Be Here Now
Unity teaches a concept known as Divine Order. It is often misunderstood. I, like many Truth students, struggle with this concept. At first reading, and even second or third, it smacks of the idea of predestination – that humans have no free will, and God, being omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, has already determined the outcome of every situation, now and forever.
Even when it does not hint at predestination, it can still be confusing. If all is in Divine Order, how does God allow bad things to happen to good people: war; natural disasters; economic hardships; ethnic, racial, or religious hatred; and most germane to the current global situation, disease?
In The Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore defines Divine Order as - the first law of the universe. Indeed, there could be no universe unless its various parts were kept in perfect order.1 It must be so. If it were not, when we dropped an object and sometimes it fell up instead of down, for example, the reality of existence would be irreparably disrupted.
Our misapprehension of there being no such thing as Divine Order because God allows bad things to happen, implies that God is either not All Powerful, or not All Good. It also assumes that what humans define as good is what God would also define as good. And it even further implies that God is an actual being that intervenes in the affairs of the universe at its whim.
That is a lot to unpack, and is well beyond the scope of this brief essay. However, in stark contrast to the more traditional view above, Unity teaches that humans are made in the image of God, and they have a spark of divinity within them and therefore are inherently good also (Unity Principle #2). Unity also teaches that we are co-creators with God, creating reality through thoughts held in mind (Unity Principle #3).
Because we have a spark of divinity within us, and we are co-creators with God, humans have the ability to manifest our own reality. Everyone is endowed with The Twelve Powers. By acknowledging our own divinity and using these powers, we can transcend whatever conditions in our physical reality we may be experiencing. It is crucial to understand and acknowledge that by no means does this guarantee that we will not experience pain, suffering, hardship, and death. We will. What it does mean is that we have the spiritual tools available to us at all times to be able to navigate our world in this temporal form we call life.
The rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus is an incontrovertible demonstration of how throughout all of creation, We Are One. We have seen how disease that affects people on the opposite side off the planet also effect us; pollution, wanton depletion of natural resources, war and violence, and hatred anywhere affects people everywhere. However, there is good news. In just the same way these “less than ideal” conditions ripple throughout humanity, so too can the positive thoughts and actions. If the face of such a large global challenge, we might feel as though we are just one among 7,771,481,0912 people, so what can I do? A lot, actually. Most people have heard of the idea of the butterfly effect - the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.3
While it is true that it is wise to learn from the past, and to plan for the future, there really is only the ever-present now. We can only take actions in the now. Using what Unity teaches as The Twelve Powers, here are a few suggestions of how our thoughts and actions can have a positive impact, not just on the current COVID-19 challenges, but throughout all aspects of our lives.
Faith - The ability to believe, intuit and perceive. In Unity, Faith is not blind faith. It does not mean believing without question. Rather, it means to pay attention to what is happening, discern what is yours to do, and know that the best and highest good will emerge.
Strength - The ability to endure, stay the course, persevere. It may be easier to say than do, especially while in the eye of a storm, but by knowing that we are one with Spirit, we have an unlimited well of Strength to draw from and apply to our every challenge and need.
Wisdom - The ability to evaluate, discern, apply what you know. Now more than ever, with the non-stop 24/7 news cycle, we are inundated with information, conflicting information, mis-information and dis-information. If can be difficult to know what is true (factually) and what is not. By using our power of Wisdom, we can sift through the noise and come to the Truth (spiritual) of any situation, and as Charles Fillmore said, always reserving the right to change our mind when presented with additional information. This is not being wishy-washy or a flip-flopper. Being able to say, “I was wrong,” or “I didn’t know that before, but now I do, thank you for telling me,” is actually the definition of true wisdom.
Love - The ability to attract, unify and desire. The key point here is that of unifying. When we love another in the most fundamental way, Agape love (Ancient Greek ἀγάπη, agapē) "the highest form of love, charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God,” truly amazing things begin to happen. The Beatles were partially right when they sang “All You Need is Love.” Love doesn’t feed the Bulldog, but it makes you want to feed the Bulldog, and take the actions necessary to do it.
Power - The ability to master, have dominion and control. As long as we are alive and drawing breath, we have the Power to effect our surroundings. This does not mean delusions of grandeur or world domination. But as Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Now, do what is yours to do.
Imagination - The ability to image, picture, conceptualize, envision, dream. Every action is preceded by a thought. Imagine the best for yourself and the world, then take just the first step toward that vision. Once further down the path, use your power of Imagination again to visualize the next step, and the next. Great things are accomplished one step at a time, but they must first appear in our imagination.
Understanding - The ability to know, perceive, comprehend and apprehend. This power is similar to Wisdom, but with an important difference. As stated above, Wisdom is the ability to apply what you know. Understanding is the acquisition of knowledge. It is the comprehension of information necessary for making an informed decision. Human intelligence is a divine gift. Understanding facts and their implications are important, but the power of spiritual Understanding complements intellectual understanding by knowing that spiritual principles, when applied, result in divinely inspired outcomes.
Will - The ability to choose, decide, command, lead, determine. In concert with all of the other Twelve Powers, Will is making up our mind to do something and just getting it done. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Trite, but true.
Order - The ability to organize, balance, sequence, adjust. The problem is so big, where do I start? The power of Order enables us to discern that beginning point and keeps us focused, but allows for the use of Wisdom and Understanding to make any changes that are needed along the way.
Zeal - The ability to be enthusiastic, be passionate, start, motivate. Everyone prefers different things. What excites one person may be a complete downer for another. That does not make either person right or wrong. Just different. That is a good thing, too. Life would be boring if everyone were the same. Attributed to multiple people, the sentiment is more important than the source, “Dance like no one is watching.”
Elimination - The ability to release, remove, denounce, deny, let go. It is just as necessary that one should learn to let to go of thoughts, conditions, and substances in consciousness, body, and affairs, when they have served their purpose and one no longer needs them, as it is that one should lay hold of new ideas and new substances to meet one's daily requirements. Therefore it is very necessary that the eliminative faculty be quickened in one, and a right balance between receiving and giving, laying hold and letting go, be established.4
Life - The ability to energize, vitalize, enliven, animate, and invigorate. Though we may not have Zeal for everything in life, the power of Life is the recognition of the truly amazing gift of our very incarnate being, and enthusiastically looking for happiness, joy and goodness everywhere.
But because of the great love for, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5
Take time this week to meditate/contemplate: God is here. Throughout your day, pause and consider that God is here in the depths of whatever you are experiencing. As you do so, ask “what would it look like to recognize God here in this moment?” Be an expression of recognizing God in the depths of every moment!
1Revealing Word, The – Fillmore, Charles, Unity Press, 1959.
2World Population Clock, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 13:48 GMT.
3Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2020.
4Metaphyscial Bible Dictionary, The – Fillmore, Charles, Unity Press, 1962.