A Consciousness of ‘Enoughness’: Prosperity Teaching for a New Millennium

By Lauri Boyd, MDiv,  Unity Minister, ordained 2009

In this time of financial uncertainty for so many, it is important to embrace a practice that is relevant to today’s consciousness. Of course, it is useful to look to history for wisdom and strength. We are not the first generation to experience financial hardship, and we will not be the last. Myrtle Fillmore was one of the co-founders of the Unity movement. Together with her husband, Charles, she helped to create a whole new approach to spirituality at the beginning of the 20th century. There is a story about Myrtle that is famous in Unity circles. 

In the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression, there was a time when Unity was in serious financial straits. Bills were piling up and there did not seem to be enough money to meet the next payroll. Turning to their trusted spiritual practices, the Fillmores call their staff together to pray about the matter. As they gathered, one of the staff is reported to have said, “Let us pray that the money holds out.” Myrtle immediately responded, “Oh, no. Let us pray that our faith holds out.”

Myrtle understood the foundational truth about prosperity, and that truth is — Money is not the source of our supply. God is. Prosperity is a state of consciousness in which we know, and we know that we know, that God is the source of all that we need, and that we are expressions of God. Myrtle also understood that it takes practice to establish such a state of consciousness. Specifically, it takes spiritual practice. One of the most effective practices for establishing a consciousness of prosperity is the practice of giving.

And in the 21st century, it is just as important to apply this foundational truth in a way that is in alignment with our current values and world-view.

Evolving our Language

Before we dive deeper into these ideas, let us consider the word “prosperity”. In our culture, this word has become closely tied to the concept of money. Though we can learn to broaden our definition, our first thought upon hearing the term “prosperity” is usually financial well-being. It is also unfortunate that the term has become inextricably linked with the Prosperity Gospel, causing further confusion. (see Afterward)

Language is a living thing, and, like all living things, it evolves. In Unity, we have seen this evolution of language as people have begun to substitute the word ‘abundance’ for ‘prosperity’. This term broadens our understanding of the experience of prosperity beyond a focus on money. However, it still evokes a feeling of lavishness, of having more than enough. As we have become more skillful at understanding and addressing the effects of inequality and how to be better stewards of our planet’s natural resources, our collective values are shifting away from a desire for lavishness and toward a desire for a fair share for all.

In his work on Inclusivity, Shariff Abdullah has coined a term that better evokes the concept behind Unity’s teachings around prosperity in conjunction with our evolving sensibilities. This term is “Enoughness”.

Enoughness

Abdullah writes, those who practice exclusivity believe that there is never enough, which drives them to overindulgence and hoarding. In contrast, the practice of inclusivity means creating a society that works for all – all humans and all nonhumans – on a habitable planet. This does not mean that everyone has exactly equal work, resources, responsibilities, spiritual gifts, and material goods. It does mean that everyone has enough. 

In Unity, we know that we live in an abundant universe. God is our source and there is always enough. When we cultivate a consciousness of Enoughness, we go a step further. We know that we live in an abundant universe…and…we recognize that abundance needs our help. We are expressions of God, and as such, there is a role for us to play in facilitating the flow of abundance. For example, the earth is under stress from human activity, so we take steps to help restore the natural balance.

The concept of Enoughness goes much deeper than having enough money. One model lays out six categories of Enoughness.

  • Physical/material – food and water, shelter, clothing
  • Emotional – love, caring, respect, touch, safety, joy, sorrow
  • Mental – education, intellectual stimulation, meaning
  • Social – family, community, service, sacrifice
  • Transcendent – peace, beauty, meditation, Spirit, ceremony, creativity
  • Purpose – reproduction, work, recreation

Abdullah suggests we think of these categories as rooms in a house. Our emptiness is filled when all of these rooms are filled. Those who practice exclusivity focus only on the physical/material room. But, filling one room will not work, even if you fill that room to overflowing. When we practice Enoughness, we know that all the rooms must be filled, and not just for some, but for everyone.

With this shift in language, let us examine Unity’s teachings on Enoughness.

Enoughness is a State of Consciousness

Enoughness is a state of consciousness in which we know, and we know that we know, that God is the source of all that we need, and that we are expressions of God. It is the conscious awareness of God as the source of our supply and of ourselves as expressions of the flow of that supply. 

We can imagine God as a ceaseless flow of divine substance, supplying our every need. When we talk about divine substance, we are referring to the non-material essence that stands under everything in this material universe. This essence is the very energy of God, coming into material existence. Because substance is the activity of God, it is infinite and equally present everywhere.

In his book Spiritual Economics, Eric Butterworth wrote that we live in an ocean of divine substance just as a fish lives in an ocean of water. As the Sufi tradition teaches us, “A fish in the water is not thirsty.” There is always enough divine substance to meet our every need. The only limitation is the limit of our own consciousness — our own capacity to be aware of and open to the Enoughness around us.

Growing Our Enoughness Consciousness

It takes practice to establish any state of consciousness. To establish a high state of consciousness, it takes spiritual practice. There are a wide variety of practices available in our spiritual toolkit to help us grow our Enoughness Consciousness.

Practice 1: Shifting Our Focus Inward

We begin by simply holding the thought in our mind and heart that God is our Source. At first, we practice holding this thought during our meditation time. Eventually, we are able to access this thought when are not meditating — as we experience the normal ups and downs of our daily life.

During our meditation time, we affirm thoughts like, “God is the source of my supply” and “God’s good flows to and through me in unlimited channels.” Physiologically, as we do this, we are creating new pathways in our neural network. Spiritually, we are opening ourselves to the flow of divine energy that is the essence of our own being. 

When we affirm that God is our Source, we take our focus off of outer things and the material world. We focus on our inner awareness of our oneness with God. In that deep awareness of oneness, we open our mind and heart to the flow of divine ideas that arise in us in response. As Myrtle Fillmore wrote, “We have access to the realm of rich ideas; we enrich our consciousness by incorporating these rich ideas into it.” Some of those divine ideas will resonate with us and we will ‘catch’ them. Then, guided by our spiritual wisdom, our human-nature and our God-Nature will cooperate to implement those divine ideas in ways that reflect our own individual talents and abilities. 

Practice 2: Removing Our Limits on God

When we affirm that God’s good flows through unlimited channels, we loosen the grip of our limiting stories about what enoughness looks like and how it comes to us. We all carry beliefs about what enoughness is, based on our life experiences. We also have beliefs about how our good will come to us. Most of us have not examined these beliefs to determine if they are truly serving our highest good. 

For example, a friend was driving an old clunker of a car and had a 45-minute commute to work. She kept saying, “I need a new car, but I can’t afford it.” Being a dedicated Truth Student, she affirmed that God was the source of her supply, and was open to any and all divine ideas about how to get the money to afford her new car. However, she was not at all open to the idea of riding the bus, or riding a bike, or walking. She was also not open to the idea of moving closer to her work or finding a job closer to where she lived. She was unconsciously placing limits on how she would allow God to send her the good that she wanted. In effect, she was saying, “If it doesn’t come in the form of cash, I don’t want it.” 

After much meditation, she was eventually able to break free of her limited thinking. She moved to a place on a bus-line which enabled her to get a new job that had the unexpected bonus of health benefits. As a result, she got in better shape as she walked more and had access to better medical care. She had more time for fun and hobbies. And, with the money she saved, she eventually got her new car. 

As we hold our embedded stories up to the light of truth, we open ourselves to surprising and unexpected experiences of enoughness. In doing so, we grow our capacity to have more of those experiences. In fact, we grow our ability to expect those experiences, instead of being surprised by them.

Practice 3: How Much is Enough?

Another way we can cultivate our Enoughness Consciousness is to engage in reflection around the question, “How much is enough?” For example, most people have an idea of the minimum amount of salary they need to live. But do we ever consider setting a maximum salary? At what point does more money just get in the way? Do we really want and need what we are buying? Are we trying to fill a non-material need with a material purchase? 

We can expand our reflection to include all six categories of enoughness. What constitutes enough food and water, shelter and clothing? Is there such a thing as too little sorrow or too much joy? What is the right amount of intellectual stimulation or learning? What constitutes enough family, community and service? What does too much peace or beauty look like? What is the right amount of purpose? Where is the line between too little and enough? Where is the line between enough and overindulgence?

We can journal on these questions as individuals for our own growth in consciousness. We can also discuss these questions in our families, our spiritual communities, our workplaces and our governments to create opportunities for a wider expansion of consciousness.

The Spiritual Practice of Generosity

Thus far, our practices have been focused on building our conscious awareness of God as the source of our supply. And, that is only the first half of our understanding of what it means to live in a Consciousness of Enoughness. The second half of our understanding affirms that we are expressions of God, and as such, there is a role for us to play in facilitating the flow of abundance. 

One of the most important practices in cultivating this second half of our Enoughness Consciousness is the spiritual practice of generosity. We live in a continuous flow of giving and receiving. It is the process by which everything in the universe functions. From the smallest atom to the largest star, everything has both an inflow and outflow of energy. In Unity, we teach that, when we give — whether of our time, talent or treasure — we should see ourselves as a channel for divine substance.

This leads us to consider the question, “Where should I give?”

Give to Where You Are Spiritually Fed?

You may have heard the phrase, “Give to where you are spiritually fed.” This has been a popular phrase in Unity for several decades. It has been used to invite people to support the vision and mission of their spiritual centers and the regional and national organizations that serve them. 

The phrase is meant to encourage us to give to any place that is a channel for the outpouring of Spirit, so that we become part of that flow of good. Unfortunately, some people have mis-interpreted the phrase to indicate that our Love Offering is made in payment for the services provided by these organizations. In essence, this turns the Sunday offering into a purchase, akin to buying a ticket to a concert. Some people have gone so far as to say, “I wasn’t spiritually fed by the message (music, meditation) at my spiritual center today, so I’m not giving.” Others have said, “I don’t feel spiritually fed by our regional or national organization, so I’m not giving.”

This reveals a misunderstanding about the purpose of giving as a spiritual practice. We do not give in order to buy something. We give in order to be the presence of God.

Giving As Source

God is the source of our supply, and we are each  individualized expressions of God. Therefore, we can act as Source, right where we are. When we give, we consciously take on the role of divine source. The important thing is not where we give. It is our awareness of ourselves as divine source when we give. It is also important to be aware why we give. We give as a way of expressing our divine identity. We don’t give as a way of purchasing something. Instead of giving to where we are spiritually fed, we are called to “Give so that we may spiritually feed others.” 

We are each called to be the presence of God in this world. Each of us has unique resources, gifts and talents to help us fulfill that calling. We give to fulfill our calling to be the presence of God right where we are. And when we give in service to our calling, everything we need to fulfill that calling will become available to us.

Myrtle Fillmore summed this up beautifully. “True [Enoughness] is not making money or putting out goods or developing property. It is determining what our souls require in order to cause them to unfold more of God.”

The Law of Giving and Receiving

The practice of spiritual generosity is governed by the Law of Giving and Receiving. (When we use the word “law”, think “laws of physics” or “laws of mathematics”, not the criminal justice system.) The Law of Giving and Receiving says, “If you want to receive, you must give.”

Jesus taught this law when he said, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” He was quite clear that he was not talking only about giving money. For example, the author of the Gospel of Luke remembered his teachings this way, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Lk 6:37-38 In other words, give people your trust, your mercy and your forgiveness, and you will receive the same.

Why is giving so helpful? Perhaps a geography lesson will help us.

A Tale of Two Seas

In the land of Israel there are two seas. The Sea of Galilee is found in northern Israel. In Jesus’ time, the area around this sea was a string of thriving cities. The sea was teeming with life. The fisheries of this region were famous through the Roman Empire and were the foundation of a robust economy. The sea to the south is called the Dead Sea, and for good reason. This sea supports no plant life and no fish. Geographically, these two seas are only 63 miles apart. How is it that one teems with life, while the other is famous for death? There is one distinction that makes all the difference.

The Sea of Galilee is fed by a river from the north and, in turn, flows out into the River Jordan. The Dead Sea is fed by the River Jordan, but has no outlet. The Dead Sea is in “receive-only” mode. Because it has no outlet, over time the salt level in the Dead Sea has built up to a point where the water is over 25% salt, bromide, and other chemicals. This level is toxic to all but the most extreme forms of life.

In order for life to thrive, there must be an outflow. In fact, for life to thrive, there must be both an inflow and an outflow. It is just as deadly to be in “give-only” mode, as it leads to emptiness and exhaustion.

Both/And

The Law of Giving and Receiving also teaches us that there must be both giving and receiving to maintain the divine flow of Enoughness.

The truth is, most of us find one of these two — giving or receiving — easier and safer than the other. However, we must engage in both. If we stay too long in give-only mode, we burn out. If we stay too long in receive-only mode, we stagnate. 

If we find it easier or safer to give, we might be carrying a story of unworthiness. We might feel a need to be in control, or we might be holding onto a bit of a ‘savior’ complex. If we find it easier or safer to receive, we might be stuck in a victim story. We might be carrying a belief that we are not capable. Whatever the reason, we take an important step toward embracing our divine identity as expressions of God when we break free from our stories.

Breaking out of our stories requires a leap of faith. We have to do the very thing we are afraid of in order to learn that there is nothing to fear. We have to willingly engage in the activity that makes us uncomfortable in order to move past our discomfort. We can only reap the rewards of the practices of giving and receiving by actually practicing them. The only way out is through.

Practice 4: Building our Courage

We can build our courage by approaching giving and receiving as a spiritual practice, rather than as an ego-based activity. Each time we are about to give, we can pause and remind ourselves, “In this moment, I am a channel through which someone else’s prayers are answered.” Each time we allow ourselves to receive, we can pause and remind ourselves, “In this moment, I am the presence of God, receiving a sacred gift.”

Systematic Giving and Receiving 

With any spiritual practice, our human-self tends to do better when we create a systematic approach for ourselves. For example, we might write in a journal every day. We might meditate for 10 minutes when we wake up in the morning. We might list three things we are grateful for right before we go to sleep each night.

It is not so important what form our approach takes. My practice may not include doing something at the same time each day. Your practice may not include doing the same practice every day. What is important, is that we create a systematic approach that works for us — for our personality.

The same is true with giving and receiving. We get more benefit from our practice when we follow a systematic approach.

Practice 5: The Practice of the Four ‘T’s

One systematic approach to giving and receiving that is well-known in Unity is called the Practice of the Four ‘T’s. The four ‘T’s are four words that start with the letter ‘T’. They are ‘T’ime, ‘T’alent, ‘T’reasure and ‘T’ithe. Let us examine each.

Time

We all dedicate a (more-or-less) consistent amount of our time to several areas of our life — 8 hours of sleep each night; 40 hours of work each week; Friday night date-night with our significant other; bed-time rituals with our kids. The Four T’s Practice suggests we also dedicate a consistent portion of our time to our spiritual work and our spiritual community. And, the practice invites us to consistently open ourselves to receive the gift of time from others, acknowledging this time as sacred.

Talent

We all use our natural gifts and talents in several areas of our life — our work, our hobbies, community service. The Four T’s Practice suggests we consistently use our talents in support of our spiritual work and our spiritual community. The practice also invites us to consistently receive others’ gifts and talents as expressions of their divine identity.

Treasure

We all use our money and tangible resources in several areas of our life — our sustenance, our shelter, our children, our rest and relaxation. The Four T’s Practice suggests we consistently use our money and tangible resources to support our spiritual work and our spiritual community. The practice also invites us to consistently open ourselves to receive gifts of money and other tangible resources as sacred expressions of Enoughness.

Tithe

The word tithe literally means a tenth. So this is a rule of thumb that suggests we consistently give and receive 10% of our Time, Talent and Treasure to support our spiritual work and our spiritual community.

The first three T’s answer the question, “What do I give and receive?”. The fourth T answers the question, “How much?”. 

Engaging in the Practice

As with any spiritual practice, the Practice of the Four T’s will challenge us in unexpected ways. Some may find it challenging to give of their time. Others may feel resistance at receiving someone’s gift of talent. While many carry fear around giving the gift of treasure, just as many carry shame around receiving the gift of treasure. Each time we experience resistance or discomfort, we have the opportunity to expand our self-awareness and self-acceptance. We have the opportunity to uncover embedded stories and forgotten wounds. And, we have the opportunity to release, to heal, and to step more fully into our divine identity.

What is Our Spiritual Work?

The Practice of the Four T’s invites us to dedicate a consistent portion of our giving and receiving to our spiritual work.  This begs the question, “What is our spiritual work?”

In general, we all share a single common purpose. We are here to be the presence of God, right where we are. As individualized expressions of God, we each have unique gifts and talents we use to express God. 

Our spiritual work is our unique way of being the presence of God. It is our own personal mission. It is the answer to the question, “How am I personally called to be the presence of God in the midst of my daily life?”

We work to build our Enoughness Consciousness, not to receive things that we believe will give us pleasure or make us feel safe, but to equip us for our spiritual work. We affirm that God is the source of our supply. When we give and receive in service to our spiritual work, everything we need to fulfill that work will become available to us.

The Power of Spiritual Community?

Humans are not solitary creatures. We feel a natural urge to form communities of all kinds.  One form of community we need in order to live fulfilling lives is spiritual community. We are naturally drawn to others who will support and challenge us as we learn to express our divine identity more fully.

Our spiritual community provides ample opportunities for us to practice and build our Enoughness Consciousness. If we stay too long in receive-only mode, our spiritual community will challenge us to give. If we stay too long in give-only mode, our spiritual community will urge us to receive.

As we mature spiritually, we will begin to see our spiritual community as a channel through which we can facilitate the flow of Enoughness. We will expand beyond our individual giving and receiving, and take advantage of the power and beauty of communal giving and receiving.

As we unite our individual spiritual work into our community mission, we amplify our effectiveness. We create the possibility of moving from an individual Enoughness Consciousness to a world of Enoughness.

The Law of Mind Action and Enoughness

The Law of Mind Action says, “We create our experience by the activity of our thinking.” The thoughts or stories we hold consistently in our mind and heart become the basis for our experience. For example, if we believe the world is a harsh place, we will seek out evidence that supports our belief. Every time something bad happens, we will say, “See. I told you so.” We will either discount, or not even see the many wonderful things that happen around us. Conversely, if we believe the world is fundamentally kind, we will seek out the evidence that supports that story. We will see the bad things that happen as occasional aberrations.

It is a bit like looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. When we wear glasses tinted pink, everything we look at takes on a pink hue. When we are centered in a consciousness of oneness with God, we see through ‘God’ colored glasses. As we affirm God is the source of our supply, we begin to see Enoughness everywhere. As we take in the Enoughness that is all around us, we perceive ways to give and receive as divine source.

This does not blind us to the earthly facts of a situation. However, it does ensure that we contemplate those facts from the highest point of view. It ensures that we are looking for and paying attention to how God is present within those circumstances. And, it ensures that we are open to opportunities to be the presence of God in the midst of those circumstances.

As we seek to establish an Enoughness Consciousness, an important part of our practice is to pay attention to the thoughts and stories we are holding in our mind and heart. If we find we are holding stories of lack, we need to challenge those stories.

Practice 6: Challenging Our Story

As we become aware of a story, we can reflect on it through journaling or dialogue. First we describe our story, then we challenge it, then we re-write it. 

For example, “I never have enough time for the things I want to do.” 

When we question the story, we ask things like, “Is this really true?” and “Is this the whole story?” We reframe our story just a bit. “Sometimes, I don’t have enough time for the things I want to do. And sometimes, I do.”

Next, we challenge ourselves to describe three examples of circumstances in which our story of lack is not true. “Here are three times when I did just what I wanted to do. <describe them>  It was wonderful. I felt… <describe your feelings>”

Next, we look for evidence of Enoughness. “When I do what I want to do, I notice I am using my gifts and talents in a flow of giving and receiving. <describe how>”

Now we broaden our vision. “When I am doing things I do not want to do, I am resisting the flow of giving and receiving. <describe how>”

Make a shift. “When I am doing things I do not want to do, I have decided to see myself as the presence of God in that moment, doing my spiritual work. <describe how you will use your gifts and talents to make this an expression of your spiritual work.>”

The Prosperity Law of Accepting

One of the key spiritual principles that governs our experience of Divine Abundance is the Law of Accepting. We begin our exploration of this law with a story from the ancient Hebrew tradition.

Elisha and the Widow’s Oil  (2nd Kings 4:1-7)

One day, a widow came to the Prophet Elisha, and said, “My husband is dead; you know my husband was a deeply spiritual man, but now a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves in payment of a debt.”

Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “I have nothing in the house, only a jar of oil.”

He said, “Go outside, borrow as many empty vessels as you can from all your neighbors. Then go in, and shut the door behind you and your children, and start pouring the oil from your jar into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside.”

The woman did as he said. Her children kept bringing vessels, and she kept pouring. 

When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” But he said to her, “There are no more.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She came and told Elisha, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.”

A Shift in Consciousness

In the story of Elisha and the Widow, Elisha asked the woman, “What shall I do for you?” In other words, he began by getting his own consciousness right. In effect, he was asking, “How can I be the presence of God in this moment?”

He then asked her, “What do you have in the house?” What he was really asking is, “Where is your consciousness? What are you thinking about? What are you identifying with?”

She answered, “I have nothing, only a jar of oil.” This reply tells us that she was centered in a consciousness of lack. She was possessed by fear and had cut herself off from the divine flow. Elisha could see that what was most needed was a shift in consciousness. She needed to shift from a consciousness of lack, of ‘not enough’ to a consciousness of abundance, of prosperity, of ‘Enoughness’. She had a pot of oil, but to her, it was only one pot. In Truth, it was evidence of divine Substance, but to her, it was a symbol of lack.

Now Elisha instructed the woman to go to her neighbors and borrow additional vessels. Metaphysically, this suggests the need to expand the mind to include new faith and greater vision, to try on some new insights for size. When she borrowed additional vessels, the widow broadened her expectations. She opened her mind and heart to new possibilities. She chose to believe she had access to divine Substance, and then acted from that belief. She poured the oil from her one jar into the new vessels, and it flowed freely till the last vessel was filled. 

Law of Mental Acceptance

When there were no more vessels, the oil stopped. In other words, as much as she could conceive and believe, she could achieve. This is the Prosperity Law of Mental Acceptance. Psychologists tell us that we can have anything we can accept mentally. But if we cannot accept it mentally, we cannot get it – no matter what we do. It will flow to us only as much as our consciousness will allow. For the woman in the story, all the Substance of the universe was present right where she was. Her work was to grow her consciousness to the point where she could see it and accept it.

Blocks to our Ability to Accept

There are a number of common reasons why we might not be able to accept our good. Perhaps we are holding a story that we are not worthy. If you want to know if someone is carrying this story, just give them a compliment and watch them squirm. You might try that experiment in the mirror, too.

We may be holding on to unforgiveness. When we are unable to let go of past hurts, we keep ourselves stuck in victimhood. This makes us unable to accept the good that comes to us.

We may believe we are not yet ready for our good. First, I have to lose that 20 pounds, or finish that degree, or get that new job. Then I will be ready for my good.

Perhaps the most common way we block our good is by insisting that it must come to us in a specific way. I wanted a new car and I got offered a convenient bus route. No thank you. I wanted a house and got offered an apartment. No thank you. I wanted to be a professional singer and I got called to be a minister. No thank you. 

Practice 7: Increasing our Capacity to Accept

How do we increase our capacity to Accept our good? By engaging in all the spiritual practices that help us to shift our consciousness. As we engage in meditation, journaling, prayer, and so on, we turn our attention from the outer to the inner. We grow our capacity for deep self-awareness and radical self-acceptance. We become aware of the stories that block our ability to accept our good. We develop the courage to release those stories. We develop the imagination to create new, empowering stories.

There is a saying from the Tao Te Ching that asks the question, “Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?” Our spiritual practices help us develop that patience, and things become much more clear.

Conclusion

The most important thing we can do to increase our Consciousness of Enoughness is to turn our attention to our own personal spiritual work — both the work we are called to do individually and the work we are called to do in community.

What is your spiritual work?

Bibliography

Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters

Spiritual Economics, Eric Butterworth

Practicing Inclusivity, Shariff Abdullah

The Bible, NRSV

Afterword:  Does Unity Teach the Prosperity Gospel?

You may be wondering if Unity teaches the so-called “Prosperity Gospel”. The term refers to a religious belief that “financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for [us], and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.”  (Wikipedia, Prosperity Gospel)

In some ways, that does seem to sound like what Unity teaches. We do talk about God as being a divine flow of everything that we need. We practice positive speech and affirmative prayer. Our 3rd Basic Principle says that we create our experience by the activity of our thinking. We teach that, if we want more of something in our lives, we must first be willing to give of that thing.

And yet, Unity does NOT teach the Prosperity Gospel. Unity teaches “Prosperity Consciousness”. The difference is crucial.

The Prosperity Gospel defines prosperity as an accumulation of material wealth, with some extending the definition to include an outer expression of physical health. This philosophy teaches that if you think and speak positively about your desired material wealth or perfect health, you will attract those things to you. More disappointingly , the philosophy teaches that if you give money to religious causes or organizations, you will attract the material wealth or perfect health you desire. The focus is on creating an outer experience of wealth and health, which is paid for, in effect, through the money you give to religious organizations. This is magical thinking, and leads one to question the motives of the religious leaders preaching it.

In Unity, we define prosperity as a state of consciousness. In this state of consciousness, we hold the awareness that God is our source, rather than material wealth or outer expressions of health. As we build our capacity to maintain a prosperity consciousness, we become acutely aware of the abundance that is already available to us and to others. We engage in giving as just one of a wide variety of exercises to build our capacity to maintain this consciousness.

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