Investigating Unity and New Thought, I really relate to the concept of a Divine Essence within each person, and the importance of recognizing your oneness (unity) with the Sacred. With my Christian background, I can identify Jesus as the Way-shower, as a person at one with God. But I can also accept that he wasn't the only one.
An intoduction to New Thought
How will the next generation carry the torch?
The Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles
One women found her spiritual home in a surprising place--New Thought
Conference urges followers to spiritual innovation
Numbers: Unity Church: 75,000
Science of Mind: between 50,000 and 70,000
Divine Science: 5,000
Main Tenets: The New Thought movement is an umbrella term for diverse beliefs that emphasize practically oriented spirituality promoting wholeness in every aspect of living through constructive thinking, meditation, prayer and the realization of the presence of God. New Thought, which is more than one century old, includes Unity, Religious Science (Science of Mind), Divine Science, and others.
Inherent to its belief that the mind is continually growing, New Thought is not a static system of beliefs. While it acknowledges the importance of traditional religious thought as a part of the mind’s development, it finds the permanence of traditional religious thought or philosophy to be contradictory to the mind’s natural striving for advancement. This perpetual development of the mind is often called progressive or unfolding thought.
New Thought practitioners believe there exists on God--Universal Mind, creative intelligence, omnipresent--a principle (not a being), an impersonal force that manifests itself personally, perfectly, and equally within all. The universe and all within it are expressions of God--the creative intelligence--with no beginning and no end.
There are no particular incarnations, as God is within all equally. Some believe Jesus was exemplary of someone who fully realized his divine nature, and therefore is the "wayshower" (shows the way). New Thought churches typically do not associate with Christianity or other major religions though.
Departing from many major religions, New Thought practitioners reject the ideas of original sin, Satan, and evil. “Mistakes” and suffering result from ignorance of one's true nature as Perfect Mind and Love, which is God. Salvation lies in the realization of oneness with the impersonal life force, thus unlocking one's healing potential.
Most believe that spiritual awareness of God's omnipresence--that God is all and all are God--leads to personal and humanity's salvation. Some believe Jesus is the "wayshower" to salvation. Others believe that all, regardless of actions, will be saved by the grace of a loving and forgiving God.
One can be healed through New Thought practices, often with the assistance of New Thought practitioners. Licensed practitioners counsel on spiritual healing for problems of the mind, body, and life.
Some New Thought practitioners believe the individual soul merges with the universal spirit after death. Others believe in continual rebirth as a gift from God so that all may become immortal, as was Jesus Christ, with each lifetime a preparation for the next, until “perfection” is reached.