Recently I have found myself delving more deeply into my understanding of some of the foundational Unity teachings. I have explored why we in Unity call ourselves Christians when we would not be considered such by most who subscribe to the traditional definition of Christianity. I explored that during my Sunday lesson on March 5. You may listen here or watch it here.
I have also explored what we mean when we use the word ‘God,’ and why I choose to use the word sparingly in my Sunday lessons. I explored that in depth in my talk this past Sunday. You may listen here or watch here.
This week, I am exploring something I read by Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore. He says, in Keep a True Lent…
It is possible to get very close to the kingdom of heaven by doing good works and surrendering to Spirit the various faculties of the mind, but we can never fully enter into and abide in heaven, or divine harmony, without surrendering all that makes up the personality ¹, of which the will is the center.
I am at odds with this statement by Mr. Fillmore. I do not subscribe to the idea that we must surrender all that makes up the personality in order to enter the state of consciousness called ‘heaven.’ While I agree that it is important for us to assess aspects of the personality that limit us, giving up one’s personality would seem to me to negate that we are each uniquely and wondrously expressing Divine Life through our personalities. I assert that we cannot separate our human personality from our spirituality. There is no separation. A quick search will reveal past articles where I have discussed Oneness. So instead of separation, instead of surrendering all that makes us unique, I propose that we grow and allow our personalities to reflect our true Divine nature.
It is through the human nature that we connect with and have the experience of our spiritual nature. If not in human form, we would not be able to have the experience of our spiritual nature. We experience it through our individuated awareness. Further, we express it through our personality.
In truth, we cannot separate our human experience and our spiritual experience. It is the spiritual awareness, or consciousness, that gives us the knowing that we are human. Trying to separate the two is like attempting to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water while simultaneously retaining the compound of water. It cannot be done.
We cannot have an experience of spirituality without the human component. While many people ignore the spiritual and posit that humanness is the only reality, they cannot explain how minds are connected, how twins can feel each other's pain and know when the other is in trouble. They cannot explain how one can know in advance that something is going to happen, or how one can be connected to the spirits of those who are no longer in the body. They explain it as hoax. Or discount those experiences in a myriad of other ways. They do so because they have no rational explanation.
The same is often true concerning that which we call God. Many people say that they are atheists because they do not believe in God. But, many are actually saying that they do not believe in an external deity or a supreme being. In reality, they may believe or acknowledge that connection exists between people, or between animals and humans, but they would not ascribe the name God to that phenomena.
Often those who deny the existence of God believe there is something that connects all. They may find truth in the following definition: God is the Unified Field of Consciousness which is the unlimited potentiality of all. Or they may not. Regardless of opinions or names bestowed, that which we think of as God exists, undeniably as the very Life in All.
Some who identify as atheists are very much in touch with the spiritual nature of Life. Likewise, many who consider themselves Pagan or Wiccan are more aligned with the Universal Field of Consciousness than those who worship “God,” or call themselves Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or any other name.
Spirituality connects our humanity, and the experience and awareness of that humanity, with the awareness of the spiritual nature of life - the Earth, sun, moon, animals and all of nature, infinitum. Those who practice spirituality, regardless of how they identify themselves, in some cases know better how to align with the spiritual nature of the Universe than do those who follow a teacher or master, such as Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, Krishna, or Bahaullah.
They are in touch with the God within them, even though they do not call it that. They are not following a teacher on the path, but are engaging in the path from their human consciousness so that they can know what the aforementioned spiritual teachers tried to impart with their words and writing.
In many cases, those who were the closest followers of these teachers did not truly understand what their masters were attempting to teach. Instead of embodying and living the essence of the teaching itself, some instead created religions about the teachers.
The early Christian church, not understanding the true teaching of the master Jesus, taught that to honor the humanness is to be in sin. It taught that honoring the body, as in the needs of sexuality, is a sin except for procreation purposes. It taught its followers that to deny the body, punish the body, and reject one’s humanity is pious. They went far beyond that and even taught that is was required by God. The church did so to its own purposes and ends as a way to control the populous, the compliant masses. It killed those confirmed as “witches,” the very ones who were probably more in touch with the spirituality of nature and actually connected to all life. The church could not have them leading others into that deeper connection. As with all persecution, their actions were fear-based.
History shows that somewhere along the way the church lost its primary focus. Initially, the church’s primary focus was to assist people in having an experience of their own spiritual nature, the true spirit within, thus knowing Oneness. But instead of continuing the teachings of Oneness, the church quickly evolved to thinking its role was to control people and tell them what they should be doing and what they needed to do to reach its concept of heaven. They created a vision of heaven with mass appeal – one that everyone would try to attain. They placed the payoff in the afterlife to give hope beyond the droll, daily strife. It was a way to give those who did not enjoy the riches of life some hope that they might be rewarded in the afterlife, but at what cost to the individual?
Our Spirit, Soul, Divine Spark is here in this human life space in order to experience itself as the Creative Life Force Energy that we often call ‘God’ and to awaken to its full potential through its personality. We are God in expression here and now, and our purpose is to claim it, know it and live it to the best of our ability. That is why we cannot separate the humanness from the spirituality or even the personality. It is not possible. So regardless of our claims on this earth to a specific religion or even those who say they do not believe in anything beyond this human existence, we are all experiencing spirituality, some are just not doing so actively or consciously.
We find our spirituality and grow our personalities to align with the divine by being fully engaged and connected in our humanity. We find the spirituality of another by allowing ourselves not to deny or fully surrender the personality, but to move beyond our attachment to an image, idea, or belief of who we are supposed to be, and allow ourselves to connect fully with the humanity, the spirituality, of another.
I encourage us all to love our human/spirit nature by being true to what is alive and moving in us in every moment; to love our human/spirit nature by honoring our desires and needs; and to own our human/spirit personality by trusting what we value and what nourishes us. Through our humanity, as a personality, we live our Truth and express our Divinity.
I truly admire and appreciate the legacy of our cofounder Charles Fillmore, and I mean no disrespect by taking exception with any of his teachings. I believe he would encourage us all to not blindly accept everything he said or wrote as absolute truth. In fact, he often asserted that Truth can only be discerned by divine revelation. This has been mine and I encourage each of us to always go within the silence of our own hearts to discern what is true for our individual spiritual paths.
Please join us on Sunday, March 19, for our 10:00 service at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. Trish Morris, our Associate Minister, will give the lesson. You will be blessed by her words.