Having studied Truth for almost five decades now, I see Unity in an entirely different way than I did in the mid-70’s—as a very deep and useful psychological mindset that includes techniques that are just now being discussed by brain scientists. Initially, I learned about the use of denials and affirmations to begin helping me understand that I do have some control over my life and my thoughts. Larry and I attended treasure mapping sessions at the beginning of each new year, and still have many treasure maps to show for our efforts. We learned to utter Jim Freeman’s Prayer for Protection as a good reminder that we are held safely in the hands of the Creator.
As the years went on, all the while reading Unity publications such as Daily Word and Unity Magazine as well as the traditional Unity books such as Lessons in Truth and Talks on Truth (my personal favorite), I attended every Unity class I could. I’ve shared with some readers that every time someone opened the front doors of Unity of Tallahassee, Larry and I walked through them. It was a thrilling time of learning and understanding at a yet deeper level.
At some point, Larry and I felt led to begin taking all the Unity courses that were offered at that time, so we traveled frequently (and at our own expense) to Unity Village weeks at a time. As we completed all the courses, Larry decided to apply for MEP. That is a topic for another article.
Now, in my current stage of learning what Unity truly is, I have some ideas to share. I continue to read and study, and now transcribe manuscripts of Charles Fillmore’s talks from the early 1900’s. And even doing these transcripts, I learn and grow. Charles said that the purpose of the Unity movement is to be the department of individualized spiritual growth (paraphrased). Unity has been just that for me and I’m pleased when I watch others grow too. I believe that Unity Truth students are free to float to the top of the hierarchy and take the literal portions of Unity teachings (the use of denials and affirmations and other New Thought precepts) or they can dive deeper searching for diamonds and pearls.
When we search deeper, certain things are required for our accurate understanding of such meaty spiritual principles. Charles said we must, daily, “go to headquarters.” By this he meant that we must quiet our minds and go into meditation, and derive our enlightenment from Divine Mind. Charles said the reason we must do this is because we are so programmed by the world of forms that we need meditation and time in the Silence at headquarters to break some of the old belief patterns. He was very adamant about this part of Unity’s teachings.
One method that Charles used as he consulted Unity’s textbook, The Bible, was what he called metaphysical Bible interpretation. Lowell Fillmore, Charles and Myrtle’s son, states clearly in one of his books that the Unity movement was based upon a metaphysical (or some would say symbolical) interpretation of the Bible. That’s a pretty strong statement!
Any time we read a book or poetry or even listen to music or watch a movie, there are about four or five levels of interaction with the material: literal, emotional, metaphorical, and deeply personal. As I have learned in my ongoing study of symbolic Bible interpretation, I have found that I MUST go to the deeply personal level after moving through the other levels. Fr. Richard Rohr plainly states in his book, “Immortal Diamond,” that if we merely float on the surface with literal interpretation that this is the lowest level and not much will be gleaned from remaining on the surface. He says we must go deep and make the teachings personal in order to regenerate, resurrect, transform, convert, or become enlightened, to name a few ways this transformative experience can be described. I do believe this is the way.
There is a group here at Unity of the Sierra that meets every Thursday at the church to study and dissect Bible passages in order to bring up the deeper and more personal truths. This group is open to anyone who wishes to mine and dive and become covered with gold and pearls. It is truly amazing what can be learned—come join us!