Unity's 5 Principles

Jennie Scott

Jennie Scott

Licensed Unity Teacher

You may have been part of Unity North for a while now, or just new to our teachings.  Either way, you often get asked “What is Unity? What do they believe?” This blog is for you. 


Unity describes itself as a “positive path for spiritual living” and many of us say we are “spiritual but not religious.”  But exactly what does Unity believe?


Unity cofounders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore began Unity in the late 1800s with no intention to create a religion.  They were even more reluctant to codify their teachings until pressure from followers urged them to ask H. Emilie Cady to write Lessons in Truth in 1896.  This book is still the handbook for much of what Unity teaches.  But as time went on, a shorter version was needed.  Teachers after the Fillmores created the 5 Unity Principles. 


Let’s look at the 5 Principles and how they can be applied in our daily life. 


Principle 1: . God is all there is and present everywhere. This is the force of love and wisdom that underlies all of existence.


God is all.  God is good.  God is Oneness and we are one with God like a wave is one with the ocean.  Forget your childhood images of an angry God who punishes those who do not deserve it.  Neither is God a father-like figure in the sky granting wishes like Santa.  God is an energy of Absolute Power and Possibility that is the framework for everything in the Universe.  This energy is often limited by our human thinking, but our job is to expand our consciousness by LIMITING IT LESS. 


Unity does not believe in the Devil tempting us, nor in evil.  For our brothers and sisters who believe we are going to “hell” I politely respond, “I have been there, and I will be glad to give you a tour!”


Principle 2: Human beings are divine at their core and therefore inherently good.


If God is good, then we are good.  Have you ever held a new baby and felt the perfection in that little body and seen the new soul in those eyes? That is the perfection of the Divine.  Each and every one of us has that perfection, even if we detour into separation from God later in our lives. 


In Unity, we hold Jesus as our Master Teacher and Way Shower, and the Great Example not the Great Exception.  The Christ Consciousness that Jesus demonstrated in his teachings is the same Christ Consciousness that we have within us.


Tapping into that Christ Consciousness requires practice in prayer and meditation.  It also requires us to look at those we don’t like or have conflict with as not only good, but an opportunity for us to see the Christ within them.  This means your Uncle Bob.  Your perfectionist boss.  Certain politicians.  People who are different from you.  Even Hitler.  Yes, those people.


When we begin to see the Divine in everyone around us, we also begin to see the Divine in ourselves.  This helps us stop using ourselves for a human doormat and complaint zone.  We can begin to tread more carefully on our own hearts, and teach others to do so as well.  Which leads us to our next Principle.


Principle 3: Thoughts have creative power to determine events and attract experiences.

Rev. Richard often says, “Our thoughts, our words and our actions create our reality.”  You may have also heard this principle as “thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” 


Newcomers to Unity are often stunned that they have to take responsibility for their every thought.  But that is exactly what the teaching says.  When we apply “stinking thinking” to our daily view of our lives, we will reflect that attitude.  When we are able to use positive thoughts and emotions to create what we want to see in our experiences, we can find we have a more satisfied life and achieve even the biggest dreams!


This takes practice, and often we have to “catch it, check it and change it” from our negativity.  But when we begin to shift the way we see things, the things we see begin to change.  I remember in my early days of changing my self-talk, I had to catch my words several times a day!  Now I teach others how to do that in my mental health practice. 


Principle 4: Prayer and meditation keep us aligned with the one great power in the universe.

Prayer is the foundation of Unity.  Co-founder Myrtle Fillmore began to pray to her body daily as she healed herself from tuberculosis, which was the AIDS of her day.  Her prayers were what drove people to the Fillmores and later began Silent Unity.


Prayer does not change the situation, prayer changes us, and is the highest form of mind-action known. When we pray in Unity, it is from a place of inner knowing that the Christ Consciousness is active in our minds and hearts and that God is One with all.  Prosperity, wholeness, and goodness are our Divine Right.  Need help praying? Our Prayer Chaplains are able to pray with you, or call Silent Unity at 816-969-2000.


Meditation in Unity connects us with Divine Mind and with the Silence.  Whether you sit on a mat, walk our Labyrinth, or sit peacefully in the Organic Garden, the idea is to still your mind so you can hear the still, small voice of God.  This does not mean you have to forcefully push all your “monkey mind” thoughts out of your head.  Just gently sweep them away, saying “I’ll get back to you later” and focus on the Presence and Power that is God. 


In meditation we often have our “Ah-ha moments” of Divine Inspiration.  One of those moments led me to become a Licensed Unity Teacher when I did not even know what that was at the time.  Other moments have led me into my mental health practice or owning a beach condo.  If your life is not going the way you want it to, don’t “do something, just sit there” in your meditation time. 


Principle 5: It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must live the Truth we know.


There is an old Quaker saying, “Pray and move your feet!”.  Students of Unity often love to read the latest book or take classes or workshops, but when it is time to act, we get stuck in our chairs.  Rev. Richard often ends each Sunday with, “If what we have done here stays here, it has been a wonderful waste of time.”


So how to we put action to Unity Teachings? Start by sharing what you believe with others and inviting them to view our online streaming services.  Find ways to volunteer in sacred service with the ministries that are still quietly doing their jobs during this pandemic.  Take Unity out of Unity North and check on your neighbors, your friends and those who are working so hard like teachers and nurses during this time.  And tithe.  You don’t have to be rich to give your 10% on Conscious Consistent Giving, but it will come back to you in amazing ways! 


The next time someone comments how happy you seem to be, tell them, “I go to Unity!” And invite them to participate. 


More on the 5 Principles


If you want to dig deeper into Unity’s 5 Principles, try The Five Principles by Rev. Ellen Debenport available on the Unity North Amazon Smile link here.  For a YouTube Video of Rev. Richard’s talk about the 5 Principles, try “The Elevator Speech”


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