Inner Vision and Synchronicity 8 – Fillmorean Psychology

So just how did Charles Fillmore, co-founder of the Unity movement, incorporate the new science of psychology into the Unity theology?  In this installment of “Inner Vision: Dream Work as Taught by Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung,”  we’ll examine that question.

Fillmorean Psychology

Since he was not formally educated as a psychologist, and in fact had no college education at all, it may be surprising to discover Fillmore did teach a coherent theory of the mind and how it functioned; however, articles from Unity magazine and Weekly Unity indicate that he was well versed in the advances of psychology in the first half of the 20th century.   In fact, Unity magazine, while under the direction of Fillmore, had psychology as a principle focus.  Its raison d’être was noted in this way:

Unity is a handbook of Christian Healing and Christian


The purpose of Unity is, not to found a new sect, but to

give people a practical application of what they already

have through their church affiliations.

Unity therefore stands independent as an exponent

of Practical Christianity, teaching the practical application

of the doctrine of Jesus Christ in all the affairs of life;

explaining the action of mind, and how it is the connecting

link between God and man; how mind action affects the body,

producing discord or harmony, sickness or health, and how it

brings man into the understanding of Divine law, harmony,

health and peace, here and now.

Unity explains how this power of mind action by every man

and woman, for it is as operative today as it was two thousand

years ago (Fillmore, 1921).

Although his knowledge of psychology did not reach the depth or breadth of that of Jung, the volume of similarities is of note.  Many of them will be noted in the discussion below.

To Fillmore, the mind of man consisted of three distinctly different, yet interconnected phases: superconscious, conscious, and subconscious.  In the September 1915 edition of Unity magazine, this insightful presentation of the three phases of mind was offered:

While there is but one mind, it has three distinct phases in man.

These the metaphysician has named superconscious, conscious

and subconscious.  The majority of people know nothing about

any department of mind except the conscious, and they know

little about that because they do not study it.  Every thought

passes through the conscious mind sinks back into what is

called the subconscious, or memory, and makes up a great

internal realm of forces that are always at work in the man to

build up or tear down, according to the character of the thoughts

he has held.  In this great unknown, inner realm lie all the

causes of joy and sorrow, peace and pain, sickness and health.

Ignorance has always led men to look outside of themselves

for the cause of all their troubles.  Now we are entering a new

dispensation of life and the wise are learning to correct their past

errors and cleanse their subconscious with the Word of Truth,

which enters into the conscious and sub-conscious from the superconscious or Christ Mind (Fillmore, 1915).

The subconscious realm of mind, which corresponds to the use of the term “unconscious” by Jung, was of particular interest to Fillmore and his contemporaries within the Unity movement.  In 1914 the Unity Tract Society, noted above as owned and operated by Fillmore, published the 40 page booklet The Subconscious Realm of Mind written by Unity worker J.R. Rude.  In it Rude says, “All the great psychologists agree that there is a phase or stratum of mind known as the subconscious, which is capable of independent action and which has powers distinctly its own.  They have deduced this from certain psychical experiences and observations carried on by themselves” (Rude, 1914, p. 7).  Regrettably, Rude does not name the “great psychologists” or their experiences; however, this quote does suggest that Fillmore knew that the subconscious functioned independently of the conscious mind.

Although Fillmore did not teach a clearly defined concept akin to the archetypes as did Jung, he did make mention of the many “types” of man found within the subconscious.  Writing in 1920 he stated that the subconscious contained, “the wise man and the foolish man, the kind man and the cruel man, the loving man and the hateful man, the stingy man and the generous man” (Fillmore, 1920).

In August 1915, Unity magazine reprinted an article entitle “Exploring the Soul and Healing the Body,” written by philosopher Max Eastman that was originally published in Everybody’s Magazine.  The article discussed the new field of healing called “Psycho-analysis,” which, in Eastman’s words:

…means analysis of the soul, or mind.  And the theory of it is

that countless numbers of diseases that we call nervous, or

mental, and countless others that we do not name at all, are

caused by desires which dwell in our minds without our

knowing they are there; and that if we can be made clearly

aware of these desires, their morbid effects will disappear

(Eastman, 1915).  N.B. italics in text

Unlike Rude’s booklet, Eastman’s article goes on to name the specialists in this new field: Freud, Charcot, and Janet in Europe along with several American doctors.  And Jung.  An exhaustive search of Unity literature for references to Jung has produced this one reference in Eastman’s article that occurs in a discussion of Freud:

Freud is now a professor of nervous pathology in the University

of Vienna.  But his psychological theories, his interpretation of

dreams and his method of treating nervous and mental disorders,

developed not out of professorial speculations.  They are the

result of twenty years’ practical experiment and concrete

observation not only by himself, but by a distinguished group

of physicians who have surrounded him.

The most notable of among these is Dr. Carl G. Jung of

Zurich, who stands at the head of another “school” of Psycho-

analysis.  For in Europe this movement has gone so far as to

produce two, if not indeed more than two, different groups of

physicians, emphasizing different parts of the theory and its

method of application (Eastman, 1915).

To Rude and Fillmore, a central issue was how to control the subconscious.  One reason for this was that “the objective mind has been pouring into the subconscious a stream of errors, false beliefs, and the husks of materiality…As these errors are incorporated into the organism, their blighting influence is seen” (Rude, 1914, p. 19). Thus to live a healthy life, one would want to ensure that whatever was put into the subconscious were words, concepts, ideas and the like that promoted good health and abundant living.  Additionally, Rude recognized that “when the conscious mind loses control of the subconscious, insanity is the result” (Rude, 1914, p. 21).  In other words, psychosis.

Although Jung was clear that the unconscious mind did contain potentially damaging elements and energies, it would appear by the following comment he was ambivalent about value of full cohesion of consciousness:

It is a long way indeed from primitivity to a reliable cohesion

of consciousness.  Even in our days the unity of consciousness

is a doubtful affair, since only a little affect is needed to disrupt

its continuity.  On the other hand the perfect control of emotion,

however desirable from one point of view, would be a questionable

accomplishment, for it would deprive social intercourse of all

variety, colour, warmth, and charm (CW 18:443).

In a Weekly Unity article from 1921 entitled “The Subconscious Realm of Mind, Doratha Avery, though not using the terms collective unconscious or archetypes, implies their existence:

The subconscious realm of mind is the storehouse of all the

knowledge which a soul has gathered from its experiences

and wanderings since it left the Father’s house in the Edenic

garden of innocence, up to the present time.

Many true and beautiful gems of thought are hidden away

in the recesses of this wonderful storehouse.  There are

also hung on its walls undesirable, crude and ugly thought

pictures of man’s emotional nature (Avery, 1921).

Perhaps the “soul” she references is the soul of every person (the collective) and the “gems” and other “thought pictures” could be the archetypes.                                                           The other two phases of mind Rude identified in this manner: “The superconsciousness is the Mind of Christ, Heaven, the kingdom of God, the Holy of Holies.  It is the realm of Divine Ideas.  From it all things proceed and all things are enveloped in it” (Rude, 1914, p. 10).  “The conscious mind knows itself as a living, intelligent being at work in the outer world.  It reasons, compares, weighs, measures.  It gathers its information through the sense from the surface of things.  It is well fitted to cope with the changing environment of this life.  In man’s normal condition, the conscious mind is at the helm…” (Rude, 1914, p. 4-5).

It is helpful to understand the three phases of mind as understood by Unity because Fillmore taught, as psychologists still teach, that dreams emerge from the subconscious mind.  Moreover, dreams emerge from the subconscious to help man know himself and his wholeness.  In 1915 Fillmore wrote:

Even when one understands that he has a great mental

housecleaning to do he discovers that he has much to

learn about what is really within him, and he is glad

for every means of finding out in his overcoming what

he has stored away in his subconscious.  Just here

dreams are of value.  When the conscious mind is still

in sleep, the subconscious has the opportunity to be

very active and it expresses itself in dreams; therefore

one can readily see that by studying his dreams he

can get a great deal of information about what is

going on in his subconscious mind (Fillmore, 1915).

Another central aspect of Fillmore’s psychology was the importance he placed on man’s capacity to think and the power of words.  “One of the axiomatic truths of metaphysics is that ‘thoughts are things.’ That the mind of man marshals its faculties and literally makes into living entities that it entertains is also a forgone conclusion” (Fillmore, 1959, p. 193).  In his first book, Christian Healing published in 1909, he said, “…every word has its effect, though unseen and unrecognized… and a close observation of the power of the mind proves this to be true.  What we think, we generally express in words; and our words bring about in our life and affairs whatever we put into them” (Fillmore, 1909, p. 64).  Fillmore’s focus on the creative power of one’s thought process could be considered a forerunner to the cognitive behavior therapy developed by Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.  No discussion of Fillmore’s psychology would be complete with mentioning this crucial fact.

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Inner Vision and Synchronicity 7 – Psychology and Religion

Today we’ll look at the interplay of religion and psychology.  To some, mixing those two is as  productive as mixing water and oil… an especially powerful image in light of the ecological disaster currently happening in the Gulf of Mexico.  So, please hold the vision of a speedy and complete recovery from this experience.

In the meantime, here’s a the preamble to the discussion of “Fillmorean Psychology” and “Jungian Religion” that appear in “Inner Vision and Synchronicity: Dream Work as Taught by Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung.”


To Charles Fillmore, there was no separation between psychology and religion.  Writing in 1939 he said, “Then the carping critic cries, ‘Your religion is psychology instead of Christianity.’ Our answer is that the new Christianity includes an understanding of psychology but does not stop with an analysis of the mind.  It goes on to the highest phase of mind’s possibilities, unity with Spirit” (Fillmore, 1939, p. 143-144).  Moreover, in speaking directly about the relationship between religion and psychology, he said:

Thought control is imperative, and there is urgent need of

teachers on both the mental and spiritual plane of

consciousness if the race is to go forward in development.

To this end there needs to be more co-operation between

these two schools, because they complement each other.

Religion becomes practical and effective in everyday life

when it incorporates psychology in its litany.  Without

religion psychology is weak in its fundamentals, and without

psychology religion fails to give proper attention to the outlet

of its ideals.  The fact is that religion, comprehended in its

fullness, includes psychology.  Jesus was a profound psychologist (Fillmore, 1953, p. 75-76).

Jung shared a similar point of view as is illustrated in his essays “Psychoanalysis and the Cure of Souls” written in 1928 and “Psychotherapists or the Clergy” written in 1932.  He said, “It is high time for the clergyman and the psychotherapist to join forces to meet this great spiritual task” of leading individuals to reclaiming their religious outlook (CW 11:510).  Echoing the Fillmore quote noted above is this exhortation from Jung:

The Protestant minister, rightly seeing the cure of souls

the real purpose of his existence, naturally looks round

for a new way that will lead to the souls, and not merely

the ears, of his parishioners.  Analytical psychology seems

to him to provide the key, for the meaning and purpose

of his ministry are not fulfilled with the Sunday sermon,

which, though it reaches the ears, seldom penetrates to

the soul, the most hidden of all things hidden in man.

The cure of souls can only be practiced in the stillness

of a colloquy, carried on in the healthful atmosphere

of unreserved confidence.  Soul must work on soul,

and many doors be unlocked that bar the way to the

innermost sanctuary.  Psychoanalysis possesses the means

of opening doors otherwise tightly closed (CW 11:544).

If, as Fillmore and Jung both say, psychology and religion are complements, it is necessary to know how the theologian Fillmore understood psychology and the psychiatrist Jung understood religion.  From that point it will be appropriate to investigate the place of dreams in the teaching of each.


Inner Vision and Synchronicity 6 – Carl Jung Fundamental Teachings

In this installment of “Inner Vision and Synchronicity: Dream Work as Taught by Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung,” I have attempted to encapsulate in a few paragraphs the utterly enormous contributions Carl Jung made to the emerging field of psychology.  Call me crazy… well, don’t… that really wouldn’t be politically correct!  Anyway, it’s amazing to me how broad Jung’s influence has been.

Well, the title is self-explanatory...

Well, the title is self-explanatory...

Carl Jung Fundamental Teachings

Carl Jung is the founder of the school of psychology known as analytical psychology, the basic teachings of which were first presented in 1922 (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 703).  This section will present a brief overview of some key elements of analytic psychology.

To understand Jungian psychology, another name for analytical psychology, one must understand Jung’s teaching about the unconscious.  For Jung, the unconscious is

…everything of which I know, but of which I am not at

the moment thinking; everything of which I was once

conscious, but have now forgotten; everything perceived

by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind;

everything which, involuntarily and with paying attention

to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future

things that are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness; all this is the content of the unconscious” (CW 8:185).

Jung taught that there was a “personal” unconscious with elements unique to an individual such as those noted above, and a “collective” unconscious which serves as the storehouse for the archetypes.  Archetypes are “centers of psychic energy; they have a ‘numinous,’ life-like quality; and they are likely to be manifested in critical circumstances, either through an exterior event or because of some inner change” (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 706).  Additionally, author and historian Henri Ellenberger adds, “Archetypes are not the fruit of individual experience, they are ‘universal.’ This universality has been interpreted by Jungians either as issuing from the structure of the human brain or as the expression of a kind of neo-Platonic world-soul” (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 706).

Much of the terminology used in analytical psychology to describe the structure of the soul has become commonplace in the world today. Included are the terms “persona” which describes one’s public, or outer demeanor including one’s attitudes or beliefs.  Behind the persona lies the “shadow,” the characteristics of that one would like to keep hidden from others, or even one’s self (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 707).  Two other terms that are closely linked in analytical psychology are “anima” and “animus.”  The anima, which is Latin meaning “soul,” is the ideal feminine figure within a man, and “animus,” which is Latin meaning “spirit” is ideal masculine figure within a woman.  Jung believed that deep in a man was his anima, and deep in a woman was her animus (Ellenberger, 1970, p. 708-9).  Anima and animus are both archetypes.

The ultimate goal of analytical psychology is individuation, the unification of all parts of an individual’s personality.  Jung said, “Individuation means becoming a single, homogeneous being, and, in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self.  We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realization” (CW 7:266).

An additional contribution of Carl Jung to psychology was his study on personality types which birthed the now-common terms “introvert” and “extravert”.  This work has been popularized as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that describes sixteen main personality types.  The MBTI is used in a wide variety of settings to assist individuals in understanding their personality preferences.

This brief sketch of analytical psychology would not be complete with commenting on dreams.  Dreams, as the Jung quote below will show, provide the gateway for exploration of the unconscious.

Even though dreams refer to a definite attitude of consciousness

and a definite psychic situation, their roots lie deep in the

unfathomably dark recesses of the conscious mind.  For want

of a more descriptive term we call this unknown background

the unconscious.  We do not know its nature in and for itself,

but we observe certain effects from whose qualities we venture

certain conclusions in regard to the nature of the un-

conscious psyche.  Because dreams are the most common

and normal expression of the unconscious psyche, they

provide the bulk of the material for its investigation (CW 8:544).

Fillmore was a theologian, Jung a psychiatrist; yet each held important and similar views about the other’s field of endeavor.   What follows is an analysis of “Fillmorean psychology” and “Jungian religion” that will set the stage for an in depth examination of their synchronistic approach to dream work.

In the next entry, we’ll explore the intersection of psychology and religion…

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Inner Vision and Synchronicity 5 – Charles Fillmore Fundamental Teachings

In this installment of “Inner Vision and Synchronicity:  Dream Work as Taught by Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung, ” we’ll examine key teachings of Charles Fillmore that became the foundation of the Unity Movement.

Unity Village, MO

Charles Fillmore Fundamental Teachings

A key to understanding the theology of Charles Fillmore is found in the name he gave the nonprofit church organization he founded in 1903: Unity Society of Practical Christianity, with the emphasis on the word “practical” (Vahle, 2002, p. 145).  A consistent theme throughout his teaching was that religion, if it is to be helpful to its adherents, must be of practical value in helping the individual to live a healthy and abundant life in the here and now.  Prayer and meditation, along with other spiritual practices, had practical and immediate benefits to the individual who engaged them on a regular basis; including, but not limited to peace of mind, harmonious relationship, health and healing and demonstration of prosperity.

According to biographer Neal Vahle, Fillmore’s “primary interest as a person and as a spiritual teacher was in manifesting the indwelling presence, the Christ Consciousness, and helping others to do the same” (Vahle, 2002, p. 46).  To this end, he intuited that there were twelve spiritual centers within the body, which, when quickened or energized would allow the individual to release negative beliefs and behaviors that hampered the unfoldment of the indwelling Christ.  Moreover, he taught that the activation of the twelve powers (faith, strength, wisdom, love, power, imagination, understanding, will, zeal, order, elimination, life) could lead to the overcoming of physical death, a process he termed “regeneration;” however, Fillmore did not demonstrate the overcoming of physical death and died from kidney failure (Vahle, 2002, p. 63).

As regards the central figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ, Fillmore “considered Jesus to be human at birth rather than divine as taught by traditional Christianity.  Jesus transformed himself and realized the indwelling presence…by developing and implementing in his life all twelve faculties of mind” (Vahle, 2002, p. 67).  The activation of the twelve faculties, Fillmore taught, was symbolized by the calling of the twelve disciples.  From this perspective Jesus was, to Fillmore, a model to be followed, rather than a deity to be worshiped.

The study of Christian metaphysics is another hallmark of Fillmore’s theology.  He defined metaphysics as “the systematic study of the science of Being; that which transcends the physical.  By pure metaphysics is meant a clear understanding of the realm of ideas and their legitimate expression” (Fillmore, 1959, p. 132).  “Being” was a term used by Fillmore to connote God, yet it’s definition, with an emphasis on archetypical ideas, is of note in light of the discussion of Jung that follows, for Fillmore referred to Being as “God; the Mind of the universe composed of archetype ideas: life, love, wisdom, substance, Truth, power, peace, and so forth.  Being is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient; it is the fullness of God, the All-Good” (Fillmore, 1959, p. 22).  Thus when Fillmore addressed spiritual laws and principles, he was engaging in what he considered to be Christian metaphysics.

Within the study of his Christian metaphysics, one encounters the terms “personality” and “individuality” with some frequency, and Fillmore’s usage of these terms shows some semblance to Jung’s usage of the terms “persona” and “individuation” as noted below.  Fillmore said that personality was:

The sum total of characteristics that man has personalized

as distinct of himself, independent of others or of divine

principle.  The word personality as used by metaphysicians

is contrasted with the word individuality.  Individuality is

the real; personality is the unreal, the mortal, the part of

us that is governed by the selfish motives of the natural

man (Fillmore, 1959, p. 148).

Fillmore wrote and lectured extensively about many spiritual and religious topics, but the aforementioned concepts of practical Christianity, the indwelling presence, the twelve powers, and metaphysics are standout ideas associated with him and his theology.

In the next post, we’ll look at some of fundamental teachings of Carl Jung.  Stay tuned!

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Inner Vision and Synchronicity 4 – Carl Jung Biography

In this installment of “Inner Vision:  Dream Work as Taught by Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung,” we’ll look at the life of Carl Jung…

Carl Jung and Family

Carl Jung Biography

Information about Jung’s life is relatively easy to come by, especially since, unlike Fillmore,  he did write an autobiography – Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Jung grew up in Switzerland, the son of a minister father and a homemaker mother.  He did not have the physical trauma that Fillmore did, so his education was not interrupted.  In 1900 he decided to become a psychiatrist, and that same year was appointed Assistant Staff Physician at the Burghölzli Mental Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland.  In 1902 he studied with Pierre Janet and published his first two articles.  The following year, 1903, he married Emma Rauschenbach.  They had five children.

In 1906 he met Sigmund Freud and began a relationship that would be both inspiring and painful for him.  Inspiring in the sense that he considered Freud a master psychologist, and painful on account of the break with Freud that occurred in 1913.

In 1909 he began intensive study of the world’s mythologies which would figure prominently in his concept of the collective unconscious.  In this same year he traveled with Freud to the United States for his first visit.

Jung’s work as a scholar and physician flourished in the years 1913-1946.  His writing output, which was already impressive by 1913, continued unabated.  During this time he published his theory on psychological types (forerunner to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator commonly known today), wrote eloquently about archetypes, explored alchemy in depth, made psychological examinations of Eastern and Western religion, and traveled extensively around the world.

In his later years he continued to write, though for the most part, he had retired to his home at Bollingen Tower on Lake Zurich.  His wife Emma died in 1955, and Jung himself died in 1961 (Campbell, 1971, p. xxxiii-xlii).


Inner Vision and Synchronicity 3 – Charles Fillmore Biography

This entry provides biographical information about Charles Fillmore as well as a brief history of the founding of the Unity movement, headquartered at Unity Village, MO.

Charles Fillmore as a Young Man

Charles Fillmore Biography

Charles Fillmore was born on a Chippewa reservation in Minnesota in 1854.  Statehood for Minnesota did not come until 1858, and in the early years of Fillmore’s life the Chippewa, Sioux and white settlers often sparred over territory.  His father was an Indian agent and farmer from Buffalo, New York.  His mother was a dressmaker from Nova Scotia.  Fillmore did interact with the Chippewa as a youth – the first time when he was abducted by them at the age of six months.  He was returned a few hours later unharmed.  Apparently this happened more than once.

Although destined to become a religious leader, he did not have a religious upbringing.  On his father’s side, he had two uncles who were Methodist ministers; however, neither of his parents instructed their children (Fillmore and his brother Norton) in religious matters.

At the age of ten he had an accident while ice skating that, by the time he became an adult, left his right leg roughly three and one half inches shorter than the left.  His medical treatment was rough and generally unhelpful, and he was told by his doctors that it was likely the abscesses on his leg would kill him by the age of forty.  In spite of this, he did manage to attend school on and off through the age of eighteen.

By the time Fillmore was twenty, his parents’ marriage had ended and he felt physically strong enough to leave Minnesota.  He went to Texas where he worked for a railroad for five years, then went to Colorado where he studied metallurgy and worked in the mining industry.  In 1881 he married Mary Caroline “Myrtle” Page and the couple settled in Kansas City, Missouri in 1885.  While in Kansas City, he made a successful life for himself in real estate (Vahle, 2002, pp. 33-35).

Fillmore’s spiritual awakening came as a result of his wife’s self-healing from tuberculosis.  In 1886 the Fillmores attended a lecture by Christian Science practitioner Eugene B. Weeks at which the principles of Christian Science were taught.  These were new concepts to Myrtle Fillmore who was disenchanted with the puritanical teachings of sin and evil adhered to by her Methodist family.  She was impressed and inspired by the concept of an indwelling, loving Father that wanted only good for His children and diligently applied herself to the study and practice of Christian Science. She demonstrated healing for herself, and as a consequence, dedicated herself to serving as a spiritual healer for others (Vahle, 2002, pp. 6-8).

Although Fillmore’s formal education was not remarkable, he did have a voracious mind.  As a consequence of his wife’s healing, he applied himself to study, prayer, and meditation and discerned for himself a concept of the indwelling divine; however, he was confused about why different teachers taught different things about this divine presence and decided to contact the divine directly for clarity on the matter.  In 1894 he declared, “In this Babel I will go to headquarters.  If I am spirit and this God they talk so much about is Spirit we can somehow communicate, or the whole thing is a fraud” (Fillmore, 1894).  He commenced to spend time in mediation at the same every night for months, but without any results of note.  Eventually, he came to realize that his dreams were becoming exceedingly vivid and that the desired communication from “headquarters” was coming to him through his dreams.  He said, “I can distinguish no difference between my symbolic dreams and those of Jacob, Joseph and other Bible characters.  This is one of the many ways by which the Lord, or higher consciousness, communicates with the lower, and is just as operative today as it was centuries ago (Fillmore, 1894).

The Fillmores broadened their studies beyond Christian Science to include prayer, meditation, healing, metaphysics and established themselves as teachers and healers.  Fillmore gave up real estate in order to devote himself fully, with his wife, to the work they called “Unity.”  The Unity Movement counts the year of its birth as 1889, for that was the year that the Society of Silent Help was founded.  This Society is known today as Silent Unity, the acknowledged heart of the Unity Movement, and Silent Unity workers have been engaged in prayer work continuously since that time (Vahle, 2002, p. 145). Today Silent Unity receives millions of requests for prayer per year via telephone, mail, and email.  Fillmore was adamant about the power of prayer and said, “It is the language of spirituality; when developed it makes man master in the realm of creative ideas” (Fillmore, 1959, p. 152).

Fillmore was a highly competent organizer and marketer which fostered the growth of the Unity movement from Kansas City to around the world.  Prior to the incorporation of Unity School of Christianity in 1914 into which all Unity activities were consolidated, Fillmore owned and operated Unity Tract Society, established in 1897, which published Unity magazine, Thought Publishing Company, which published the magazines Modern Thought, Christian Science Thought, and Thought, and Unity Book Company, which spread the Unity message through print media (Vahle, 2002, p. 145).  It should be noted that although Unity School of Christianity had as its focus spiritual teaching, it was incorporated in Missouri as a commercial business rather than a nonprofit institution with all stock controlled by the four members of the Fillmore family, Charles, Myrtle and their two sons.  The reasoning was that a commercial business would be more appropriate on account of Unity’s publishing operations.  The incorporation stipulated that all no dividends would be paid out, and all profits would be used to support the organization.  This move, though later questioned by the Internal Revenue Service (an exemption to tax liability was granted in 1926), effectively guaranteed the Fillmore family control of Unity School through the twentieth century (Vahle, 2002, p. 147-149).  In various articles, tracts and books, Fillmore articulated his concepts about psychology and dreams, which will be addressed below, as well as his understanding of Christian metaphysics, prayer, meditation and theology in general.

Fillmore died at the age of 94 in 1948.

The next post will a a biographical description of Carl Jung…


Inner Vision and Synchronicity 2 – Fillmore and Jung

this blog entry is the second of installment of my master’s thesis entitled “Inner Vision and Synchronicity:  Dream Work as Taught by Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung.”  I encourage you to read the previous entry to get caught up to date.

Obviously enough, here’s an introduction to Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung.  The next blog post will be a short biography of Charles Fillmore.  As I did my research, I was amazed not only with the similarities of with their work, but with their personal lives as well…

Carl Jung's Astrological Horoscope


“Synchronicity” is a term coined by Carl Jung to describe a meaningful coincidence – the occurrence of two events related in some way without any demonstrable causality.  It can be that one of the events is an “inner” event in the mind of an individual, such as a dream, that later is played out in the “outer,” physical world.  An example might be when the object of the dream, a long-lost friend, unexpectedly comes for a visit.  In another instance, the synchronistic events may be two “outer” events such as when two intellectual pioneers begin to teach the same subject at roughly the same time without knowing of the work of the other.   Such is the case with Carl Jung and Charles Fillmore in their work with dreams.  The synchronistic link between these two individuals as it relates to dream work will be the focus of this work and will necessarily include a basic review of their understanding of the roles of psychology and religion in the life of modern mankind.

There are other synchronicities that exist between these two that are notable.  One is the fact they have the same given name. Charles is the English version of the German name Carl which means “man,” or “manly” (, 2007).  Additionally, each had a keen interest in astrology.  Jung’s work Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle published in 1960 includes an astrological study he conducted.  Fillmore signed many of his early works with the pen name Leo Virgo, such as the tract The Church of Christ published in 1901.  Both men were born under the astrological sign Leo – Jung on July 26, 1875, Fillmore on August 22, 1854.

Are these other synchronicities meaningful?  That will be for the reader to determine; however, each man became a leader in a new field (analytical psychology and the Unity Movement, a collective designation for Unity churches and centers worldwide), which have as their ultimate aims the development of humanity.  Also, as will be shown below, each had a keen interest in what was practical and demonstrable, so perhaps these connections may warrant further study in a different context.

In spite of these similarities, the differences between them were enormous.


Inner Vision and Synchronicity – Abstract to a Master’s Thesis

In 2007 I earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.  Liberal Studies on the graduate level, contrary to what many think, is not the study of leftist leaning politics, but rather a continuation of the traditional liberal arts education.  Many colleges and universities offer such programs on the graduate level, and I was fortunate to live in close proximity to one that did.  The coursework I pursued focused mostly on religion and psychology, and although for most people a graduate liberal arts degree is not a vocational program, for me it was.  Everything I studied has in some way been applicable to the ways I serve in ministry.

My final project (thesis) was entitled “Inner Vision and Synchronicity:  Dream Work as Taught by Charles Fillmore and Carl Jung.”  Many people are familiar with Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, founder of the school of analytical psychology; but not as many know Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity School of Christianity.  In many ways the two were very similar.

Charles Fillmore

Carl Jung

Over the years I had seen references to dream interpretation in the writings of Charles Fillmore.  Then, while doing research in the archives at Unity Village in Missouri, I made an important discovery – Unity, in the 1920’s, had a department of its spiritual work dedicated to dream interpretation called the Inner Vision Department.  This discovery, along with many others, provided the material for my thesis.

Dream work is an important spiritual practice, as important to me as meditation and prayer.  To some that may seem a bold statement; but I am convinced the development of a dream work practice can lead one into a deeper appreciation of the Divine in his or her life.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting installments of my thesis on this blog.  I hope readers will feel inspired to pursue this spiritual practice.  So here’s the abstract to get us going, and be sure to check back often…


It is well-known that the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) places tremendous importance on religion and the dreams of the analysand, the individual whose dreams are being analyzed.  Jung was able to articulate that dreams offer not just an avenue to the unconscious, but provide a vehicle for the process of individuation, the claiming of one’s wholeness.

What is not so well-known is that Charles Fillmore (1854-1948), co-founder of Unity School of Christianity, also had a keen interest in psychology and the power of dreams.  He, too, believed and taught that an understanding of one’s dreams was an important tool for living a balanced and healthy life.

Although contemporaries with large followings, there is scant evidence to suggest they knew of each other’s work; however, in an apparent case of synchronicity, what they were teaching about dreams is markedly similar.  This essay will examine those similarities along with presenting key ideas relating to their understanding of religion and psychology.


Kenosis? What’s That?

“Kenosis” is not a term I’ve ever heard in a Unity church or center.

I’ve heard many people at Unity on the Adkins and South Beach diets mention the term “ketosis” as a part of the two week induction phase of both food plans, but that’s a totally unrelated word.  One letter makes all the difference.

On Sunday, May 16 I delivered a message at First Unity of St. Petersburg entitled “No Complaints, Part 2.”  Rev. Temple delivered the first part on May 9.    My talk is found by clicking “Videos” on the main menu of this blog, and both our talks are available by clicking the First Unity link in this paragraph.  We drew our inspiration from the book Complaint Free Relationships by Unity minister Will Bowen, the originator the Complaint Free World movement whose mission is “to help people affect positive change in their lives by living Complaint Free.”

And really, who wants to listen to whining, griping and complaining?  I don’t – not even my own, which I endeavor to keep to a minimum.

How does this relate to the as-yet undefined term “kenosis”?  Kenosis is a Greek word that means emptiness.  Theologically speaking, its usage is more likely to be found in Eastern, or Orthodox Christianity.  The Orthodox churches, generally known by the country from which they come such as Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc., tend to be more mystical than their Western (Roman Catholic and Prostestant) cousins.

In the Bible, a prime example of kenosis is found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  (BTW, this letter was written by Paul during one of the times he was jailed – most likely in Rome just prior to his death – to the first “Christian” congregation in Europe at Philippi in Greece.  I’ve put quotes around the word Christian because Christianity per se had not been created yet.  Paul was a practicing Jew who had an experience of the risen Christ and wanted to share with the world what that meant to him.)

In Philippians chapter 2:5-8 we read, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.”

Whether or not you agree with Paul’s understanding of the Jesus experience – a subject on which you could write a PhD dissertation – there is something about the notion of “emptying” oneself that stands out to me as a valuable concept.

In Unity, we have key teachings about releasing negativity and limited thinking.  To be brief, we are best able to be of service to God and one another when we are free of limiting, false and error beliefs.  We’re also in a better position to serve when we are not complaining; so in my mind, it is not a much of a stretch to take this mystical concept of kenosis and ask myself (and yourself!) as we live our day-to-day lives, “What needs to be released or eliminated so that I can affect positive change in my life and my world?  Can I empty myself of  griping, whining and limiting beliefs?”  Certainly Jesus did, and the rest, as they say, is history (well, history and faith…)

Let’s go a little further east, because there are parallels (well, at least in my mind) to this concept in other sacred writings.  In the Tao Te Ching, the sacred text of Taoism believed to have been written by a sage named Lao Tzu in the 6th Century b.c.e, the 16th chapter says:

Empty your mind of all thoughts.

Let your heart be at peace.

Watch the turmoil of beings,

but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe

returns to the common source.

Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,

you stumble in confusion and sorrow.

When you realize where you come from,

you naturally become tolerant,

disinterested, amused,

kindhearted as a grandmother,

dignified as a king.

Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,

you can deal with whatever life brings you,

and when death comes, you are ready.

As we empty ourselves of  fears and foreboding, we truly experience “the same mind that was in Christ Jesus” and/or “let our hearts be at peace.”   Meister Eckhardt, the 13th century German mystic said, “God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction.”

Sometimes emptiness is the greatest fullness and in subtracting we are added to.

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“The Devil made me do it!”

Its surprising to me what takes root in young minds.

On television from 1970 to 1974 was a breakthrough comedy program “The Flip Wilson Show.”  I say breakthrough because at that time there were not too many network programs that featured African-Americans.  This one not only featured an African-American, but had content that pushed the envelope in many ways.  Flip’s comedy challenged us (regardless of race) to reconsider what is humorous and why.  He broke down barriers of separation though the tool of humor.  Flip embodied the “Trickster” archetype, also known as the Divine Fool, the archetype that elevates irony to art and in the process teaches deep and profound truth.

One of Flip’s stock characters was a sassy lady named Geraldine Jones who really wasn’t to blame for her behavior because, as she famously said, “the Devil made me do it!“  Even my young mind (I was ages 5-9 when the program was on), doubted the existence of “the Devil,” but I loved Miss Geraldine!

BTW – She also is credited with another famous line, “what you see is what you get!

So what about the Devil?  In Unity we teach that the Devil is a metaphor for our human capacity to think and do  things which are hurtful (or worse!) towards ourselves or others.  The Devil, like the Trickster, is an archetype of consciousness; that is, an energy inherent in everyone.  This doesn’t mean that everyone will do hurtful and mean-spirited things, it simply means that everyone has the capacity or possibility of doing such things.  Rather than seeing the Devil (or Satan) as a deity or power outside of ourselves, we recognize that the stories about the Devil are about the desire people often have to not take responsibility for their own actions.  Or their stories that explain where the temptation to do “the wrong thing” come from.

I hope you enjoy the attached Geraldine Jones clip – and don’t let the Devil talk you into buying clothes you don’t need!

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