Unity’s Five Principles
While Unity has a set of principles located on their web page www.unity.org, Some other churches have their own version. This is possible because Unity has no hard doctrine or dogma. I will give the Unity’s version first, then two others from different churches.
Unity Version, 5 Principles
“God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
1) God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere. 2) We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good. 3) We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. 4) There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God. 5) Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
Now, I’ll explain what these mean to me, since while Unity states the principles, we have no dogma, no set mandatory beliefs
First, we are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. God is not some person sitting on a cloud somewhere, but is a spirit. In fact God is all there is! That’s why many of us who have taken Unity’s SEE class Metaphysics II, we have come to believe that rather than God, we speak of the God-mind or the Oneness. This is because if you think of the mind, you quickly figure out that your mind isn’t anywhere physical. We think, and are aware of our thoughts, for the most part, but they do not have physical space. So too it the Oneness Spirit, without form, except as it expresses as matter, and consequently people.
The second part of the first principle states that “The Spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.”
Now, that one needs some more explanation too. Not the part that the Spirit of God lives within each of us, but that all people are inherently good. Now, if God or Oneness is all there is, and is good, we by extension being created in the image of God or the Oneness we must be good. We cannot be anything else.
In Unity we think that evil exists in what the Fillmores called race mind. That’s the stuff we learn as we grew up, and now as adults that is not in line with Truth. For a good explanation of this concept, you can get a copy of Paul Hasselbeck’s book, “Heart Felt Metaphysics.” It explains this very well.
Principle Two states quite simply that “We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.” This one is pretty straight forward. It comes in part from Genesis’s account of the creation of man. But it also ads that all people are inherently good. There is no such thing as original sin. That is a concept that addresses those untrue thoughts and ideas we have learned in the human world. Sin doesn’t exist in the Oneness of which we are a part. If God is good, then God cannot be evil or sinfull.
That brings us to Principle Three: “We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. We call that nonproductive thought, error thought. Why, because if we are created in the image and likeness of God, then we have the same powers to create as God does. So, if we dwell on that pain in the back, we have pain in the back. We also get that pain in the back because we have been taught that as we get older, we begin to have aches and pains. But, being the image and likeness of God, those things are not our true identity. They are those error thoughts we talked about. We, as Myrtle Fillmore said, are a divine child of God, and therefore we do not inherit sickness. We are whole, perfect, and have all the abundance we want in the spirit realm. Then by focusing our thoughts on those truths, we call principles or Law of Mind, and are working toward becoming more Christlike, we will experience healing and prosperity in this realm.
Principle Four states that “There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our awareness in God.” Unity has an entire course on Prayer. But affirmative prayer consists of what are called affirmations. These affirmations are statements of Truth, that begin with “I AM” (which is the name of God), because we are God.
Boy did you catch that, you are God. Not, you are a god, but that you are God. If there is only God, then we must be God expressing as each of us.
So, after you state the Truth of who you are, you state what it is that you are praying about. Such as “I AM health.” Not I am getting healthy, but I am health.
Now there is another part to this style of prayer, we call it Denials. A denial is a rejection of our worldly concept, such as illness. So we would say, “This, then name the illness, is not who I am. It is only my erroneous thinking. Then the “I AM health.” That in a nutshell is what affirmative prayer is.
Now for the increasing our awareness of God. Unity prayer is a five-step process. First is relaxation. Second is the denial and affirmation. Then the third part is mediation. Now when we meditate, we seek to find our connection to the Oneness. Finally, we express our gratitude for receipt of what we are praying about. That is an important part of this process. We express gratitude for what we already have in the Oneness. That signifies that we know it is already done. Emily Cady ads a statement such as “And so it is.” You will hear many of us who have been around for a while saying that instead of Amen, or in addition to amen.
The last principle states that “Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.” In a way, this is the most important one of the five. You can have all the knowledge in the world about how to play the piano. However unless you practice playing it, you will never master it. The same thing with our spiritual principles. If we don’t practice them, we continue to experience health problems, we do not truly prosper, nor do we have that void within us filled that yearns for a spiritual connection! We must eliminate our error thoughts, our unproductive habits, and ways.
Unity of Gainesville, Georgia has restated the five principles this way:
- There is one presence, One Power active in the Universe and in my life – God, the Good, omniscient, omnipotent. The Five Principles were written to provide tools for daily living and suggests answers to the great questions of existence that humans have been asking since the dawn of conscious awareness.
- And this shows up as our second principle which is “Christ in you the hope of glory.” We believe that each of us has the same inherent divinity that Jesus Christ expressed fully. And we are on this earth plane, now, to express our divine nature in any and every given moment – as fully as we can.
- To help do that we have a spiritual law called “The law of Mind Action.” This means that whatever we think and feel in combination, long enough and strong enough, we will experience in our lives in some way.
- And to help us gain clarity on our thoughts and feelings we practice the 4th principle which is daily prayer and meditation. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, we can change any limiting beliefs that are not congruent with our Christ nature.
- And the 5th principle is ACTION. Action is setting our intention on living the rich, fulfilled life that God has intended for us from the beginning through the Spiritual Principles. Charles Fillmore, Unity’s co-founder stated “The Truth you know is the Truth you see. Otherwise it is only theory and has no power to change your life.” We use these 5 principles on a daily basis – and in all life situations to keep us in the flow of well-being – and to have a greater awareness of God’s presence.
As you can see, this one is an expansion and modernization of the original principles. They give us a clearer understanding of the principles and what they stand for.
Unity Way in California has yet another version of the 5 principles as follows:
- There is only One God. God is absolute good, omniscient, and omnipresent.
- God is Spirit. Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ Spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are inherently good. God is neither male or female, but is Spirit and resides in everything (people, animals, trees, soil, and in the very air we breathe.) God is present in all people, not just some. Jesus Christ attained the fullest expression of God. He is the example, not the exception.
- Thought dictates action. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.
- Prayer is the direct link to God. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.
- Daily practice – knowing and understanding the laws of life – also called the Truth are not enough. A person must also live the Truth that he or she knows.
Each of these variations brings added light to what we Unitics believe and practice.
We know that God is not “out there” as Eric Butterworth has said many times. God is in each of us as the Christ-Mind.
We know that God is a spirit and that through the Christ -Mind, we are all linked to that God-mind. Some of us call that God-Mind “Oneness” because it expresses that that is all there really is. We are an expression of the Oneness, and thus have access to all the power of the Oneness.
We practice positive, affirmative prayer daily coupled with meditation. Meditation is our way to connect with the Oneness within through the Silence and to hear that still small voice, or have flashes of ideas that apply to the subject of our prayer and how to attain it.
As they all say, we must practice these principles daily, following the Truth, but we also must LIVE them, striving to be the Best Christ we can be.
I hope those of us Unitics who read this enjoyed this refresher on the 5 Principles, and those who are not, this gives you a better idea of what we believe.