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James Dillet Freeman

The "Poet Laureate" of Unity

James Dillet Freeman served Unity School of Christianity, the parent organization of the worldwide Unity movement, as a teacher, writer and speaker. His poetry appeared regularly in Daily Word, Unity's daily devotional magazine and he wrote a monthly article called "Life is a Wonder" for Unity Magazine, a metaphysical journal. and became director of Unity's ministerial training program. He was also an internationally acclaimed poet, author, and lecturer.

Called the "Poet Laureate to the Moon" or "a modern day Ralph Waldo Emerson," James Dillet Freeman was one of the most popular Unity writers of recent times. His poetry has been read by hundreds of millions of people all over the globe..

He had his work taken to the moon twice, a distinction he shares with no other author. His 1941 Prayer for Protection was taken aboard Apollo 11 in July 1969 by Lunar Module pilot Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. Aldrin had the poem with him when he made his historic moonwalk! Two years later, Jim's 1947 poem I Am There went to the moon with Colonel James B. Irwin on Apollo 15. Irwin left a microfilm copy of the poem on the moon.

Born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1912, James Dillet Freeman was of Cherokee, Choctaw, English and Irish descent. He identified himself with his Native American culture. He saw the beliefs of Native Americans to be very similar to metaphysical Christian denominations such as Unity. Jim Freeman moved to Kansas City with his family when he was ten years old. He attended Kansas City public schools and the University of Missouri, where he was graduated with honors in 1932. He began writing verse and by the time he finished college, his poems had been published in national publications.

While still in college,  Freeman was given summer work in 1929 at Unity School by invitation of Unity's co-founder, Myrtle Fillmore. After a year of post-graduate work at the University, he joined the Unity staff on a permanent basis in 1933, serving in the School's prayer ministry as a letter writer.

As the need for trained Unity ministers developed,  Freeman was led in 1946 to organize a training program, which has now become the Unity School for Religious Studies. He served as director of Unity's ministerial training program for twenty years. He was responsible for guiding and training hundreds of Unity ministers now serving Unity churches around the world. In speaking to the question "What does it mean to be a minister? he said: "It means to be God-centered and Human-hearted; to involve yourself in man's humanity and to keep your vision on man's divinity..."

Freeman retired in 1984 from his position as a member of the board of trustees and first vice president of Unity School, which he served for more than fifty years. For thirteen years he served as director of Silent Unity, the worldwide prayer ministry of Unity School that responds to more than three million persons annually. In 1984 he resigned that directorship in order to devote more time to writing and speaking on behalf of the Unity branch of the New Thought movement.

As a poet and author, Freeman inspired millions. He was a modern-day transcendentalist who wrote in the tradition of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. The universal appeal of his work prompted translations in thirteen languages; one book of his poems, What God Is Like, has been translated into Japanese and published in Japan. His work has been published in The New Yorker, Saturday Review, Scientific Monthly, Christian Herald, Good Housekeeping, McCall's, The New York Times, Reader's Digest, and numerous Unity publications.

James Dillet Freeman's books include The Hilltop Heart, The Story of Unity, Be!, What God Is Like, The Case for Reincarnation, and Once Upon a Christmas, all published by Unity Books. Five of his books were published by Doubleday: Happiness Can Be A Habit, Prayer: the Master Key (since republished by Unity), Look with Eyes of Love, The Case for Believing, and Love, Loved, Loving. Rev. Freeman also had one book published by Harper & Row: The Case for Optimism.

Jim Freeman's widest acclaim came from his poetry. It is estimated that published copies of his poems exceed 500 million. His poem, "The Traveler," has been read at more than a million funerals; his "Blessing for a Marriage" at scores of thousands of weddings.

In 1995, "I Am There" was featured on the television program, "Angels II; Beyond the Light," on N.B.C. In talking about the poem, which is probably his best-known work, Freeman said, "Of all the things I have ever written, 'I Am There' has meant the most to the most people. I wrote it in great anguish of spirit, out of a deep personal need. It has been reprinted many times and people have written from all over the world to tell me how much it has meant to them."

Jim Freeman had the unique ability to speak as well as he wrote. He was a dynamic, articulate speaker who was in great demand as a lecturer. Lecture tours took him across the United States many times, to Canada, Europe, and the West Indies. He appeared as a guest on radio and television programs throughout North America.

Some poems by James Dillet Freeman:

"How do I find what life's about
Unless I venture farther out?
Something in me is not content,
Something affirms that I am meant
For more, and so I have to try
And see if somehow I can fly.
Going beyond the edge of things,
I may find out that I have wings,
Though they are of a different kind
Than birds, being mainly in the mind.
Whatever now I seem to be,
Yet more is to be found in me.

Following my Heart

SOMETIMES I can't see clear
The way to go from here,
So then I pause and pray.
Knowing God knows the way,
I throw away the chart
My cautious mind Designed.
And following my heart I just Trust.
And flowing with the flow
I go by letting go,
Believing that God's will
Will bring me to the still
Where I become the Me
God means for me to be.

The Traveler

He has put on invisibility.
Dear Lord, I cannot see---
But this I know although the road ascends
And passes from my sight,
That there will be no night;
That You will take him gently by the hand
And lead him on Along the road of life that never ends,
And he will find it is not death but dawn.
I do not doubt that You are there as here,
And you will hold him dear.
Our life did not begin with birth,
It is not of the earth;
And this that we call death, it is no more
Than the opening and closing of a door---
And in Your house how many rooms must be
Beyond this one where we rest momently.
Dear Lord, I thank you for the faith that frees,
The love that knows it cannot lose its own;
The love that, looking through the shadows, sees
That You and he and I are ever one

Freedom Within

How free the eagle who at height
Of heaven flings himself in flight,
But his high flights has first to start
Not in the sky, but in his heart.
Likewise with me, how shall I find
Freedom if not within my mind,
And learn, as thought by thought I try,
That I may fall, yet I can fly,
and even sometimes rise up free
Beyond the highest heights of me.

By The Sea

When I look at the sea,
there well Sometimes into my mind
Deep thoughts too dear to tell
In words too hard to find.
I stand on the shore and stare,
But the deeps that are the sea
Speak not of deeps out there,
But of the deeps in me.
Then the sea may break on my ear
And tumble and toss in my eyes,
But the deeps I see and hear
Did not on this shore rise.

On Wings of Song

The boughs hang bare when the winter winds blow
But the little birds sing in spite of snow.
I like to believe that I, a man,
Can do as well as a little bird can,
But you have to have faith in the rightness of things
To fling yourself out on feathers and wings,
And sing when there seems to be nothing there
But icy winds and empty air.
Little bird, fly up to the top of the tree of my mind,
And sing your song in me.

If Stones Had Tongues

If Stones should find a tongue,
What would they say to me?
Would they deliver sermons
About tranquility?
I think that being tranquil
Is more than being still,
And so I think their silence
Is not of their free will.
Although stones seem to stay
As in a solemn trance,
I understand their atoms
Perpetually dance.
And so if stones had tongues,
I would not think it strange
If they gave learned lectures
About the joys of change.


I am the Pattern-Maker.
I, God, made a world so infinite
That there is nothing, if you try,
That you may not make out of it.
This is a wonder world;
I wrought It out of nothing and My love,
Yours to reshape it by your thought,
Which is the stuff I made it of.
Love is its secret inmost part,
And you can think and you can feel
And you are mind and you are heart.
Child, only you and I are real.
This world is what it is so you
Can make it beautiful and true.

Do you need Me? I am there

Do you need Me? I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, Yet I am the power at work in your hands
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self,
Can you know Me as I am,
And then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there. Yet I am here. Yet I answer.
When you need Me, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray
Though your faith In Me is unsure,
My faith in you never wavers,
Because I know you, because I love you.
Beloved I am there.

O You who made all that is make, I pray You make me like Yourself. You are the changeless, always changing; the eternal, momently fulfilled; the formless, only glimpsed in forms. You are freedom, yet the order that is indispensable to freedom; law, yet the love that is beyond law; power, yet the peace that is at the center of power. O mind of God, what must the mind be like that thinks suns, porpoises, trees, grasshoppers, moonflowers, comets, rocks, streams, sunsets, human beings! O heart of God, what must the heart be like that circles with its love the unimaginable reaches of the world of space, yet feels a sparrow’s fall! As a grain of dust is the earth, and a breath of air the atmosphere, and a raindrop the waters of the firmament, and a candle the quintessence of light and fire -- so you are in me and I am in You.

Prayer for Protection

The Light of God surrounds Us
The Love of God enfolds Us
The Power of God protects Us
and the Presence of God watches over Us
Where ever we are God is! And all is well!

While James Dillet Freeman worked for Silent Unity and was a writer for the Unity magazine Daily Word for most of his adult life, he proudly proclaimed on many occasions that he had never joined Unity, revelling in his independent nature and personifying a spirit present throughout Unity and the New Thought Movement as a whole.

Freeman's wife Katherine suffered from Alzheimer's disease for many years. Jim Freeman wrote many moving articles about Katherine's battle with the illness. He and Katherine had no children. They had an open marriage and he was a lover to the well known Unity teacher Dr. Alice Cronley.  Jim viewed life as an adventure, one in which people may journey into the deepest valleys and soar to the highest heights.

James Dillet Freeman passed on to a higher plane of experience in April 9, 2003. He was 89 years of age.

The following articles by James Dillet Freeman may be read online:

Answers to your questions about Unity
I Am Filled With Wonder
Life is a Wonder
Help Thou Mine Unbelief

The following MP3 format audio book by James Dillet Freeman is available for immediate download:

Angels Sing in Me: The Best of James Dillet Freeman

The following books by James Dillet Freeman may be ordered using a Credit Card via our association with Amazon.com. Be sure to use the < Back button on your browser after viewing or ordering to enable you to check out the other titles listed on this and our other pages:

Story of Unity
Love Is Strong As Death

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