Unity would say that you have twelve powers which are ever active within you. Of themselves, these twelve powers are really quite benign. You are free to use your powers to great light or to great shadow, for collective evolution or for collective stagnation, toward that which unites and harmonizes or toward that which separates and weaponizes.
The powers themselves don’t care how you use them. They are not predisposed in any fashion whatsoever.
And pressed to its ends, this is really quite an uncomfortable proposition for many. It’s uncomfortable because, instead of celebrating God in moments of great light and blaming Satan in moments of deep shadow, instead of lauding God for moments of evolution and charging Satan with moments of stagnation, instead of praising God in that which unites and harmonizes and cursing Satan in that which separates and weaponizes, we come to an understanding in which we live in the infinite, indivisible potentiality that is God and that our moments of light and shadow, stagnation and evolution, unity and separation aren’t so much products of cosmic forces as they are products of human choices.
The great gift of the universe isn’t light, evolution and unity, it’s choice. And what exists at the point of choice? You do. We do.
Unity would say that you have twelve powers which are ever active within you. Now, each of these powers is thought to have a seat, if you will, in a physical location within the body, and there’s a power that’s thought to have its seat in the third eye area which is your spiritual power of imagination. Your spiritual power of imagination is exactly what you think it is. It’s not esoteric or mystical at all. Your spiritual power of imagination is your ability to envision that which doesn’t yet exist in the world of form.
It’s a power that is immensely creative. And it makes sense when you think about it. When we envision that which doesn’t yet exist in the world of form, inject something of our spiritual power of faith into that envisioning and enact those spiritual powers which sequence and choose and endure, we have charted something of a creative course, don’t you think?
We envision that which doesn’t yet exist, we foster belief in that envisioning, we say “yes” to some choices, we say “no” to some choices, and we stay the course and that’s how we create.
And if you can accept this as a working model, let us become willing to ask ourselves, how am I really using my spiritual power of imagination today?
My power of imagination doesn’t care how I’m using it, and I truly stand at a point of power with every choice, so how am I really using my spiritual power of imagination today? Am I using my power of imagination to great light or to great shadow, for collective evolution or for collective stagnation, toward that which unites and harmonizes or toward that which separates and weaponizes?
Do I spend more time imagining the problem or do I spend more time imagining the solution?
It’s a point of fascination for me that to use our power of imagination to great light, for collective evolution or toward that which unites and harmonizes is so frequently shunned by society. I’m following a political bid in which the candidate has highlighted the appropriateness of compassion, humanity and integrity in our political conversations. This candidate has suggested that there is a moral compass within humanity that transcends religion and race and geography and status and party and that it’s fitting (necessary, even) to ever preserve a place for this moral compass at the political table.
This candidate has suggested that we’re not there yet, and I like to think that disagreement would be tough to find. Do we still have work to do in accelerating compassion, humanity and integrity in our individual and collective lives? I think so.
And the response has been to characterize this candidate as airy-fairy, Polly-Anna-ish, a hippy of sorts, lacking in the gritty reality required of a dog-eat-dog world.
It’s a point of fascination for me that to use our power of imagination to great light, for collective evolution or toward that which unites and harmonizes, is so frequently shunned by society. It’s a point of fascination for me that to shoot high gets laughs and to shoot low gets applause. We’ve become cynical, you see. We’ve become more comfortable with the mediocrity of our lowest expectations than with the discomfort of our highest dreams. So, when we ask, how am I really using my spiritual power of imagination today, understand that to use it for those highest of dreams is to counter the race consciousness of that cynical society.
It takes courage to use your power of imagination for great light when you’re immersed in shadow. It takes courage to use your power of imagination for collective evolution when you’re surrounded by stagnation. It takes courage to use your power of imagination for unity when you’re surrounded by separation.
But that’s how change comes. It comes through courageous spiritual practice.
One root of our Unity movement was established by the work of Co-Founder Myrtle Fillmore who was given a diagnosis. I like to think she was inadvertently asked how she would use her power of imagination in that moment.
And, to be brief, it’s quite clear that she chose the courageous spiritual practice of imagining a possibility beyond that which the doctor gave. And as we may or may not know, the very start of the Unity movement rose from her remarkable return to health and from her ultimate longevity. And the very start of the Unity movement rose from her willingness to teach others do the same.
You see, your consciousness (I might say that mental frame which you hold) is like a set of blinders. You are more likely to lead yourself toward a healing when your consciousness can see it as possible or true.
And you are less likely to lead yourself toward a healing when your consciousness cannot see it as possible or true.
And that’s why prayer matters. You are even more likely to lead yourself toward a healing when you can see it as possible or true, with a bunch of other people who can see it as possible or true as well.
So, I suppose the argument can be made that one must resist the temptation to pray with others who can’t see further than oneself. In other words, I suppose the argument can be made that courageous spiritual practice requires one to choose counter to that tribal self that desires to keep one shoulder to shoulder with those whose mental frames match one’s one. In a very real sense, courageous spiritual practice requires one to be uncomfortable.
Jesus is reported to have said that the rich get richer and poor get poorer. But it’s not because the universe is cruel. It’s because limitation breeds more limitation and possibility breeds more possibility.
If you’re poor, seek a prayer partner who is capable of imagining possibility beyond your poverty.
If you’re sick, seek a prayer partner who is capable of imagining possibility beyond your illness.
If you’re stuck, seek a prayer partner who is capable of imagining possibility beyond your limitation.
If you’re dissatisfied, seek a prayer partner who is capable of imagining possibility beyond your stagnation.
You see, the consciousness which limits isn’t the same consciousness which frees.
Your best prayer partners might not be your friends or family.
It’s in a later letter to one small community of Jesus-followers that Paul wrote (and while biblical books are often written by one person and named to honor another, there’s ample agreement that this letter actually dates to Paul himself. And this is important because some really disappointing things credited to Paul were likely the sayings of later correctors.), Paul wrote, “Finally, [people], whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Could Paul be implying that rather than to continue our apathetic enslavement to our own toxic thinking, we are to assume some proactive authority over our mental households instead? Could this teacher be implying that we might rise beyond some of the effects of our own limited thought with a little practice? I like to think so.
“Think on these things.” The Greek word translated to think means to put together with one’s mind or to occupy oneself with reckonings.
So, “Whatever is true, put your mind together with it.”
And, “Whatever is beautiful, occupy yourself with reckonings of it.”
Isn’t that richer?
So, close your eyes for a moment and think about your life. Think about that thing. You know the one. Whether its physical, emotional, relational, societal, think about that uncomfortable friend, if you will, that comes only to guide you toward some form of healing. And allow yourself to consider the question, “How am I really using my power of imagination today,” and, “Am I willing to choose again?”
Am I dwelling in the race consciousness of a cynical society?
Am I acquiescing to the low expectations of self-preservation?
Am I perpetuating the learned pessimism of childhood?
And am I willing to choose again?