May 18, 2013
The early writers of Unity were very clear about the difference between personality, the surface aspect of an individual, and individuality. They were also clear about the subject of intellectual and intuitive methods of learning that I have been dealing with over the last few days. On both subjects, the writers were not advocating ridding ourselves of the personality or minimizing the use of the intellect. Charles Fillmore was a towering intellect who possessed a distinct personality, both of which shine through his writings and that which was written about him. He exemplified, however, a personality and an intellect that was truly “taught by God”. His personality and intellect were vehicles that carried the truth of his soul.
Most of the works of our Unity pioneers focus on the development of the individual, but the principles of personality and individuality apply to the Unity movement as well. Unity was born out of a very distinct set of principles that Charles Fillmore called practical Christianity. This unseen anchor of principles could be thought of as the Christ of Unity, the individuality that is deeply rooted in Spirit. The movement itself was the personality. In the early days, the personality was serving its highest function by exemplifying in the outer what it held as true of the inner.
With the advent of the center ministry, Fillmore began noticing a change in the ever-expanding personality of Unity. “Diluted teachings” as he called them, were beginning to creep in. The personality of Unity was beginning to draw information , not from its Christ of core principles, but from a variety of other sources. People would attend a center bearing the Unity name but would be dismayed to find a “mixed bag of metaphysical teachings”. Of this problem he wrote:
“Coming to us from various quarters are letters telling of Unity centers that are not teaching the Unity doctrine. These letters ask how we can endorse these centers which take our name when they depart so radically from what is set forth in our literature. We do not endorse them.”
How would he handle today’s Unity personality, when leaders of the very school he founded openly embrace and promote, in the name of Unity, movements like the Oneness Movement (Oneness Blessing), Spiral Dynamics, and A Course in Miracles, to name a few? I believe he would declare that the Unity movement is suffering from a major personality disorder–a personality that has been completely severed from the “Unity doctrine” that is “set forth in our literature.” In light of the work he and others left as a benchmark, I believe he would declare today’s Unity movement a complete failure.
The Oneness Movement, for example, is an India import based on the teachings of Sri Amma Bhagavan, who happens to claim he is God incarnate. We are told that “A Oneness Blessing giver must have been formally initiated by the disciples of Sri Amma Bhagavan at the Oneness University-India to transfer the Oneness Blessing.” Sound a bit cultish? There are quite a few former insiders and other observers of such things that believe so. Here is what a few of them have to say about the Oneness Movement:
Freddy Nielsen left the Oneness Movement after being one of Kalki Bhagavan’s closest disciples for 15 years. Now he speaks out: ”… after local deekshas, in Europe as an example, there are people who have become psychotic. Some have to be admitted to mental hospitals, a few have even committed suicide.” ”Bhagavan declared many from the 21 days process enlightened, but many/most that I know – and I knew half of the group – soon went into depression…”
“Their leader Sri Bhagavan (original name Vijaykumar Naidu), claims he is Kalki, the final avatar of Vishnu and can “enlighten” us mere mortals through his touch or gaze. The cult is also known as Kalki Deeksha movement. He and his wife, Sri Amma (Padmini), offer classes (level 1 and level 2) for thousands of dollars to facilitate the “enlightenment” process. It is an old scam that never ends to bring in new suckers.”
“Actually, as the evidence from quite disenchanted former higher-ups will show, this movement is a gigantic scam based on corrupt greed and empty promises by its heads, ”Bhagavan and Amma,” and tragic naivete and New Age superstition by too many (but certainly not all) of its followers.”
“Within a short time, because of legal issues surrounding the name “Kalki,” Vijaykumar re-titled himself “Bhagavan” to amplify his status as “the Lord God Incarnate,” the one who is here (or so he claims) to grant mass enlightenment to all of humanity by year 2012 by first fully enlightening 64,000 people. How will he do this? Through his alleged capacity for shaktipat, Bestowal of Divine Power, and deeksha, Initiation or Blessing, “the transfer of Divine energy.” In his penchant for pseudo-scientific jargon, Bhagavan Kalki calls enlightenment a “neurobiological brain-shift event” which happens as a result of this blessing or “transfer of Grace” from him, his wife, his close disciples, and anyone who is willing to pay the big bucks for a 21-day course and other costs to become a certified “deeksha-giver.” For many years until recently, the cost for the basic course was $7,000, not counting certain other costs.”
By all indications, this “neurobiological brain-shift event” is simply a new way of saying brainwashed. Will we never learn? Click here for one of the best researched articles on the subject: Severe Problems with “Bhagavan Kalki’s” Deeksha Oneness Movement
I have been accused of spending a great deal of time being against rather than for any cause. It probably appears this way simply because our Unity leadership seems to embrace everything but Unity. The issue I have is that by embracing the Soul of the Unity movement (a worthy cause in my opinion), which Fillmore referred to as “the Unity doctrine”, I find little in today’s Unity personality that reflects this Soul. This is not merely a judgment call. This is a documented fact.
Our leadership in both organizations sets the personality tone for our entire movement. When they personally endorse any spiritual approach, they are doing so as representatives of all of us in Unity. So someone at my church reads that a prominent figure in the Unity leadership endorses some other body of teachings (as the couple in the dance class who believed Unity was based on the teachings of Ken Wilber), they assume that I and all of Unity endorse it as well.
Why is Unity so disconnected with it own Soul? Why are we not as enthusiastic about our movement as the followers of Sri Amma Bhagavan or Ken Wilber or Judith Skutch apparently are about theirs? Unity stopped growing when this movement’s personality disconnected from its soul. It migrated from Christ to crisis, and the crisis continues to deepen. With our leadership still hard-selling everything but Unity, it is probably too late to salvage anything genuinely Unity under the “official” Unity brand. We have a leadership that takes its cues from the world through its senses, one that appears to be completely out of touch with anything resembling the Soul.
The saddest thing is that our teachings embody everything and more that our leadership flocks to in these other interests. But they apparently do not have the skills or the consciousness to translate our foundational teachings into a message for today that is relevant, exciting, and meaningful to a world still hungering for the Truth that sets people free. All indications are that they rely on the bandwagon’s of others to do that work for them and frankly, I find this a major embarrassment and a weakness that has brought us to this point of crisis that we suffer as a movement.
May 17, 2013
Imagine hiking down into a canyon so deep it takes hours to reach the bottom. Along the way you pick up rocks that, for their beauty or peculiar shape, fascinate you and you place them in your backpack. Once you reach the bottom of the canyon, you shed the backpack and rest before beginning the long trek out. The going is not quite so easy. The incline, the heat of the sun, and the extra weight of your newly acquired treasure trove of rocks make this once exciting exploring adventure a very difficult experience. The beauty of the canyon turns into a hellish inferno. Your goal which had been geared toward adventure now takes a very different turn–getting out of the canyon. You glance up at the rim with increased frequency, but it seems to get no closer. Discouraged and drenched by the heat, you peel off your rock-filled backpack, sit down, guzzle a bit of hot water, and consider the single most important question that now completely occupies your mind: How long is it going to take to get out of this canyon?
Sitting and resting will not get you to the rim, so you take another drink, pick up your backpack, which now seems heavier than ever, and you start to put it on. But you stop. Another question rises in your mind: How important are these rocks? You open the backpack and take a fresh look at the rocks. Somehow they’re not as pretty. You toss one, then another and another until you’re down to one small stone, a perfect memento for the hike. Your backpack now seems weightless and your hike out of the canyon is now so effortless that you again notice the beauty around you. You stop asking yourself how long it will take to get out. You linger. You enjoy your journey, and all because you experienced a shift in values.
To understand where we are in our Unity movement, think of the canyon floor as the typical, materially-driven consciousness that dominates our planet. Think of the rim as the experience of broader vistas offered through spiritual revelation. The Unity movement is the creation of people who, from the canyon’s floor, gazed up at the rim and wondered what was up there. They ventured out of the confines of the canyon and saw an entirely new world of possibilities. But they did something more. They returned to the canyon floor. On their way down they built a trail that would serve other canyon dwellers who also sensed that the views from the rim might offer a completely new and exciting perspective. They understood that each individual who decided to make the trek would begin with their backpack full of rocks whose value had been instilled in them by their fellow canyon dwellers. On their way up the trail, however, they also knew that each would reconsider the value of their cargo and would find it essential to begin unloading their burden, probably one rock at a time. They also knew that as they followed this Unity path to the rim, they would discover that the rim itself was not an end, but a beginning, a new way of thinking and living life free from the constraints of canyon walls. Life on earth as they knew it, would become something entirely different.
The Unity movement is now being led by canyon dwellers whose primary objective is to appeal to fellow canyon dwellers. These leaders have had our movement gather many rocks. These rocks, valued by canyon dwellers, hold their value only as long as we dwell on the canyon floor. As we cling to these rocks, the trek to the rim is of little interest. Because of where we have placed our values, the logical objective is to create bigger backpacks, all matching, that hold more rocks. To make sure everyone agrees, this leadership has made it an ethical violation against any who challenge their rock-gathering policies or who might suggest we start working toward repairing and rebuilding the trail back up to the rim. After years of neglect, the trail has become obscured with overgrowth and badly eroded.
The Unity leadership claims it wants to get to the rim. This is very interesting, because according to the philosophy of Unity’s founders, the only thing that keeps us in the canyon is our insistence on clinging to canyon-based values. We have a leadership that wants to be rich and powerful, make a name for itself within the canyon. They have completely ignored to irrelevance the trail blazed by our founders. The canyon dweller lives by one set of values, those who begin making the trek to the rim live by another. Yes, you can aspire to the rim with a pretty backpack full of interesting looking rocks, but you won’t get far. You will experience a pattern consisting of one false start after another, announce a series of big intentions that will manifest as failure after failure. With each newly announced venture, you have fewer and fewer followers. You’ll make no progress until you release your canyon-dwelling values, shed your rock-filled backpack, and actually start up the trail.
One canyon-dwelling man with a very beautiful and quite expensive backpack full of rocks approaches another man who has been to the rim and is telling people of the endless vistas, and how freeing and inspiring it is to be able to see so far. The man wearing the backpack full of rocks asks the man who has been to the rim what he needs to do to get there himself. The man says, “Take off your backpack full of rocks and follow that trail.” The canyon dweller laughs and says, “Are you kidding me? There’s no way I’m getting rid of these rocks. They are far too valuable.” He walks away. A woman, overhearing the conversation, approaches the man who has been to the rim, her eyes alive with wonder. “You mean all I have to do is get rid of this backpack full of rocks and follow that trail, and I can get to the rim?” The man smiles and says, “Yes, that’s all you have to do.” With that, the woman joyfully throws off her backpack and starts up the trail.
Independent Unity is committed to rebuilding the Unity trail that leads to the rim of the canyon. We’ll clear away the brush, fill in the ruts, make the trail a bit wider, and update the signage. Knowing the views offered by the rim, we engage in this labor of love with the same joy and commitment to service that was so freely given by our founders. We will not likely appeal to those who are content dwelling in the canyon. Nor will we appeal to those who seek to build a Utopian community of rim dwellers. Our highest service at this point in our history is to refurbish the trail so those who are ready to leave the canyon have a solid and well-marked path that provides a safe and deeply inspiring journey to the rim.
May 16, 2013
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25-26).
Many of the early Unity writers, including Charles Fillmore and Emilie Cady, refer to a time when the human species lived in perpetual conscious unity with God. Fillmore goes into great detail on this issue and uses the story of Adam and Eve being cast from the Garden of Eden and being clothed with animal skins as that period when human consciousness began manifesting through a physical body. In other words, we fell from a perpetual state of conscious unity with God to a state of survival and hardship. Our spiritual goal now is to return to the Garden, a conscious union with God.
Objective proof of this idea cannot be derived from the fossil record. Nor can it be corroborated with artifacts left in the wake of human development. A study of the evolution of human intelligence reveals a distinct upward trend in our ability to cope successfully with our environment, an increasingly complex development of tools and instrumentation that basically place us in control of our surroundings and set us at the top of the food chain. Where, in the fossil record or in the development of human intelligence do we see a fall?
Fillmore’s allegorical approach to the Garden of Eden story is, in many ways, spot on. The stretch for me is the idea that human consciousness dropped from total unity with God into the material realm as something at the sophistication level of an ape. Material-based science, of course, doesn’t see the human species as having dropped out of anything other than a very long linage of evolving ancestry that managed to slither out of the oceans. The weighing, measuring intellect of science is unable to read anything of theological significance into the story of the human race. It does, however, do an outstanding job in tracking the evolution of human intelligence. With a fair degree of accuracy, we can pinpoint the birth of human invention, art, religion, philosophy, and science. It is very easy to see why the development of the human race is tied totally with the development of the brain and, more specifically, the development of the human intellect.
But Jesus raises a puzzle when he suggests as an ideal model for peace of mind and prosperity the “birds of the air” who do not sow or reap or gather goods to assure their future. The average bird obviously ranks very low in terms of intellectual capacity, which may be why we refer to people whose intelligence we question as bird brains. And yet all the things Jesus says of the birds are true. If you observe any bird, you will see an animal that is perfectly adapted to survive and flourish in its environment. You will see an animal that is fully alive. You will see an animal that does not live for the future or regret the past, but one that is fully tuned into the now moment. Though the human being obviously possesses a superior capacity for intelligence, it is rare to find one living in the state of harmonious contentment seen even in your average bird.
I have come to believe that the reason we find no evidence of a fall from an Eden is because this fall occurred with the development of the human intellect. Through the intellect we have built perceptions of reality that are not in alignment with the all-sustaining Reality of which the birds and all living things are perpetually aware. They live in conscious union with this Reality because they have no choice. They have no choice because they do not possess an intellect that allows them to make choices, to invent versions of reality that do not work, and then spend their lives stressing out trying to force them to work.
For the human species, our Garden of Eden existed before the development of the intellect. It exists still. Prior to the development of the intellect we did not sow, reap, or gather into barns but we apparently prospered. Our heavenly Father fed us, and yet we, like the birds, “took no thought” about our existence. We simply lived as full a life as do the birds. In other words, our primary faculty was not our intellect; it was our intuitive nature which is our direct pipeline to the cosmic Intelligence that produces all of creation, including ourselves. As the intellectual nature grew in importance and interest, our intuitive nature was eclipsed, and our conscious union with our Creator/Sustainer compromised. How else can we explain the fact that we humans, who possess the highest capacity for intelligence, are, hands down, the unhappiest species on the planet?
Anthropologists mark the beginning of our interest in spiritual matters by artifacts they discover in conjunction with the development of human intelligence. They’ll point to Neanderthal burials, for example, as an indication that humans were beginning to think of life in a larger context than that of physical expression. Do the birds of the air think of such things? Have they developed religions, theories of what happens when they die, or do they apply theological constructs around ideas of sin and punishment, heaven and hell? There is no evidence that they do any of these things.
On the other hand, there is an abundance of evidence to support the idea that they live in a perpetual awareness of their spiritual source, an awareness that manifests as the harmonious expression of life that we witness with even the most casual observation. The beginnings that anthropologists discover in artifacts are not the beginnings of our interest in spiritual matters; these represent the beginnings of our intellectual projections of spiritual concepts that we have always known intuitively.
The trail of artifacts left in the wake of the developing human intellect do not represent our deepest understanding of Reality; they represent our perceptions of reality, our struggle to articulate that which cannot be put into words or form. The spiritual journey depicted in the writings of Unity’s pioneers is not anti-intellectual but pro-intuitive. The intuitive approach connects with that force that sustains and prospers the birds of the air, that sustained and prospered the pre-intellectually advanced human species, and that same force that is just as available to us today as it has ever been. It is this connection that feeds the intellect its most accurate, Reality-derived information.
When Jesus reminded his listeners, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God‘” (Jn. 6:45), he was not diminishing the intellect. He was pointing to the highest purpose of the intellect. The atheist is correct when they say it is not possible to find a God whose feet we can sit at and learn. To be taught by God is to again become aware of our intuitive connection with God, a connection that has never been diminished regardless of how far afield our intellectual wanderings have taken us. When the intellect, that aspect of our being that distinguishes us from the birds of the air, is taught by God through the avenue of the intuition, then our life begins once again to reflect the cosmic harmony and abundance we instinctively know is ours. The intellect has become like a very powerful telescope pointed to the ground rather than to the heavens.
It is my belief that Unity’s primary problem as a movement is that we have shifted from an intuitive to an intellectual focus. Our whole accreditation process is based on the intellectual standards of academia which, as a rule, have little use for the mystical layer of wisdom. By this very standard of academic achievement, we develop a fixation on brain science, the weighing, measuring methods of “learning”, and we wander further and further from the genuine model of success naturally demonstrated by the simplest of creatures. A Unity lost in the maze of academia is the salt that has lost its saltiness, which explains why we, as a movement, are currently being trampled beneath the feet of the world in desperate need of learning the simple Truth that even the birds have never forgotten. In our rush to catch up with the standards set by the world, we are leaving behind our greatest gift to the world.
By adopting the intellectually born inventions of systems like Spiral Dynamics, Unity has steered way off course. Here the development of the human race is fixed on a predefined linear time scale, passing through fabrications of time called memes, where our behavior is dictated by the intellectually constructed perception of human evolution moving, not by the inspiration of God, but by the tick of the theoretical clock set to the liking of its inventor. The accumulation of academic credentials is often little more than an intellectual pissing contest (pardon the base analogy). We’ve all met our share of certifiable morons who have also managed to acquire a PhD.
I’m not downplaying our need for continued and improved education. I’m saying we, as a movement, have downplayed if not abandoned altogether the primary ingredient in our educational process. When our academic standards return to the intuitional base embraced by our pioneers, we will once again come in line with our true niche that will lift the intellect into its highest function, point it to the heavens, and move with the thrilling possibilities that arise for a movement ready once again to not only be taught by God, but led by God as well.
May 15, 2013
It is obvious that we all have an intellect and it is obvious that we all use it. In a Truth-based discussion that asserts must hold the reins of the intellect does not usually go so well with those, like EJ Niles, who hold that “intellectual understanding is the gift of Spirit, one that must not be neglected.”
Intellectual understanding is not, in fact, the gift of Spirit. There are many who possess a great deal of intellectual understanding whose use of this understanding inflicted death and great suffering on many people. The masterminds behind meticulously planned and executed acts of terror, for example, often require enormous intellectual understanding at a multitude of levels. To say that intellectual understanding is a gift of Spirit must be qualified. EJ, of course, believes the intellects of the creators of Spiral Dynamics are gifts of the Spirit. Others see the application of the intellect in this fashion as nothing short of diabolical.
Where the intellect gets its information and how that information is applied is a gift, not of the Spirit, but of the one applying it. The intellect, as a processing faculty, is as close as we come to a gift of the Spirit. The intellect can be full of erroneous information that can justify crime, or it can be filled with information that bless the world in many ways.
Unity has never placed the intellect at center stage of importance for a very good reason. John the Baptist, you recall, has come to represent the illumined intellect, which basically means an intellect filled with ideas that are compatible with the nature of ultimate Reality. The illumined intellect is not experiential, it is analytical. Having an intellect filled with ideas about God is not the same thing as experiencing God first-hand. As I’ve pointed out in the past, this is the difference between looking at a beautiful photograph of a mountain as opposed to actually standing on a mountain. Regardless of how good a photo it is, it will never compare to the experience of standing on the mountain.
The content of the intellect is not the gift of the Spirit because this content can be derived from a variety of sources, some unreliable, some downright false. The gift of Spirit is not the faculty of the intellect but of what Spirit itself directly imparts to the intellect. To experience a direct impartation of Spirit requires a faculty much more sensitive than the intellect. This faculty is the one we refer to as intuition.
For many, the word intuition holds psychic implications, or even the more common hunch that something may be true or false. I’ve always believed that we learn more about people by how we feel when we are around them than by what they tell us. They can look us in the eye and say with a very straight face one thing, yet something about their story just doesn’t add up. We later discover that our uneasiness was correct, that they were, in fact, not telling us the truth.
Unity’s approach to intuition goes far beyond this. Actually Unity can hold no special claim to this approach at all, for the mystic tradition that predates recorded history was aware of the power to intuitively perceive Reality. To do so, however, requires a level of discipline that few over-active intellects are willing to undergo. The intellect that gauges knowledge by the number of facts it retains sees very little value in setting aside these facts for a time and allowing the intuitive nature to open and funnel information of a different sort. This different sort of information, which we know as spiritual understanding imparted by direct experience, is seen as irrelevant, folly, to the busy intellect. This intellect is taken more by what others think about Reality than what Reality actually is. They would rather read a thousand books about Reality than sit for 30 minutes with Reality itself.
The example has been used of one who gathers much knowledge about peaches from books and from growers, but really know nothing until they take their first bite of the fruit itself. A world of information suddenly enters the intellect, not through the normal channels of eyes and ears, but through the unexpected avenue of the mouth. Potentially, more is learned in a single bite than in years of study about peaches.
No one can deny that our global condition has changed and no one can deny that change is happening in multiples, often through the course of a few days rather than decades. What has not changed is the fact that our intuitive faculty is the single faculty in our possession that gives us direct access to this thing we call God. God is not found in books. God is not found in discussions with holy people, God is not even found when you get your photo taken with the Dali Lama (though many seem to think this is the case). God is experienced through the intuition. It is the role of the intuition then to feed the intellect this direct imparting, not of ideas about God, but with God itself. The intellect is then influenced by this direct imparting of the Divine Life that is the Source of all being.
It is this direct impartation of Spirit that causes a man like Jesus to display first-hand knowledge of God. The intellectuals around him could not understand where he got his information. The only explanation that fit their model of learning was that he was simply a blasphemer, a simple man making extraordinary claims of his oneness with God. His accusers were well versed in scripture. Their intellectual understanding was filled to the brim with information about God. But at no time did it occur to them that there might be a higher gift of Spirit than that of intellectual understanding. They had intellectual understanding, but it did not encompass the notion of intuitive genius that stood before them.
This is the trap that our friends like EJ Niles have obviously fallen into. Intellectual understanding becomes the highest achievement of humanity. The chances are good that this worship of the intellect is based on the commonly accepted notion of much of the scientific community that all we consider the essence of the human, consciousness, is nothing more than a product of the brain. The death of the body means the end of the individual. With the soul being a biologically-based phenomenon, there is no need for a Creator. Is it possible that some who have been training our ministers are actually atheists? Possible, yes, and with Spiral Dynamics now deeply couched in the Unity seminary culture, quite probable.
There need be no tug-of-war between the intellect and intuition. Intuition will be of little use to the one who places the highest value on the accumulation of facts and ideas. The intuitive will have an equally active intellect, but it will be an intellect that actually benefits from the true gift of Spirit.
May 14, 2013
Everyone knows that members of the pop-unity monoculture do not argue, but until now most of us have not really had a clear understanding of why. The reason is that this monoculture, true to its name, has adopted a surefire method of not only winning arguments, but making sure that there is no credible opposition to the stand it has taken. The stand taken is, of course, represented by the theory of Spiral Dynamics (SD).
The surefire method it employs for winning its argument is to marginalize and discredit those who disagree, even before they utter a word. This technique is underscored by the the affirmation that no one and no thing is against me. This line, to be truly supportive of the argument-winning-formula, needs to be translated in the way it is intended to apply:
No one and no thing, that in my judgment has any credibility, is against me.
An important aspect of developing a system that supports this type of monocultural thinking is to ask ahead of time all the questions that will be raised by those you know will object to it. One of the first things the elitist monoculture does is to preempt anticipated objections by formulating responses to these objections. The SD Wizards started by defining the type of person that would object, and they have designated this type as a conventional. In the “conventional” understanding of our language, this word would not normally be considered derogatory. In SD lingo, however, the conventional is deemed unhealthy and is doomed to extinction by clinging to a dying way of thinking. Of course the dying way of thinking is every kind of thinking not approved by the SD Wizards who are running their drones. The SD standard of political correctness allows for the conventional label simply because anyone who might oppose it is, well, irrelevant. They don’t count. Like the Neanderthal, the conventional is on the road to extinction, so just leave them be and evolution will take its course. The elitist who argues with a conventional is, in essence, talking to a shadow.
Starting right at the top with the objector, the next problem, now easily solved, involves that old them and us syndrome. To the elitist, there is no them and us. Why? Because there is only us. The reason for this is that those conventionals who might be classified as them are now neutralized, or marginalized to the point of absolute irrelevance, a dying breed who cannot possibly contribute to the required cutting-edge thinking introduced by the elites in charge of the obviously superior us monoculture.
So the elitist argument is won with a preemptive strike against the conventional and all the conventional values held by this soon-to-be-extinct creature.
So why am I talking about this? Because everything that Unity stands for is under attack. The SD Wizards want us to believe this is not possible, but it is happening right before our eyes. These elitists are dismantling Unity from the inside out, a silent cancer that has been growing within the Unity body for years. We noticed the slight pains and we have noticed the marked reduction of energy in our movement, but until now, we did not know the cause. Now we do.
Knowing the cause, we can focus on an effective treatment. In Charles Fillmore’s Divine Remedies, he writes:
“The healing of cancers and tumors call for a cleansing of the blood and a harmonizing of the consciousness as well as a dissolving of the manifest condition. Divine love is a necessary factor in eliminating the errors that cause these inharmonies. Use a prayer like the following:
My blood is vitalized and purified, enriched and harmonized through the loving, living presence of the life of God, which is active throughout my being. I am regenerated, renewed, and restored to wholeness in the name and through the power of Jesus Christ.
He adds, “Speak words like the following directly to the seeming inharmony:
Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up. Divine love in me is a consuming fire, utterly destroying you, because God did not make you, and it is not His will that you find place in my system. There is nothing in me to nourish a false growth. All error is now dissolved from my consciousness through divine love, and I am established in the harmony, order, and wholeness of Spirit.
The all-powerful Christ Mind in me now dissolves and dissipates every adverse thought and its resultant condition. My body is the pure, holy, and harmonious temple of the living God, and divine order reigns throughout. I am filled with joy and thanksgiving, peace and love.
He says, “The forgoing thought can be used effectively to heal false growths or swellings of any kind.” So I assume this includes the false growth and swellings produced by Unity’s current infection.
Arguing for the life and the body of Unity is one argument I am willing to engage in.
May 14, 2013
I am often asked if I would recommend Unity Institute as a legitimate path to Unity Ordination. At one point I would have given an unqualified “yes” to this question. The more I learn about Spiral Dynamics and the major role this theory seems to be taking in Unity’s ministerial education, the more I consider UI’s approach to equipping people with the consciousness needed to carry on a solid, Truth-based ministry as sub-standard. As it stands now, and it saddens me to say, that Independent Unity would not ordain as an Independent Unity Minister a person credentialed by this training program.
Currently, a seminary that meets the kinds of standards that Independent Unity will recognize is modeled in the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary. If you are considering a career in the New Thought ministry, the education presented here is well worth investigating.
You’ll see that Rev. Dr. Mary Tumpkin writes the intro to the Colemon Seminary page. I have had the privilege of speaking in Dr. Mary’s church and I can tell you that the very consciousness of her people is alive with Truth. Lessons are taught even when no words are spoken. This is the kind of energy that the soul responds to. This is the kind of energy upon which Independent Unity is being built.
It is my hope that as Independent Unity unfolds, we will offer the type of ministerial training that maintains the high standards of Truth embodied in the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary.
The knowledge of greatest importance to the seeker of Truth is not in what someone else is teaching, or in what someone else has taught or written, or in what any religious system is teaching; it is in what the Spirit of truth within the individual reveals to that individual. The inspiration of Truth within each person is the only source from which real understanding can come. No one really knows the things of God except the inner Spirit of God reveal them. It is well for each leader to realize the importance of this fact, for only in this realization is each individual placed upon their own sure foundation. –Charles Fillmore
According to an article written by Rev. EJ Niles, former faculty member of Unity Institute and director of Spiral Pathways, an alternative ministry, Charles Fillmore’s thinking is unhealthy. What transpires within the individual is considered of much less value than what is transpiring in the group. To become healthy, one must conform to group thinking, and to forces that drive group thinking. “The healthy forms,” according to Rev. Niles, “all contribute to maintaining the integrity of an organization and assuring its upward movement.” And again, “The Spiral is a perfect symbol, seen in galaxies and everywhere in nature. It is a useful model in the exploration of how consciousness evolves in individuals, and is especially useful in exploring evolution within organizations.” It always helps to invoke the patterns of Nature to bolster one’s theories.
In the process of human evolution, Spiral Dynamics sees a movement through tiers and Niles operates under the assumption that, “society as a whole is experiencing a movement in the second tier.” In Part 1, I cited this observation made in Wikipedia:
” … one of the characteristics of “tier two” individuals, also called “Spiral Wizards”, is their ability to make superior decisions for all parties concerned …”
So the promoters of Spiral Dynamics within Unity have taken it upon themselves to determine for our movement, what is healthy thinking and what is unhealthy thinking. It should come as no surprise that everything represented by Independent Unity is seen as “unhealthy.” As Unity, guided by its self proclaimed “Spiral Wizards” marches into the new tier, “the unhealthy aspects of all previous levels also begin emerging.” And this happens, according to Niles, as a result of a “fear of change.”
Labeling those who disagree with you as fearful of change has been a favored technique of our Unity Spiral Wizards for quite some time. Many credentialed leaders who were brought under review by the failed CLMRS process criticized reviewees for defending themselves against false accusations. They were supposed to adopt the thinking of Unity’s Spiral guru who continues to claim that no one or no thing is against me. I find it a bit of a contradiction that this particular guru holds a fourth degree black belt in the art of self defense. I can’t help but wonder, if no one or no thing is against you, why do you feel compelled to lethally weaponize your feet?
Niles goes on to explain that, “Individuals and organizations evolve by including and holding to values and beliefs that continue to serve and leaving behind or transcending those that no longer serve.” It is up to the Spiral Wizards, of course, to decide which of these values serve and which no longer serve. They have decided that, “the inspiration of Truth within each person is the only source from which real understanding can come” no longer serves us. The reason that it no longer serves is because it develops the individual who may actually start thinking for themselves, and this is very bad for the group as a whole who is busy moving into their second tier. “Tensions arise,” according to Niles because certain individuals fear “losing what served so well at previous levels of consciousness.”
Niles explains one aspect of what she means by the word “healthy.”
Recognition of a strong sense of identity within an organization is a healthy aspect of red, a high priority in Unity. In unhealthy red, the fear is the loss of that identity resulting in confusion and discontent. It shows up in the “us vs. them” mentality, triangulation, and backbiting, common in organizations seeking to evolve and transform.
So the group mind is now healthy in Unity, while focus on individual enlightenment is based on the unhealthy “fear of loss.” The unhealthy ones are the confused and unhappy people within Unity. We’re accused of having adopted an “us vs. them” mentality. The facts, of course, tell a very different story. It is the Spiral Wizard’s adoption of this theory that has created the “them and us” mentality. But it’s worse than that. The “us” that follow the Spiral Wizardry are healthy and the “them” that do not agree with and go along with “us” are unhealthy.
There is a color coding to all of this, with various colors representing different things. Niles’ take on the current status of Unity is interesting:
In organizations, the blue brings structure, order, and respect for tradition. Unity’s teachings about principle come from blue. Unhealthy blue appears as attempts to enforce “the one and only right way.” All religious organizations have feared the abandonment of traditions. All have undergone periods of time when they resisted healthy change to traditions and teachings. Unity is no exception.
Here we have the “fear” word invoked once again. The Spiral Wizards are obviously the healthy blue and those who disagree with them are the unhealthy blue. Isn’t it interesting, however, that this model makes such judgments? It does so because of the very thing it is preaching against. It accepts as “the one and only right way” this theory of consciousness evolution, and everything that disagrees with the theory as inferior and unhealthy. It also makes the judgment that anyone who dares challenge this theory is doing so based on their fear of abandonment of traditions.
I can personally vouch for myself when I say that I do not resist this theory because I fear the abandonment of tradition; I resist it because Spiral Dynamics abandons the primary principle upon which Unity is based: “The inspiration of Truth within each person is the only source from which real understanding can come. No one really knows the things of God except the inner Spirit of God reveal them.”
One of Niles’ most direct attacks on this principle is found in her defending her introducing the SD theory as “the one and only right way” into our ministerial indoctrination program:
Advances in ministerial education seem threatening to traditional educational practices. Emilie Cady’s “stop reading many books” is recalled.
There is a very distinct reason for Cady’s saying this. Her focus was on the spiritual awakening of the individual, which requires the development of the intuitional nature rather than the accumulation of more facts from more minds. Cady’s advice echos Fillmore’s approach mentioned above:
The knowledge of greatest importance to the seeker of Truth is not in what someone else is teaching, or in what someone else has taught or written, or in what any religious system is teaching; it is in what the Spirit of truth within the individual reveals to that individual.
Niles’, of course, manages to marginalize intuitive learning by simply passing it off as, “operating from the heart.” She is equating it with being driven by emotion, which indeed is the very problem that has thrown the Unity doors open wide to theories like Spiral Dynamics. Niles writes:
Operating from the heart must be acknowledged. However, intellectual understanding is the gift of Spirit, one that must not be neglected.
This theory stands in complete opposition to Cady’s obviously unhealthy, outdated understanding that,
Intuition and intellect are meant to travel together, intuition always holding the reins to guide intellect.
So, according to EJ Niles, we are to worship at the altar of intellectualism, ignore the practice of meditation, give in to our herding instincts, and, most importantly, pass off as tier 1 archaic thinking the entire basis upon which the Unity movement was founded. This basis, according to Niles’ extraordinarily patronizing characterization, is Unity’s “shadow.” She summarizes her article with this “vision” for “… the blending and harmonizing of a strong collective of individuals.” There’s that group thing again.
Because the theory of Spiral Dynamics anticipates resistance, it brands all forms of disagreement as “unhealthy” manifestations of the “shadow”, the “them” of the “them and us” mentality that is so well articulated in this pop-unity approach to intellectual rather than spiritual development.
In a nutshell, this is the paradigm shift that has occurred in Unity. In any other venue, this would be known as a hijacking.
May 14, 2013
“The mysteries of the supermind have always been considered the property of certain schools of occultists and mystics who were cautious about giving their truths to the masses for fear that in their ignorance these might misuse them.” –Charles Fillmore
These words of Fillmore’s could easily have been written with today’s pop-unity culture in mind. This culture, emerging under the influence of Ken Wilber and Don Beck’s version of Spiral Dynamics, represents a significant paradigm shift within the Unity movement. [Note: I refer to the "Don Beck" version of Spiral Dynamics because the co-author of this system of thought, Chris Cowan, "has publicly dissociated himself from the ideas that are currently being promoted by his ex-partner Beck in conjunction with Ken Wilber" (Wikipedia)].
Pop-unity represents a move from Unity’s traditional, intuitive fueled paradigm of oneness to an intellectually fueled paradigm of separation. The traditional approach to Unity advocates drawing inspiration intuitively, from within. The pop-unity approach advocates drawing inspiration from a complexity of intellectual stimulants and from community building. Traditional Unity advocates the guideline laid out by Emilie Cady, that ”Intuition and intellect are meant to travel together, intuition always holding the reins to guide intellect” while pop-unity clearly places the intellect in the driver’s seat.
One of the criticisms leveled at the Beck/Wilber version of the Spiral Dynamics and adopted by the pop-unity culture is worth quoting here [bold emphasis is mine] because it explains much in the way of changes we have seen, both in UWM and Unity School:
Critics point out that the model’s implications are political as well as developmental and that while the terminology of the theory is self-consciously inclusive, the practical implications of the model can be seen as socially elitist and authoritarian. In his work on the subject, Beck emphasizes that one of the characteristics of “tier two” individuals, also called “Spiral Wizards”, is their ability to make superior decisions for all parties concerned and to manufacture consent for their approaches at lower levels using resonant terms and ideas. In addition to outlining an underlying developmental theory, Spiral Dynamics gives explicit suggestions to these “Wizards” for both consensual and non-consensual management of “lower-tier” individuals.
We’ve certainly seen our share of these attitudes from the UWM leadership. With the head-tax blow-back, they are still wiping some of that manufactured consent off their faces. They obviously still need a little practice with “non-consensual management” of their subjects. And the prime driving force behind their CLMRS fiasco, also still dripping from their faces, was the leadership’s belief in its ability to make superior decisions for all parties concerned. It’s one thing to appear to be “self-consciously inclusive”, but it is very difficult to hide your wannabe, elitist and authoritarian consciousness. This strain of elitist is noted for its special talent for securing positions of authority. The problem is, once they secure these positions, they rarely know what to do with them. This is why they are so easy to spot. They are always having to wipe some form of manufactured consent off their faces. It’s true their boots are made for walking, but boots don’t walk on their own. It takes this special strain of elitist to keep stepping in the same old doo-doo.
The pop-unity culture has taken Fillmore’s “supermind” and turned it into something of their own creation, their own property. You have to purchase your way into it. And it does take a special pair of boots–think hip boots. Even the church model they have constructed on this basis requires specialists, contracted advisers to dispense their “truths” and ensure that the ignorant masses do not misuse them, and the cash gets properly funneled.
That Unity Institute is no longer training Unity Ministers but Spiral Wizards is evidenced in the division we are seeing in our movement today. Boards of Unity churches/centers who are seeking to hire a Unity minister need to understand which paradigm the minister they want to hire represents. You may be expecting the traditional paradigm of oneness but end up with a pop-unity minister steeped in the paradigm of separation. This unacknowledged difference has been a source of much consternation. Also, a traditional Unity minister who is hired by a pop-unity ministry will face the same kinds of problems.
This distinction is found at the ministerial level but its more prominent expression is found in Unity Magazine, which has become the official voice and face of the pop-unity culture. The March/April 2013 issue with the theme, Rethinking our Beliefs, is a great example. Editor Toni Lapp, who appears to have no Unity background, quotes Fillmore, but in a way that justifies pop-unity rather than lends credibility to the transformation: “I reserve the right to change my mind.” If this approach were honest, it would tweak Fillmore’s famous words to convey the true intention of these folks: I reserve the right to change your mind. That is, I reserve the right to change the minds of all those “lower-tier” individuals who are too ignorant to think for themselves. By the way, for an example of a slobbering love affair with Ken Wilber, read The Three Faces of God in this issue. You won’t read anything new, of course, but you will see an example of how the pop-unity culture exercises its “ability to make superior decisions for all parties concerned”.
Here is the important fact that we all need to get our minds around. Unity has experienced a paradigm shift, or, as they like to call it, a cultural shift. It has shifted from an inner-orientation to an outer-orientation. The outer-oriented pop-unity set controls the media and it controls the education. True to its Spiral Dynamics base, the pop-unity culture sees the Unity of our founders as a dead era, transcended by their cutting edge approach to “the new Reality” as some will call it. Of course we know that Reality does not change, that perceptions of Reality change, and this pop-unity cultural change has taken a very distinct academically, intellectually driven turn.
I am encouraged by those expressing concern for the pop-unity trend and are deeply interested in the efforts of Independent Unity to maintain the standards of spiritual principles Unity was founded upon. I’ve said before and I’ll say again, Independent Unity is not about looking backward; it’s about looking within. Charles Fillmore was not talking about the pop-unity culture when he wrote:
“… a revolution of even greater worth is taking place in the mental and spiritual worlds. A large and growing school of metaphysicians has made its advent in this generation, and it is radically changing the public mind toward religion. In other words, we are developing spiritual understanding, and this means that religion and its sources in tradition and in man are being inquired into and its principles applied in the development of a new cosmic mind for the whole human family.
That “growing school of metaphysicians” was the stream of thought Fillmore inhabited, the stream that produced Unity and will continue through Independent Unity. The kingdom of God does not come through cultural changes or because some new intellectual says it does. The kingdom of God is within every person–eternally unchanging–and this is where all our teachings will continue to point.
May 13, 2013
The highest service is to help another obtain a clearer realization that the working power of God is in every person. –Charles Fillmore
It has always been my understanding that the most important contribution I can make to the world is to do something that will help people experience their oneness with God. This is why I entered the ministry. I did not enter the Unity ministry specifically because I read Fillmore’s words, or something else in the writings of our founders prompted me to follow this path. I entered the ministry because my own meditative practice put forth in Cady’s book, Lessons in Truth, introduced me to a first-hand experience with God. From that moment, I understood that God is not a theory but a very real presence that is accessible to everyone, and I understood that there was no higher attainment than that which constitutes a first-hand experience with God.
This understanding has provided the perpetual beacon for my thinking of the Unity movement and for the way I think of the individual ministry I conduct. A few days ago I received a call from a man looking for a venue through which he could present his “beyond 2012″ message, explaining “material evidence” of how certain prophesies had been fulfilled and how the human race was now poised to experience enlightenment on a massive scale. “Unity” he assured me, “is the perfect place for this message.” I thanked him and politely disagreed. “It’s probably true,” I said, “that many Unity churches would welcome your message, but what you are describing is not something we would be interested in this Unity ministry.” He was sure there must be some misunderstanding and he persisted. “This is all about unity he insisted. People need to come together and hear this message.” Translation: I need your audience so I can sell my wares. “I don’t think so,” I said, “but thank you for thinking of us.” There was a tone of sarcasm in his voice when he added, “Well, good luck with your Unity.”
My Unity, of course, is not about luck. Nor is it about the fulfillment of prophecy, or harmonic convergences, or even the transformation of consciousness that will surely lead to a global utopia. For me, all of these things fall into the category of “ways” the writer of Proverbs was referring to:
“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
I have come to know that each individual lives and moves and has their being in the Creative Life Force that we have named God. This force is the very source of all life, all love, all intelligence, and all power. There is no greater action that can be performed by an individual than the action of opening their mind to God, to let this Presence into their consciousness as the cornerstone of their self-definition and as the head-water of their thought stream that issues forth into the world. There is no higher service that a single human being can perform than that of having a first-hand experience with God. The second highest service is to assist others in doing the same.
This is not to say that everyone should become a Unity minister. The Unity ministry is there for people in all walks of life. They bring their spiritually awakening consciousness to the life they are leading. We, as spiritually educational institutions, become a haven of inspiration and encouragement to those rare individuals who are beginning to hear the inner voice above the din of the thousands of outer voices that drive the world and seem so “right to a man”.
The ministerial selection process that I envision for Independent Unity is one that chooses its students based solely on the fact that they have grasped that being a Unity minister is the most important contribution they can make to the world and why this is true. This understanding is far and away more important than having a string of credentials behind their name.
… and coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this? (Matthew 13:54-56).
This understanding of ministry is far more important than having years of corporate experience and they have merely reached a point in their life where they are ready for a career change, hopefully with all the perks and benefits they enjoyed in the corporate environment. We seem to have our share of career seekers in our ministerial ranks.
The Unity ministry is not just another career. It is a thing that you do, as James Dillet Freeman used to say, because you have reached a point where you can’t do anything else. By this he meant that you have come to realize that the service you render through the Unity ministry is the very highest thing on this planet that you can do. Who would think of Jesus as one who woke up one morning and said, “This carpentry work is going nowhere. I think I’ll become a spiritual teacher.” Jesus, like all great spiritual teachers, did not embark upon a new career; he embarked upon a way of life, a way of experiencing God that set him apart in his unquenchable desire to serve others. He was in a place in consciousness that people on the spiritual path recognized. They too wanted to learn more about moving into that same kind of place. His ministry was all about living from his conscious unity with God and assisting others in doing the same. His was the ultimate ministry of service.
For an organization like Unity to be successful, its leadership must have the understanding that “the highest service is to help another obtain a clearer realization that the working power of God is in every person.” This service is not rendered by merely publishing spiritual material, running schools, heading church movements, or by shrewdly manipulating one’s self into positions of authority within such organizations. This service is rendered first by a leader who is driven by their own first-hand experience with God, which fuels their drive to serve and support others on this quest. Our leaders in Unity are no longer individuals who understand this priority. They are people who think they can insulate their motives and their primary interests of self service by hiding within the fortress walls of the corporation. It is clear on all fronts, however, that we no longer have the spiritual purity of a Charles Fillmore type at the head of either organization.
“How can you know this?” someone will object. “You don’t even know these people.” As a musician, I know instantly the difference between a natural musician and one who has merely learned how to play notes. Our corporation is led by people who have learned to play the notes, but they are not producing that natural music that once pulsated at the heart of Unity. As Fillmore stated:
Whatever you produce in life can be sustained only as you continue the methods by which the thing was produced, and a permanent work can be built only by following principle. When a work is built upon the ideas of one individual, the institution never outgrows those ideas. When the ideas have run their course the institution naturally falls with the decline of the ideas. On the other hand, when an organization is built upon some great underlying principles, the institution will endure as long as these principles are adhered to.
Charles Fillmore did not build Unity on the basis of his personality; he built it on the great underlying principle of spiritual service, the “spirit of Truth” as he called it. For him this service began in the silence of his own being and it radiated out as the Unity movement. If this radiation is to continue, then it is critical that its leadership is populated with people who understand that the “highest service is to help another obtain a clearer realization that the working power of God is in every person.”
May 12, 2013
You may wish to laugh at this, but this is what the UWM board is counting on by tabling the head tax:
Stockholm syndrome, or capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.
Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”
One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they no longer become a threat.
Unity ministers love to believe that they can simply pray something away. If there is not significant action behind the prayer, nothing changes.
You just need to understand that the people that brought this on, and yes, they are people, are still in place. You don’t pray them out; you have to throw them out. I hope you are all aware of this. If you put your hand to the plow, you can’t look back.