Moving Into Spirit

By Ed Townley
Moving Into Spirit

One of the most difficult challenges of my own spiritual journey has been coming to both clarity and comfort with God—as a word, as an idea, as an energy. I have an intuitive understanding of the Christ; in fact, it was a visceral, intuitive grasp of the Christ as described by the outstanding Unity minister Eric Butterworth on Easter Sunday, 1976, that began to shake me free of old attitudes and turn me in a new direction. The universal truth that we are all divine—as all of life is divine—and divinely creative as God is eternally creative continues to reveal new depths and implications these many years later. But there has been little hard-core resistance within me to the process of Christ exploration.

But what about God? What about the Allness of infinite divinity of which the Christ is a complete expression? What about the Being of infinite love who had been an occasional source of support in my childhood? I no longer believed in the superhuman embodiment I had been told of as a child—a sort of larger and sterner version of Santa Claus who made lists from on high, kept meticulous track of who had or had not sinned, prayed, attended Mass and accepted unquestioningly the infallibility of the Church and the Pope in all things. So I knew what God wasn't—or had ceased to be—for me. But what new understanding could replace the old?

The process of remembering our own divine nature has such a revolutionary impact on every aspect of our human lives that it's easy to become exclusively absorbed in ourselves as the Christ. And, indeed, the entire purpose of our being here in this limited human experience is to continue the process of creation as the Christ, choice by enlightened choice. But it's a mistake, I think, to make claiming our Christ identity our primary spiritual focus. Such a focus can all too easily lead to the kind of spiritual arrogance that has wreaked so much havoc throughout recorded history.

No, our primary spiritual principle must always be what Unity has been teaching and affirming for more than a century: There is only one Presence and one Power active in the universe, and in my life: God the Good, Omnipotence. We could spend many lifetimes exploring this one principle and never come to the end of its implications. There is nothing but God; nothing but an energy of infinite love always working with us to guide us in our spiritual work of bringing the kingdom of heaven into tangible expression through our creative choices.

That energy of divine love has no boundaries, no limits, no tangible form. It doesn't just hang out in a place called heaven, watching its creation from afar. It is intimately one with its  creation. It's everywhere. It's everything. We can't stand back and admire it because (to quote James Dillet Freeman) "wherever we are, God is!"

Yet something seems to be missing from this new understanding of the divine. Sometimes omnipresence feels a lot like omni-absence. Our intuitive guidance is content with this new God, and our intellect can be very happy wrestling with it. But our feelings and senses feel left out—and they need to be part of this journey too. …

"You're exactly where you're meant to be" is the perfect counseling response to everything from a New Thought perspective. One might almost call it a cop-out, if one were being unkind. But at the time it seemed profound and true, and I felt one more possible escape hatch slamming shut behind me.

The point is, we need a sense of God as infinite power at least as much as we need the more intimate realization of God as our own true identity. We don't want to hang onto God as an angry, judgmental authority figure. But we do want—we need—the sense of awe and wonder we feel as we contemplate the majesty of the infinite. Our human focus must be on the Christ—the expression of God that each of us uniquely is. But our spiritual focus requires that our senses and our feeling nature always remind us of the measureless love and eternal support in which we live and move and have our being.

Rev. Ed Townley hosts the Unity Online Radio show The Bible Alive! He also answers metaphysical Bible interpretation requests at Interpret This. This article was excerpted from the book Kingdom Come.