Living the First Principle

Living the First Principle, Unity Principles, What is Unity, What does Unity Believe, God is all there is

What would your life be like if you approached everything as if God is all there is?

“There is only one presence and one power active as the universe and as my life; God the Good, Omnipotence.” While each of the five principles that form the foundation of all Unity teachings is impactful, this first principle is the most well-known (and possibly the most potent), often recited in Unity centers across the globe every Sunday.

Rote recitation, however, does relatively little for our spiritual growth if we don’t explore it deeper. Before we do, however, fair warning: Working with principles requires us to look deeply at our thoughts, beliefs, and actions with an unwavering willingness to see and accept ourselves just as we are. It can be an eye-opening experience. Although it may sometimes be difficult, it’s well worth the effort.

First, let’s expand the principle. What does it truly mean? How far-reaching is it? Principles are, by definition, comprehensive and fundamental laws. They are the foundation upon which we build our spiritual practice, and they’re applicable everywhere in creation. Although principles never change, our understanding of them grows as we do. The more we engage with a principle and the more we explore it, the more active and alive it becomes. This is an adventurous and joyful exploration that, when we fully engage in it, can dramatically shift our understanding.

Next, the real work starts: We hold up our beliefs, thoughts, and actions to this expanded understanding of the principle. How well do they align? Where am I doing really well embodying the principle, and where do I see a gap I need to bridge? This part of the process is fertile ground for self-judgment and metaphysical malpractice. At times, seeing how far off some of our thoughts, actions, or beliefs are from principle can be shocking and unsettling. Our intention here is to notice, not judge. By noticing and lovingly accepting what we notice, we empower ourselves to change. To the degree that we resist or refuse to see where we are misaligned, we limit our freedom to choose anew and grow.

Finally, through our spiritual practices— such as love, introspection, compassion, and self-forgiveness—we can release those actions, judgments, and beliefs that don’t align with principle and begin to establish a new, empowering way of being that can help us to live in greater alignment with spiritual Truth.

Now let’s look at how all that works in relation to the first principle.

UNPACKING THE PRINCIPLE

God: What do you believe about God? Does the term God even work for you? Do you prefer Spirit, Light, or another word? I believe God is unlimited, unconditional love. I believe that in the full recognition of love, anything unlike it dissolves, disappears. I believe God is whole, complete, and perfect. Spirit has always existed and will always exist. It is kind, generous, and gives fully and freely of itself all the time.

Only one presence and one power: Nothing other than God exists in ultimate reality. Spirit has no opposite. As the one presence, it is Spirit that is living in you, me, everyone, and everything. The tree outside of your window, the neighbor’s dog that wakes you up at night barking, and the coworker who seems out to get you every day are all, according to principle, Spirit. (This is true regardless of whether they know it or act like it.)

As the one power, God is not only everything you see but also the power behind everything you do. Whether moving your eyes to read this page, beating your heart while you sleep, or birthing the universe, Spirit is the power behind all of it. It’s not a different power for each example, but the one power in all. The same power that created all life can be used to take life—as well as to accomplish mundane tasks. There is, after all, only one power.

Active as the universe and as my life: This presence and power is active. It doesn’t just sit idle. It is always loving, always creating. Even when we are not consciously creating, Spirit is. It is active as my life, as the universe, as everything. Wherever I look, there God is.

What do you believe about God? Tools for Transformation, Unity principles, Unity Five PrinciplesGood, omnipotent: All powerful good. Inherent good. No lack of recognition can diminish this good, and it is unlimited.

How are you doing in living this principle? God is all there is. That unconditionally loving presence that birthed everything and is expressing as everyone is present everywhere all the time. At the core of every person, there God is. In the midst of every situation, Spirit. How much of our lives do we approach in that way? How different would life be if we approached everything in this way? Are you seeing some gaps? Are you staying out of judgment? Just notice.

The truth is that most of us rarely approach life with this principle forefront in our minds. The two main reasons for this are lack of awareness and lack of easy-to-use spiritual tools that we can apply in an instant to bring ourselves back into alignment with the principle. Hopefully, you now have a bit more awareness of the gaps you need to bridge. Now let’s look at some tools.

TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMATION

Tool #1: Love

God is all there is and God is unconditional love. That means that we, too, are unconditional love. We are at our most aligned when we are practicing loving. Love isn’t just something we fall in and out of, but a practice we can consciously engage in.

With people, we can practice seeing the loving essence at the core of their being. I like to call this “existence-level loving.” I love you simply because you exist. I don’t look at what you’ve said or done, or what you didn’t do or didn’t say. I blind myself to all that and simply recognize that, according to this principle, God is all there is. As such, God is present at the core of every person. I may have a hard time loving your personality and I may be unable to love certain actions, but I can always love Spirit. The Good Omnipotence, God Itself, the one presence and one power exists as everyone. As we practice finding that spiritual center in each person and loving that, regardless of anything else, we align ourselves with love and bring the first Unity principle into play.

If we find ourselves needing to realign with this principle in a particular situation, we can start with loving the people involved. We can look for where love is present in the situation and acknowledge it. We can find even unconscious acts of love to focus on, but if not, perhaps we are being called to bring love to the situation. How can I be the presence of love in this situation? The next time you have to go to the DMV or jury duty, consciously bring your loving practice with you and watch what happens!

Tool #2: Introspection

This principle tells us that good is present everywhere, in every situation, no matter what. This can be tough to swallow, especially in traumatic experiences, but notice that the principle doesn’t say that every situation or circumstance is good. It says that there can be good had in any situation or circumstance. This good isn’t guaranteed. It is up to us to seek, find, and embody that good.

We can ask ourselves, What is this experience here to teach me? How can I grow through this? Perhaps we’re being taught the art of surrender. Maybe we’re being shown how powerful we are. Possibly, we’re looking at the neon sign pointing us to a long-held judgment we’re ready to release.

No one can tell you what your possibilities are for growth in any situation. You must uncover them for yourself and discover how to shift your focus from the negative to the affirmative, align with principle, and move through the circumstance more quickly and more gracefully.

Tool #3: Compassion and Self-Forgiveness

What is this experience here to teach me? Tools for transformation, Unity practices and principles, Unity first principlesThis work is not easy. When you set out to bring the first principle with you everywhere you go as an active practice, you’ll forget—often. I know I do. You’ll fail a lot too. Just before sitting to write this, I failed in a parking lot with another driver going the wrong way down a one-way parking lane.

It’s okay to forget. It’s okay to fail. Compassion is the key. You will never berate yourself into compliance or shame yourself out of old ways of being. Instead, open your compassionate heart to yourself. Forgive your false beliefs. Forgive yourself for judging yourself as a failure because you didn’t quite show up the way you intended. As you do so, you’ll be able to let go of old ways of being much more rapidly so you can establish a new life in this powerful principle.

Remember the most important part: There is only one presence and one power. It is unconditional love, omnipotent good— whole, complete, and perfect in every way. As the only life that exists, it is the life you live. You are that unconditional love. You are that omnipotent good. You are the power that birthed the universe, and you can use that power to create a life beyond your wildest dreams!

Know this, because God knows this about you. My God, you’re amazing!

 
Ben Jamison

Ben Jamison is a speaker, coach, and the author of Church-Free Spirituality (Lightwalker Press, 2017). Jamison was raised in Unity, is a Centers for Spiritual Living practitioner, has a master’s degree in spiritual psychology, and will soon be ordained a Divine Science minister. Visit benjamison.com.

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