Coming together as a community
This Thanksgiving season, Unity Spiritual Center once again held one Sunday service at 10:00 am, instead of the normal schedule of a service at 9:00 am, and another at 11:00 am. The idea behind doing this is to provide our spiritual community the opportunity to meet, interact with, and come to know congregants whom they may not know. It also reinforces the fact that, even though some of us attend services at one service or the other, we are in fact One with all.
Rev. Joanne reminded us that even though it is a Truth that we are One, that in no way means or implies that everyone is the same. We are all unique embodiments of the Christ Spirit, and we show up in this life in many different ways. Our physical bodies, our age, and the way we see the world and understand it are different for everyone. This is by any measure, a good thing. If we were all the same in every way, life would be pretty dull. Also, our opportunities for learning and growth would be minimal.
So, what does Unity teach about the meaning of Oneness? May Rowland, the first Director of the Silent Unity prayer ministry has this to say:
In every nation of the earth the seekers of the light are one. It makes no difference what creed or dogma they follow or what they call their faith. The prayers of all people, seeking the light, unite as a part of the great good of the world.
We, as "seekers of the light," are united in an invisible bond of love for all humanity. We have faith in mankind. We know that good shall be victorious and that nothing can defeat it.1
Within the spiritual teachings of any philosophy, certain words or terms often take different meanings from their more common definitions of everyday usage. Within Unity teaching, we hear that each of us is “whole, perfect, and complete.” Some people may bristle at this idea for at least two reasons. First, many people have come to Unity from a traditional religious or spiritual background, and the idea that anyone but Jesus Christ could be perfect is sacrilegious. For some, regardless of how long they have studied Truth Principles, it is difficult to overcome this mindset conditioned from our early life experience. The second reason is that what we hear in this statement is not matching what we are experiencing in our lives. If we have a serious illness, permanent injury, or disability, how are we whole? If our personal finances are a mess, how is that perfect? If our relationships are not what we would like them to be, how is that complete?
In The Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore tells us that wholeness is “the perfect unification and expression of man as Spirit, soul, and body.” We also learn that perfection is “a state of consciousness completely free from any shadow of negation.”2 And the common definition of completeness is appropriate to this teaching when we understand that it means “having all the required or customary characteristics, skills, or the like; consummate; perfect in kind or quality.”
One difficulty that some people have with Unity and other New Thought teachings is the idea that by holding a positive attitude and image of self worth that we are somehow denying (in the common usage of the word deny, not the Unity term), or ignoring that we face real challenges in our lives. People hear “we’re all one” and they expect choruses of Kumbaya to break out at any moment. They hear, “we are all whole, perfect, and complete” and expect that people who say this are living with their heads in the sand about reality. In fact, nothing could be more incorrect.
When we say “we are one” we are affirming that we are all Children of God, and as such have the same direct access to Divine Mind and its all-loving guidance, if we are willing to listen. And when we say, “we are all whole, perfect, and complete,” we mean that regardless of outer circumstances, we stand in Faith knowing that as Children of God, we are like a hologram of Divine manifestation – the whole image is present in every part.
As a way to express the intentions of Oneness and Love, Unity Village has released a Joint Statement of Peace:
Unity stands for peace in the presence of conflict; for love in the presence of hatred; for forgiveness in the presence of injury. Unity honors the many names for God, the many paths to God, the many ways to worship God; for there is only one power and presence of God and that God loves each one of us equally. It is therefore the position of Unity Worldwide Ministries and Unity World Headquarters at Unity Village to urge all nations, their leaders and their people to turn to God by whatever the name for guidance during these challenging times and pursue peace, not war, for this is what honors the God of all our faith traditions. Unity stands for peace in our lifetime.3
It is difficult to argue with this statement. Regardless of one’s conception of God, the sentiments of peace, love, and forgiveness are something everyone should embrace. Of course, this does not mean laying down and being a doormat in the face of aggression or conflict, but it does mean holding in our hearts the Truth about others, knowing that whatever troubles they (or we) are experiencing are a result of separation from the Goodness that is God.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16
As you go about your week, see each one as your brother, your sister. In your mind greet them as such. Be open to a new understanding that are are ONE with all creation.
This week, I will be continuing with the Spiritual Practice I began last week - I will be living into the question, “How can I look for the God/good in myself and in everyone?” I am looking forward to the insights I receive into myself and others.
1Rowland, May, The Seekers of the Light Are One, from www.truthunity.org
2Fillmore, Charles, The Revealing Word, Unity Press