by Rev. Marty Newman
One of the things I have loved about Unity’s co-founders the Fillmore’s is their keen interest in pursuing knowledge and information from any area of study, especially those often rejected by fundamentalists. They were not afraid of - in fact were intensely curious about - science, psychology, medicine, religions - anything. Several stories point to the fact that they must have had the attitude displayed by the Dalai Lama who was recently questioned about the scientific experiments the Tibetan monks are engaging in with brain scientists. A reporter asked him “What if science proves Buddhism is wrong?” He replied, “Then Buddhism will change!”
If my spiritual beliefs cannot stand up to questioning, then how solid are they? I don’t have an answer to every question, let alone ones I know for sure are “right”, and sometimes I just have to live with not knowing for sure. I simply choose to trust in my past experience and faith that all is well. However, I am clear that my understanding of who and what God is has evolved and changed immensely over my 35 years in Unity, and I expect that understanding to continue to deepen and broaden.
The scientific discoveries that are being made now, especially in relation to brain science and the vast changeability of the universe are mind-boggling. We are exploring higher and wider ”out there” and deeper and longer into the depths of the oceans, rock and dirt and human brain functioning. Scientists are constantly seeking to discover when, where and how the earth came into being, and life began. The parts they are able to split and delve into are smaller and smaller, and still there is no single answer to that big question – how did it all begin?
I have often experienced the most amazing sense of peace and belonging and knowing that all is well. That happens when I connect with God – or what I would rather call – Divine Universal Energy. Intellectually, I understand that to be a coming home to myself in the most whole and complete sense. It is homeostasis. It happens with breath and thought. But at this moment in time, I interpret it as this; there is a great and powerful energy that I am one with – as many would say, a power greater than myself. Yet, it expresses as me. When I know my oneness with that energy that I believe is in and through all things, then my life seems filled with grace and ease and synchronicity, or, as Rev. Toni Boehm titled her new book, Synchro-Divinity. It is accompanied by a sense of humility and gratitude just for being alive, let alone for the multiple blessings of family, friends, creative expression, the beauty and power of nature, and meaningful work and abundant financial support.
We form spiritual communities – traditionally called churches- because in community we are more likely to remember to live from that sense of oneness - our higher selves. We support one another as we learn and grow in stature with God and humanity. We sing about love and goodness. We speak words that challenge us to behave in kind and considerate and wise ways. And we affirm in what we call ‘prayer’, the best that we can be. In prayer, we connect with the mystery of the energy that we are and direct that energy in us for our good. And most importantly, we take time out to sit in the quiet. To acknowledge that left to ourselves alone, we tend to fall into smallness and error and addictions. We tend to resort to behaving in ways that do not make friends and influence others in respecting and appreciating us. We of ourselves are limited by the unquestioned thinking, positive or negative, that has shaped us and our choices. When we come together with the intention of knowing we are one with one another, we are more open to the Divinity in and through us that guides and directs our decisions and choices and we make better ones for all concerned. And when we are connected calmly and quietly with the energy that we are, we can do even greater things than we can imagine.