Our Thursday noon brown bag lunch/Metaphysical Bible Interpretation group members are assimilating new, stimulating, and productive ideas as we continue our journey of reading and dissecting lectures given to Unity’s ministerial school students by Ed Rabel almost 40 years ago. We found these (over 200 of them) lectures on Mark Hicks’ TruthUnity web site, an open site available to all.
Part One of Rabel’s lecture #1 given on January 12, 1976 laid out a model he used when interpreting Bible passages and stories, and without going into a lot of detail–if you’re interested, please join us every Thursday at noon at Unity of the Sierra—I wish today to write about his model. Weekly discussions are led by Rev. Larry Schneider and his knowledgeable and eager assistant, Paula.
In this lecture, Ed outlines four levels of meaning when reading and interpreting scripture he calls his schema. The fourth level of meaning is written as: the cosmic level or that which deals with planetary systems and cosmic phenomena. When Larry and I read that, we were temporarily stymied, so we put this “dot” on the back burner.
Concurrently with our ongoing studies of Unity, Truth, and metaphysical interpretation, we have recently read, “A New Man,” by Maurice Nicoll—another “dot” that ultimately begged to be connected though we didn’t know this while reading the book. “A New Man” was an interesting and sometimes challenging tome, but we immediately connected some dots to early Unity/New Thought philosophies that we are studying concurrently, especially early Charles Fillmore lectures and writings from the early 1900’s. Reading this book led us to another “dot,” a book by P. D. Ouspensky entitled, “In Search of the Miraculous.” Perhaps some of you have read this book, which was popular in New Thought circles in the mid-1970’s, according to Marianne Williamson who wrote the Foreword to this edition recently published.
We’ve only begun reading “In Search of the Miraculous,”, which gives some tidbits about an esoteric philosophy system of thought embraced and taught by Georges Gurdjieff. I was intrigued by Ouspensky’s description of some thoughts that Gurdjieff espoused–and this is very simplistic—how planets, suns, moons, etc. influence human behavior. Cosmic influences, if you will.
So, now we circle back and finish connecting dots in Ed Rabel’s lecture to ministerial students in which he links this esoteric, and probably ancient, concept of Gurdjieff’s to then-current metaphysical Bible interpretation methodologies. In his lecture notes, I find that he urges students to not get deeply involved with this philosophy because it is not part of the purpose of Unity.
Rabel says clearly (and I have read this in other early Unity writings): “The work of Unity is two-fold. The OUTER work is to provide a setting for people who accept or prefer the kind of religious and metaphysical truth that we prefer, which is our choice. Our INNER work is consciousness condition. This is really it—this is what Unity teachings are all about, not figuring out why your present life role is what it is according to planetary and cosmic planes.
Whatever—it is what it is: this is how we (Unity) can help you achieve a better state of consciousness while in this world.”
One of the things I have always loved about Unity is that there is rarely, if ever, any condemnation, subtle or obvious, of any students’ personal or religious beliefs. That being stated, the freedom I have experienced in being a Truth student since the mid-1970’s has been refreshing, to put it mildly. I bet some of you would agree with me. So, if your interests lead you to other topics (they do me, from time to time), that’s certainly okay. Just keep in mind the purpose of Unity is to lead people to a higher or deeper consciousness, a desire to explore and understand oneself, and to be able to create a connection with the Creator.