The Most Important Spiritual Discipline in Unity (It's not prayer)

Graphic from Lessons in Truth Facsimile edition

Hi Friends -

The title of chapter two of the original edition of Lessons in Truth is “Thinking.” Affirmations and Denials come after Thinking, as does Faith, The Secret Place, Finding the Secret Place, Spiritual Gifts, and Unity of the Spirit.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the most important spiritual discipline in Unity is not prayer. Thinking is Unity’s most important spiritual discipline. Without thinking, at least as Emilie Cady explains it, there is no prayer; neither is there faith, gifts nor unity.

I want to bring this out because thinking has got a bad rap today, at least in much of what comes out of Unity. Several years ago I wrote about “a drift to domination of the heart.” I wrote “We live in a time where the analytical capacity of the head is all too often branded and depreciated as ego and the body is construed as an illusion of that ego. In many ways, New Thought has lost its grounding of the mind, which is body and soul, to a small part of the soul, known as the subconscious and felt as the heart. We need to rebalance the conversation.”

Many in today’s culture, especially boomers, want their math and their metaphysics to be heart-felt. That’s fine. But let’s also acknowledge that, at least among the millennial generation, many, if not most, are exploring science and technology in the same way that Charles Fillmore did so many years ago.

Perhaps when millennials reach the same age as our present boomer generation they will discover that their spiritual unfoldment had been more influenced by their creative algorithms and entrepreneurial breakthroughs than by silent soul searching. It just may be that not only has religion been disrupted, but so is spirituality being disrupted as well. And it's being disrupted by Thinking.

I don’t know. But I do know that Emilie Cady placed Thinking as chapter two of Lessons in Truth. And we need to reckon with that.

A statement from Charles Fillmore can provide the key to understanding Emilie Cady’s chapter on Thinking. He said that “Thought is the movement of ideas in mind.” Another key is a statement by Emerson that is quoted so often in Unity, “Man is an inlet and may become an outlet to all there is in God.” All there is in God that comes to us are ideas—Divine Ideas (which millennials love)—and they come though the mind (which the millennials also love). Thinking, according to Charles Fillmore, is the process by which we bring them forth into expression (which is what millennials really want to do).

The bottom line is that Metaphysical Christianity is about Mind—Idea—Expression. That is our spiritual discipline. We do that—not by morality, nor by love, nor compassion, nor mindfulness, nor by justice—but by Thinking.

This essay on Thinking by Emilie Cady has a subtle but perceivable three-part structure: (1) Open your mind to Spirit, (2) Go Alone—Stop reading many books and (3) Radiate what you ideate. Her message is clear to all who take time to read closely:

  1. Creative ideas that bring solutions and pleasure in life are plentiful and free to all.
  2. Our job, as thinkers, is to move these ideas through our mind into expresson, dressing them with unique qualities that can only be got not from others but rather from our own individual character.
  3. Thinking is never complete until there is expression—we must radiate what we ideate.

That is our religion. That is our spirituality. It just may be that Lessons in Truth will disrupt religion and spirituality in the 21st century as it did 125 years ago.

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

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