This is the ninth and final installment in the “Walking the Unity Talk” series exploring how to live the Unity Principles in our lives. In this article, we conclude with an exploration of Unity’s Fifth Principle, which I style as the call to action principle. Living the fifth principle is how we demonstrate the truth we know and how we express our creative power and spiritual potential.
What Does the Fifth Principle Actually Say?
As with the previous articles, I have been using two different statements of each Unity Principle as the basis for our considerations. As a reminder, I have been using the principles as stated here on UCOH’s website, and the ones stated by Rev. Ellen Debenport in her book, The Five Principles: A Practical Guide To Spirituality. Despite their respective language differences, each statement we have used is effective in communicating the essential truth principle. Rev. Debenport reminds us to not get caught up in the language differences, but to pay attention to the essence of the truth principle being communicated. That is not really much of an issue this week with Unity Principle #5, as both UCOH’s and Rev. Debenport’s statements track pretty closely.
First, let’s take a look at UCOH’s statement of the fifth principle as stated here on the website.
Knowing and understanding these Spiritual Principles, also called Truth, are not enough. We must live them.
Now compare Rev. Debenport’s statement of Unity’s Fifth Principle from her book, The Five Principles.
Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the truth that he or she knows.
As you can tell, they are very similar. Their differences are semantical, rather than substantive. In the first part, UCOH uses the term “Spiritual Principles,” while Rev. Debenport’s statement uses “laws of life”. This is a six of one, half dozen of the other kind of difference. The second part of the principle is the call to action part. While both statements essentially say we must live the truth we know, UCOH’s articulation is ultimately leaner and clearer. By using the universal “we,” rather than “he or she,” it is also a more personal, direct appeal to take action in our lives.
We Must Live The Truth We Know
Of all the Unity Principles, this is my favorite. It’s not necessarily important to have a favorite, and the truth is I hold all of them in high esteem. However, I favor the fifth principle because it reminds me that it doesn’t matter how much I know or understand. Without action, knowledge and understanding are ultimately impotent.
It is my own personal responsibility to live life based on spiritual principle, rather than whim or emotion. If I ignore the truth I know, if I fail to consciously live in alignment and accordance with it, then what right do I have to complain when life doesn’t yield to my human desires?
If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes
About a month ago, I had lunch with a dear friend that I had not seen much in the past few years. Like all good friends, our rapport was instant despite our physical absence. In the course of our conversation, we were acknowledging the changes we had both gone through the last several years, some willingly, others not so much. As we were discussing struggles we had encountered during the unwilling times, he said, “Well, if nothing changes, nothing changes.” I laughed out loud as I recognized the simple, yet profound, truth in this pithy little statement.
If we do not change our actions, we get the same results over and over in our life. Some call this insanity. If we want to change the results we are getting in life, then we must change our actions. However, before we can demonstrate a change in behaviors, we must experience a change of mind. We must make changes in our consciousness before we create different effects and consequences in our life.
Shift Your Consciousness Before Taking Action
In The Five Principles, Rev. Debenport points out a subtle but valuable truth regarding the first four principles in relation to the fifth principle. The first four principles primarily deal with spiritual truths that invite us towards a shift in consciousness. However, they do not really demand action of us. They are simple statements of universal truth that remain true whether we believe them or not, whether we take action or not. By contrast, the fifth principle definitely calls us to action. It reminds us that, of itself, truth can have no creative power or helpful value in our lives, unless we consciously live in accordance with it.
Rev. Debenport astutely points out that because we live in a universe governed by truth principle, “we cannot not live the truth. It is spiritual law; it applies to everyone, all the time.” Yet, we can and often do misunderstand the truth. Misunderstanding truth, whether willfully or otherwise, we will inevitably misapply it and end up with undesirable effects and consequences. In order to shift the paradigm and begin achieving desirable outcomes in our life, we must experience a shift or change in consciousness first, before we take further action.
Do You Really Believe Unity Principles Are Truth?
Earlier in the “Walking the Unity Talk” series, I asked, “Do you really believe in the truth of the Unity Principles?” If you really believe there is only one power and one presence active in the universe and in your life, what are you going to do about it? If you really believe that God is good, and that you are created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore innately good also, how are you going to express that truth in your life?
Do you really believe that you create your experience through the thoughts and feelings you allow to dominate in your consciousness? Do you really believe that you have access to Divine Power through meditation and affirmative prayer? Do you really believe that you can increase your awareness of your oneness with God through time spent in silent meditation? Do you believe that simply knowing and understanding truth are enough of themselves to change your life? Or, do you know that you must live the truth in order to change your life?
What Are You Going To Do About The Truth?
At the end of the day, these are really the only questions we need to answer to ourselves. Once we have decided we agree with the truth as stated by Unity Principles, then the only question remaining is: what are you going to do about it?
As we close this 9-part series on “Walking the Unity Talk,” I invite you to continue exploring the depths of truth implied by the Unity Principles. I encourage you to make a conscious decision about each one of them. Remember, the truth does not need our agreement in order to be true. The truth remains true whether we believe it or not.
As A Course In Miracles states: “The truth is true and requires no defense.” However, we should be on guard that we not defend ourselves from the truth. The truth will set us free, but first we must free our minds so that the truth may reveal itself. Once we have come to recognize and know the truth, the only thing left for us to do is to live it.