Tag Archives: Inclusivity

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”.

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

What is God?

“God is the name we give to the ceaseless, restless, creative flow of energy in the universe.”  Jack Kegan

What is God?  People have been pondering this question since there were people. Humankind has always carried with it an awareness of being part of something greater than itself.

We have given that ‘something’ a name (God) and assigned to it the attributes that seemed to speak to our deepest values and needs in the moment. As we have learned and grown (both individually and as a species), our values and needs have shifted, and with them, our concept of God.

I look around and see so many different concepts of God alive in the world today that I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I am tempted to ask, what has happened to humanity that we are so divided on something that ought to unify us?

Of course, a simple internet search confirms the hard truth. Humankind has always had a wide diversity of  concepts about God. As you might expect, our concepts of God tell us more about ourselves than they tell us about God.

Perhaps the fact that there are so many different understandings of God alive today means that we are doing something right!

Engaging the Other

As we put our spiritual tools to work on shifting toward a consciousness of inclusivity, our biggest challenge is shifting our own unexamined notions of who is ‘other’.
In his book Creating a World that Works for All, Shariff M. Abdullah suggests that the key to making this shift is to practice expanding our notion of ‘us’ to include everyone we see.
Take moment to consider who is part of your inclusive community – everyone who is…
  • driving on the same road
  • living on the same street
  • begging for change at the same bus stop
  • generating trash
  • regularly recycling
  • riding in the same car
  • riding a bicycle
  • watching television
  • refusing to watch television
  • smoking crack cocaine
  • smoking cigarettes
  • smoking spare ribs
  • self-employed
  • working for a corporation
  • working for a non-profit
  • unemployed
  • attending a church service
  • walking in the park
  • sleeping in the park
  • and on and on and on…

Continue reading Engaging the Other

Inner Inclusivity

Practicing Inclusivity is all about learning to create meaningful relationship with the ‘Other’. One often overlooked area of this practice involves developing the skills to meet the Other within ourselves.
In our Exclusivist society, built on the belief in separation, we not only separate from other beings. All too often, we disconnect from our inner selves as well. We forget the Spirit within us that is eternal, compassionate and wise. We make ourselves so busy trying to accomplish goals that we forget to take simple care of ourselves.
In his book, Creating a World That Works for All, Sharif Abdullah asks, “What do you believe would happen if you slowed down your life?” In other words, what stories are you carrying that say you would fail in some way if you did not achieve certain things within a specific time frame? Are these stories serving your highest good?

Continue reading Inner Inclusivity

The Philosophy of Inclusivity

The basic premise of Inclusivity is that we are One. We are not separate from each other any more than we are separate from God.
The implications are huge. Holding this worldview means that we advocate for the whole, rather than for any one part. The truth is, our fates are linked. We depend on each other in ways we cannot see or even imagine. Every action (and every non-action) reverberates throughout the whole. What happens to any one of us, in some way, happens to all of us.
When we practice Inclusivity we recognize that building relationships is more important than solving problems. Inclusivity means we can experience connection, interaction and community with everyone – even with potential adversaries.
So how do we create community and meaningful interactions with those we consider ‘Other’? The first step is to recognize that the underlying issue in any encounter with the Other is fear.

Continue reading The Philosophy of Inclusivity