March 16, 2017

Do You Really Believe?

This is the fourth installment in the “Walking the Unity Talk” series exploring Unity Principles. In this week’s article, I review and summarize the first and second principles, while setting the stage for the exploration of Unity’s third principle. In the introduction to this series (which you can read here), I stated that the entire series is guided by two fundamental questions:

Do I really believe Unity’s Five Principles are true?

If yes, then what am I going to do to live that truth?

Do You Really Believe Unity Principles?

We will more directly address the second of these questions later on in the series. For our purposes today, we will only deal with derivatives of the first question. With respect to the earlier articles, “One Power, One Presence” and “In the Image and Likeness,” which respectively explore the first and second principles, derivatives of the first question might look like the following:

Do I really believe there is only “One Power, One Presence” active in the universe and in my life?

Do I really believe this “One Power, One Presence,” which we call God, is absolutely good?

Do I really believe that we are, each one of us, created in the “image and likeness” of God?

Do I really believe that, being created in the “image and likeness of God,” all people are also inherently good?

Walking the Unity Talk

In order to walk the Unity talk, these are deep questions that each one of us must ask of ourselves. Answering “yes” to each of these questions could run counter to much of what you may have experienced in your lifetime before coming to Unity. More traditional or mainstream religious Judeo-Christian orientations teach concepts of duality, sin and evil. These and other traditional concepts fly right in the face of the first two principles of Unity.

So, if you, like me, come from such traditional backgrounds, Unity principles could present a challenge to your embedded beliefs. Some call this challenge “cognitive dissonance.” Unity refers to it as “chemicalization.” Whatever term used to describe the experience, the bottom line is we encounter new information that challenges our old belief system, which, in turn, invites us to re-examine everything we believe.

Many of us experience this as conflict, especially in the early stages of spiritual transformation. There is an innate resistance because when we say “yes” to the new, we simultaneously must say “no” to the old. For many of us, letting go of old, outmoded beliefs that no longer serve, can still be experienced as conflict and resistance. It’s the old, “devil that I know” idea still embedded in our consciousness. As much as we might desire the new, we often resist letting go of the old. So, let’s take a look at these questions one at a time to see what it really means to answer “yes” to them.

One Power, One Presence

Do I really believe there is only “One Power, One Presence” active in the universe and in my life?

To answer “yes” to this first part of Unity Principle #1 is to say “no” to duality, “no” to an opposing power and “no” to ideas of an evil incarnate in the form of the Devil, Satan, Lucifer. That is a lot for some to take in all at once, because the world’s belief systems seem to be largely grounded in duality. For many, it is a lot more comfortable to blame an oppositional, evil power working against God’s plan. Why? Because it allows us to escape from accepting personal responsibility when things go wrong in the world and in our lives.

Do I really believe this “One Power, One Presence,” which we call God, is absolutely good?

To say “yes” that there is only “One Power, One Presence” active in the universe and in our lives, and that this “Power and Presence” is absolutely good is to further release any notions of sin or evil. Many of us get hung up right here because the concepts of sin and evil have been so deeply embedded in our consciousness, individually and collectively. It is far too tempting to stay stuck in following the pack, especially when so much of what is going on in the world appears to evidence both sin and evil as we have been taught to believe.

However, if we accept that the “One Power, One Presence,” which we call God, is all there is and is only capable of producing absolute good, then, in order to live in accordance with this truth, we must evaluate everything that occurs in the light of the good it expresses. From this perspective, we have to re-evaluate our ideas about everything from war to disease, from racism to poverty, and so much more. For many, it feels like a lot of work to undertake, perhaps too much. After all, who has time to overhaul a dualistic way of thinking when the world produces so much evidence to support its seeming reality? It is often uncomfortable to go against the grain, so to speak. Fortunately, the “Power and Presence” that is within us is greater than any apparent power in the world.

In The Image And Likeness

Do I really believe that we are, each one of us, created in the “image and likeness” of God?

Unity Principle #2 is where we really start getting challenged. It is one thing to grapple with ideas of whether there is only God, and that the Devil does not really exist as an oppositional power to God in the battle for the fate of the universe, even if you believe that God is absolutely good. However, it is quite another to believe that not only is God absolutely good and without peer, but that everyone of us (without exception) is created in the “image and likeness of God” and that we too are inherently good.

Do I really believe that, being created in the “image and likeness of God,” all people are also inherently good?

If we answer “yes” to this question, then our ideas and concepts about virtually every human being on the planet must undergo a thorough cleansing. We must release all ideas and concepts about anything we negatively judge about others. All ideas of prejudice, bias and discrimination must also likewise be released. We can still advocate for our beliefs and our principles, we can even disagree with others. But, we can no longer criticize, attack or demonize others who believe differently than we do. Actually, we can still do those things. We just can’t do it and still be at integrity with the beliefs we say we believe.

These examples barely scratch the surface of the spiritual investigation we undertake when we say “yes” to Unity Principles. It is not just a matter of answering “yes,” we also simultaneously say “no” to all ideas and concepts that do not align with these principles. Truly walking the Unity talk means aligning our words and actions in the world with the thoughts, beliefs and attitudes we maintain about the principles we hold in our consciousness.

In the next installment of the “Walking the Unity Talk” series, we will explore Unity Principle #3, which deals directly with the thoughts and feelings we maintain in our consciousness and how they serve to create our experience in the world.

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Souldiver

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