Five Spiritual Practices
Meditation ~ Affirmative Prayer ~ Generosity ~ Service ~ Education
Meditation is the practice of learning how to sit and quiet the mind. When we sit and quiet the mind, we become aware of our thoughts and feelings. We all have well-established habits of thoughts, emotions, reactions and judgments, and it is these habitual patterns which imprison us and make us unhappy and dissatisfied. Without the keen awareness provided by a meditation practice, we continue to act out these patterns. When they arise, we are not aware that they have arisen. We get lost in them, identify with them, react to them. We spend most of our lives acting out these habitual patterns.
Through meditation we open an incredible space of simply noticing thoughts and feelings come and go, rise and fall. We get in touch with that which holds all of our thoughts and feelings in a loving embrace. This practice then gives us the opportunity to make wise choices: to decide which thoughts and feelings we want to act on, which ones we might let go. When we do this, we act from a fresh place of knowing rather than by reacting in our old patterning. Meditation gives us the absolute power to change the way in which we act and react in the world, giving us a deep sense of freedom, happiness and satisfaction.
by Senior Minister Rev. Karen Lindvig
The use of affirmative prayer goes all the way back to Unity’s co-founder, Myrtle Fillmore in the late 1800s. Myrtle was the mother of three young boys when she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Like any mother, she was not ready to go. This was in the days when using leeches was considered a cure for some illnesses. She sought another way.
Myrtle began studying “mind science” and attended a lecture by E.B. Weeks. He said, “You are a child of God and you cannot inherit sickness.” She took these words to heart and sequestered herself for many months speaking words of praise to every part of her body. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually she was healed.
Myrtle was so excited by her new relationship with prayer that she began to pray for other people. Eventually she was holding prayer circles in her home and this small group grew into the Unity movement and Silent Unity. Silent Unity has the longest running prayer ministry in the world. Prayer is still available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Charles Fillmore, our co-founder referred to Unity as “practical Christianity”. That is, we take the teachings of Jesus and seek to apply them to our lives.
Affirmative prayer follows the example of Jesus who spoke Aramaic. Aramaic is a present tense language.
Listen to this passage from the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Can you hear the command in these words? Jesus is not saying, “please God, give us this day our daily bread”, or “if we are good give us this day our daily bread”. He is not begging or bargaining. He is making a positive, affirmative statement.
The definition of affirmative prayer is: “to state the Truth, even in the face of contrary evidence.” This means if you are sick you affirm health. If you are poor you affirm prosperity; if you are confused, guidance, etc. The idea is to affirm capital “T” Truth vs. small “t” truth.
- At first it may feel like you are faking it. And in some cases it feels like bragging. Who am I to affirm all these good things for myself and others? Who are you not to?
- The second and equally important step in affirmative prayer is to invite the presence of God within you to speak the Word. It isn’t you who is doing the praying – it is the spirit of God within you who prays. It’s surrendering to your higher Self and giving it Voice. Besides, if you think it is you who is doing the praying and a healing takes place, there will be no containing the ego. On the other hand, if you think it is you who is praying and a healing doesn’t take place, the ego will deem you a failure.
Pray affirmatively and let go. Only God can see around the corner and up ahead. Give your prayers over without attachment.
Saint Theresa’s Prayer
A Prayer for Lovingkindness
Prayer for Protection
Our ministry is completely supported by the free will love offerings of those who call Seattle Unity their spiritual home. As we give of our time, talents, treasures and tithes to both our ministry and our lives, we practice the spiritual law of generosity.
Jesus: “As you give, so shall you receive.”
The Buddha: “If you knew, as I do, the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing some of it.”
A Course in Miracles: “To give is how you recognize you have received.”
Rev. Richard Levy: “Generosity is my natural state. I easily expand and extend into experiences of abundance and prosperity.”
Seattle Unity: “I give willingly, joyfully and lovingly, knowing that God is the constant source of my supply. I give with graciousness and receive with gratitude.”
Generosity is the spiritual principle we practice in order to open ourselves to the divine gifts of Spirit. It has the tremendous power to transform our lives in a very concrete twofold manner.
How does this work?
When we give, not only does it make us feel good about ourselves in that moment, but we practice letting go of thoughts and feelings of not having enough. These feelings take many forms in our lives, not enough time, not enough money, not enough love. When we give to others our time, talents, and money, we release ourselves from those constrictive thoughts. As those constrictions loosen, we experience more love, compassion, joy, and peace in our lives, and our trust in God increases. We come to realize that we truly are supported by a kind and loving Presence.
Serving is one way to put our View and Practices into Action. Serving gives us the opportunity to practice generosity in a very physical way. All spiritual traditions advise us to care for that which feeds us spiritually and for those in need.
The Buddha says that when we practice service, it opens our heart and gives us joy in three concrete ways.
- First, we feel good about ourselves by just the thought of doing something good for someone else.
- Then we feel good about ourselves while we are performing that act.
- Finally, we feel good about ourselves as we remember that we did something good for someone or something else.
It also makes us feel good to know that we are nurturing the people or things in our lives that are important to us. Feeling good about oneself is a God-given, Spirit-driven gift. God wants us to feel good about ourselves! And serving gives us the added benefit of others feeling good about us, too, when we act out of the generosity of spirit.
Being of service to others can come in many forms. It can be as easy as pouring the first cup of coffee for your partner or your workmate instead of for yourself, moving your neighbor’s garbage cans back in place for them, letting a harried shopper ahead of you in the grocery line… It can be as simple as volunteering in some aspect of your church community or as dramatic as working to end homelessness or other pressing community issues or volunteering in another country. Serving always puts our hands and feet into action for a greater good.
Serving can be a great way to connect with like-minded people and a way to get involved in one’s community. For thousands of years people have gathered to worship, share, and work in support of their common spiritual values and practices. At Seattle Unity we continue this deep work of spiritual practice and mutual support. The many men and women who volunteer in so many capacities support our ministry and assure the smooth running of our community and church. Seattle Unity could not be maintained without the support of so many dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers are a vital and integral part of our incredible church family.
For opportunities to serve at Seattle Unity, please check the Volunteer page.
Spiritual Education is a practice that equips us to understand spiritual laws so that we may harmonize with the Intelligence that underlies the universe. It is a practice which helps us to know God, and thus ourselves, better.
Spiritual Laws such as karma and the Law of Mind Action are operative whether we are aware of them or not. We don’t have to believe in the law of karma or the Law of Mind Action to have them work. They just do. Our thoughts, words and actions have a direct effect on the manifestations that happen in our lives. To know and understand Truth principles gives us the tools needed to effectively work with spiritual laws.
Seattle Unity provides an educational process where each student has an opportunity to study Truth principles and apply them. Truth students practice metaphysics in a supportive environment and receive firsthand experience of how these principles work. Each class provides a way to move beyond theory and into practical application.
Does prayer really work?
How about tithing or the Law of Mind Action? What does it mean to have God serve through you? In each class we have the chance to explore these concepts and put them into action to see if they do. Classes offer a springboard to “walk our talk” and to bring ideas from something we have read or talked about into something we live.