Sundays are Spirituality Day here at Taking it to the Streets
I’ve been writing about the five core principles of Unity.
5. I put my faith into action by demonstration
This final principle is ‘officially’ presented by Unity as “Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.”
To me, this final of the five Unity principles is closely aligned with the 12th step of Alcoholics Anonymous (and other 12 step programs): “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
There is a reason why this is the last of the Unity principles (and why Step 12 is the last step). One has to have a firm foundation oneself before carrying the message or being an example to others.
However, one can begin immediately to ‘live it.’ This principle thus subsumes the other four. As I go about my day and my life in what ways do I act as though there is only one presence and one power in the Universe and in my life – and it’s God (not lack, fear, ‘evil’, ‘them’, ‘the economy’, etc.)?
Do I treat my body and my self as though the Christ spirit lives within me? Do I act with Christ consciousness (substitute God/Buddha/Loving-Kindness or whatever way you use to talk about the Divine)? Do my actions make other people think “yep, the Christ spirit sure lives within Diane” – or, not so much.
Do I practice Right Speech as the Buddhists would say? If I truly DO believe that “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind” what type of reality am I creating. When I say (or think) “I’m so fat” or “I’ll NEVER get a job” or “I’m an idiot” or “You’re a jerk” – what reality am I creating? And when I catch myself in that space do I remember this principle and reframe my thinking and speaking?
As for “I experience God’s presence and power through prayer and meditation” – this is perhaps the most concrete. Either I pray or I don’t. Either I meditate or I don’t. And then there’s the part ‘experience God’s presence and power…” – am I fully present, sincere, and OPEN? If I’m not then my prayers may be like my sister’s learning to read experience. I taught her phonics using our Dad’s Wall Street Journal. Could the ever so precocious Pier say “capitalism”? Probably. Did she (at age 5) know what it meant? Not so much. So too, if we prattle off prayers – my hunch is that God/Our Self/the Universe says “ah! background noise” and tunes out the prattling. Not so a sincere heart.
So this is the action step. This is where you get to the Big Kids table. Having a philosophy, a theology, a set of principles is important to a religion, for sure. But to the individual it has no meaning unless we live it.
For me with these principles (and with the 12 steps, which I’ll explore next), it’s a start/stop/start again process. But like all habits, the more I “do the next right thing” the more habitual it becomes. It gets easier through repetition – and this principle evokes that as well.
Whether or not the religious movement of Unity is your path, I hope these principles have been spoken to you and informed the path that nourishes and nurtures you. I truly believe “Truth is one. Paths are many.” (I believe this was said by Gandhi, but Confucius said something similar and, true to the quote, this is likely a truism from many paths).
How do you live YOUR path? How do you remember to practice your principles when you’ve lapsed into negative thinking, ‘bad’ behavior or other side roads?