A Metaphysics of the Five Unity principles
Hi Friends –
In Metaphysics we learn a basic formula known as Mind, Idea and Expression. We also learn in Unity what have come to be known as the Five Unity Principles. This post is to highlight the relationship between the two and to offer more information about how the Christian metaphysical formula of Mind, Idea and Expression is a key to a deeper understanding of the Five Unity principles.
To start, here are some links to Background of New Thought, a course guide I wrote back in 2010. In the first chapter I gave a definition of New Thought:
A spirituality articulated by the construct of Mind-Idea-Expression, that addresses the needs of the head, heart and body and is based on the rich traditions of western philosophy, the teachings of Jesus and our understanding of the mind-body connection.
In the next chapter I list the Five Unity Principles and I categorize them according within the framework of Mind, Idea and Expression:
Mind: 1. God is absolute good, everywhere present. 2. Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.
Idea: 3. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought. 4. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity, and everything good.
Expression: 5. Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the truth that he or she knows.
By placing the Five Unity Principles within the three categories of Mind, Idea and Expression we can see that each of the Unity "Principles" are really components of the foundational formula of Christian metaphysics.
Finally, in chapter 3, I explain what the terms Mind, Idea and Expression mean in spiritual terms. Here is what I wrote with some modifications based on 10 years of hindsight:
Mind. The term Mind, as used in New Thought, is synonymous with the term God and is often replaced by “God-Mind” to distinguish Mind from “human mind.” Although New Thought is in agreement with orthodox religions that God is all powerful, all knowing and everywhere present, New Thought emphasizes that God-Mind does two crucial things: it creates and emits Divine Ideas.
Hypatia Hasbrouck’s first great affirmation is “My mind and the Mind of God are one.” For much of a decade I have begun my morning meditation by verbally affirming this posture. I don’t know how to form a personal relationship with a principle, but I do sense the presence of God when I am aware that my Christ mind is open to and engaged by a loving Father-Mother God.
Idea. One who is an “idealist” looks for the true, perfect nature of all things. That true, perfect nature is what metaphysical thinkers know as an idea. Behind a flower is the idea of a flower and, while the flower may fade and die, the idea is both perfect and eternal. The Divine Idea for human beings is given a special term in New Thought, the Christ. Divine Ideas form the “pattern” from which things in the material world are expressed.
Hypatia Hasbrouck’s second great affirmation is “With Godlike thoughts, I think into being a Godlike world.” When my mind is centered on the truth of the presence and grace of God speaking to me, I become aware of Divine patterns which emerge in my thinking. Through prayer, by the grace of God, these Divine patterns begin, through the gift of faith that is mine as a child of God, to shape a Godlike world for me.
Expression. According to New Thought thinking, nothing in the physical world is “created.” Rather, that which we know and experience in the physical world has been “expressed.” What have been created are Divine Ideas from God-Mind. These Divine Ideas are then the basis for the expression of all that which we see in the physical world. The flower we see is an expression of the divine idea of a flower. “Ideally” all things, since they are expressions of God’s ideas, are also both perfect and eternal.
Hypatia Hasbrouck’s third great affirmation is “I send forth only thoughts of Good and Good returns in overwhelming measure.” The Godlike world that is shaped by my mind receiving and processing Divine ideas brings forth a spiritual understanding of how our world works and from that comes creative insights about how we can love and serve one another. While it may be true that not all ideas are Divine, I have come to know that many of them are not only inspired by God but they are also wrapped with Life, Substance and Intelligence so that I may live the Truth that has been revealed to me.
You may wonder why we have at the top of this page a lovely photo of Rev. Thandi Nhlengetwa, Unity's minister in Johannesburg, South Africa. The reason I am sending this out now is because Rev. Thandi Nhlengetwa is currently teaching a class on The Five Basic Universal Spiritual Principles (Wednesdays, 1pm Eastern) and she has asked for some freely available resources for her students to learn more. I hope this is helpful to her students, and to you as well.
There is one other freely available and excellent commentary on the deeper meaning of the Five Unity Principles, prepared by Rev. Jim Gaither for the Unity Leaders Journal entitled The Quintessence of Unity. Jim's take is that Unity’s Five Basic Principles may have evolved from Charles Fillmore’s “statement of Truth” in Christian Healing. Christian Healing, like the metaphysical formula of Mind, Idea and Expresson, provides a profound spiritual insight. I encourage everyone to click through and read what Jim has found.
If you have some resources to share with Rev. Thandi, please send them to her or to me. Everyone in Unity will benefit.
In summary, my sense is that Unity’s Five Principles have caught on because of the meta-narrative that lies behind them: Mind, Idea and Expression. That meta-narrative is powerful.
Its power rests in that when we begin from a posture of God active in our mind and engaged with us in a personal way then we shift from Godless metaphysics to Christian mysticism. I would go even one step further and declare that Mind, Idea and Expression is soon to become the basis for a new understanding of Christianity that is emerging in our time and that we are entering into a new era which will come to be known as Metaphysical Christianity.
Sunday, August 8, 2021