April 20, 2017
In this 7th installment of the “Walking the Unity Talk” series, we begin exploring Unity Principle #4, which focuses on the creative power found in silent meditation and affirmative prayer. In this week’s installment, we highlight the value of time spent in silent meditation. Next week, we will conclude our look at the Fourth Unity Principle with a similar exploration of affirmative prayer.
Two Different Statements of One Universal Truth
As a reminder, in the “Walking the Unity Talk” series, I have been offering two different articulations of the featured Unity Principle for consideration. The first is UCOH’s version, as published in its materials and on the website. The second version is from Rev. Ellen Debenport’s book, The Five Principles: A Practical Guide To Spirituality.
Let’s begin with UCOH’s version of the Fourth Unity Principle, which reads:
“There is Divine Power in meditation and affirmative prayer, which increases our awareness of our oneness with God.”
By comparison, Rev. Ellen Debenport’s version of Unity Principle #4 from The Five Principles reads:
“Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.”
The Differences Between The Two
As you can see, there are significant differences in language between these two versions. UCOH’s version evolved over time to its current articulation, while Rev. Debenport’s version derives from Connie Fillmore Bazzy’s original statement of Unity Principles from the late 80s. As we will learn together, despite their differences, there is also significant common ground between them. For example, they both express the creative power present in active prayer; and, they both attest to our oneness with God.
However, there are differences too. UCOH’s version promises no specific benefit. It simply states that meditation and affirmative prayer increases our awareness of our oneness with God. In UCOH’s version, this result is an end in itself. Conversely, Rev. Debenport’s version explicitly states that wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good are the effects of prayer, which is equated with creative thinking. UCOH’s version promises nothing. It simply states a principle of truth regarding the power of prayer. Rev. Debenport’s version promises specific benefits from engaging in prayer. This is the most obvious difference between these two statements of Unity Principle #4.
Seek Ye First, The Kingdom of God
Matthew 6:33 advises to “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all else shall be added unto you.” With this in mind, UCOH’s version is not lesser because it does not articulate specific rewards. UCOH’s statement of the Fourth Unity Principle is perfect as stated. It simply illuminates the path to connection with the Kingdom of God for its own sake.
Likewise, Luke 17:21 reminds us that the “Kingdom of God is within.” So, it is enough that UCOH’s statement of Unity Principle #4 points us within without making any promises of reward. If we seek first the Kingdom of God, which is within our very own being, then every thing else good we might hope for ourselves will be added unto the spiritual treasures the Kingdom of Heaven holds.
All Prayer Is Creative Power
The difference between meditation and affirmative prayer is the same difference between listening and speaking. Meditation, even one verbally guided by another’s words or music, is listening. It may appear passive, because of its receptivity. However, intentional meditation is not in the least passive. It is a conscious, active choice to listen. Meditation is the conscious direction of one’s attention and intention from without to within. It is the choice to allow the distractions and noise of the external world to recede. Once quieted, we are able to surrender to the voice of the indwelling Christ Presence within.
By comparison, affirmative prayer is positively articulated speech, whether spoken or written. Affirmative prayer is an inside out activity. The prayer is formulated within, then spoken or expressed outward in an affirmative manner. Affirmative prayer is creative in that it is a necessary step in the manifestation process. Despite their differences in orientation, both mediation and affirmative prayer are perfectly acceptable forms of prayer. One is not better than the other. Both are capable of connecting us with the God Presence and Divine Power within our beings.
In The Silence
In The Revealing Word, Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore states that “the silence” is a “state of consciousness entered into for the purpose of putting man in touch with Divine Mind.” Unity teaches that “the silence” is the meeting place where we pray to God, commune with God and meditate on truth. We are to listen in the silence for what God may have to say. There is no other purpose to the meditation. No petitions, no requests. Just simply, listen in the silence.
Prominent mystic and author Joel Goldsmith maintains that the only purpose of meditation is to make this connection. Once the connection with the “Divine Power” of the Christ Presence Within is made, the meditation is complete. There is no other goal to be achieved than to increase our own awareness of our fundamental union and oneness with God. Beyond this, there is nothing greater to achieve.
Once we know that we know we are connected to the divine creative power of God-Mind, we are to roll up our mats and go about our day, making all our choices from this awareness. When we do, we may find we have much less need for affirmative prayer or requests of any kind, because we will be thinking, speaking and acting in full awareness of the Divine Power available to us in all circumstances. The purpose of the meditation is to remind us of this truth. The intention of the affirmative prayer is to practice speaking that truth. We will explore that further in next week’s article.