September 22, 2016
According to renowned Unity minister and author Eric Butterworth, the great challenge of our age is the virtual absence of meditation from our daily lives. Butterworth describes meditation as the “art of lowly listening.” In Unity, the fourth principle teaches that the only space where we may “lowly listen” is in silent meditation. Without making time for silent meditation in our lives, we do not exercise and demonstrate our creative potential; mainly because, we do not make the time to connect with its source.
In the practice of spending time in the silence, we connect with our own indwelling Christ Presence. Through this connection, we have access to the field of all divine knowledge, intelligence and wisdom. Connecting with this source, we become aware of the power of our own creative potential. However, simply having access to this source does not guarantee we will be successful in actually demonstrating and expressing our fullest spiritual potential, even if we hear the truth of it while “lowly listening.”
We must live the truth we know.
As the fifth Unity principle states, we must live the truth we know. It is not enough to simply know. Nor is it enough to know that we know. If we do not live the truth that we know, then everything we know has little to no practical value in our lives. If it has no practical power in our own lives, then we cannot share the truth we know with others.
Even if we faithfully spend time in the silence in accordance with the fourth Unity principle, if we do not take action on the truth revealed there, we cannot exercise and develop our innate creative potential. It’s the same as in physical exercise to condition our bodies for fitness. If we do not exercise our spiritual powers, we cannot condition them to achieve their fullest potential.
We must seek before we find, ask before we receive.
Like all spiritual powers, in order to ever have a chance of developing or expressing them rightly, we have to ask for them first. No one gets spiritual understanding without first seeing the need for it, then actually asking for it. But, even if we do ask for it and earnestly search for it while we are “lowly listening,” it will be of virtually no value or usefulness if we do not subsequently live in accordance with the underlying principle.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, the story of Solomon reveals that he received his “wisdom and understanding heart” as a result of asking for it when God prompted him in a dream to ask for whatever he will. In the story, because Solomon asked for wisdom rather than riches and power, God granted his request for wisdom, and added wealth and power. This brings to mind Matthew 6:33, which instructs us “to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all else will be added.” Solomon did not ask for an “understanding heart” for his own purposes, but rather so he could “rightly judge the people.” In the moment Solomon asked for them he knew that if he had them, he would express them.
Knowing alone is ultimately meaningless, if we do not live the truth we know.
Even if we desire to express unconditional love or unfailing wisdom, we will never fully, or even partially, develop our capacities to do so without consciously and proactively taking action to develop our capacity to rightly use them. The development of our creative and spiritual powers does not happen by accident. We have to take action in their direction.
Likewise, just because we have a potentially unerring power of judgment and spiritual discernment, it does not mean that we will actually demonstrate good or wise judgment. We see demonstrations of bad judgment every day. However, we also see expressions of wise judgment every day as well. The only meaningful variable is whether we ourselves are demonstrating our own powers of reason, discernment and understanding.
We may have access to the field of all knowledge, intelligence and wisdom, but we must be willing to express them before they can have any meaningful influence in our lives. We have to be willing to seek them first and then to live in accordance with the truth principles they embody. If we are willing to do so, there is virtually nothing that is impossible for us to achieve. As Jesus once said, “What I can do, you can do. In fact, you will do even greater things.”
But, it will not happen, unless we are willing to live the truth we know.