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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Back To Basics Redux

The beginning of a new year seems the perfect time to revisit some of our foundational teachings and recommit to practice them. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my thoughts about these principles in this space as well as in my Sunday lessons at Unity Spiritual Center Denver.

As I was reviewing some of my past writings on the basics, I came across a post from 2014. Reading it helped to remind me of what is essential in our teachings. It also renewed my focus for the upcoming series. I have chosen to share it here in hopes that it will inspire and possibly help to reconnect you with some concepts that are important.


I hate to admit it, but sometimes I have a propensity to make things more complicated than they really are. One might think that I would have been fully aware of that before now, but apparently not. Only recently that I have begun to “connect the dots” and reduce all of that teaching and learning down to two basic concepts upon which the remainder of the teachings rest.

Those two concepts are: “There is One Power and One Presence,” the first of Unity’s Five Basic Principles and “Human beings experience life as an effect of consciousness,” the third basic principle restated in my own words. Everything else Unity teaches is
  • an effort to explain or define the first concept;
  • demonstrate how a consciousness which is fully aware of this concept experiences a life that is empowered, joyful and free;
  • encourage, inspire or instruct ways to transform one’s consciousness.
It truly is quite simple, and when I choose to view Unity philosophy from that perspective I see that I have been making it much more complicated than it really is. Also, I have a new understanding from which to learn and teach.

The concept of “One Power and One Presence” is an essential Truth principle: It is a core belief and a foundational axiom of Unity and the New Thought movement as a whole. In our effort to understand, we call the “One” by many names such as God, Divine Mind, Allness, Quantum Field, Pure Potentiality, as well as others. We also assign it attributes such as Wholeness, Abundance, Love, and the like. Of course, to describe the ineffable is, by definition, impossible.

The best understanding I have of the “One” is that it is the ground of being in which and from which all creation has life. It helps me to conceive of the “One” as that which is the potential for the ideal expression of perfection, and that which I may express and experience as order, harmony, beauty, love, life, and unity, and many others. Further, when my consciousness is filled with the awareness of the “One,” then the foregoing is all that I do experience in and as my life. And, since there is only One, each of us must be individuations of that One; therefore, Unity’s second basic principle is a given.

While I propose that it is quite simple, I acknowledge that the third principle is possibly the most confusing, confounding, misunderstood and misinterpreted of all the teachings. It is fraught with possibilities for us to beat ourselves down (it is impossible to beat ourselves up) with blame and criticism when we experience some event in our lives, such an illness or accident, that we judge as “bad” and then attempt to discover the thought we were holding that “created” it. We do ourselves and each other a grave disservice when we teach that we are individually responsible for each and every event that occurs in our lives.

Our consciousness is comprised not only of the conscious phase of mind, which is our current thoughts, beliefs and sensory awareness, but also includes the subconscious, which is the storehouse of impressions, beliefs and images from our past, as well as collective consciousness, which is the conscious and subconscious of all humanity. It seems clear that we are not individually responsible for the circumstances of our lives, yet the state of our individual consciousness impacts our circumstances and because our individual consciousness contributes to collective consciousness, we impact the circumstances of all creation.

It is also important to recognize that while our individual consciousness does not solely create the events and circumstances of our lives, it does determine our experience and interpretation of those events and circumstances. For example, if one experiences an illness or other physical body manifestation it does not mean that he or she created the condition solely through the projection of individual consciousness. However, the way in which he or she experiences the condition is solely the result of individual consciousness and can have a direct impact on future conditions.

When we allow awareness of the “One” which Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, termed “Superconscious” to imbue our consciousness at every level, we will experience only the perfection of life. This does not mean that we will not have events in our lives that appear as illness or accidents. It also does not mean that we will not face circumstances that allow us the opportunity to question our belief in the ever-present expression of eternal life, beauty, order, or wholeness. It does, however, mean that from a consciousness filled with the awareness of the “One” we will see from the perspective of the “One” and we will be able to observe perfection, meaning without defect or flaw and lacking nothing, manifested in and through all.

This transformation of consciousness is facilitated by our conscious understanding of truth principles, and through our practice of prayer, meditation and contemplation and various other spiritual practices that we teach and promote, thus affirming Unity’s fourth basic principle which states that prayer helps us to consciously connect with the One and the fifth basic principles which states that it is not enough to know Truth, we must also practice it.

It really is very simple. There is only One: Each of us is that One, and when we know that Truth, we are free. Everything we teach is based on this Truth. And, everything we teach is intended to support a transformation of consciousness so that we may experience life from this awareness. Whew!  And to think I thought it was complicated.

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