EDGAR CAYCE (1877-1945)


The Akashic Records
Ancient Civilizations, Atlantis and Egypt
Dreams and Dream Interpretation
Extra Sensory Perception
Health, Healing, and Wellness
The Importance of Ideals
Meditation
Oneness
Principles of Healing
Prophecy, Earth Changes, and the Millennium
Psychic Developments: Benefits and Cautions
Reincarnation: Have We Lived Before?
Soul Mates


For most of his adult life, Edgar Cayce was able to provide intuitive insights into nearly any question imaginable. When individuals came to him with a question, he would place himself into a sleep-induced sleep state. While in that state he could respond to virtually any question asked. His responses have come to be called "readings". Today his psychic readings constitute one of the largest and most impressive records of intuitive information to emanate from a single individual.

Cayce was born on a farm near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. At an early age he gave evidence of his budding talent: he was able to master his school lessons by sleeping on his books. At the age of twenty-one he developed a gradual throat paralysis which threatened the loss of his voice. When doctors were unable to find a cause for his condition, Cayce entered the same hypnotic sleep that had enabled him to learn his school lessons years before. In that state, he was able to recommend a cure which successfully repaired his throat muscles and restored his voice. It was soon discovered that he could do the same for others.

For many years the information dealt mainly with medical problems. Eventually the scope of his readings expanded to include such topics as meditation, dreams, reincarnation, and prophecy. The transcripts have provided the basis for over 300 popular books about Cayce's work.

Cayce would eventually give over 14,000 readings on more than 10,000 different topics to people all over the world. These readings continue to be researched and written about over half a century after his death and are available to students, writers, researchers, medical professionals, and A.R.E. members the world over.


The Akashic Records

It is no exaggeration to state that the computer has transformed (and is still in the process of transforming) the entire planet. Whether it's technology, transportation, communication, education, or entertainment, the computer age has revolutionized the globe and the ways in which we understand and interact with one another. No segment of modern society has gone unaffected. The amount of information now stored in computer memory and crossing the internet highway daily is literally unfathomable. And yet, this vast complex of computer systems and collective databases cannot begin to come close to the power, the memory, or the omniscient recording capacity of the Akashic Records.

For ease of understanding, the Akashic Records or "The Book of Life" can be equated to the universe's super computer system. It is this system that acts as the central storehouse of all information for every individual who has ever lived upon the earth. More than just a reservoir of events, the Akashic Records contain every deed, word, feeling, thought, and intent that has ever occurred at any time in the history of the world. Much more than simply a memory storehouse, however, these Akashic Records are interactive in that they have a tremendous influence upon our everyday lives, our relationships, our feelings and belief systems, and the potential realities we draw toward us.

The Akashic Records contain the entire history of every soul since the dawn of Creation. These records connect each one of us to one another. They contain the stimulus for every archetypal symbol or mythic story which has ever deeply touched patterns of human behavior and experience. They have been the inspiration for dreams and invention. They draw us toward or repel us from one another. They mold and shape levels of human consciousness. They are a portion of Divine Mind. They are the unbiased judge and jury that attempt to guide, educate, and transform every individual to become the very best that she or he can be. They embody an ever-changing fluid array of possible futures that are called into potential as we humans interact and learn from the data that has already been accumulated.

Information about these Akashic Records -- this Book of Life -- can be found in folklore, in myth, and throughout the Old and New Testaments. It is traceable at least as far back as the Semitic peoples and includes the Arabs, the Assyrians, the Phoenicians, the Babylonians, and the Hebrews. Among each of these peoples was the belief that there was in existence some kind of celestial tablets which contained the history of humankind as well as all manner of spiritual information.

The first reference in scripture to some unearthly volume is found in Exodus 32:32. After the Israelites had committed a most grievous sin by worshipping the golden calf, it was Moses who pleaded on their behalf, even offering to take full responsibility and have his own name stricken "out of thy book which thou hast written" in recompense for their deed. Later, in the Old Testament, we learn that there is nothing about an individual that is not known in this same book. In Psalm 139, David makes reference to the fact God has written down everything about him and all the details of his life -- even that which is imperfect and those deeds which have yet to be performed.

For many individuals this Book of Life is simply an imagery symbol of those destined for heaven and has its roots in the custom of recording genealogical records of names or perhaps early census taking. Traditional religion suggests that this book -- either in literal or symbolic form -- contains the names of all those who are worthy of salvation. The book is to be opened in connection with divine judgment (Dan 7:10, Rev. 20:12). In the New Testament, those redeemed by Christ are contained within the book (Philippians 4), those not found in the book of life will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.

As an interesting corollary, in the ancient world, a man's name was symbolic of his existence. According to Sir James George Frazer, author of The Golden Bough -- one of the most extensive volumes on world mythology -- there was such a bond between a man's name and his existence "that magic may be wrought on a man just as easily as through his name as through his hair, his nails, or any other material part of his person." In ancient Egypt, to blot a man's name out of a record was equivalent to destroying the fact that the man had ever even existed.

Closer to our current era, a great deal of contemporary information on the Akashic Records has been made available by both reputable psychics and modern-day mystics -- individuals who have somehow perceived beyond the limits of three dimensions. According to H.P. [Helena Petrovna] Blavatsky (1831-1891), Russian immigrant, mystic, and founder of the Theosophical Society, the Akashic Records are much more than simply an account of static data which may be gleaned by a sensitive. Instead, the records have an ongoing creative stimulus upon the present:

Akasha is one of the cosmic principles and is a plastic matter, creative in its physical nature, immutable in its higher principles. It is the quintessence of all possible forms of energy, material, psychic, or spiritual; and contains within itself the germs of universal creation, which sprout forth under the impulse of the Divine Spirit. Alchemy and the Secret Doctrine

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the Austrian-born philosopher, educator, and founder of the Anthroposophical Society possessed the ability to perceive information beyond the material world: a "spiritual world" which was just as real to him as the physical world was to others. Steiner claimed that the ability to perceive this other world could be developed, enabling an individual to see events and information every bit as concrete as the present:

...man can penetrate to the eternal origins of the things which vanish with time. A man broadens his power of cognition in this way if he is no longer limited to external evidence where knowledge of the past is concerned. Then he can see in events what is not perceptible to the senses, that part which time cannot destroy. He penetrates from transitory to non-transitory history. It is a fact that this history is written in other characters than is ordinary history. In gnosis and in theosophy it is called the "Akasha Chronicle"...To the uninitiated, who cannot yet convince himself of the reality of a separate spiritual world through his own experience, the initiate easily appears to be a visionary, if not something worse. The one who has acquired the ability to perceive in the spiritual world comes to know past events in their eternal character. They do not stand before him like the dead testimony of history, but appear in full life. In a certain sense, what has happened takes place before him. Cosmic Memory

In terms of contemporary insights, perhaps the most extensive source of information regarding the Akashic Records comes from the clairvoyant work of Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), Christian mystic and founder of the A.R.E., Inc. For forty-three years of his adult life, Edgar Cayce possessed the uncanny ability to lie down on a couch, close his eyes, fold his hands over his stomach, and put himself into some kind of an altered state in which virtually any type of information was available. The accuracy of Cayce's psychic work is evidenced by approximately one dozen biographies and literally hundreds of titles which explore various aspects of his information and the thousands of topics he discussed.

When asked about the source of his information, Cayce replied that there were essentially two. The first was the subconscious mind of the individual for whom he was giving the reading and the second was the Akashic Records. In further describing these records, Cayce stated:

Upon time and space is written the thoughts, the deeds, the activities of an entity - as in relationships to its environs, its hereditary influence; as directed - or judgment drawn by or according to what the entity's ideal is. Hence, as it has been oft called, the record is God's book of remembrance; and each entity, each soul - as the activities of a single day of an entity in the material world - either makes same good or bad or indifferent, depending upon the entity's application of self towards that which is the ideal manner for the use of time, opportunity and the EXPRESSION of that for which each soul enters a material manifestation. The interpretation then as drawn here is with the desire and hope that, in opening this for the entity, the experience may be one of helpfulness and hopefulness. Edgar Cayce reading #1650-1

Most often, when giving a reading which discussed a person's soul history and their individual sojourn through space and time, Cayce would begin with a statement such as "Yes, we have before us the records of the entity now known or called _________." In discussing the process for accessing these records, Edgar Cayce described his experience as follows:

I see myself as a tiny dot out of my physical body, which lies inert before me. I find myself oppressed by darkness and there is a feeling of terrific loneliness. Suddenly, I am conscious of a white beam of light. As this tiny dot, I move upward following the light, knowing that I must follow it or be lost. As I move along this path of light I gradually become conscious of various levels upon which there is movement. Upon the first levels there are vague, horrible shapes, grotesque forms such as one sees in nightmares. Passing on, there begin to appear on either side misshapen forms of human beings with some part of the body magnified. Again there is change and I become conscious of gray-hooded forms moving downward. Gradually, these become lighter in color. Then the direction changes and these forms move upward and the color of the robes grows rapidly lighter. Next, there begin to appear on either side vague outlines of houses, walls, trees, etc., but everything is motionless. As I pass on, there is more light and movement in what appear to be normal cities and towns. With the growth of movement I become conscious of sounds, at first indistinct rumblings, then music, laughter, and singing of birds. There is more and more light, the colors become very beautiful, and there is the sound of wonderful music. The houses are left behind, ahead there is only a blending of sound and color. Quite suddenly I come upon a hall of records. It is a hall without walls, without ceiling, but I am conscious of seeing an old man who hands me a large book, a record of the individual for whom I seek information. Case #294-19 Report File

Once given the record, Cayce had the ability to select the information which would be most capable of assisting the individual at that time in their life. Frequently, a reading might suggest that only a selection of the available material was being provided, but that the individual was being given that which would be "most helpful and hopeful." Additional insights were frequently provided in subsequent readings once an individual had attempted to work with and apply the information which had been given previously.

As a means of perhaps alluding to the fact that the Akashic Records were not simply a transcription of the past but included the present, the future, and certain probabilities, as well, in reading #304-5, Cayce began the reading with the curious statement:

Yes, we have the body here, and the record as has been made and as may be made with the will as exercised, and the condition irrespective of the will's influence or effect as has been created. We have conditions that might have been, that are, and that may be. Do not get the three mixed up or crossed purposes of either. Case #294-19 Report File

When discussing the Book of Life, Cayce stated it that it was "the record of God, of thee, thy soul within and the knowledge of same" (#281-33). On another occasion (case #2533-8), Cayce was asked to explain the difference between the Book of Life and the Akashic Records:

Q. [What is meant by] The Book of Life? A. The record that the individual entity itself writes upon the skein of time and space, through patience -- and is opened when self has attuned to the infinite, and may be read by those attuning to that consciousness... Q. The Book of God's Remembrances? A. This is the Book of Life. Q. The Akashic Records? A. Those made by the individual, as just indicated. Case #294-19 Report File

The Edgar Cayce readings suggest that each of us writes the story of our lives through our thoughts, our deeds, and our interactions with the rest of Creation. This information has an effect upon us in the here and now. In fact, the Akashic Records have such an impact upon our lives and the potentials and probabilities we draw toward us that any exploration of them cannot help but provide us with insights into the nature of ourselves and our relationship to the universe.

There is much more to our lives, our histories, and our individual influence upon our tomorrows than we have perhaps dared to imagine. By accessing information from the Akashic Records, the universe's computer database, much might be revealed to us. The world as we have collectively perceived it is but a faint shadow of Reality.


Ancient Civilizations, Atlantis and Egypt

The Edgar Cayce material provides a number of fascinating glimpses into epochs of human history. For many individuals, perhaps two of the most notable periods discussed by the Cayce readings are those which deal with the ancient civilizations of Atlantis and Egypt.

Hundreds of readings discuss the lost continent of Atlantis -- a civilization which was one of the most advanced that the world would ever know. According to the readings, records of this society exist to this day in Egypt, the Yucatan, and near Bimini. In fact, the readings considered the Bimini Islands the remnant of a mountain range from this once-massive continent.

From Cayce's perspective, much of modern-day technology is simply the rediscovering of knowledge and information possessed by the Atlantean culture. Yet, although the Atlanteans were advanced technologically, many of the people lost their sense of purpose by becoming too attached to power and the material world. In time, this once spiritual populace became fractured into two distinct groups: the Children of the Law of One and the Sons of Belial. Those of the Law of One carried on the spiritual tradition of their forefathers, while the Sons of Belial became engrossed with satisfying their physical appetites and desires. This split would eventually lead to the continent's downfall and eventual destruction.

Essentially, by focusing upon materiality and ignoring their true spiritual nature, the people brought upon themselves a series of three cataclysms. The first, about 50,000 years B.C., destroyed their major power source. The second, about 28,500 B.C., caused the continent to break into three smaller islands: Poseidia, Og, and Aryan. The third and final destruction -- which is the one mentioned by Plato -- occurred about 10,500 B.C. and caused the three islands to sink, forcing those who survived to migrate to other parts of the world.

In fact, prior to the final destruction of Atlantis, many of the Atlanteans migrated to Egypt and were absorbed into a culture that reached its height of glory at about the same time as the third Atlantean cataclysm. Under the direction of a High Priest named Ra Ta, Egypt would begin to lead the world in social programs aimed at equality, personal transformation, and moral responsibility to others. Eventually, the Egyptian civilization would be considered unsurpassed in the scientific history of the world and be given credit for introducing the world to writing, medical science, irrigation, architecture, and nationalism.

Cayce stated that records of this once glorious civilization would one day be discovered in Egypt. In addition, the readings suggest that between 1958 and 1998 the world would again be presented with many of the same opportunities and challenges that faced the Atlanteans, eventually requiring humankind to remember its true spiritual nature as we head toward a new millenium of peace and hope.


Dreams and Dream Interpretation

The Edgar Cayce readings tell us that dreams have been given to us for our benefit. Because we are spiritual beings, we have the potential to experience many different levels of awareness while in the dream state from which we may gain insights about all aspects of our life: physical, mental, and spiritual.

Dreams can help us diagnose health problems, encourage us in the decisions we make, or reprimand us for negative behavior in our relationships. They can be instructive and practical, lighthearted fun or spiritually uplifting, depending on what we need most at a given time. Even major life issues are addressed in dreams; in fact, nothing of importance happens to us without it first having been foreshadowed in our dreams.

Although dreams often contain symbols of a universal or archetypical nature with similar meanings in diverse cultures, the Cayce readings stress the highly individual nature of dreams. It is frequently mentioned that each person is his or her own best dream interpreter, even though outside feedback can certainly be valuable.

In order to begin utilizing our dream insights fully, it is necessary to be consistent in recording them each day. No matter how little an individual recalls of a dream, it is important to write down any impression that comes to mind upon awakening. Next, look at the dream from different levels: job, health, interpersonal relationships, and any circumstance currently being dealt with in waking life.

Once a correlation has been made to an actual situation, the dreamer may decide upon a course of action in order to make use of the dream insight. Perhaps a change in attitude is required, or maybe circumstances can be seen from a new perspective and the individual decides to take a different approach to the issue. Once the dreamer arrives at a basic understanding of the dream and takes some action based on that information, then a growth process begins which allows the dreamer to reach a deeper and clearer level of insight from which to proceed.

There is a vast resource of information available through the Cayce readings on how to effectively interpret dreams. Excellent materials can be found in Cayce-related books, Circulating Files, audio- and videotapes, and at A.R.E. seminars and conferences as well. The study of dreams can help us develop to our highest potential. The rewards of that endeavor are well worth our time and effort.


Extra Sensory Perception

ESP is the ability to receive or send information not using the five senses of : sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. The five categories of ESP are:

Telepathy-- mind-to-mind communication Clairvoyance-- the ability to see events or objects through an inner sight Precognition-- the ability to view events before they occur Retrocognition-- the ability to see past events Psychometry -- the ability to learn the history of an object; similar in nature to retrocognition, but limited to the events surrounding a particular object.

Cayce claimed that everyone was psychic to some degree, because psychic activity was a "natural ability of the soul." The readings suggest that we should seek psychic experiences not for the sake of having them, but for our own spiritual growth or for being of service to others.


Health, Healing, and Wellness

In the 1920s and 1930s, long before traditional medicine began examining the impact the mind has on physical health, America's "sleeping psychic" Edgar Cayce was laying the groundwork for one of the most fascinating truths presented in the twentieth century: What one thinks and feels emotionally will find expression in the physical body. Mental patterns can have a direct impact upon good physical health or disease. The mind, Cayce asserted, is a powerful tool in creating health and wellness.

Nearly seventy percent of the 14,000 psychic readings Cayce gave are concerned with the diagnosing of disease and the outlining of treatment. These readings are still being studied in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Many people who came to Cayce in the early part of this century came to him as a last resort: most patients had been diagnosed as "incurable" not only by private physicians, but by renowned medical institutions around the U.S. While Cayce himself had no medical training or education, when in a self-induced sleep, his unconscious mind seemed to tap an endless reservoir of helpful physical information. He could accurately diagnose illness in and prescribe treatment for people he had never met nor seen.

The information from the readings on health includes simple suggestions that each of us can do to stay well. The nature of many of these recommendations indicates that Cayce's understanding of physical care was really ahead of its time. These basic principles include such items as maintaining a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, the role of attitudes and emotions, the importance of relaxation and recreation, and keeping our physical bodies cleansed-- both on the outside and the inside. Cayce's approach to staying well had its roots in health maintenance and preventive medicine rather than in the treatment of illnesses as they arose. Yet, his contribution to healing and physical well-being was not limited solely to proper diet and regular exercise.

The readings make recommendations for a variety of health concerns-- from acne, diet, cancer, arthritis, mental illness, and psoriasis. Nearly every condition that existed between 1901 and 1945-- whether it was childbirth, fractures, or vitamin deficiency-- is represented in the files of the Cayce material. Interestingly, modern-day researchers have found that many of the recommended treatments, given to specific individuals, seem to be applicable today on a much wider scale. Two notable examples of this are psoriasis and scleroderma. For both of these diseases, the Cayce regimen involved specific diets, chiropractic medicine, and other natural remedies procedures. In recent years hundreds of people with these two ailments have been helped by following a similar program.

Cayce also saw total health as involving coordination among the physical, mental, and spiritual components of life. Any complete approach to health needed to consider an individual's entire being rather than simply the illness. Because of this concept, it has been said that the beginnings of present-day holistic health started from the readings of Edgar Cayce.

Information contained in the readings are available in the Circulating Files, which are verbatim readings and readings extracts arranged by topic. Some of the medical files include a physician's commentary, which provides additional information for any medical professional who may wish to implement the treatment prescribed by the readings.


The Importance of Ideals

All of us, at different periods in our lives, struggle with what we should be doing, where we should be going, or how we might possibly fill that special niche which God has in mind for us. We often find ourselves searching for something, although we often remain unsure as to what it is. Perhaps one of the most frequently mentioned principles in the Edgar Cayce readings is the concept of "ideals," and it's that very same principle that can provide us with an approach to answering this inner call.

Because the readings recommend writing down our ideals, physically, mentally, and spiritually, too often we may believe this approach is one in which we complete a one-time assignment, filling in columns or jotting down notes that are never again wrestled with once set on paper. And yet, Cayce made it clear that the importance of working with ideals should become a frequent activity in our lives -- one in which we're challenged, encouraged, even prodded to begin a personal masterpiece at a soul level. From this approach, the readings' insights on ideals can provide much assistance in helping us to manifest in our lives the very best we have to offer our world, our God, and ourselves.

In simplest terms an ideal is the motivating influence that undergirds the intentionality of why we do what we do. It is like a North Star that guides us in the dark of night -- allowing us to focus upon the direction toward which we wish to be headed. Whereas a "goal" is something attainable, in Cayce's terminology an "ideal" is really a motivating pattern that guides our lives. It's not something we're going to pick up and fondle like a prized object, rather it's more like the rays of the sun that can warm our face as we're pointed towards it -- you can't help but know when you're looking at it head on!

What may be surprising from the readings perspective, however, is that everyone works with ideals, even if it's unconscious. For example, in reading #1011-1 the person was told, "Each individual entity, whether aware of same or not, sets before self an ideal in the material world, in the mental world, in the spiritual world." Another individual was told that the reason he had so many problems and so much confusion in his own life was because he had never really established a conscious ideal (case #323). He often felt like he was in a state of confusion simply because the ideal he had established (to be sure, unconsciously) was that of a "wanderer." He was encouraged to make a conscious choice and to begin to work with it, because what an individual dwells upon they become.

Since ideals shape our very lives, our experiences, even who we're becoming, then, by definition, they must be EXTREMELY important. But Cayce goes even one step further. Oftentimes, people were told: "Then the more important, the most important experience of this or any individual entity is to first know what is the ideal -- spiritually." (357-13) Not only is it very important, it is the most important thing we can do.

How Can I Work with Ideals? The challenge of working with ideals seems to be one where we're encouraged to move beyond simply a personal intellectual exercise to one where we're able to strategically map out how our ideal will affect our interaction with others, ourselves, even our surroundings:

First, know thy ideal -- spiritually, mentally, materially. Not so much as to what you would like others to be, but what may be your ideal relationships to others! For he that is the greatest is the servant of all -- as the law of cause and effect. Reading 1998-1

Many individuals have found that the key to making a spiritual ideal practical in their material lives is to work with a frequently mentioned concept in the Cayce readings: "Spirit is the Life; Mind is the Builder; and the Physical is the result."

The first step is to take a sheet of paper, draw three columns and label the first, "My Spiritual Ideal"; label the second, "My Mental Attitudes"; and label the third, "My Physical Activities." Although we're encouraged to choose a challenging spiritual ideal, it's recommended that the spiritual ideal we choose be something we can understand, work with, and see progressively manifesting in our lives.

Ultimately, a spiritual ideal is the highest "spiritual" quality or attainment that we could hope to have motivating us in our lives right now. For some, this might be the pattern set by Jesus, for others it might be a quality such as "love." In order to really begin working with ideals, however, we should choose that quality or attribute that is currently missing or lacking in our own life in our relationships with others. For example, perhaps we may find that we need to be more "patient" or more "forgiving" or more "understanding" in our interaction with other people. Ideals grow and change as we do, so it's important to pick something that we can really begin to work with.

For this column exercise, let's say that our spiritual ideal is currently going to be "forgiveness," so forgiveness would be written under the first column labeled, "My Spiritual Ideal."

Under the second column, we need to begin listing "My Mental Attitudes," those attitudes which will help build that spirit of forgiveness into our relationships with others and with ourselves. Perhaps we'll decide "Compassion" is an attitude we want to work toward in relation to a frustrating parent; maybe "Openness" is the mental attitude we want to begin holding in mind in regards to a child with whom we've been having difficulty; and possibly "Patience" best describes that attitude we need to use with ourselves. Our ideals' chart should list all the people in our lives with whom we need to exercise this spiritual ideal of forgiveness, and we should have a positive mental attitude suggesting how we'll begin working with each one.

The third column is the most detailed. It's the one place we can write out all those physical activities we'll begin doing in relationship to specific individuals. "My Physical Activities" should simply reflect the mental attitudes we're holding in relationship to our spiritual ideal. For example, with the case of ourselves and the mental attitude of "Patience," perhaps each of the following would be appropriate activities to help "build" that same attitude: "stop saying (or even thinking) 'I can't'," "make a list of every instance where I have been forgiven for something," "begin praying that I will have the determined endurance to go forward," etc. Each attitude and person should have next to it a list of multiple activities with which we'll be working. Our activities can map out ways to bring this spiritual ideal into the material world.

We'll know that progress has been made with our spiritual ideal when the mental attitude on the ideals' sheet becomes our usual state of mind and the physical activity listed becomes our automatic and natural response. As we really begin to work with ideals, making them a part of who we are, we can then choose a more challenging direction...a brighter North Star toward which we can point our lives. The important thing is to work with our ideals, for by working with them we'll discover what it is we should be doing, and we'll no longer have to concern ourselves with the timing:

Wherever you are! Whether in Hartford or Sing Sing, or Kalamazoo or Timbuktu, it's one and the same! The Lord is God of the universe, wherever thou art! For each soul finds self in that place which it occupies in the present only by the grace of God. Then use that today, that period. If it is used properly, then the next is pointed out. Reading 3356-1

Ideals Change and Grow as We Do As we work with ideals we'll discover that they need to be fine-tuned, becoming even more challenging with the passage of time. As an example, if one of our ideals is "gentleness of speech" we would continue to work with it -- even across the breakfast table -- until it became a part of us. Once our conversation began to match up with "gentleness of speech" we might reword our ideal to "friendliness." Then, friendliness would be the spiritual ideal we'd attempt to manifest in our experiences with others through our mental attitudes and our physical activities. Eventually, we might find that we've grappled with "gentleness of speech," "friendliness," and a dozen others successfully that are all dealing with some aspect of "service" or "improving relationships" or "unconditional love." Each one of our smaller ideals is a portion of something greater we wish to become, but is perhaps out of our immediate reach in the very beginning.

Ultimately, There is One Ideal Although the readings encourage us to "choose a personal ideal," they also assert that "there is only one Ideal." One individual was told "There is one way, but there are many paths." (3083-1) In essence, what this suggests is that each of us is moving toward an "ultimate ideal." Whether we want to label that ideal "perfection" or the "Christ Consciousness" or "God Consciousness" or whatever term with which we're personally most comfortable, the ultimate ideal is the highest spiritual attainment possible. However, each of our smaller ideals (such as "love" or "service" or "kindness") can really serve as steps or building blocks toward that highest ideal.

Ideas vs. Ideals Although each of us might have different ideas, plans, or goals about how things should be done, the readings advise that -- in spite of all our differences -- we can share a common why. Even during the turmoil and international chaos of the 1930's, the readings gave a "prescription" that could serve to bring all of humanity together -- in spite of the fact that each nation had different ideas, Cayce suggested the world could share a common ideal. That ideal was his "answer to the world":

The world as a world...has lost its ideal. Man may not have the same idea. Man -- all men -- may have the same IDEAL!...that can only come with all having the one ideal; not the one idea, but 'Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart, thy neighbor as thyself!' This [is] the whole law, this [is] the whole answer to the world, to each and every soul. That is the answer to world conditions as they exist today. Reading 3976-8

Repeatedly, the readings encourage us to become aware of what we are building within ourselves because ultimately we'll have the chance to meet it. As we work with a conscious ideal, not only is our direction made more clear, but the ideal becomes a living, breathing portion of who we are at a soul level. An ideal is like a personal tapestry that we create one stitch at a time. It can be worked with and ironed out and toiled over until the end result is something we can proudly share in our interactions with others. Each of us has the opportunity to consciously decide who we wish to become as well as how long it's going to take us to get there.


Meditation

Although meditation has long been a practice in the East, it wasn't until the sixties that it gained any notoriety in the West. Today, clinical research has proven that meditation is effective on an individual's overall health and well-being, and many physicians now recommend it as a way of helping their patients learn to lower their blood pressure. Interestingly enough, even decades before the meditation craze in the sixties, Edgar Cayce was recommending meditation. More than just physical well-being, his approach to meditation also emphasized mental and spiritual benefits.

Meditation promotes coordination at three levels: physically, we begin to relax; mentally, our busied thoughts become quiet and focused; and, spiritually, we get re-energized and are able to deal more lovingly and effectively with the people and events around us. By following a few simple steps, anyone can learn to meditate, and even beginners may experience the calming effects of a few moments of purposeful silence.

If you would like to try to meditate, start by getting into a comfortable position. It's probably best to sit in a chair, keep your spine straight, your feet flat on the floor, and your eyes closed. Find a comfortable position for your hands, placed either in your lap or at your sides. Slowly take a few deep breaths and begin to relax. Inhale the air deep into your lungs, hold it for a moment, then slowly exhale. With your mind, search your body for any obvious tension or tight muscles. You can try to relieve the tension by deep breathing, imagining that the area is relaxed, or by gently massaging any tightness with your fingertips. When you have finished becoming comfortable and relaxed, then you are ready to move on.

Next, focus your mind on one, single, peaceful, calming thought. Instead of thinking about what went on at work, or what has to be done with the remainder of your day, try focusing on a thought such as "God is love" or "I am at peace." You can use any spiritual prayer or thought which is meaningful to you. These thoughts are also called "affirmations." The first way to work with an affirmation is to try to clear your mind of everything else.

Actually, from Cayce's perspective, there are two stages to meditation. The first stage involves thinking about the words of your affirmation. In one of the examples cited above, you would think about the words God is love. After a few moments of thinking the words, you should be able to move into the second stage, which is feeling the meaning behind those words. For example, you can say the words "God is love"; however, the feeling of those words can be much more powerful than the actual words themselves. It's like the difference between thinking the words, "I love my children" and experiencing the actual feeling behind those words.

Once you begin to feel the meaning of the affirmation, you should attempt to hold this feeling in silent attention. Gently bring your focus back to the words of the affirmation every time your mind starts to wander. That is to say, first begin thinking of the words of the affirmation, then try to concentrate on the feeling behind them. Don't let yourself become discouraged when you find yourself thinking more about distractions than you are focusing upon the affirmation. It will take time to teach yourself to be able to focus on one thought. Spend anywhere from three minutes to fifteen minutes trying to hold the affirmation silently. These longer meditation periods can take place when you have built up some experience.

At the end of your meditation, send out prayers, good thoughts, or peaceful energy to others. If you have been focusing on love, then try to send a sense of that love to someone about whom you're concerned. Simply with a thought, you can also send out the energy of peace to your neighborhood, world leaders, or other countries.

In simplest terms, meditation is the practice of quieting our physical bodies and our minds, and focusing our attention inward instead of upon the world around us. As you begin to practice meditation daily, it will become easier. You might also notice that the sense of peace inside you during meditation will begin to carry over into the different parts of your day. Although some schools of thought suggest that the mind should be blank when meditating, Cayce's approach is different. Cayce's material suggests that the mind is a constructive force and allows for the closest attunement possible if used in the right way.


Oneness

The first lesson for six months should be ONE -- One -- One -- One; Oneness of God, oneness of man's relation, oneness of force, oneness of time, oneness of purpose, oneness in every effort -- oneness -- oneness! Reading 991-1

WHERE IS thine OWN will? One with HIS, or to the glorifying of thine own desires -- thine own selfish interests? Reading 262-42

One of the great ironies of human nature is the fact that the very structure intended to enrich our relationship with God is the one thing which divides us most as a human family. For countless eons, more wars have been fought on religious principles than for any other reason. Even to this day, wars, bloodshed, political battles, and countless examples of our inhumanity to one another are commonplace as one group tries to instill (or enforce) their belief systems, their politics, or the supremacy of their God, onto the lives of others.

These conflicts are not simply between various religions but are also within each denomination. There are sects within Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam -- within every religion! -- many convinced that they are just a little more right than anyone else. Even various churches, temples, and synagogues have found differences with other members of their own sect who have somehow fallen away from the "original" or the "true" faith.

In addition to separating people from one another, these conflicts have also caused individuals to become disillusioned with religion -- some even becoming convinced that religion is "a waste of time." Too often the result has been that people have given up their faith in God because of their disappointment in humankind.

Interestingly enough, the Edgar Cayce material states that part of the problem is due to our ignorance of our Oneness with one another. Cayce's information presents a hopeful and inspiring approach to spirituality and religion that inextricably weaves all of humanity together. Rather than focusing upon the form of specific religions or dogmas, the readings instead focus upon the importance of every single soul attempting to manifest an awareness of the living Spirit in the earth. In fact, in response to a question regarding religious orthodoxy, Cayce stated:

What is the difference? ...Truth...is of the One Source. Are there not trees of oak, of ash, of pine? There are the needs of these for meeting this or that experience... Then, all will fill their place. Find not fault with any, but rather show forth as to how good a pine, or ash, or oak, or vine thou art! Reading 254-87

From Cayce's perspective, our goal is not to simply wait for heaven; our goal is not to escape the earth, instead we are challenged to bring an awareness of the Creator into our lives and into our surroundings wherever we may be, right now.

There is a common bond we all share as a collective humanity: there is but one God and we are all God's children. In order to reawaken that sense of connectedness we share with one another, the readings state that the start of any spiritual journey should begin with the knowledge that the Lord God is One. Regardless of the name we call that God by, or the religions on earth which we feel drawn to, there is but One Creator, One Source, One Law. In fact, perhaps more than anything else, this concept of "Oneness" is the underlying philosophy of the Edgar Cayce readings.

Just What is Oneness? This notion of Oneness in a world so filled with variety may, at first, seem a difficult concept to comprehend. After all, we are surrounded by a myriad of plants, trees, animals, experiences, and people. Rather than attempting to make all things the same, however, Oneness suggests instead that we have the opportunity to view this rich diversity as an example of the multiple ways in which the one Spirit tries to find expression in our lives. Since there is only one God -- the source of all that exists -- ultimately, the universe must be composed of only One Force.

Oneness as a force implies that all things are interrelated. Everyone of us has a connection to one another, the earth, the universe, and to God. This one force is a force for good which is attempting to bring the spirituality of the Creator into the earth. Unfortunately, because of our limited awareness of the power of Free Will, individuals are able to direct that force into selfish purposes and desires, creating "evil" in the process.

The good news is that in spite of how things may appear in the world today, the readings assert that all of Creation will eventually be brought into an awareness of this Oneness and of the Law of Love which it implies. One of our challenges as individuals is to make the world a better place because we have lived in it. Perhaps the best approach to this consciousness is reflected in the Bible when it states that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and our neighbor as ourselves.

In terms of spirituality, the concept of Oneness suggests that God is not limited to expressing through one religion alone. Instead, the Creator manifests in individuals' lives because of their faith and because of their relationship to the spiritual Source, not because of their specific religion. From Cayce's perspective, religion is the form in which individuals attempt to understand the manifestation of this Spirit. God can (and does!) work through every soul in the earth.

As a means of discovering the Oneness of spirit, the readings encourage comparative religious study. Through such a discipline each of us might see beyond surface differences and instead find the commonalties we share with one another:

...coordinate the teachings, the philosophies of the East, and the West, the Oriental and the Occidental, the new truths and the old...Correlate not the differences, but where all religions meet -- there is one God! 'Know, O Israel, the Lord God is ONE!' Reading 991-1

When the concept of reincarnation is studied, what becomes apparent is not what religion people may be in the present, rather what is most important is how individuals apply the knowledge they possess. Within the cycle of reincarnation, we have all been Jewish, we have all been students of Eastern or Mid-Eastern Religions, we have all been agnostic or even atheistic, we have all been Christian. It's important to remember that we are all children of the same God, first, and only secondly are we separated by doctrines or specific religious beliefs. We are spiritual beings manifesting in the physical world. Our religious dogmas and beliefs have changed as readily as we have. To be bigoted toward any situation, type of individual, or experience -- especially with the knowledge that we will draw those same circumstances to us in the future -- is not in keeping with the concept of Oneness.

In discussing religious denominations, the readings state:

...consider a field of corn. In the grain of corn there is life. Man plants it in the soil, works it, and then he reaps the harvest. Not every man selects the same kind of corn. Not every man plows it alike. Not every man sows it alike. Not every man reaps it alike. Yet, in each case it brings forth the very best that there is. It is the God or the life within each grain that the man is seeking. It sustains his body, and also produces enough seed to raise more. That's religion. That's the denominations. Reading 991-1

Religion as a Form The work of Edgar Cayce has attracted individuals from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. In fact, Cayce's view was that if the information in the readings was helpful and hopeful, making you a better person in the process, then you should be able to bring that renewed sense of "spirit" into your own faith. If, on the other hand, working with a particular concept wasn't helpful to you (the philosophy of reincarnation being one example), then individuals were simply told to leave it alone. Individuals were never advised to change their religious beliefs because of the Cayce readings. What Cayce was most concerned with was the application of spiritual principles not an individual's specific religion. There is a difference between spirituality and religion, although both are important.

Religion is primarily concerned with matters of religious faith, ritual, structure and tradition. Unfortunately, too often a specific religion has been seen as the vehicle for personal salvation rather than simply being one of the various forms in which humankind is trying to understand the manifestation of spirit in their lives. Many individuals have somehow elevated one religion above all others, perhaps deciding that there is but one form with which to demonstrate true faith. On the other hand, at times it has been the very religious structure with which individuals have become frustrated or disappointed, perhaps even deciding that they no longer need to have religion in their lives. Neither of these responses is in keeping with the concept of Oneness. It is important to remember that religion serves a purpose. Without some form, spirituality can too easily become simply a philosophical mind-game rather than having practical ramifications for daily life. Loose spirituality may be fragmented, selfishly independent, lacking community, etc. Without religious form, children can be raised without a sense of the applicability of spirit in their lives.

One of our confusions associated with religion is that we often mistake the form for the spirit. For example, individuals may have a particularly moving religious experience while attending a particular church or a specific religious denomination. These experiences may be such things as being overwhelmed by the spirit, having a very moving (or even a "kundalini") experience, awakening to the awareness of God's presence, even speaking in tongues. Rather than seeing these experiences within the context of form, however, individuals often assume that because their experience was valid, everything else associated with that religious form contains the same degree of value -- they are only forgetting that throughout the history of humankind, individuals have had similar transformational experiences in every religion.

Regarding the various religious forms, the readings state:

There may be different channels of approach, yes. For not all peoples walked in the field when the wheat was ripe! Neither did all stand at the tomb when Lazarus was called forth. Neither were they all present when he walked on the water, nor when He fed the five thousand, nor when He hung on the cross. Yet each experience answered, and does answer to something within each individual and soul-entity. For each soul is a corpuscle in the body of God. Reading 3395-2

One of the readings states, "...God loveth those who love Him, whether they be called of this or that sect or ism or cult! The Lord is ONE!" (reading #3976-8.) Remember, the essential premise of the Cayce philosophy is that we are all attempting to manifest the Christ Consciousness in the earth. Although we might currently find ourselves in the physical dimension, we are not physical creatures with souls, rather we are souls who happen to be expressing ourselves in materiality. The distinction is important because too often we may associate ourselves with external, temporal things such as race, sexuality, color, and religion, that are not a part of our true spiritual nature. It is not so much that we go to heaven, rather we grow in awareness of our true spiritual nature and of our relationship with God and with one another. In fact, this process of growth and unfoldment is clearly described in the New Testament (Matthew 13:31-33 or Luke 13:81-21) when Jesus discusses the nature of Heaven in parables:

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measure of meal, till the whole was leavened.

And, from the readings, "For you grow to heaven, you don't go to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there" (reading #3409-1).

Spirituality as a Living Awareness Although religion often deals with form, spirituality generally deals with an individual's application of his or her individual knowledge or awareness. Since our natural state is spirit, reawakening to full spiritual awareness is one of the purposes we all have in common. In fact, in one reading (#3357-2), Cayce states that "soul development should take precedence over all things." From the readings' perspective, this development is not achieved through some great deed or act, instead it is a gradual accomplishment which is attained "line upon line, precept upon precept." What appears to be most important in terms of soul development is an individual's application of the things of the spirit in their interactions with others: love, kindness, gentleness, patience, persistence and consistency.

Since the purpose of life is to bring the spirituality of the Creator into the earth, attunement and application are at the heart of spiritual growth. Attunement is the process of reawakening to an awareness of our spiritual nature and our true relationship with God. As mentioned previously, the most frequently recommended tools for achieving this attunement are the regular practice of prayer and meditation. Both prayer and meditation are invaluable at reestablishing a conscious awareness of our spiritual source while inviting God's will to work through us as a "channel of His blessings" in service to others.

Repeatedly, a core concept from the Edgar Cayce material has been stated: "Spirit is the life, mind is the builder, and the physical is the result." In terms of Oneness, essentially what this means is that the one force, spirit, constantly flows through us. However, it is acted upon by the properties of the mind and then channeled into everyone's life in accordance with their free will. Regardless of whether or not an individual even believes in God, everything about that person is given life through the properties of the one activating spirit. What he or she does with that spirit is a matter of choice and "crimes or miracles" may be the result.

This ability of personal creation, whether through thought, experience, or activity, caused the readings to identify the human soul as a "co-creator with God." Because of this gift of co-creation, Cayce continually advised individuals that one of the most important things they could do was to establish an appropriate spiritual motivation (or ideal) for their lives, thereby directing personal choice into positive directions. From Cayce's perspective, too often we are out of touch with the intentionality (the why) behind our everyday actions. By consciously establishing a spiritual motivation such as service, or compassion, or love, or Jesus as our pattern, and then trying to make that motivation a greater part of our lives, real personal transformation and soul development can result.

Just like in the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), we were with God in the beginning and through choice and experience found ourselves cut off from a complete awareness of Him. In one respect, the "Fall of Humankind" was really our descent in consciousness from the realms of infinity to those of time and space. However, this was not necessarily a "bad thing" or an erroneous choice. Just as a child learns through experience, choice, and making mistakes along the way, our own experiences through Choice and Will embody a maturation process that will enable us to come into our full heritage and an awareness of our true spiritual nature. In time, as we bring the spirituality of God into the earth, we will awaken to our own spiritual Source, eventually finding our way back to the Creator.

The soul, then, must return -- will return -- to its Maker. It is a portion of the Creative Forces, which is energized even in materiality, in the flesh...Then, just being kind, just being patient, just showing brotherly love for thy fellow man; that is the manner in which an individual works at becoming aware of the Christ Spirit. Reading 272-9

Not only is spiritual transformation our goal, but it is our birthright as well. With the proper spiritual motivation, we will be brought into alignment with this perfect pattern by working with attunement, appropriate mental attitudes, and a desire to bring our spiritual ideal into physical application.

What Shall We Do With Jesus? Throughout history, the perspectives people have had on the life and teachings of Jesus have been varied, oftentimes even at odds. For some, Jesus has been seen as the only Son of God, bringing salvation only to those who called themselves Christian. Members of non-Christian religions may have ignored his life and ministry or they may have thought, "well Christians have been cruel to me and therefore I'm not interested in Jesus." Individuals involved in New Thought or comparative religious may have decided that Jesus was "just a teacher," or they may have disregarded him altogether. According to the Edgar Cayce readings, each of these perspectives is short-sided.

Although Edgar Cayce was a Sunday School teacher all of his life, as well as an Elder in the Presbyterian church, for him the meaning of Jesus' life went beyond that described by Christians and non-Christians alike. For that reason, regardless of our upbringing or our religious affiliation, the Cayce material offers some insightful and challenging information about the life and work of this man Jesus who became the Christ.

Essentially, the readings present Jesus as our "Elder brother," a soul who came to show each one of us the way back to our spiritual Source by perfectly manifesting the laws of the Creator. Part of his mission was to fully demonstrate the living awareness of the spirit in the earth -- something each one of us will eventually have to do. Therefore, Jesus' life of service to others serves as an example for all of humankind. In fact, the readings state:

For the Master, Jesus, even the Christ, is the pattern for every man in the earth, whether he be Gentile or Jew, Parthenian or Greek. For all have the pattern, whether they call on that name or not. Reading 3528-1

Jesus himself states "I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you" (John 14:20). We are all part of that same spiritual Source. Jesus was a child of God -- just as we are all Children of God. What Jesus did, we are all being called to do and, as our Elder Brother and Pattern He will show us the Way. In fact, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is very much involved right now in pulling together God's flock, and teaching us about our relationship with the Creator. In discussing with God our joint spiritual nature and eventual destiny, Jesus states:

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world...That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John 17:16, 21-23

This importance of this information, the fact that every individual is an integral part of God's flock and that we all share the same relationship with the Creator as even Jesus, will eventually transform (even revolutionize!) the ways in which we think about ourselves and treat one another.

Conclusion Why do we have so many religious sects if the principle of Oneness is an undergirding force in the universe? In part, the answer lies in our own diversity, and in the fact that we are all drawn to what we need at a given time for our own personal growth and development. In addition, we also possess the very human trait of wanting to "pin down" our Truth, putting parameters around our understanding so that we can deal with it. But truth is a growing thing and the Cayce readings affirm that no one has all the answers to the marvelous question of who we really are as God's spiritual children. But even in the midst of our diversity, we share a common spiritual heritage. We are all Children of the same God. We are all part of the one spiritual Source, our Creator, our Mother/Father, our God:

Each soul in entering the material experience does so for those purposes of advancement towards that awareness of being fully conscious of the oneness with the Creative Forces. John 17:16, 21-23

Oneness as a force suggests that each of us is connected in ways that we might never have before imagined. Our challenge is to bring that Wholeness to consciousness, an "awareness within each soul, imprinted in pattern on the mind and waiting to be awakened by the will, of the soul's oneness with God" (#5749-14). Regardless of an individual's religion or personal beliefs, this Christ pattern exists in potential upon the very fiber of their being. It is that part of us which is in perfect accord with the Creator and is simply waiting to find manifestation in our lives:

For indeed in Him, the Father-God, ye move and have thy being. Act like it! Don't act like ye think ye are a god! Ye may become such, but when ye do ye think not of thyself. For what is the pattern? He thought it not robbery to make Himself equal with God, but He acted like it in the earth. He made Himself of no estate that you, through His grace, through His mercy, through His sacrifice might have an advocate with that First Cause, God; that first principle, spirit... Reading 4083-1


Principles of Healing

To promote healing -- that was a central purpose of the Edgar Cayce readings. A number of basic concepts can be gleamed from the Cayce philosophy for healing, each dealing with universal laws governing the healing process -- physical, mental, and spiritual. In brief, here are some of the essential ideas that are contained in the Cayce material.

First, healing requires that we maintain a creative balance between two principles:

All healing comes from the infinite -- that is, from attunement and harmony with our spiritual source. The infinite is just as accessible and available in the visible, physical world as it is in the invisible realm. At the same time, each person must take responsibility for his or her own healing process. No one can simply sit back and wait passively for healing to occur.

This second principle -- the need for self-responsibility -- can take many forms. For example, healing requires attunement, and no one knows better than ourselves exactly what has gotten us out of attunement in the past. Often, if we'll look closely at our lives, we can see (without needing a gifted medical clairvoyant such as Edgar Cayce) what's causing our illness.

To illustrate self-responsibility further, the human body has a marvelous, innate drive to heal itself, but we've got to do our part to help. A broken bone will naturally try to mend; however, the fracture needs to be set properly for the healing to be complete and effective.

Another important principle relates to energy medicine, a new field for which Edgar Cayce was a pioneer. His readings consistently speak of the roles played by vibrations or vibratory forces -- right down to the level of individual atoms. According to Cayce, there is a type of consciousness that exists in each atom. Although most of the passages about the atomic physics of healing seem rather esoteric, it might be easier to follow the analogy of the attunement of a stringed musical instrument. A violin or piano that is out of tune makes sour, discordant music -- symbolic of disease or illness. Just as a skilled musician can bring the instrument back into attunement, we experience healing when our vibrations -- right down to the atomic level -- are adjusted in a correct manner. In essence, all healing is the changing of vibrations from within.

Balance among body, mind, and spirit is another key to Cayce's philosophy of healing. For healing to be complete and lasting, we must recognize and meet the needs of each of these three levels. Virtually no illness or disease can be treated successfully at only one of these three levels.

What's more, Cayce affirms that the human body will naturally stay healthy -- and even rejuvenate itself -- if a kind of internal balance can be maintained. "Dis-ease" starts when one part of the body draws energy from another part. One portion of an organism may become overcharged with the creative life force, while another portion becomes undernourished. The result is a gradual disintegration of the body and the onset of illness.

The opposite of this sort of disintegration is rejuvenation. The readings assert that we are continuously rebuilding our bodies. Within any seven-year period, each cell is replaced. If we'll allow it, our bodies will transform any problem and resuscitate any condition. But our ingrained habits usually block this healing potential -- the habits of action and, even more potent, the habits of mind.

What role do drugs and medicine play in the healing process? Cayce's philosophy clearly sees a place for them, but warns of misunderstanding how they work and of expecting more of them than is possible. Any healing method attempts to create an experience of oneness, in hopes of then stimulating a similar response in the body. For some people in some situations, a drug may be the best way to accomplish this -- just as in other cases, surgery may be the best way to stimulate healing. Medicines can be a practical application of the one life force. Occasionally they must be very potent in their reactions in order to get the patient through an acute illness. But Cayce from time to time encouraged people to consider the herbal formulas he recommended to be tonics and stimulants, rather than medicines.

The dangerous side of medicines is their potential to diminish the body's own healing work. This is what Cayce alluded to when he warned about "palliatives" that deceive the soul with half truths and temporary relief. It's also what he meant when he warned that we shouldn't come to rely on any condition outside of ourselves that could be assimilated by the body inwardly. All of this is to say, take the medications prescribed by the physician you trust. But keep in mind this thought: what those chemicals can do is temporarily -- and somewhat artificially -- give your body an experience of greater oneness. Healing that really takes hold and lasts must come from changing one's inner consciousness and vibration. That happens most effectively from consistent and persistent human effort (i.e., engaging one's desires, purposes, and will) -- something that pills all too easily allow us to skip.

Cayce's healing philosophy includes other insights that can help us avoid misunderstanding. For example, one principle states that the best treatment procedures sometimes cause a temporary worsening of conditions. If we didn't recognize this possibility, we might give up just before the benefits begin to appear. A closely related principle states that when a body is re-establishing its attunement, it tends to be more sensitive. Again, if we misunderstand that heightened sensitivity, we might not see the good that is slowly being effected.

The mind is a focus of other healing principles. The unconscious mind plays a role in many illnesses and diseases. One example of this is the karmic factor in health problems. Memories from previous incarnations, stored in the soul mind, can trigger problems in the body. Of course, we shouldn't go so far as to suppose that every health challenge has past-life roots; nevertheless, the perspective of reincarnation can help us understand what we could possibly be dealing with as we seek healing.

The familiar Cayce axiom, "Mind is the builder," leads us to wonder exactly which attitudes and emotions best foster healing. The readings emphasize several:

Self-acceptance. As we rid ourselves of self-condemnation, we make room for healing forces to enter. Optimism and hope. We're encouraged to expect healing. Patience. It's much easier and quicker to destroy health than it is to rebuild it.

We need to be willing to patiently invest whatever time is required.

Alongside these specific attitudes and emotions, we're invited to use the creative potential of visualization to stimulate our own healing. The mind's image-making capacity can be directed in such a way that we "see" the healing transformation taking place. This is not something that's accomplished in a single visualization session. Like all the Cayce health-promoting approaches, it requires persistence and works best in conjunction with other healing methods.

Perhaps the most important principle of the mind's relationship to healing concerns purposefulness. A person can experience temporarily an outer healing -- that is, in the physical body only -- yet still be spiritually sick. What cures the soul? A commitment to a purposeful life. Not just any purpose, but instead one that reflects care for other people.

On occasion a reading from Cayce would pose this question to the person who was ill: What would you do with your life if you were healed? The position of Cayce's psychic source was simply this: Why correct the physical condition unless there's also going to be an inner correction? People who are looking for both inner and outer healing are the best candidates for restored health and vitality. In Cayce's philosophy, healing should equip us to be more useful to others.

With this ideal of service in mind, we might also wonder just how we can be channels of healing to others. What principles govern our efforts to be healers to those for whom we have concern? One principle is based on the spiritual connections that exist between all people. It states that as we bring the experience of oneness into our own consciousness, it can profoundly help someone else experience oneness, attunement, and healing. Cayce's way of putting it was, "...raising the Christ Consciousness in self to such an extent as it may flow out of self to him thou would direct it to." (281-7)

For this to be most effective, the recipient must desire such help and have requested healing prayer. Of course, we can always pray for someone, even if that individual hasn't asked us. But it's important that we not assume we know what's needed in any person's life. For one who hasn't specifically asked for prayer, we can simply offer prayers of protection and blessing, rather than try to direct healing energies to that person or for a specific condition.

In summary, the Cayce readings remind us that our natural state is wholeness and health. An innate wisdom within ourselves knows what's needed for healing. We should expect to get well, and we should be willing to do our part to make it possible.


Prophecy, Earth Changes, and the Millennium

As the calendar moves inevitably toward the year 2000, more and more frequently we hear predictions regarding planetary change, the end-of-the-world, vast global destruction. History suggests that such predictions have often accompanied the end of each century and a similar phenomenon regarding widespread "millennium prophecies" occurred as the year 1000 approached. Therefore, should we be concerned or should these prophecies simply be relegated to the realm of fabrication and fiction?

A possible approach lies in the psychic information of the late Edgar Cayce -- considered the most documented clairvoyant of the twentieth century. Cayce suggested that the years between 1958 and 1998 would indeed be a period of great global transformation. However, these changes would not lead to the "end of the world" but, in time, to the dawning of a New Age of hope and community for all humankind.

Today, many groups continue to predict major cataclysms and the approach of inevitable change. Ironically, oftentimes these groups have failed to realize that change is all about us. There are wars and rumors of wars broadcast around the globe in the blink of an eye. We hear of floods and famine and hate crimes as they occur; and a day doesn't pass when we don't see renewed evidence of gang wars or drugs or our inhumanity to one another. Unfortunately, much of this information has become so commonplace that we may simply shrug our shoulders, change the channel, or turn the page. In many places, the world has become more fractured than ever before, as politics, race, sexuality, culture, and religion divide us. Countless thousands of individuals have been killed, are dying, or have simply given up. And yet, in spite of all these things, some individuals continue to wait for the "Big One" as evidence of "changing times."

It's time for us to wake up and realize that the changing times are happening RIGHT NOW. Our world, our civilization, and our individual lives are all undergoing dramatic personal and collective change. Yet, this is sometimes hard for us to recognize because the changes have not been a single event. They have been a process. Cayce's predictions for the future are not really about earthquakes; instead, they are about the fact that a new world is being born. The changing events in our lives and in our surroundings are to enable us to remember why we are here. Simply stated, these changes are the testing which will enable us to put God in our lives.

We don't want to fool ourselves; the geological condition of the planet makes some earth changes inevitable. There will continue to be earthquakes. But potentially even more influential changes can come from worldwide political turmoil, economic challenges, wars, and many more "upheavals" that are not necessarily geological in nature. The challenge of the times is for us to come together as one global community. The purpose of the changes we are experiencing is not for the changes themselves; rather it is so that we will undergo personal and global transformation. Only in this way may we usher in the dawn of a New Age.

From Cayce's perspective, the future offers not destruction and hopelessness, but the chance to transform the world as we work together, building hope and community for all of humankind. Today, wherever we find ourselves, there is a great need to come together as one global family. That is our collective destiny. That is the potential heritage we share as spiritual beings manifesting in the earth.


Psychic Developments: Benefits and Cautions

It's no wonder that many people came to Edgar Cayce with questions about the development of psychic ability. Cayce himself exhibited extraordinary talents -- both in the conscious state and while unconscious in the trance state. It made good sense to seek advice from such an expert. What did "America's best-documented psychic" have to say about how we can enhance our own psychic sensitivity?

One item we're bound to be struck by as we read through the Cayce information is the shortage of techniques or tricks for becoming psychic. There are methods, certainly. The readings present a systematic strategy for how the serious seeker can reliably and safely increase his or her psychic awareness. But rarely do we find anything simplistic and mechanical. There are no easy-to-follow steps that will magically make us clairvoyant and no shortcuts for seeing visions of the future. Even when Cayce is mildly encouraging about the use of something as gimmicky as a crystal ball, his advice always downplays the technique or tool and instead emphasizes the purposes and the attitude one brings to it.

Cayce's psychic development program is fundamentally one of soul growth -- that is to say, it challenges us to the slow, sometimes-difficult task of character development. It repeats again and again to curious dabblers that enhanced psychic awareness carries with it increased responsibilities. We shouldn't seek one if we don't want the other.

Perhaps the best orientation to psychic development is a pair of readings given in 1932, just before Cayce was scheduled to lecture on the subject to a large gathering in Virginia Beach. These two readings were given for himself; they were the result of his own search to understand better how these abilities work.

Several points in these two readings stand out as key principles that underlie all that Cayce had to say in any reading about psychic awareness. Most basic is the idea that "psychic is of the soul." We can understand this tenet in at least two ways. First, it means that these abilities are possible only because each of us has an immortal, creative core: a spiritual "body." In fact, you'll find that one of Cayce's most succinct definitions of psychic development is simply "the development of the spiritual body." (5752-2)

The other meaning of "psychic is of the soul" points to purposes and intentions. The deepest and most authentic part of you -- your soul -- has a commitment to love and oneness. Therefore, psychic abilities naturally come forth as an expression of our oneness, of our connections with each other. What's more, we can expect psychic talents to emerge to a greater degree as we make a commitment with our conscious personality selves to be more loving.

These two readings that Edgar Cayce obtained for himself contain several other noteworthy principles, one of which is: We all have psychic talents -- whether or not we've taken the time to tap them. The potentials are always there. Then, the reading proposes a useful analogy: Psychic development is like training for any sort of skill -- a sports skill (like boxing) or an artistic skill. There are certain "rules of living" that have to be followed in order to get the desired results.

Exactly what sort of life-style would be most conducive to psychic development? The best answer is found in the final portion of reading 5752-2. "How [to] develop the psychic forces? So live in body, in mind, that self may be a channel through which the Creative Forces [i.e., God] may run." It goes on to recommend a specific attitude toward life -- one in which psychic ability becomes the natural byproduct of a willingness to have God work through you to help others. That approach requires balance ("normalcy, not extreme in any manner") and a strong commitment to one's own ideals ("be true to that thou promiseth that source from which all health, all aid, must come").

Another key point comes up in these two readings. It concerns the nature of the subconscious mind, a central part of the psychic process. The psychology of the Cayce readings theorizes a three-level model of the human mind: conscious (or physical consciousness), subconscious, and superconscious (or spiritual consciousness). The subconscious mind has an intermediate position; therefore, it can borrow (or "partake of") material from either of the other two. This characteristic has very significant implications as we try to understand our own psychic experiences. Some of what comes to us psychically from the subconscious mind will be a reflection of our own higher selves and superconscious minds. But just as surely, some of what comes as a psychic experience may well be a product of our material life desires. Put most bluntly, we've got to be careful because some paranormal experiences -- be they dreams, voices, or visions -- may not come from a very high source and may simply mimic what our physical selves desire.

Obviously great caution is required as we try to make that distinction. In fact, much of the material regarding psychic information concerns the need for inward discernment. Part of the answer rests with application. If we sincerely apply the best guidance we've received -- and if it bears good fruit for everyone involved, then it was from a high source. Another aspect of Cayce's response to this dilemma is to act with good motives and purposes. By consistently living our lives with a commitment to service, we can reliably expect psychic impressions that come from such a high source.

Understanding Psychic Development From Cayce's perspective, the true source of psychic powers is God. Not many parapsychologists -- who make scientific studies of ESP -- would be bold enough to make a claim like that. But it's exactly what the Cayce readings propose. Furthermore, that true source can be found within ourselves. If we're interested in psychic guidance, we don't have to look very far. Cayce was especially fond of quoting the Bible on this very point: "...Look not as to who will ascend into heaven to bring him down..." (5752-6). The focus should be on the abiding presence of the Spirit -- within ourselves and immediately surrounding us.

But our attunement with that Spirit is almost invariably imperfect, and it comes in degrees or shades of reliability. This was mentioned earlier in terms of the subconscious mind's capacity to draw from either the physical conscious mind or from the spiritual superconscious mind. But the problem of understanding and evaluating psychic experiences is really more complex than this. Even within the spiritual realm, there are levels or degrees of truth and reliability. The highest possible psychic realization, according to Cayce, is to know that God will communicate directly with us. Put another way by Cayce: Spiritual "awakening" means becoming conscious of the relationship between the finite and the infinite.

But this is not to say that other beings in the spiritual world should always be rejected or ignored. For example, what are we to do if we think we've been contacted by a recently deceased individual (someone from "the Borderland," as Cayce called it)? The readings' caution was more often against directly seeking (or even being obsessed with) contact with such spiritual beings as deceased relatives. They may well approach us -- even with very helpful messages -- but Cayce warns about focusing our attention on that sort of experience as opposed to appreciating it if and when it arises spontaneously. Often the Cayce readings draw a sharp distinction between spirituality and soul development on the one hand versus spiritualism and contact with disembodied beings on the other.

We all have psychic talents simply because we are all souls. But with that exciting promise comes a catch. We must "eliminate self" if we want these potentials to blossom. What did Cayce mean? The annihilation of our sense of individuality? If we study the readings in their entirety, it becomes clear. What's to be eliminated is selfishness -- the impulse to look out for our own self-interests alone. God honors and respects our individuality; but when we take our independence to an extreme and begin to harm others, then we've fallen out of attunement with the source from which psychic awareness originates.

Clearly, the spiritual discipline of meditation is one key to Cayce's psychic development program. By the daily practice of meditation, we attune ourselves to the highest levels of mind within ourselves. We can even use the few minutes at the end of our meditation period as a time to be open and receptive for specific psychic guidance.

Closely related to the subject of meditation is the process of balancing and attuning the physical body. For example, Cayce often makes reference to the spiritual centers of the body, those seven contact points at which spiritual forces especially flow into the physical body.

Another important principle about psychic development and the physical body is the vital necessity to get the body into optimal fitness. First, we should recognize that physical health and vitality are a part of the attunement of body, mind, and spirit. Furthermore -- and a special insight by Cayce in regard to disturbing psychic experiences -- when there are imbalances in the body, it can open the subconscious mind in such a way that very disorienting paranormal occurrences take place. When people reported to Cayce their accounts of upsetting voices, troubling dreams, or other forms of frightening psychic events, more often than not the problem was identified as some sort of physical imbalance. Therefore, any sound approach to psychic development cannot ignore the need to get the body fit.

Sleep and dreams are other productive areas for pursuing our psychic sensitivity. When we're asleep and the subconscious mind is directly active and accessible to our awareness, we're in a "nearer condition" to a contact with God and the higher selves of those we care about.

Closely related to sleep is that in-between state we experience as we lose consciousness at night or as we begin to awaken in the morning. The hypnagogic or hypnopompic states are fruitful areas in which to explore psychic awareness. But Cayce warns against playing around with these altered states of consciousness. They're best used in conjunction with a regular prayer and meditation life. That way we're more likely to get reliable psychic information.

In summary, how would Cayce have answered those skeptics who state that it's far better not to explore the psychic realm? The readings clearly agree that we shouldn't get distracted or obsessed with psychic phenomena. Instead, these experiences are a natural part of human life and are offered to us as assurances that we are connected to one another and to a God who cares about us. It's an aspect of life worth paying attention to and worth understanding -- what Cayce calls "the great study for the human family." (3744-4)


Reincarnation: Have We Lived Before?

Just what is the nature of humankind? This same question, framed in dozens of different approaches, was asked repeatedly of Edgar Cayce. His answers -- insights into our relationship with God, one another, and ourselves -- have served as a foundation for comparative studies between the East and the West for decades.

From Cayce's perspective, we are not simply physical bodies or even physical bodies with souls, but are instead spiritual beings who are currently having a material experience. As souls, we have manifested in the earth in order to learn lessons that will enable us to return to our former state of spiritual awareness. At the same time, one purpose we all have in common is to bring the spirituality of the Creator into the earth.

A soul can choose to be born into either a male or female body in any given lifetime or, as Cayce called it, an "incarnation." A soul selects that environment (parents and family, location, personal obstacles, etc.) which will best allow for the learning of lessons it needs for completeness. The goal is to fully express love in all the challenges which physical life offers. One's experiences are subject to the choices made with free will. As one grows, he or she learns -- or rather remembers -- his or her true relationship with God and one's heritage as a spiritual being. With free will, we can turn the challenges life presents to us into stepping-stones toward growth, or we can see them as obstacles and stumbling blocks. Either way, we reap what we have sown. We constantly meet the consequences of previous deeds and attitudes.

One frequently misunderstood concept regarding reincarnation has to do with karma. From the standpoint of the Cayce material, karma is not destiny, it is only memory. These memories are generally unconscious and influence our abilities, our faults, even our relationships with others, but with free will we can meet this memory as a positive or a negative experience. Karma provides us with the potential to learn a lesson we need in order to grow at a soul level, and free will determines whether or not we choose to learn it at this time. The choices we make determine the next set of potential experiences we encounter.

Much more than simply a concept that applies to a limited segment of the world, reincarnation is a philosophy that has -- at one time or another -- been embraced by all the major religions of the world. It's a concept that can allow us to have compassion for one another because ultimately we are all equal -- there is only one God and we are all His children.

From Cayce's viewpoint, it didn't really matter if an individual believed in reincarnation or not. For some it can be a helpful concept, for others confusing. The main purpose was to allow individuals to become aware of their true spiritual nature and their ultimate relationship with one another. In fact, if we can think for a moment about the one person in our life whom we love most of all. then we will get an inkling of the goal of reincarnation: to be able to love every single soul, even ourselves, with the very same love.


Soul Mates

Almost every person feels a longing for companionship. At times we may understand this desire as a directive toward union with God; other times, as a desire for union with another person.

Two ideas come together in the material from the Edgar Cayce readings concerning the choice of a companion -- particularly a life partner. First is the principle that we are here in the earth for the purpose of growth and development in consciousness. What is more, associations with some individuals are more conducive to growth than associations with others; therefore, it is prudent to choose carefully our companions. This principle is probably easy for us to accept if we merely reflect on the types of influence various friends and acquaintances have had on us in the past. The impact is most powerful in a marriage relationship, and a good union should be founded upon a shared purpose in life and the capacity to help each other to grow.

The second principle relates to reincarnation: we as spiritual beings (or souls) experience our growth in consciousness through a series of lifetimes in physical human form. In other words, we have been in the earth many times before, and more specifically have had close personal relationships with particular souls. Attraction to another person and thoughts of marriage could very likely be related to memory patterns (even subconscious memories!) of having been with that soul in the distant past. In the readings, Cayce suggests that often we are attracted to a particular person for marriage in this lifetime because of such a relationship at least once before.

But if reincarnation is a fact, we might expect that we have been married to many souls in the course of other incarnations. Which one of these partnerships is the best one to build upon now, in this life? Does each person have exactly one other special soul that it is meant to be with whenever possible?

Many sources of psychic information and other metaphysical teachings have proposed concepts such as "soul mate" and "twin soul." The Cayce readings, although simultaneously raising some provocative questions, do shed some light on this topic.

A fundamental issue is the very nature of the soul. Is it male or female? Both or neither? The readings propose that the soul itself does not have gender:

In the beginning, as was outlined, there was presented that that became as the Sons of God, in that male and female were as in one... Reading 364-7

However, in order to learn and grow, a soul enters into the physical domain (which is characterized by such polarities as light/dark, positive/negative, thinking/feeling, etc.) and chooses to incarnate in a male or female expression. Likely, in the long-range growth of the soul over many incarnations, male and female experiences are needed. In selecting one gender over the other in a particular lifetime, a condition is usually created in which a balance or complement is needed, such as can be found in a marriage companion. This is not to say that important spiritual growth is impossible during a life without marriage. Rather, the marriage relationship is one great avenue for development.

Perhaps this pattern of growth has not always been the usual way. Some readings suggest that in ancient prehistory, such as the times of Atlantis more than 12,000 years ago, a soul could incarnate in such a way that male and female qualities were manifested simultaneously. It is not clear what form the physical body took in these cases. One person was told in a reading about an Atlantean incarnation: "...for then both male and female might be -- desired so -- in one." (288-27)

What, then, is a soul mate? Is it the soul that one has married in the most incarnations? Frequency of marriage may be one factor because, according to Cayce, status as soul mates is built by shared physical experiences over a long period. However, a more precise understanding is this: a soul mate is a complement to oneself. One reading poetically describes it as "the tongue to the groove, the tenon to the mortise..." (1556-2) It is more than merely a physical attraction; it is a capacity to help each other at the physical, mental, and spiritual levels.

Another interpretation of the term "soul mates" was offered by Hugh Lynn Cayce, who was present for a number of the readings his father gave on this subject. He wrote: "The idea of soul mates and affinities is closely related to the theory of reincarnation as explained through the Edgar Cayce readings. Two souls may, in a number of incarnations, grow very close together in their pattern of spiritual evolution. These souls will need the help and assistance of each other as they evolve and hence, in any one incarnation, will be drawn closely together because of their many past associations and the intricate entwining of their respective personalities."

Status as soul mates is also a matter of ideals. One important passage states: "...Such as have in an experience found an ideal may be said to be soul mates, and no marriages [are] made in heaven nor by the Father save as each do His biddings." (275-39)

These criteria suggest that one could have more than a solitary soul mate, although such a fact is not explicitly spelled out in any Cayce reading. However, we should, no doubt, be cautious about leaving a current marriage partner merely because of an attraction to someone else. In all likelihood, the very same problems and "opportunities" we are currently facing would be the same regardless of which partner we have in our lives -- in relationships we most often come to terms with those things we need to work on in ourselves, even though we might sometimes think of our partner as being the source of our frustration. Those who come across the idea of soul mates after having already married can still rest assured that there partner is, in fact, a "soul mate."

For those who are single and who would like to find their soul mate, what do the Cayce readings have to offer?

First, they suggest choosing someone who will help you to a "more helpful, more sustaining, more the well-rounded life..." (364-7) In modern language we might say that we are looking for someone who has the "right vibrations" for us. In fact, this is a phrase used by Cayce in describing the kind of experience that might be felt between soul mates: "...with the union of two that vibrate or respond to those vibrations in self..." (364-7) Together, the two would assist one another in finding a balanced life.

But even if we find someone who fits these criteria -- someone who is perhaps a soul mate -- this does not guarantee a good marriage. The two will still have to work together for the great potential of the relationship to flower. This is what Cayce seems to suggest in the following question-and-answer exchange. We might assume that the question, in effect, asked whether or not these two people were soul mates.

Q. Is this girl the type and quality of womanhood best suited to this man for a successful life? A. May be made so in each. No one is suited exactly in the beginning, unless it has been foreordained through the ages of the mating of each. Reading 275-15

The final statement is not clearly explained. We might understand "foreordained" to include a choice made by the two souls before being born this time, or it may relate to very strong bonds built over many lifetimes of being married (i.e., "the mating of each").

A concept similar to that of soul mates is "twin souls." When Cayce used this term, he did not mean to imply that two souls were identical. Instead, it is two souls sharing a common purpose or ideal. They would not necessarily have had previous marriage incarnations. In other words, the soul-mate condition is largely built in the material plane of experience (although, as previously mentioned, it has mental and spiritual components beyond just sexual attraction). However, the twin-soul condition evolves more from a commonality in the non-material realm -- at the idea or ideal level.

One example of twin souls, according to the Cayce readings, is Jesus and His mother, Mary. One reading states: "In the beginning Mary was the twin soul of the Master in the entrance into the earth!" (5749-8)

Finally, we might ask ourselves, "Where does this subject of soul mates and twin souls lead us? Is our destiny to find and be re-united with some other special soul?" Such is not the point of view in the Cayce material. They refer to Jesus' teaching that in the heavenly kingdom we are neither married nor given in marriage. As helpful as marriage relationships may be in the earth, beyond this material domain it is our destiny to find wholeness within our own souls. If one must think in terms of being destined to ultimate union with some other soul, then, think of that other soul as the Christ Soul. One reading made the point this way: "But know, the soul is rather the soul mate of the universal consciousness than of an individual entity." (2988-2)

The principle of soul mates and twin souls are, therefore, potentially both helpful and misleading. These concepts can help us understand some of the key factors in making a wise choice of a marriage partner and can remind us that some relationships are tremendous storehouses of love and helpfulness which can be reawakened. However, these concepts can be misleading if we forget that our ultimate companion is the Christ, or if we are tempted to leave the responsibilities of relationships to which we have already committed ourselves in this lifetime.