Over the next couple of months or so, I will be exploring Unity’s five principles in a series of articles titled “Walking the Unity Talk.” This week’s article serves to introduce the series and to set the intention for the articles that follow.
Over the seven plus years it took me to become a Licensed Unity Teacher, I spent a good bit of time studying, writing and speaking about the fundamentals of Unity teachings. At some point in my studies, I reached a place where I understood that I was not just learning spiritual or metaphysical concepts as an intellectual exercise. Rather, I was studying a spiritual discipline by which I intended to live my life.
It was a gradual experience for me. I was diligent and persevering in my studies, but I wasn’t really driven by any sense of urgency. I wasn’t in a hurry, and quite frankly, for most of the seven years I did not even see myself becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher. I was nearly five years into my studies before I made the decision to pursue the LUT curriculum.
Without Action, Spiritual Truth Is Not Enough
In about year four, the instructor in one of my SEE Personal Development classes had each of the students randomly draw a card. Upon each of the cards, one of the five Unity principles was written. After we drew a card, we were to then give a two-minute impromptu presentation to make a case as to why the principle we had drawn was the most important of the five principles. I drew the fifth principle:
Knowing and understanding these Spiritual Principles, also called Truth, is not enough. We must live them.
I do not recall what I said specifically to the class, but I do remember the energy and the feeling I experienced while I was pleading the case for the fifth principle. For two minutes, I waxed enthusiastically on Principle #5. I made an impassioned case that none of what we know or believe to be true means anything, if we are unwilling to live in accordance with that truth.
All the spiritual, scientific or practical knowledge in the world is meaningless and ultimately impotent, if we do not take action to live by and implement the truth we know in our own lives. What we do in our own lives is also what we give to the world. If I am all talk and no action in my own life, then I am also all talk and no action in the world. It really can be no other way.
Walking The Talk The Unity Way
I did not fully comprehend at the time, but that would be a defining moment in my studies and my life. In the moment, I was just doing my best to answer a question as a student in a class. However, something shifted within me. It was not just a simple shift from, say, a head to heart perspective. It was more like an inner awareness that a part of me was listening to me even as I championed the fifth principle to the class. This inner observer seemed to be prompting, perhaps even taunting me, me with two insistent questions. Do you really believe what you are saying? If so, what are you going to do about it?
In one form or another, these two questions continue to resonate within me years on down the road, even to the writing of this article. With respect to Unity’s five principles, I have asked myself similar questions on countless occasions.
Do I really believe there is only one power and one presence in the Universe and in my life? Do I believe that this one power and one presence, which we call God, is good?
Do I really believe we are all Spiritual Beings created in the image and likeness of God the Good? Do I really believe the Spirit of God lives within each person and that therefore everyone, including me, is inherently good?
Do I really believe that we are creating our experiences by the thoughts and feelings we allow to predominate in our consciousness?
Do I really believe we can access God’s divine, creative power by spending time in meditation and affirmative prayer? Do I really believe we can increase our awareness of our oneness with God by practicing meditation and affirmative prayer?
If I do believe these things, what am I going to do about it? If you believe these things, what should you do about it?
It is in the spirit of these questions that I am undertaking this new series of articles, “Walking the Unity Talk.” I invite you to be on the lookout for these articles over the next couple of months as we explore what it really means to live the Unity Principles in our own lives and how we might demonstrate them in a world that sorely needs their truth today.