I recently attended (by Skype) a six-week study class led by Kimerie Mapletoft at Unity UK on Ellen Debenport’s book, ‘The Five Principles’.
Subtitled ‘A Guide to Practical Spirituality’, the book suggests answers to some of the great questions of existence which have occupied human minds for millennia.
The Five Principles in this form have been used for teaching in the Unity movement, which, while based in Christianity, has always used ideas from many religions and emphasizes those which are common to all. Ideas from modern spiritual teachers can often be recognized in Unity teaching and publications.
Spiritual principles are presented in the book as being similar to physical principles in being unchanging and universally applicable. Like gravity, they apply whether you believe or not. You are not ‘punished’ by gravity for ignoring it and jumping off a cliff but working with it and other physical principles has led to gliders, powered flight, and journeys into space.
A brief outline of my take on each of the five principles follows. If the word ‘God’ produces resistance feel free to substitute ‘All That Is’, ‘Ultimate Reality’, ‘The Presence’, or whatever has most meaning for you.
- God Is All. God is all there is. All that we have, all that we are, is God, and we can never be separated from God – ‘in him we live, and move, and have our being’ (Acts 17: 28).
- You Are God. We are God expressing in human form. We cannot be separated from God. ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1: 27).
- Co-creating With God. We are made in the image and likeness of God, the Creator. We create our experience by our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. The Law of Attraction.
- Communion With God. If we create our own reality where does prayer come in? In affirmative prayer we are recognizing that whatever we ask for in prayer is ours already. It is important to talk and think only about what we want, not about what we don’t want. This applies just as much when praying for others, with the added complication that we must not presume that we know what is best for them. Specific prayer can be helpful but always with the thought and intention that the outcome should be for the highest good of all involved.
- Expressing God. Knowing and understanding the principles are not enough, we must live them, and yet, since the principles apply to everyone all the time, we cannot not live them. Living the truth is more about being than doing. To bring peace to the world, be peaceful. How do we know the truth? Peace always makes you feel lighter. If campaigning, work for what you believe in, not against what you don’t want. ‘What you resist, persists.’
Some of the above may induce the response, ‘Yes, But’, and indeed each chapter has a section introduced with these words. Each chapter ends with a brief meditation based on the corresponding Principle.
Kimerie had produced a number of questions on each chapter as a basis for our discussion, and both the questions and the discussion were a great help in stimulating our minds to a deeper understanding of the principles.