Most religions place love and compassion at the center of
their teaching, and each has a version of the Golden Rule.
When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandments,
he replied, “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself,”
key teachings, of course, in the Hebrew tradition.
However, when it comes to practicing this, a huge
gap often exists between what we purport to believe and
what we are able to do. Why is this? We feel separate. We
identify with a body and a mind that are uniquely ours.
Our personal sense of self—our ego—wants to protect itself
from a seemingly dangerous world. Our love, at best, is
conditional and sparing. If we have love to give, we share
it most keenly with ourselves, our family, or our tribe—
certainly not with all.
The truth is that although we are unique, everyone
else is too. We arise from the same Source and are deeply
connected, in a physical and spiritual sense. We rely on
In my understanding as a spiritual student of 50 years—
30 of those as a Unity minister—the greatest breakthrough
we can make is to realize we are of the same Spirit. There
is only one of us here. The Bhagavad Gita expresses this
eloquently. Chapter 13, verse 28 states:
When a person sees that the God in herself
Is the same God in all that is,
She hurts not herself by hurting others;
Then she goes indeed to the highest path.
Protecting ourselves out of defensiveness not only
diminishes the love that we are able to give to others, but
it also diminishes us. We become our own worst enemy.
Yet we can reverse this process and go to the highest
path. One of Charles Fillmore and Myrtle Fillmore’s
affirmations is: Greater is the power of Spirit in me than all
the powers in the world. Conditions, hurts, disease, and
apparent separation all fade in the dazzling light that Spirit
brings. Spirit is within all.
The Tibetan practice of Tonglen is a visceral application
of this understanding. In the practice, we are asked to
breathe in air as black smoke into our lungs. The smoke
represents all the sadness, sorrow, and horror of the world.
When we breathe out, we visualize the air transformed
into clear white light, going forth as a compassionate
blessing to all. Some may balk at breathing in darkness,
but it is a testimony to the Truth that the power of Spirit
within is far greater than any apparent darkness or pain.
This is a powerful technique for neutralizing fear and
expanding love and generosity.
In traditional Christianity, Jesus is seen as the one who
takes on the sins of the world to save others. He certainly
offered his being to others, and his final words on the cross
were ones of forgiveness. As followers of the way of Christ,
we can also take on the sins of the world by fearlessly
being present to all—joy and sorrow, celebration and grief,
worthy and unworthy—and allowing everything into the
larger love that we are.
We may not even realize how great our capacity for
compassion is until we allow our arms and our hearts to
open. We do it most effectively when we remember that
the God in us is the same God in all.
The Highest Path
Reflections and ruminations from respected Unity reverends
THE GREATEST BREAKTHROUGH
... IS TO REALIZE WE ARE OF
THE SAME SPIRIT. THERE IS
REV. PAUL JOHN ROACH, A NATIVE OF WALES, RETIRED
AS MINISTER OF UNITY OF FORT WORTH, TEXAS,
AFTER 30 YEARS. HE SERVES ON THE BOARD OF UNITY
WORLD HEADQUARTERS AND ALSO HOSTS THE WEEKLY
PROGRAM WORLD SPIRITUALITY ON UNITY ONLINE
RADIO ( UNITYONLINERADIO.ORG). FOR LINKS TO HIS
PODCASTS AND BLOG, VISIT PAULJOHNROACH.COM.