The ten commandments have formed the basis for civilized life for most of the western world for at least 2600 years.
We find them in two books of the Torah, Exodus and Deuteronomy, where they are an important part of the story of Moses bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. As they set out on the long journey to establish themselves in the Promised Land, a basic set of laws were necessary for what was to be a new nation. Moses went up the mountain for 40 days, which metaphysics students will know means “as long as it takes”.
Metaphysically, Moses the Law-Giver – got the Israelites (spiritual thoughts and feelings) out of the state of materiality, went to a high place in consciousness, and brought discipline to the unruly thoughts and feelings. To reach our own promised land we need to learn to condition our consciousness with denials (release) and affirmations. MBD page 462.
Getting out of materiality doesn’t mean not being prosperous. Materiality is when only money and possessions matter. And denials, as taught in Unity for 130 years, are a means of releasing negative thoughts and feelings, not the modern meaning of sweeping stuff under the rug.
Matthew Fox (answering a query about the relevance of the Bible):
Of course there is room for the Bible, properly treated and understood, in a more “new age” philosophy – after all there is plenty in the Bible, that supports the sense of “the all” (a term used by Paul) and the holiness of all things.
As examples: the Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible that nurtured the historical Jesus, and the mystical meanings of the Cosmic Christ in the New Testament.
Coherence of the Ten Commandments and the Five Unity Principles
FIRST UNITY PRINCIPLE: ONE POWER AND ONE PRESENCE.
- I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery; You shall have no other gods before me.
- Lots of gods around at that time, Yahweh is established here as the highest God.
- Jesus explained this when he said “Seek first the Kingdom and its rightness” – turn within first, then the outer will fall into place.
- Metaphysically, If our material wealth is more important to us than our spiritual health, we are still in Egypt – the land of materiality, not on our way to our Promised Land (true Prosperity) where we find our highest good.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol, ie a false god.
- What is the main focus of our life? A home? A business? A sport?
- At the end of this life, will we look back and think, “I wish I’d spent less time…. Finish the sentence for yourself!! (polishing the house? Brooding over a business?)
SECOND UNITY PRINCIPLE: THEREFORE PRESENT WITHIN EVERYONE.
- Do not take the LORD’s name in vain.
- Name = nature.
- Yahweh told Moses his name is I AM. This makes more sense when we use “is” after it, eg “I AM is Omnipresent.
- What is the name that defines our nature? I AM.
- Let’s be careful what we connect to our I AM, and keep it only good.
- Remember the sabbath day.
For many people, one benefit of the limitations on activities this year has been spending more time at home, having more “down time”, and finding time for creative activities such as hobbies long neglected in our busy lives.
This is a reminder to us all to keep some time “holy”, ie. time for our own “wholeness”, time for the things that really matter.
THIS EQUATES WITH UNITY’S 4TH PRINCIPLE: Power of PRAYER.
Story: Storm raging – boat was sinking – Captain asked “Does anyone know how to pray?”
“Yes Captain, I pray all the time.”
“Good, you pray while rest of us put on life jackets – we’re one short!”
Take time to sit quietly, whether you call it meditation or not. Time to just BE.
UNITY 3RD PRINCIPLE: POWER OF THOUGHT (AND FEELING)
Challenge of Unity: taking responsibility for the results of our own thinking…
Excuses for NOT taking responsibility:
- “I got severe tyre damage on the road less travelled”
- I Learned the wrong 7 habits.
- Someone slipped me some bad affirmations.
- The chicken soup for my soul was contaminated.”
- “I’m one of those good people bad things happen to.”
- Honour your father and your mother.
When we look at this metaphysically, we see this represents the thoughts and feelings that nurture us, protect us, guide us. I see this as turning within and using our 12 Powers, especially Faith, strength, imagination.
- You shall not kill.
Jesus said don’t even think about it.
We can kill with our words – unkind words, criticism, derogatory statements. Don’t kill anything good.
- You shall not commit adultery – in your thoughts and feelings. Don’t mix them with negative or downgrading thoughts and feelings. Keep your consciousness pure.
THOUGHTS/FEELINGS BECOME WORDS AND ACTIONS = UNITY PRINCIPLE 5.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour
In the Israelite justice system, you could make a complaint to the judge, but you had to have witnesses to support your story. This is about watching what we say, so that we are not using words that harm, either ourself or anyone else.
You shall not covet your neighbour’s house etc.
To want what belongs to someone else is negating the Truth that our own highest good is available for us. To see a happily married couple is to know that good relationships are possible – to us. We can get ideas of what might enhance our life by window shopping or seeing what someone else has, but we must stay clear that we are seeing THEIR highest good, and ours is equally available.
Jesus quoted most of the commandments in Matt 19:16-19.
Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”Matt 19:16-19.
One of the scribes came near and … asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:28-31
Loving your neighbour as yourself would be of no use unless you love yourself first. Airplane oxygen – put your own mask on first. For carers, so important to take care of yourself first, then you can stay strong to take care of others.
Covid times have been a good illustration of loving your neighbour. I hear from so many of my older friends that neighbours who only waved a hello before, suddenly were offering to do shopping, and checking up regularly to make sure they were ok. My neighbours were wonderful when I was in isolation, and in fact I heard my next-door neighbour assuring the couple across the street that they had it in hand; they were actually being quite defensive!
In our meditation time we will take time to send love to our planetary neighbours who are suffering under Covid, both the virus and the restrictions. We especially send love to our American friends as they rise above the virus AND the politics.
So whether we subscribe to the original ten commandments, or follow Jesus’ summary about loving your neighbour… let’s choose to let go any thoughts, feelings, beliefs that undermine the highest good for all, and keep our focus on our own Promised Land!!