Submitted by Nan Thomas
Several years ago I unexpectedly encountered a man with whom I'd been acquainted for a number of years through our mutual involvement in the A.R.E. When our paths crossed one morning in the A.R.E. Headquarters Library, we exchanged greetings, and he said, "I'm rather surprised you're still working here. I'd have thought that by now you'd have outgrown the Cayce material." His statement stopped me short.
I can no longer recall exactly how I answered him. I suspect I said something about the rich diversity of the Cayce readings that still held my interest. Even if I'm now vague about the details of my response, what did stick with me -in my long-term memory- was his question. I guess I hadn't seriously considered the idea that the Cayce readings' philosophy was something you outgrow and then move beyond, to more advanced spiritual studies. I still find myself wondering, "Do many people think that way?"
But there is a question far more significant than my longevity as a staff member.
"Why should we so intently study inspired, clairvoyantly-derived information that was produced 60 or 70 years ago? Aren't there smarter alternatives that we could choose? For example, why shouldn't A.R.E. keep careful, archival records of Cayce's work, but turn our primary focus to contemporary psychic sources and spiritual philosophies?"
This is a tough question. Organizationally, we're very interested in contemporary findings, and one need look only at our book and conference catalogs to see the indisputable evidence. Nonetheless, the Cayce readings remain our central interest, and I believe the reason is far more profound than tradition or old habits. The reason speaks directly to why we publish a "Great Readings" column in each issue of this magazine.
Consider this idea: There is something very special about an activity or enterprise at its inception. A clear impulse often comes through. Admittedly, there can be a certain innocence about some of the deeper issues and challenges that lie ahead. But in that foundation impulse there is a kind of pure vision which - even missing certain complexities yet to come -nevertheless needs always to be honored and kept very special. One has only to look at human love relations to see the principle at work on a small scale- the bond between a parent and newborn child, or the sometimes naïve love that can first bring marriage partners together.
I suggest that the Cayce readings themselves were a primary impulse in a cultural movement that has now begun to flower as holistic medicine, transpersonal psychology, and a more ecumenical l vision of world religions. The readings contain wisdom and pure vision of renewed spirituality -something that is timeless. Certainly there are contemporary spiritual teachers and consciousness researchers who go into topics that Cayce never addressed, into subjects he never mentioned. And there is much to gain from their serious study. But just as surely, there is something irreplaceable about the initiating impulse of a movement. We can never go wrong- as far as l can see - going back to basics and rediscovering the spiritual soundness and clear perspective of what Cayce presented 60 and 70 years ago.
What could be more basic to the Cayce philosophy than the first reading in the "Search for God" lesson sequence? This reading on cooperation is an excellent starting point for any inquirer about Cayce, as well as being a wonder full set of principles for any experienced student who needs to reconnect with the fundamentals.
This opening discourse on cooperation demonstrates my point. Vital themes are highlighted. [n paragraph 4, Cayce emphasizes the importance of finding one's own special calling to serve. Then he reminds us of a central biblical promise: we can do even greater things than Jesus simply because the Christ Consciousness lives in every human soul, and it's available to express creatively.
What comes through, too, is the social dimension of Cayce's philosophy (see paragraph 7, especially). It's lesson #1: doing things cooperatively with each other through a commonality of purpose and idea l (even if sometimes there are differences of opinion or idea).
And finally, this "back to basics" reading underscores the inescapable moral message that is at the heart of the Cayce view of soul growth- that is, service. "Holy is he that seeks to be a light to his brother ... Bear ye one another's burdens." ln retrospect, maybe I should have pulled this reading from the shelves and shown it to my friend when he admitted surprise that I hadn't yet grown beyond Cayce. I would have been forced to admit that I'm still working on these fundamentals.
This psychic reading, 262-1, was given by Edgar Cayce for a group meeting in Norfolk, Virginia, on September 14, 1931. The conductor was Gertrude Cayce.
1. Gertrude Cayce: You will have before you the group as gathered in this room, who desire - as a group-to be guided through these forces as to how they may best be a channel in presenting to the world the truth and light needed. You will answer the questions which this group will ask.
2. Edgar Cayce: Yes, we have the group - as a group - as gathered here, seeking to be a channel that they, as a group, as individuals, may be-and give - the light to the waiting world.
3. As each have gathered here- as each gathered here has been associated in their various experiences in the earth, as each has prepared themselves for a channel through these experiences-so may they, as a group, combine their efforts in a cooperative manner to give to the individual, the group, the classes, the masses, that as they receive, as they have gained in this experience.
4. To some are given to be teachers, to some are given to be healers, to some are given to be interpreters. Let each, then, do their job and their part well, in the manner as is given to them, knowing - in the forces as manifest through them they become, then, a light in their own respective action and field of endeavor. As the forces manifest in their various ways and manners, to some will be given those of prophecy, to some will be given those of teaching, to some will be given those of ministration, to some as ministers. Then, in the ways as they present themselves; for, as has been given, he that receives shall give, he that cometh together in that name that will give, even as has been promised, "as I have given and am in the Father, so in me may ye do as I have done, and greater things than I have done shall ye do, for I go to the Father, and ye in me, as ye ask in my name, so shall it be done unto you!"
5. Then, as there cometh in the minds, hearts, souls of each, so will there be given- in that selfsame hour-that as ye shall do!
6. Ready for questions.
7. Q. Outline for us the steps which we must take that we may become more of one mind, that we may be of the greatest influence for good.
A. As should be for each to learn that first lesson as should be given unto others: Let all dwell together in mind as of one purpose, one aim; or, first learn cooperation! Learn what that means in a waiting, in a watchful, in a world seeking to know, to see, a sign. There, as has been given, will only be the sign given to those that have drunk of the cup that makes for cooperation in every sense of enlightening a seeking desiring world. Cast not pearls before swine, neither be thou overanxious for the moment. Wait ye on the Lord; for, as has been promised, he that seeks shall find, and ye will receive- each of you - powers from on high. Use that in a constructive, in a manner as befits that desire of the group, of each. Think not of thine own desire, but let that mind be in you as was in Him, as may be in all those seeking the way.
8. Q. If it be acceptable to the [higher or universal] forces, direct us as to how we may best prepare a course of lessons for this and similar groups.
A. First let each prepare themselves and receive that as will be given unto each in their respective sphere of development, of desire, of ability. The first lesson - as has been given - learn what it means to cooperate in one mind, in God's way; for, as each would prepare themselves, in meditating day and night, in "What wilt thou have me do, 0 Lord?" and the answer will be definite, clear, to each as are gathered here, will they seek in His name; for He is among you in this present: hour, for all as seek are in that attitude of prayer. Pray ye, that ye may be acceptable to Him in thy going ins and coming outs; for holy is he that seeks to be a light to his brother; and faints not in the trials nor the temptations, for He tempts none beyond that they are able to bear. Bear ye one another's burdens, in that each fills his own heart-as is given, answer when He calls- "Here am I, send me."
9. Q. What would be the best subject for the first lesson?
A. Cooperation. Let each seek for that as will be their part in this lesson, and it will be given each as they ask for same. [The affirmation given later in 262-3, to be used with this first lesson, was: "Not my will but Thine, 0 Lord, be done in me a11d through me. Let me ever be a channel of blessings, today, now, to those that I contact in every way. Let my going in, my coming out be in accord with that Thou would have me do, and as the call comes, 'Here am I, send me, use me!'"]