Nothing fascinates me more than the search for meaning we take on throughout our lives. As we grow and evolve—and experience life’s ups and downs—our relationships with others naturally change. So, too, must our relationship with life itself change. New experiences inevitably offer a new understanding of who we are and of what our role in the universe is.
These are the kinds of ideas I get to think about all day long in my job.
I found Unity when Unity World Headquarters hired me to develop a line of products. At the time, I didn’t know much about Unity or its followers except that they like affirmations, and unlike most religious groups I had experienced, they don’t have a ton of rules.
On my first day at work, my new boss handed me a copy of her book The Five Principles: A Guide to Practical Spirituality (Unity Books, 2009). Just reading the introduction to Rev. Ellen Debenport’s excellent primer on the foundational ideas of Unity brought a lightness to my soul.
One of the more memorable passages for me was this: “Unity ministers … pride ourselves on offering a big tent for varying interpretations of the laws of life. Just as scientists, economists, and historians look at facts differently, so do spiritual teachers.”
Unity has taught me to see people not only as children of God but also as aspects of God.
Reading that passage made me realize this job would provide more than an income for me. I was beginning a new phase of my life that required me to update my ideas about the Divine, and Unity would give me tools and new perspectives to help me on that journey.
Finding Connection with Tools for Reflection
Just four months before starting the job, I got married. My partner is Muslim. I was raised Catholic but cannot in good conscience call myself Catholic anymore. I’m not angry at the Church; it just doesn’t do anything for me. My childhood included bursts of religion and ritual that clearly meant a lot to my parents and grandparents. However, in daily life, more emphasis was placed on education and financial success as the things that were really important. Even 12 years of Catholic school didn’t do much to encourage my faith.
Despite my lack of religiosity, my ideas about God, about right and wrong, and about how the world should work were built on a distinctly Christian foundation. I knew marrying someone from a totally different faith tradition meant we each needed to do some soul-searching to identify the values, the rituals, and the role that a higher power would play in our family life. That included a lot of tricky questions: How will we raise the kids? What holidays will we celebrate? Are those holidays about cultural celebration or religion? What are the implications for our extended family of choosing one religion over the other? Is it possible to authentically honor two different faith traditions without being contradictory?
I never doubted that my partner and I would figure it out—our shared values and mutual respect are far stronger than either of our religious convictions—but as newlyweds, we found the details to be hazy.
Thus, with an eager heart, I took this job and dove headfirst into learning about New Thought. I’m glad I did. Unity has taught me to see people not only as children of God but also as aspects of God. This shift has fundamentally changed the way I see myself and others. Knowing this Truth makes it clear that the variations in religious practice are just different paths heading to the same destination—a deeper knowing of the divine connection we all share.
This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.