GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Welcome back to our Sunday Service. I pray you are well and preparing to return to the Center in person, for Father’s Day. And if you choose to remain in the comfort of your home, that is fine also. We plan to stream the Service to you as well as have those of you who choose so, to attend in person.
We are practicing streaming the first 2 Sundays in June. Then, as I KNOW we will have everything under control, we will welcome those of you who wish to attend Service at the Center as well as stream the Service to your homes.
I am looking forward to seeing some happy faces here. You will be 3 feet apart and wear a mask, just to be safe since we do not know who has been vaccinated. Looking forward to it,
So, since we are coming back together after being apart for over a year, it’s time to review our 5 Principles. We will have a mini-series discussing them over the next few weeks. I will be using “The Five Principles” by Rev. Ellen Debenport, as well as other sources for this series.
Do you know what a Principle is? What’s the difference between a principle and a rule?
A Principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. Principles are set. They apply to all people, all the time. Spiritual principles work the same way.
For example, one of the principles of mathematics is 2 + 2 = 4; it is unchanging, the same for everyone.
A Rule is one of a set of explicit or understood regulations, rules can change. A rule in baseball, for example, governing the grounds, would change from field to field, adjusting for structures and dimensions, etc.
Interestingly enough, we didn’t always have the 5 principles. They were written up in a
Booklet, “The Keys to the Kingdom”, by Connie Fillmore Bazzy, great-granddaughter to Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. It started out as an article for Daily Word magazine in 1990. Connie’s article condensed the Unity teachings into 5 essential points; restating what the truths were from our point of view.
These 5 principles offer tools for daily living and suggest answers to some of the great questions we have been asking since the dawn of conscious awareness.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way…God. Actually, the word God. In Unity we honor the ‘many names and the many paths to God.’ And I will use the word God to represent the many names for that energy, the Source, our Creator. It’s just easier than listing the many names we could use. In reality, no name covers the unlimited energy, love, power that is Divine Presence.
There are different versions of the 5 principles:
- God is all there is and present everywhere. This is the force of love and wisdom that underlies all of existence.
- Human beings are divine at their core and therefore inherently good.
- Thoughts have creative power to determine events and attract experiences.
- Prayer and meditation keep us aligned with the one great power in the universe.
- It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must live the Truth we know.
Here’s another version:
- God is absolute good, everywhere present.
- Human beings have a spark of divinity within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.
- Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.
- Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.
- Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the Truth that he or she knows.
When was the last time you reevaluated your Spiritual Truths? You do understand, God, spirit, the Divine Energy that makes up all that is, is always there. Energy is energy. God doesn’t change…but we do.
Look back through your years…how many times have you changed your idea of God? I suspect a few. If you are anywhere near my age, we grew up, most likely, in traditional Christian churches. And so, there was one idea of God.
Then, maybe we went discovering a different philosophy, searching for where we belonged. I did. Always questioning. Trying to understand God, religion and what was my Truth.
It took a few years to find Unity, and another change in what was my Truth. I think I found it…Unity.
The point being, God doesn’t change, we do. So, it is a good thing to reevaluate what your belief is from time to time.
The 1st Principle: “There is only one presence and one power active as the universe and as my life; God the Good, Omnipotence.”
All power, all knowledge, everywhere
Although principles never change, our understanding of them grows as we grow and experience life. The more we engage with a principle and the more we explore it, the more active and alive it becomes.
So, it’s time to look at our beliefs, thoughts, and actions to this understanding of the principle. How well do they align? Where am I doing really well embodying the principle, and where do I see a gap that I need to bridge?
Our intention here is to notice, not judge. By noticing and lovingly accepting what we notice, we empower ourselves to change. To the degree that we resist or refuse to see where we are misaligned, we limit our freedom to choose anew and grow.
Finally, through our spiritual practices— such as love, introspection, compassion, and self-forgiveness—we can release those actions, judgments, and beliefs that don’t align with principle and begin to establish a new, empowering way of being that can help us to live in greater alignment with spiritual Truth.
So, let’s look at the 1st Principle… “There is only one presence and one power active as the universe and as my life; God the Good, Omnipotence.”
IN an article by Ben Jamison, he breaks down the 1st principle:
God: What do you believe about God? Does the term God even work for you? Do you prefer Spirit, Light, or another word? I believe God is unlimited, unconditional love. I believe that in the full recognition of love, anything unlike it dissolves, disappears. I believe God is whole, complete, and perfect. Spirit has always existed and will always exist. It is kind, generous, and gives fully and freely of itself all the time.
Only one presence and one power: Nothing other than God exists in ultimate reality. Spirit has no opposite. As the one presence, it is Spirit that is living in you, me, everyone, and everything. The tree outside of your window, the neighbor’s dog that wakes you up at night barking, and the coworker who seems out to get you every day are all, according to principle, Spirit. (This is true regardless of whether they know it or act like it.)
As the one power, God is not only everything you see but also the power behind everything you do. Whether moving your eyes to read, beating your heart while you sleep, or birthing the universe, Spirit is the power behind all of it. It’s not a different power for each example, but the one power in all. The same power that created all life can be used to take life—as well as to accomplish mundane tasks. There is, after all, only one power.
Active as the universe and as my life: This presence and power is active. It doesn’t just sit idle. It is always loving, always creating. Even when we are not consciously creating, Spirit is. It is active as my life, as the universe, as everything. Wherever I look, there God is.
Good, omnipotent: All powerful good. Inherent good. No lack of recognition can diminish this good, and it is unlimited.
How are you doing in living this principle? God is all there is. That unconditionally loving presence that birthed everything and is expressing as everyone is present everywhere all the time. At the core of every person, there God is. In the midst of every situation, Spirit. How much of our lives do we approach in that way? How different would life be if we approached everything in this way? Are you seeing some gaps? Are you staying out of judgment? Just notice.
The truth is that most of us rarely approach life with this principle forefront in our minds. The two main reasons for this are lack of awareness and lack of easy-to-use spiritual tools that we can apply in an instant to bring ourselves back into alignment with the principle. Hopefully, you now have a bit more awareness of the gaps you need to bridge. Now let’s look at some tools.
Tool #1: Love
God is all there is, and God is unconditional love. That means that we, too, are unconditional love. We are at our most aligned when we are practicing loving. Love isn’t just something we fall in and out of, but a practice we can consciously engage in.
With people, we can practice seeing the loving essence at the core of their being. I love you simply because you exist. I don’t look at what you’ve said or done, or what you didn’t do or didn’t say. I blind myself to all that and simply recognize that, according to this principle, God is all there is. As such, God is present at the core of every person.
I may have a hard time loving your personality and I may be unable to love certain actions, but I can always love Spirit. The Good Omnipotence, God Itself, the one presence and one power exists as everyone. As we practice finding that spiritual center in each person and loving that, regardless of anything else, we align ourselves with love and bring the first Unity principle into play.
If we find ourselves needing to realign with this principle in a particular situation, we can start with loving the people involved. We can look for where love is present in the situation and acknowledge it. We can find even unconscious acts of love to focus on, but if not, perhaps we are being called to bring love to the situation. Ask yourself: How can I be the presence of love in this situation? The next time you have to go to the DMV or jury duty, consciously bring your loving practice with you and watch what happens!
Tool #2: Introspection
This principle tells us that good is present everywhere, in every situation, no matter what. This can be tough to swallow, especially in traumatic experiences, but notice that the principle doesn’t say that every situation or circumstance is good. It says that there can be good had in any situation or circumstance. This good isn’t guaranteed. It is up to us to seek, find, and embody that good.
We can ask ourselves, What is this experience here to teach me? How can I grow through this? Perhaps we’re being taught the art of surrender. Maybe we’re being shown how powerful we are. Possibly, we’re looking at the neon sign pointing us to a long-held judgment we’re ready to release.
No one can tell you what your possibilities are for growth in any situation. You must uncover them for yourself and discover how to shift your focus from the negative to the affirmative, align with principle, and move through the circumstance more quickly and more gracefully.
Tool #3: Compassion and Self-Forgiveness
This work is not easy. When you set out to bring the first principle with you everywhere you go as an active practice, you’ll forget—often. I know I do. You’ll fail a lot too.
It’s okay to forget. It’s okay to fail. Compassion is the key. You will never berate yourself into compliance or shame yourself out of old ways of being. Instead, open your compassionate heart to yourself. Forgive your false beliefs. Forgive yourself for judging yourself as a failure because you didn’t quite show up the way you intended. As you do so, you’ll be able to let go of old ways of being much more rapidly so you can establish a new life in this powerful principle.
Remember the most important part: There is only one presence and one power. It is unconditional love, omnipotent good— whole, complete, and perfect in every way. As the only life that exists, it is the life you live. You are that unconditional love. You are that omnipotent good. You are the power that birthed the universe, and you can use that power to create a life beyond your wildest dreams!