“Unity is a link in the great educational movement inaugurated by Jesus Christ. Our objective is to discern the Truth in Christianity and prove it. The Truth that we teach is not new; neither do we claim special revelations or discovery of new religious principles. Our purpose is to help and teach humankind to use and prove the eternal Truth taught by the Master.” Charles Fillmore, Unity Co-Founder
Five Basic Unity Principles
- There is One Presence and One Power in the universe, God the Good. This is a radical statement of non-dual awareness.
- There is That presence and power, a spark of Divinity, within you. In Unity this is often referred to as “The Christ within.” The statement “I Am That” refers to this also.
- We create our worlds through our thinking and feeling. Thoughts held in mind manifest after their kind. Feeling states often exists under thoughts.
- Our connection with God or Spirit is through prayer and meditation. The language of God is Silence; it is beyond words.
- It does no good to know all of these principles unless you practice them. Knowing them is not enough; you must live them in your life.
God is the invisible, intangible, dynamic energy that is the underlying reality of all manifestation. (Metaphysics I, p.18) God is infinite and eternal. God is not a person but Principle, absolute good expressed in all creation. God is individualized in each person when we recognize God within us as our indwelling life, intelligence, love, and power. When we recognize God within ourselves we come into God/Christ consciousness. (The Revealing Word, paraphrased) God is within each one of us and is directly accessible. We need only to quietly turn within ourselves to contact God.
Jesus Christ is the man who understood His divine nature, who fully demonstrated His divine potential, and who completely fulfilled His divine purpose on this earth. We refer to Jesus Christ as our Elder Brother, Teacher, and Way Shower, who by His works and words, teaches us that we, too, have the ability to realize Christ consciousness. When Unity refers to Jesus the Christ, they are intentionally acknowledging that Christ is the name of Jesus’ spiritual identity, not His earthly last name.
We each come into this world with a Divine purpose. Our Divine purpose is primarily manifested through our realization of Christ consciousness. From that experience of God Realization comes the manifestation in the world of God’s plan.
One’s life is to be an expression of love even toward one’s enemies. We are to realize our true nature as spiritual beings created in God’s image and likeness and to express it in practical ways under divine guidance. (Metaphysics II)
Unity conceives of heaven as expressed by Jesus: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”, and “The kingdom of God is in the midst of (within) you”. Charles Fillmore defined it as “a state of consciousness in which the soul and the body are in harmony with Divine Mind”. One does not have to wait until death. Heaven is present here and now within each of us. Through meditation, attitude and receptivity one can elevate one’s personal consciousness to a heavenly state.
Hell is not a place to go after death but rather a state of consciousness to be suffered here on earth. Charles Fillmore wrote: “One does not have to die in order to go to hell, any more than one has to die to get to heaven. Both are states of mind and conditions, which people experience as a direct outworking of their thoughts, beliefs, words, and acts. If one’s mental processes are out of harmony with the law of our being, they result in trouble and sorrow; mental as well as bodily anguish overtakes one, and this is hell.”
Satan is an adverse state of consciousness in opposition to the Truth. It is a state of mind that believes in its own sufficiency apart from its Creative source. (Metaphysical Dictionary)
Unity interprets Satan’s temptation of Jesus symbolically or metaphysically. Satan did not tempt Jesus to turn stones into bread. It was the “voice of human hunger,” …the temptation to throw himself off the highest part of the temple that was “the voice of human desire for recognition ”… the temptation to become a ruler or “the voice of worldliness.”
Thus Satan is not a separate entity, but is our lower nature: selfishness, greed, or the desire to turn away from God. These levels of lower nature can be transcended and included by aligning our consciousness with God/Higher Nature.
Unity uses an alternative definition: “living under a false sense of separation from God”. We view this as a delusion because God is in reality continuously present within us. This false belief can be overcome through prayer and meditation. (The Revealing Word) We do not believe in original sin. Unity teaches that we are all born in original blessing.
Life After Death
Many in Unity believe in reincarnation. After death the soul is believed to leave the body, and to live again in another human body. Unity cites references from the Christian Scriptures, which show that the concept of reincarnation was common during Jesus’ time. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, John the Baptist is referred to as the reincarnation of Elijah. In Matthew, some of the populace guessed that Jesus was a reincarnation of John the Baptist; others guess Elijah; still others guessed Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. Jesus neither criticized the people for their beliefs, nor declared reincarnation to be heresy.
Each lifetime is viewed as a time of preparation for the next life, leading towards eventual perfection.
Prayer & Meditation
Prayer is communion between God and man. This communion takes place in the innermost part of man’s being. The purpose of prayer is to change your thinking. Likewise, the purpose of meditation is to expand the consciousness Christward. Meditation is continuous and contemplative thought, to dwell mentally on anything, realizing the reality of the Absolute.
Unity acknowledges the need to harmonize our thinking and our prayers with actual living experiences.
Worship & Devotion
Worship can be pursued at any time and location when one feels adoration and devotion for God. Ideally, it can be experienced continually throughout the day.
In Unity, one experiences Spiritual Baptism which is a deeply personal event, a cleansing “prayer experience with Spirit, an ultimate union between an individual and God.” The individual emerges purified, having experienced a spiritual conversion of great intensity.
There is a mystical meaning in the details and purpose of the rite of Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper. We recall the words of St. Paul: “The Kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Communion becomes a close encounter with God in prayer, in which one becomes aware of the impact that God is making in all areas of one’s life.
Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are the main religious texts used by Unity followers. To Charles Fillmore, the Bible was more than the Word of God. The Word of God is the spirit in man, and the Bible is an attempt “to describe that invisible Work which cannot be described but must be lived.” In 1931, he published the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary.
All writings of all world religions are respected. “Unity believes that there is good in every religion on earth.”