In his book, The Universe is Calling, Eric Butterworth leads us on a “deeper dive” in the principle of affirmative prayer, especially its divine power to transform not only our own lives, but also, transform the world around us.
Butterworth reminds us, “The great power of a church congregation is not in the music and sermons of the services.” Nor, he continues, is it to be found in the “words exchanged in the group.” Rather, in order to find this great power, Butterworth encourages us to look deeper into the mystical process that he calls “the power of the swarm.”
The Power Of The Swarm
Have you ever observed the formation patterns of a flock of birds in flight? Or, a school of fish swimming together as if one body, changing speeds or directions in sync, energetically connected by a transcendent force of natural energy? When you witness this phenomena in nature, have you ever wondered what is it that enables their ability to move through the air or water with such ease and power? If you’re like me, chances are you have at one time or another.
This natural phenomena is the “power of the swarm” to which Butterworth is referring. As the individuals join into the pattern, they become part of a new form, an instinctively occurring wave of natural intelligence. Behind the appearance of this synchronous wave, there is a mystical, divine power that is orchestrating the transformation. Seems to happen so effortlessly in nature. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it happened as naturally and effortlessly in our human communities?
The Union Of The Group Soul
Butterworth states, “When a group, large or small, comes together in a commitment of spiritual union (or communion), that group becomes a group soul.” This union of souls is a co-created consciousness to which each person both gives and receives creative energy. This group soul, Butterworth explains, has its “needs.” In turn, the group soul also contains the “answers to its needs, which include all the needs of the people involved.”
As I was reading Butterworth’s writing, it reminded me of our group soul, here at Unity Church of the Hills. Thinking of the creative intelligence that underlies all natural phenomena, both deepened and expanded my understanding of how a “collective” or group soul, experiences Unity.
Communion In A Union Of Souls
Butterworth suggests that the only thing required of us as individuals is a willingness to release and let go of the “smaller, limited self,” to trust the natural process and to humbly let ourselves be merged into the group energy of a higher collective consciousness. I believe it is absolutely possible for us to experience this union of souls right here in our own church community. In truth, it is one of the primary reasons we are even attracted to gather in this way. To be individually immersed into a group energy that uplifts and sustains us all is wired into our being.
As a service to the community, our prayer chaplains enter the sanctuary to hold space for the group soul, to set the prayerful intention that all who enter are welcome, loved, and accepted. Everyone is invited to join this holy space that we co-create together. As they accept the invitation, they add their energy and intention to the group soul. As members of the group, we enter into an agreement in consciousness to release any limiting thought or belief that may be holding us back from expanding our own capacity for love and acceptance. As we practice this intention, we open ourselves to new possibilities in our own lives, and, by extension, into the community of our group soul. As we do, we feel and experience our energetic connection to the group soul, and it begins to flow freely throughout our being, both empowering our own lives and expanding the potential for the group soul.
Calling Forth The Group Soul
Through the power of our individual and collective prayers, we call forth into existence the soul of this spiritual body known as Unity Church of the Hills. This spiritual body includes us all. Not only those of us physically here at this present time, but also those we bring here by holding them in our thoughts, those who join us beyond the sanctuary, even those who have been part of this community in the past, and those who will come in the future.
In Unity, we teach that there is only “One Power and One Presence” perpetually active and everywhere present at all times, in all circumstances. In affirmative prayer and meditation, we align ourselves in consciousness to that “One Power and One Presence.” In this prayerful space, we merge with the divine, tapping into the full potential of the creative power and presence available to us always, in all ways. By focusing our own intention for both giving and receiving, we not only find our own individual needs being met, but we also witness the needs of others being met within our own community, and ultimately in the larger world as well
In Unity, You Never Pray Alone
Unity was founded on the principle of affirmative prayer. Silent Unity has been actively practicing affirmative prayer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for over 125 years now. It is helpful to know this and to maintain an awareness of the continuous, ongoing activity of affirmative prayer that Silent Unity expresses into the world. Why? Because every time you pray, wherever you are in the world, your own individual prayers join into the prayer activity of this “swarm” of affirmative prayers.
By aligning your own affirmative prayer consciousness with the ongoing prayer activity of Silent Unity as you pray, you bring your prayer power to the larger group soul beyond Unity Church of the Hills. In turn, you are supported by the ongoing, collective power of prayerful energy that Unity has been expressing into the world for over 125 years.
Through the collective power of Unity prayer, we all give and receive support. All the answers we need in any area of our lives can be found right here, within our own group soul at Unity Church of the Hills, and in the larger world through Silent Unity. It really is true. In Unity, you never really pray alone.
Thank you Sandra for the review and exploration of “The Universe is Calling”, by Eric Butterworth. Very timely. I’m in my newbie weeks with UCOH and just now with your writing having an “Ah Ha” moment to be able to name experiencing “the power of the group soul or swarm” as also referenced. I felt pulled to walked down after yesterday’s service to compliment Susan on her wonderful musical service (having just met her in Path Class) and was looking towards how I would find more of Celebration’s music? While I was tentative and cautiously open to thank those in her mini musical swarm who were still around, it became evident to me that I had come upon a small gathering of 3 – having a private and touching moment. In my stillness to honor their space, they paused to introduce themselves, my eyes in turn wet became wet with the empathy I saw and felt energetically, in theirs. For me this was yet another out of body experience as I tried to graciously wish them well as I departed. The soft touch of the group soul spiritual exchange so far, manifests itself in me as this out of body experience and I’d like to ask of you and any others who may read this, of how it shows up for them? Namaste ~ Marcy
Thank you for your comments, Marcy.
What a beautiful way to described your experience! Our body’s ability to “take in information” beyond what is available through the visual cortex of the brain has been well documented. We may experience it as “chills” or a “knowing”, a form of “extra-sensory” mode of perception. I know I have experienced it as “awe” when entering a cathedral, for instance, or close to a large body of water, or mountain. The feeling of expansion is transcendent. That is a vibrational frequency and space that is always there, ready for me to “tune in” to receive it.