in utter confidence. “Your father knows what you need before you ask him,” he said, and “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.
Whatever we need or want already exists for us. It is already ours. We can’t get ahead of God.
In affirmative prayer, we are remembering who we truly are as expressions of the eternal life force on earth, and we are taking time to align our thoughts and feelings with our highest good. We affirm our well-being, that our needs are filled and that there is no lack in the universe. Because the universe senses our vibration, prayer is more than words we utter between “Dear God” and “Amen.” Every thought, every feeling, is a prayer.
And the response is always yes!
Through prayer and meditation, we align our heart-mind with God.
This teaching frees us from feelings of alienation, and isolation, from God and other people. Prayer and meditation free us from the mental, emotional and physical cravings and addictions that restrict our freedom. By teaching us to take charge of, and tame our unruly minds, they restore to us the freedom to choose, what and whom we will give our attention to. Silence, is our pipeline to the rich, peace-filled fields of God.
The personal characteristic of this principle is guidance!
–Søren Kierkegaard –
“This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.”
Prayer is connection
Biblical reference: Matthew 5:37 Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay and 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
There are many ways to pray. Some even say, every thought is a prayer, and essentially, that is probably true, which is why we say to watch your thoughts. We do not encourage beseeching prayer, that is encouraging the thought of separation, a God outside of us.
We do encourage a prayer of listening, being open and receptive. And we teach it in five steps.
- Give Thanks
Ellen says: Prayer moves us into a state of allowing and nonresistance. We don’t receive an answer to prayer as much as we let the answer into our lives. It is like opening the shades to let the sunshine stream in. The sunlight was always there, but we were blocking it. God is not watching and deciding whether we deserve good outcomes.
Jesus said, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” and the
kingdom is already among us. We need only open ourselves to it.
So instead of talking more about prayer and meditation, let’s practice…
Relax – Let’s get comfortable, take some cleansing breaths. Really get comfortable. If that means taking your shoes off, and you already haven’t, do so. If it means lying down, or sitting on the floor, do so.
Concentrate on what it is you are intending to do, in this case, clear your mind. Allow Monkey Mind to just flow through. Don’t give it energy.
Now go to that special place where you find comfort and peace, meditate in that peace, connect with your inner Christ. Pray, say what you wish to say to the God of your understanding.
Realize that you are connect with the Oneness that is —that you are, feel that connection. Listen to what the God of your understanding wishes you to know.
Gratitude – thank that God of your understanding for the time, the love, the connection, the comfort, the joy in your life. For the response to your thought, whether you received it already or for when it comes in the future.
And we all say – AMEN.
My prayer time comes in many forms. It may be a simple “Thank You” or an elaborate ritual. It may be silent or audible. It may be one of the reminders that I have programed in my phone or the final thank you at the end of the day. Regardless of how or where it happens, prayer centers me in the presence of God.
Through prayer, my perspective expands. I see beyond current situations or circumstances to the power of God at work in my life. Prayer changes my mind and heart. It lifts me into an experience of oneness with God, it transforms us.
We realize that as we transform our thinking, we also transform our personal concept of God. We realize that our God is not a God who is moody, vengeful, or angry, but a God who is the God of Jesus Christ: a God who is very much alive, a God who sees ALL GOOD, a God who is Love.
And so are you love.
We are continuing our series on the Five Principles, Unity’s five basic, foundational teachings.
We started with Principle One: There is only one Presence and one Power active as the universe and as my life, God the Good. God is not out there somewhere, but in us and around us, both transcendent and immanent. In reality, there is not opposite to God and good. No devil and no evil. That is a HUMAN concept that we label. I know that is hard to fathom, but in truth there is, only God, only good.
Principle Two, last week: Our essence is of God; therefore, we are inherently good. This God essence, called the Christ, was fully expressed in Jesus.
Can you say you are the Christ? Most of us have trouble saying that with meaning. But we must believe it. And recognize that there are many times when we are living it. We just let those moments fly by instead of letting them sink in to our consciousness. We need to breathe them in, that is breathing in the spirit of the Divine.
Maybe the better question is how can I show up as the Christ?
And look around you, we are all ONE. We’re you looking with judgment or with love? There is an opportunity to see us all, everyone as the Christ, and we can do that every day.
This week, we look at Principle Three: We are co-creators with God, creating reality through our thoughts.
You may have heard it spoken as The Law of Mind Action or Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. This is not simply The Secret or Law of Attraction, but much more. You are co-creating!
We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. Want different results in life? Change your thoughts.
Our thoughts and words have power. In Genesis “In the Beginning God said;” In the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”
Or as we see in Romans 12:2; “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Mind, not circumstances.
My Metaphysics teacher would always remind us to “watch your words.”
Does that seem scary – knowing that you create your life? It is. But becoming conscious and aware of what we think, feel and how we react or not, to the world makes it a bit easier to handle….faith helps too. This is all part of discerning our integrity.
Whatever we consistently focus our thoughts and feelings upon, manifests in our lives, in some way. This principle frees us from feelings of being a victim by life. It frees us from feelings of blame and powerlessness that keep us from prospering. It frees us to accept responsibility for our lives, when we realize we have the power to change that which is holding us hostage. It frees us to co-create the life we dream of. We are empowered!
Paul defines the essence of spiritual law: “God is not mocked; for you reap whatever you sow.” If we judge others, then negative judgment is what we sow, and negative judgment against ourselves is what we reap. We may try to cloak our fearful and angry judgments as the Will of God, but God will not be mocked. The judgments are coming from our human anger and human fears, and we will reap the consequences.
This passage from Paul is not about passing judgment on other people, but rather becoming conscious of the seeds we are sowing. There is always a choice, and it is always the same choice, no matter what situation or challenge we may face. Do we “sow to the flesh” by accepting as true the fear-based input of our mortal brains, or do we “sow to the Spirit” by choosing to embrace our Oneness with God and the divine guidance that is provided? We do not eliminate problems by denying their existence, but rather by evoking the ability that enables us to solve them, and find the blessing of God that is always part of the solution. We will have all the Power we need to live our own lives as expressions of divine Love. And none of us is given the perspective of God to pass judgment on what is happening in others’ lives.
Rev. Ellen Debenport, in her book The Five Principles, says this about Principle Three:
“Our thoughts, feelings and beliefs have the power to create our reality. And while
I think of it as co-creating with God, the law also works for those with no concept
of God. Like any universal law, it is in effect for everyone, the same way, all the time.
This idea of our innate creative power has become more widespread recently,
although it is ancient wisdom. The Buddha said 2500 years ago, “All that we are is
the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain
follows him… If man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like
a shadow that never leaves him.”
Unity is a faith that puts a great deal of emphasis on self-responsibility. We believe that we choose how we will react to what life brings our way. Nobody and no situation can make us feel or think a certain way, regardless of the circumstances. We create our experiences by our reactions and thoughts and feelings. Life just is. We choose to make it good or bad by what we do with it. Choosing to see the positive is a better way to live. We begin attracting other people who work hard to see the positive, too. We start surrounding ourselves with more positive people because they want to be around us, too. That, in turn, starts creating relationships and situations that tend to turn out more positively, too.
This is what walking in to Unity is about. The energy is so positive, filled with love that when you walk into a Unity Center, you feel as if you have come home.
This is also about leaving worries and anger and fear outside those doors. We know and understand that life still keeps happening. Marriages and divorces occur. Friends move away and new friends move into our lives. Family members make their transitions, but family members also have new babies and bring new life our way. And at every turn, the law of mind action still prevails: thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. Want different results in life? Choose better thoughts. The third principle implies that a positive attitude will lead to positive things in your life. At every point in your life, we are presented with one simple, straightforward option: Choose again. Choose conscious language.
The third principle isn’t magical or wishful thinking, or a secret. It’s also not a means by which we judge what we have “attracted” into our lives.
It’s a universal law that describes how energy works, and interestingly, how our brain
If we think of ourselves as a tuning fork, whatever tune we’re humming is what the Universe picks up on and reflects back to us. If we’re humming a happy tune, a happy tune is what is reflected. If we’re worried or angry or cranky, that’s the tune the Universe is going to hum along to. Or as Ellen points out, “If you’re vibrating with joy, you’ll experience more joy. If you are vibrating with misery, you’ll experience more misery. Your vibration is reinforced, no matter what.”
So we may think, “Well I was having a happy day and then this happened! I can’t
control what shows up in my day. I am not the cause of my own misery!”
Sorry… but we are. Because it’s not what’s showing up in our day that’s causing our joy or misery, it’s how we see it that’s causing that experience. Again, this isn’t New
Thought, it’s ancient thought. Epictetus, (Ep·ic·te·tus). a Greek philosopher from the first century, taught, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.”
In other words, while we may think that what happens on the outside is causing our inner experience, the opposite is true. We live from the inside out.
Wayne Dyer notes; “That which offends you only weakens you. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place; so transend your ego and stay in peace.”
It turns out that our brains are conclusion forming, evidence gathering, meaning making machines. And while you’d think that the evidence came first, and then the conclusion, the opposite is true. In other words, our brains create conclusions and then we spend the rest of our days gathering evidence to support those conclusions.
Once we’ve formed a conclusion (or a belief, or an opinion), our brain is predisposed to only gather evidence that supports that specific conclusion. It’s not that we don’t want to see another way, it’s that our brain is now wired to only see a certain way. You might say, “then how can we change our thinking, how can we co-create if our brains are predisposed to only seeing things in a certain way?” Can you think of any?
While it is true that we have very little control over the evidence we gather once a conclusion is formed, we do have control over creating a new conclusion. In order to do that, we need to wake up to the fact that we are actually creating a new way of seeing and being, and this is where the third principle comes in… this is where we start co-creating with God, this is where we make new pathways in the brain.
Here’s how it works: We create a conclusion. We then gather evidence to support
that conclusion. We show up based on that evidence (we might say we are a
reflection of the evidence we gather). Then other folks show up around us based
on how we’re behaving, and that reinforces our conclusion. To paraphrase Jesus,
“How we show up is what shows up around us.” Or in other words, we say we need
to see it right before we can make it right.
We usually do it the other way around don’t we? We try to change our behavior (or
the behavior of others – good luck with that!), and then wonder why that doesn’t
work. It doesn’t work because we’re still operating under the same conclusions, the
same beliefs and opinions, maybe even the same stereotypes, the domestications from our youth, that we always have.
We’re trying to show up differently on the outside, without looking at what’s going
on, on the inside. We’re working against our brain instead of with it.
For example, if we have the belief that our boss, or our job, (or minister) is against us – how are we going to show up?
Another way for us to work with the third principle is to see everything that happens
to us as an opportunity to wake up, or at the very least to see where we’ve gone to
When we explored the first principle, we looked at this spiritual journey as an exercise in waking up. So when stuff happens in our lives, we can spend our time figuring out how we “attracted” it (pretty much insuring that we will continue to attract it, given that we’re focusing energy on it), or we can see where we might need to wake up.
Did we attract that car crash, or were we asleep to the red light we ran through? Did
we attract a broken ankle, or were we not paying attention to where the curb was
when we stepped off of it? Did we attract an abusive spouse, or did we ignore all the
warning signs along the way?
In each of these cases, we have the opportunity not to condemn ourselves or others
for being asleep, but to gently and with great compassion for the human condition,
observe where we have opportunities to wake up.
I believe this is what Jesus was pointing to when he prefaced many of his teachings
with, “Let those with eyes to see, see; and ears to hear, hear.” He was observing that
if we are open to seeing and hearing, we’ll see and hear. But if we have beliefs that
are contradictory to what is being presented, we won’t be able to see it.
In fact, many of Jesus’ teachings reflect his understanding of the third principle. “The
measure you give is the measure you will get back.” We usually interpret this literally,
but what if we look at it energetically?
How can we live the third principle? We need to become aware of what we’re
currently creating. Remember what we looked at a couple of weeks ago – if you want
to know what you believe, look at your life. What is showing up is what we really
believe in, regardless of what we say we believe in.
What can we see differently? And just as importantly, who can we see differently?
If we’ve been holding resentment or un-forgiveness, can we see that person or
situation differently? If we’ve been experiencing lack in any area of our lives, can we
see that as an opportunity to give in that area?
Joseph Campbell asks. do we see the obstacles on our path as problems or opportunities? Ask yourself if you are living a Christ conscious life?