Unity of Brazosport
Spiritual Practices for Prosperity
 
April 24, 2016
Prosperity:  Spiritual Practices 
 Copyright, 2016 Nancy Coneff, M.A.
  Unity teaches prosperity is our natural state. And restoring or enhancing our prosperity is an inside job. Here are some practical ways to increase our prosperity consciousness, and build up our spiritual community! (published here by request)

In the Flow:  Prosperity  Spiritual Practices

Unity teaches Prosperity is our natural state, in which we were originally created in Divine Mind. Each of us is a child of God, living in an abundant universe. Unity notes that Jesus taught that it is God's pleasure to provide for us, and we live in a prosperous world now. Rev. Edwene Gaines, Unity minister and prosperity teacher, is quoted on the Unity website, saying “The truth is that you can have everything you want in this life. You can be free from the grips of poverty, and instead live a life of joy and faith and prosperity. You can live according to your divine purpose, in line with God's plan, with everything you could possibly want or need at your fingertips.” (The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines)

The Prosperity Gospel - Christianity

Strangely, I found a lot of criticism of what is often called “The Prosperity Gospel” among traditional and fundamentalist Christian thinkers. The criticism cites Assembly of God and Pentecostal traditions, primarily.  (Interestingly, New Thought traditions are not mentioned.)  Critics note those preaching this belief tend to be charismatic ministers, not accountable to traditional denominational church hierarchies.  Oral Roberts, is said to have originated this teaching in the ‘60’s.  (Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, published the collection of teachings entitled Prosperity in 1936.)

Other preachers who have adopted this teaching include Kenneth  Hagin (1970s),  Jim Baker(1980s),  Joel Osteen, Bill Wilkinson (Prayer of Jabez) and popular preachers in the likes of Pat Robertson, Robert Tilton, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Bennie Hinn, Joyce Meyer, etc.  Interestingly, in the U.S., at least, these are also noted for their successful television ministries.

Controversy stems from questions raised by critics:  Is it Biblical? Materialistic? Magical Thinking? Does it point to the Kingdom of God?

The “Prosperity Gospel” is popular in Africa, India, etc., interestingly among elites and the wealthy as well as among the impoverished. And its literal acceptance has led to Magical Thinking among many unsophisticated, literal-minded believers.

What is Prosperity? How do we define it in Unity?

Jesus says in John, Chapter 10 verse. 10, “I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

The original meaning of the word “wealth” was “well-being.”  In Hebrew, the word means “completeness, soundness, welfare and peace.” Unity teacher Rev. Eric Butterworth notes the Latin root for the word “prosperity” translates as “according to Hope” or “to go forward hopefully.”  To “evolve.”

 The original languages suggest that prosperity is about growth, pushing forward, crossing over, evolution, involution, progress, expansiveness, and breaking through. Butterworth concludes “Thus it is not so much a condition in life as it is an attitude toward life.”  Rev. Butterworth defines Prosperity as “Spiritual Well Being.” It is not just money or things, he says, but a way of living and thinking.

Rev. Jesse Herriot, frequent contributor to Unity magazine and Living with Purpose on Unity Online radio, notes :  ( 3  John 1:2)  Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.   This text literally says prospering or prosperity means to have a “good journey.”

So success is a continuum, not a destination. It is more than merely a state of being, but it is an evolving stage of consciousness.

Rev. Jesse Herriot notes: “True prosperity means much more than the size of your bank account. True prosperity lies in knowing God as your unfailing source of all good and abundance and unlimited good.”

“Success is not a thing," says Rev. Herriot, "but a process demonstrated through the expression of this divine force by means of you. Material things will be added to your life as you share your talents with the world and reveal your innermost potential. However, material gain is only a small aspect of the joy, love, creativity, compassion and kindness that you were truly sent here in this incarnation to receive and share. Sharing these gifts is the demonstration of a successful life. “

Webster’s dictionary: success  =   progressive realization of meaningful goals. 

Expansion!

And of course, Jesus did not teach prosperity in material terms.

Here are some of his statements on the subject:

“My Kingdom is not of this world,” he said. (John 18:36)  And again, “Watch out! Guard yourselves against every form of greed, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs.  You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

And, “And do not be concerned about what you will eat or drink. Do not worry about it. For the nations of the world strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added unto you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:29-32)

and, “ For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)

The best way to describe it –I found this so many places I can’t cite them all:  Prosperity is “Being in the Flow.”

Ok.  We get a feel for that intuitively. It’s a familiar term to us.  But really, in the “Flow” of… What???

Divine Substance

In Unity, we study the Creative Process. God is Creator, the Absolute, the All. God is Spirit: both Spiritual Mind and Spiritual Substance. Spirit is not person.  Spirit is not matter.  Matter is formed, but God is The Formless.  God is the only Reality.  And God is unlimited.  Unlimited, Infinite, Boundless.

 God is the ever-present substance in which we live, move and have being.  It is the “inner realm,” the dimension we call Spirit.  God is All, wholeness, One, The Source.

 Quantum physics says the space between particles is the force which holds them in their orbits.  Quantum physics is the scientific approach to study dimensions of Reality which up until now, has been the domain of the mystics.  In the Spiritual realm, the realm of Reality, the whole of God is present at every point in space at the same time—timeless, boundless, whole and complete, containing all possibilities and all expression.

“For the Kingdom of God is already among you,” said Jesus.

Only our limited consciousness of Reality, our attachment to Space and Time, and matter, keeps us from experiencing this. 

Let’s consider this for a moment in a meditative state: (Settle in…relax…)

……Divine Substance…… everywhere.  In this room…..in this chair….in my body….in my mind….

Everywhere.

Always.

Now.  All Divine Substance.  Infinite….Here.  Now. Unlimited Abundance.

Divine Substance…a dimension…present here and now…..

And we return to awareness of this body…this room…

knowing Divine Substance IS.

Ok….that exercise can give us an experience of Divine Substance. Beyond “if we can imagine it, we can become it”…rather, we actually ARE THIS!

Charles Fillmore –Unity co-founder—and Eric Butterworth, modern Unity teacher, say that the human spiritual faculty of Faith forms and shapes this ever-present, basic element of Spirit-substance.

In the collection of Charles Fillmore’s teachings on Prosperity, he describes the experience we just had, saying:

“As you lay hold of substance with your mind, make it permanent and enduring.  Realize your oneness with it.  You are unified with the one living substance, which is God, our all-sufficiency.  From this substance you were created; in it you live and move and have your being; by it you are fed and prospered.”

“The spiritual substance is a living thing…It is living bread and living water, and he that feeds on God’s substance shall never hunger and never thirst.  Man can no more be separated from his supply of substance than life can be separated from its Source.”

So.   Divine Substance is the Flow. 

 

Being in the Flow

Mankind uses the mind to access Ideas from Infinite Divine Mind in the Spiritual dimension.   More accurately, the Mind and Heart.  Thinking combined with feeling….  The human spiritual faculty of Faith….

Maturity

When we first enter this physical dimension at birth, we are totally dependent on others for our survival.  Eventually, rather than relying on luck, blaming the stars, the fates, destiny, or random chance or our parents for our expression in this physical dimension, we may begin to understand we are the center of our experience, and we have choice.  Random chance and outside forces may continue to be unpredictable.  But increasingly we become aware of—conscious of—patterns of thought, attitudes, expectations, judgments, and beliefs we hold, and we begin to see these may influence what seems to “happen” to us.  If we are blessed, we encounter the idea that our experience is attracted by our thoughts.  And, if we are willing, sooner or later, we begin to experiment with choice.  We begin to observe and aim to choose our thoughts.

It can be said we begin to take responsibility.  We begin to act with some level of responsibility for our experience.  A level of maturity, in consciousness…in spiritual growth. Life is not so much about what happens to me, but what I think and feel about it….more importantly…what I Choose to think and feel.

Life becomes An Inside Job – Living from the inside out. 

Spiritual Practices:

The first step…..The most important step in making the shift to prosperous living, the step that organizes the entire process of living from the inside out—living in the Flow--is the step that opens the door to Reality, opens us to the Flow:

Put God First – Golden Key

We must put God first. 

God is. But not  ”out there,”  “up there,” or elsewhere.  As we just practiced: we are IN GOD. That means the Spiritual dimension is our Reality.  That means the Divine Ideas of Wisdom, Love, Power, Will, are in US.

God is our Source.  Consciousness of God is our Supply. 

So when thoughts of lack of any kind confuse us, or depress us, or disturb our peace or engender fear or anxiety, we choose our thoughts.

We choose to think about God.

There is a Unity pamphlet called “The Golden Key”—describing a process to use to counteract disturbing thoughts of any kind.  The Golden Key is to think about God…any aspect will do.  God’s Presence, God’s Love, God as Protector, God as Peace and Harmony.  The Unity Prayer of Protection is another Spiritual Practice that helps us Put God First. Thinking about God—with feeling appreciation for God as Source, as Infinite Potential, as Gentle Guide, as Infinite Substance and Supply—releases our mind to the spiritual realm, where all is possible.  Practicing the Presence of God—remembering God with us--in us every moment as we go through the day—helps us keep God first.

Forgiveness - Renunciation/Elimination

Another spiritual practice that opens us to the consciousness of prosperous living is Forgiveness.

Resentment, judgment, anger, debt (owing or being owed), each of these inner processes are blocks to the energy flow of prosperity.  As a spiritual practice, we can conduct an inventory each day, bringing to mind the situations that foster the negative emotions.  Without getting bogged down in the emotions, we can quickly ask God or the Holy Spirit to help us see things differently.

Then we use the Golden Key—think about God, and stay in the present moment with the intent to forgive.

Some issues take more forgiveness work than others.  Be patient.  Be open to receive a different perspective, a new way to look at the issue.

Release the issue to God, and let go.  You will know when the energy shifts, and the issue is no longer in the way of your prosperity.

By the way, forgiveness of self is often the path to increased prosperous living.  So be sure to look for ways to free yourself from judgments and self-condemnations you may hold, or that you may be holding against yourself on behalf of others.  Be aware of any judgements that make you feel unworthy of prosperity in any form.  Use the same forgiveness process to free yourself and restore the Flow.

Imagination- Goal Setting

Sometimes prosperous living is diminished because the Flow of Divine Substance is not focused.  We can build our focus on the good we desire using our imagination.  This can be fun.  There are several techniques for this.

We can make a vision board using pictures portraying the goals we desire, or symbols representing them.  We can write detailed descriptions of circumstances we wish to enjoy.  We can work with a supportive friend or family member, describing our desired outcome or experience.  The friend supports us by giving positive feedback reinforcing the goal or vision. They support us by expressing unconditional belief that we can achieve our desired outcome.

 The more time we spend focusing on the goals, perhaps refining them, and the more energy we spend expecting the vision to unfold, the more we are focusing Divine Substance around the thoughts and ideas.  Our positive emotions vitalize the vision, and it is the emotion which energizes the outcome.  The Spiritual Principle is that what we give attention to expands.  Visioning and goal setting, and reviewing and refining our vision often, focuses attention on what we desire, and brings the flow of Divine substance into our prosperity process to meet specific desires.

Affirmation/Denial/Speaking the Word – Thought Discipline

Spiritual teachers such as Wayne Dyer and Abraham-Hicks emphasize the emotional quality of our connection to Source as key in our spiritual practice.

 Putting God first is our safety valve, allowing us to remember the Reality and Goodness of God when negative emotion pops up.

 With enough practice, we can observe the emotion leaning towards fear or resentment.

Spiritual teacher Bentinho Massaro says any negative emotion results from a thought of lack, a uniquely human thought.

 If we are unable to quickly leave the emotion from such a thought behind, Charles Fillmore recommends a formal denial be spoken out loud.  We deny the appearance of lack, or deny it has any power over us, and then affirm the desired condition.

Charles Fillmore formulated affirmations for everything.  He taught that Speaking the Word in affirmative ways carries the creative power of God within into our everyday affairs. Be it healing concerns, conditions, relationships, or financial issues, we can take time to write and speak—declare—the conditions we desire.

Thought Discipline

Thought Discipline is a key practice.

Without discipline, our thoughts naturally skip from one to the next. The mind and its many voices operates constantly. The practice is first to notice the voices and recognize they are not really you.  They are voices providing a running commentary on circumstances and situations, offering judgments of others—and of ourselves—that are based in ego.  We fantasize, we denigrate, we tell stories to ourselves all the time.   Separating from this mind-babble enough to observe it takes practice.  Once we can observe it, we can change it.  We can choose another thought, another subject, another picture to occupy our minds. We can choose a different emotion by changing our thoughts.  Again, what we focus our thoughts on brings energy into it.  We can choose our focus.

Our moment-to-moment challenge is to watch our thoughts, and with enough practice, choose the good ones.  Choosing a good thought to counteract a momentary judgment or anxiety thought can re-direct a train of thought that might pull us away from the Good Journey of Spiritual Well-being.

 

Generosity/Giving/service – In the Flow

Another Spiritual Practice we hear about from so many spiritual teachers is the practice of Giving.

A major criticism of The Prosperity Gospel teachings is they emphasize giving to the church, or the preacher’s ministry, to “spread the gospel.”

 But the fact is, any cheerful giving puts us in the flow of Divine Substance.  Giving, or a generous spirit, is essential for prosperity.

We can so easily identify our limits when we begin consciously giving as a spiritual practice.  Our fears of lack, our beliefs in responsibility (ours or others’), our beliefs about our own poverty or condition of lack, our fears of debt or poverty, anxiety about the future, judgments about those to whom we give, expectations we have about the relationship with them, our own lack of self-confidence, our desire for control or working our own way by means of the gift….

All these and more surface with each gift we offer, or even consider.

As a spiritual practice, Giving is a wonderful way to expose and overcome our ego and lack beliefs and learn to release our judgements (including self-judgements) and resentments.  Because without Giving, there is no Flow. 

 Those of you here last week heard Vita Como speak about the faucet. The faucet is not the source.  The faucet must be connected to the source to do its job.   We are the faucet!

  In reality, the Flow of abundant, infinite Divine Substance cannot be stopped, but we can block it by fear or belief in lack.  Divine Flow will find a way to express.  Giving freely, generously, opens our connection to the Source, making us the channel for the abundant good and blessings we desire to receive.

Gratitude

An emotion? A result of disciplined thought? A choice?  All of the above! Thinking in a certain way can bring us to gratitude.  Seeing things differently can bring gratitude.  Choosing our thoughts well can result in gratitude.  As a spiritual practice, Gratitude brings us all the benefits of opening the Flow channel, raising our emotional vibration, and blessing others with the sweet, healing balm of Spiritual Well-Being—a prosperous walk.  Gratitude often helps us open the flow into Giving, increasing our opportunity to distribute good into the world.

Trust/Expectation/Hope

These practices (emotions? Thoughts? Choice of Perspective? Yes, all…) are based in Faith faculty of our Spiritual makeup.  Again, since lack beliefs are focused in the Head or mental structure, we must move to heart-felt abundance/love-gratitude—to reach trust, expectation, and hope.  Feeling expectant, hopeful, trusting are all ways to connect with God.  When we truly Put God First, there is no other option. “Not my will, but thine be done” brings peace, for we can be truly confident that Faith shapes Divine Substance in the most effective way.  Gratitude can lift us effectively to Trust and Hope.  And, thereby, Peace.

Prayer/Meditation/Practice of Presence of God- Receiving

Often we are inspired to pray when we notice lack beliefs or emotions.  But of course, begging and pleading for God to change circumstances—often our first impulse in prayer--does not change God, and does not establish or renew the flow of Divine Substance in us or through us.

Prayer does not change God.  It changes us.  So affirmative prayer is the only effective prayer.  It lifts us to experience Trust, Hope, Expectation, Gratitude.  It ignites our Imagination.  It opens the flow of Divine Ideas and centers us in the Flow of Divine Substance.  Because we lift our emotions, our prayer attracts the answers, the outcomes, the manifestations, the resolutions that are above the level where fear, anxiety, and distress operate. 

Imagination, Goal Setting, Visioning, Affirmation: these are all forms of prayer. 

Meditation is a way to release emotional stress and open ourselves to new ideas.  Deep meditation is actually connecting with God.  Meditating as a daily spiritual practice insures the channel for Spiritual Well Being stays open, and the spiritual perspective that keeps our Hope and Gratitude alive is available to us throughout the day.

Prayer and Meditation are ways to easily Put God First.  God is our Source.  Consciousness of God, awareness of God, is our Supply.  Prosperity is maturity in the Flow—taking responsibility for our thoughts, our emotions, our desires, and receiving the outcome.

Receiving, Accepting

Worthiness is balance.  We can put God First, experience Gratitude, be generous, give, pray, even hope, without feeling worthy to receive.  But as we live and move and have our being within Divine Substance, within God, how can we be unworthy?  Sometimes our belief about our worthiness is a hidden block to the flow of Divine Substance in our walk that we don’t recognize.  We fail to see ourselves as the magnificent creations and beloved friends--beloved children--of God.  We hold ourselves apart from the Divine Flow.  God does not judge this.  It is simply a mistake we make that keeps us from receiving the abundant, infinite good we were created for.

Summary

Prosperity is consciousness. In the Absolute Realm, in Reality…in Spirit, our prosperity is already here. To convert our desires from expressions in Spirit to manifest expression is to be In the Flow of Good.

We raise our consciousness when we

  1. put God first,

  2. when we practice forgiveness of ourselves and others,

  3. when we  practice of meditation to open to possibilities, potentials, and spiritual guidance,

  4. when we use our spiritual faculty of Imagination to set goals and ask God for our good,

  5. when we discipline our thoughts, using affirmations and denials

  6. when we practice Trust, Hope, Expectation, and Gratitude,

  7. when we cheerfully give, when we are generous with our talents and possessions, when we serve others,

  8. when we remember we are worthy to receive every good thing.

Higher Consciousness is prosperity consciousness, a higher sense of self-worth.  An acknowledgement of the Truth of Who We are: beloved children of God, one in Christ, expressing with creative power in the Presence of God.

Psalms 37: 3-4

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Unity of Brazosport
UnityBrazosport.jpg
507 So. Brooks St, (Hwy 36), Brazoria, TX 77422

 
Vision: "A community of unconditional love and acceptance where all may discover unity in Christ."
 Mission:  Dedicated to teaching, loving, and inspiring people to be all they are created to be.