How are we Different?

By Charles Lelly
How are we Different? by Charles Lelly

It seems that we are continually being deceived about the answer to the question, What is the good life? Those who have things to sell are vying for our attention with a staccato beat that is seemingly endless. Usually the message is, “If you accept my product, you will find the good life.”

But most of us can remember how we dearly longed for a doll or a bicycle and earnestly believed that if we acquired that wonderful “thing,” we would be content and eternally grateful. What a blow to our philosophy when the luster disappeared soon after the acquisition! Then we usually said, “If only I could have this new thing—then I would be happy.”

After many such experiences, we finally realize that fulfillment does not come by this method.

Obviously, we need certain physical things to lift us beyond the survival level so that we can address ourselves to such philosophical questions as, What is the good life? Physical things are necessary to our well-being, but the fulfillment of our soul will not come through physical objects alone.

We must search deeper for the definition of the good life.

What really makes one person different from another? We all come out of the same Source; each of us has a physical body with a built-in sense mechanism; there are more similarities between us than differences. We human beings are strikingly alike, what then is the important difference between us?

It is the degree of awareness! One person sees with his or her soul; another sees only with his or her eyes and is relatively blind. One person drinks of the essence of spirit; the other gets the foam. The life of one person is a continuous experience of wonder and awe; the life of another is an experience of confusion and despair.

It would seem then that we should try to be more aware. This is not as easy as it sounds. Increased awareness is achieved more by relaxation than by action upon the objective world of things. Awareness is increased when we allow it to happen, more so than when we struggle to discover it.

Chronic “busyness” as we know it in our culture is not the seedbed of increased awareness. Perhaps we could start by practicing letting go and just being for a segment of time, allowing awareness to grow within us.

Why not tonight? Go outside, sit or lie on the ground, and quietly give yourself to the stars. Just observe. Do not judge, identify, or classify! Just be one entity in space looking at another entity in space. After a while you will realize that increased awareness silently slips into your consciousness when you least expect it.

It’s so simple—but it works!


Charles Lelly is a retired Unity minister. In the 1960s and 1970s, he served as the Unity director of advertising and promotion, as editor of New Magazine and as a contributor to Unity Magazine®. This excerpt, “How are we Different,” is from the now out-of-print Unity booklet Spirit of Simplicity: The Blessing of an Ordinary Day

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