Okay, I was thrilled to find a gap in the ever evolving matrix of informational glory that is E2, and am going to do my best to help it along. To that end, I'm going to share everyone some of what it is like on the inside of (according to FBI) the nations 3rd largest youth cult of nineteen hundred and eighty three.
Let's see, to begin with, in order to be eligible to participate in the International(so called because of branches forming in far off countries such as Ireland, or Jamaica) Youth of Unity, one must be over the age of 13 or 14, depending on region, though this limit is subject to the occasional bending (or even out and out nepotism) and one must also attend a Unity School of Christianity Church or Temple.
Once in the Y.O.U. you will be welcomed into the group, which usually occurs while the adults have their service. The lessons are times to discuss what is happening in your life. The main thrust however is the five core beliefs of Unity. These include the following:
1) The divinity of Man - Man was made by god to be as god, co-creators of the world around.
2) Prayer and Meditation
3) Denial and Affirmation - This is utilising the law of mind action in it's most powerful form, the belief in the innate ability of humanity to attract what it wants or repel from it's life what it does not.
4) God, The Source- The belief in a single diety, omnipresent, omnipotent, God the Good. (A quick note to those not sharing Semitic centered beliefs, this is the same god as all other Judeo-Christian-Islamic sects, YHVH the tetragrammaton.)
5) Demonstration- Works are more important than words, apply yo' self.
So, all this is well and good, but what are the perks, shaky, get to the perks. Well, here it goes.
One word. Rallies.
What's a rally? Well, it's a gathering, a confabulation of all the Y.O.U. groups that can scrape up the funding to cart their group to another's hometown. At these get togethers, life is beautiful. It can be quite intoxicating to be in a group so open and embracing of almost anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, race or social status.
I would be lying if I didn't tell you that cliques do exist there, as everywhere, and that it is possible to go through one being a complete social hermit. I know, I've done it n.n However, the spirtual high available is like no drug I've ever done. There are of course ground rules, just common sense stuff. No nookie and no violence, no drugs, at all, even tobacco, even if you are over 18 (this also includes the adult sponsors.)
What occurs? Lectures on the rallies theme, workshops for large and small groups, family groups, in which people from different areas are forced to knit together, or lovingly coaxed into one, through a series of trust exercises and openness. Participation is not mandatory, but situations like this can be rich with peer pressure, (perhaps positive). Hymns are sung, some peaceful others firery and ardent, interspersed with fun nonsense songs. At some, you have the oppurtunity to Sufi dance, something which is incredibly rejuvenating, spirtually, and quite fun, if you are able to let down your guard.
Something immensely freeing, and a great deal of fun is a period of time called 'The Silence'During this time, usually after a dinner, but well before bed time, the group is led into a meditation, and then afterwards, expected to keep silent until after the next days breakfast is had and silence broken, officially.
One of the best perks to my mind is the warm fuzzy, essentially a deepened hug, where one inhales as another inhales, holding them gently and acceptingly (or as is often the case in a guy on guy fuzzy, roughly and acceptingly) exhaling as they do. This is repeated three times, and then you look into each others eyes, as if to re-establish the bond, to remind you that each of you is divine.
It is a very touchy feely group, but that meshes well with me.