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Edgar Cayce and Creative Spiritual Development: A Personal Story by Mark Finnan

Many years ago, while participating in a course at a spiritual center in Dublin, Ireland, I learned an innovative psychological process based on the Edgar Cayce material. I was a young actor and writer at the time, with a growing interest in spiritual matters. I had returned to Dublin after a training stint at the Stanislavsky Studio in London.


While there I had read William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience and Paramahansa Yogananda’s, 'Autobiography of a Yogi', and had begun experimenting with meditation. Having awakened to the possibility of a more personally meaningful spiritual path than the one I inherited from my Irish Catholic family, I was hoping to find a path that would bridge the divide between Eastern and Western religious traditions. A series of synchronistic events led to just such a discovery. At that time, I wrote a piece for a Dublin newspaper about the possibility of advanced life on other planets and the likelihood of extraterrestrial visits to Earth in earlier times.


The article drew replies from a number of readers, whose contact information the editor passed on to me. As a result, I agreed to facilitate a small group gathering to discuss extraterrestrial life and related topics. One of the participants mentioned that I might be interested in an upcoming lecture about ancient Atlantis at Dublin’s historic Shelbourne Hotel. Growing up I was quite interested in Celtic lore, especially the Irish legend of Tír Na nÓg, the mythical Land of Youth said to have existed in the Atlantic but long since lost beneath the ocean’s waves. I wasn’t about to miss a lecture about ancient Atlantis.


The lecture turned out to be far more intriguing and thought provoking than I expected and included many references to Edgar Cayce, whom I had never heard of before. After the lecture, I introduced myself to the speaker, Edward Fitzgerald. I told him how much I appreciated his presentation and asked him how I could find out more about Edgar Cayce. Edward’s wife, Paula, overheard me and took me to a side table where there were several books. She handed me There Is a River and insisted I read it. I absorbed the book over the next two days; it introduced me to a source of insight and guidance on the nature of the self, life’s purpose, and spiritual development that has remained with me to this day.


Eager to discuss the book’s contents and the questions it raised, I visited with the Fitzgeralds at their apartment in the leafy enclave of Herbert Park. I found myself in the company of an engaging couple who not only shared my interests in theater and writing but also became spiritual mentors and lifelong friends. Edward was a former movie art director, and Paula was a poet and playwright who had spent some time studying the Cayce material at A.R.E. in Virginia Beach. Convinced of its validity and its importance to humanity, the Fitzgeralds were committed to bringing the Cayce Work to others.


A dream directed them to move to Ireland, where they established the Cayce-inspired Center for Living Research. Soon after arriving, they met with Dublin hypnotherapist Terance Noble, author of The Nature of Hypnosis. He taught them the effective and self-empowering process of hypnosis that he used with his clients. With their extensive knowledge of the Cayce readings, the Fitzgeralds realized that this hypnosis technique provided a framework for the development of a creative and spiritually focused psychological process based on Cayce’s teachings that would be both integrative and transformational.


Interested in both the Cayce material and the Fitzgeralds’ work, I attended more of their lectures at the Shelbourne and later enrolled in the spiritual development course offered at their center. The course on creative spiritual development gave me a working knowledge of therapeutic hypnosis—of the conscious mind’s ability to interact with the subconscious while in a state of deep relaxation in order to resolve personal problems.


With that foundational knowledge established at the start of the course, we were then led through a series of guided sessions. We first learned to visualize a mirror image of our self and to imbue that image with the attributes of the Christ ideal—joy, compassion, gratitude, present time awareness, as well as a willingness to change. As we developed the ability to “build and entertain the pattern,” just as Cayce advised, by visualizing it in this image of our self, we also became aware of the harmonious integration of spirit, mind, and body that this image possessed—and we came to readily identify this image as our true self. The final stage of the process involved seeing and experiencing the harmonious and integrated self in the circumstances of our daily life— dealing with the circumstances and whatever personal issues arose while in this state of spiritual self-awareness.


The immersive and systematic nature of the process I learned in this course provided an opportunity for consistent personal growth. It was an effective technique for making practical progress on the spiritual path. I found the technique relatively easy to learn and work with, and the fundamental outcome for me was the realization that I, along with everyone else, possess an innate ability to connect with the divine within and to express it simply by being more joyful and purposefully engaged with my life and others.


Later, after more study of the Cayce readings, I saw how the process was an innovative way of making progress in what the Cayce source emphasized is our life’s overriding purpose: “

. . . the purposes for which each soul enters materiality are that it may become aware of its relationship to the Creative Forces or God; by the material manifestation of the things thought, said, DONE, in relation to its fellow man!” (1567-2).


Using this self-realization technique, I was able to abandon my persona of the angry, young artist struggling to survive in a censorious and economically depressed country, which Ireland was at the time. Instead, I came to accept the challenges I faced and to deal more positively and realistically with them. I was also able to address and resolve, at least at my end, a longstanding conflict with my parents, who’d been disappointed by and not supportive of the path I’d chosen for my life. And I became less self-serving as well toward my partner at the time, eventually accepting and supporting her decision to move away in order to fulfill her desire to become a naturopath.


Although the Fitzgeralds later moved back to Virginia and the Center for Living Research ceased to exist, they had made a positive impact on the lives of many who were drawn into their orbit.


My life-changing experience led me to, among other things, research, work with, and write about the Cayce material to this day. The Work has contributed immeasurably to the knowledge of who we are, where we came from, and where we are headed; to the great odyssey, the timeless sacred quest that the Cayce source emphasized: “Down through the ages there has come the command of the great teachers—‘Know Self.’ It is the key to the door which bars the way to the path of light and understanding of universal law and its creator.” (262-10).


The insights and directives in the numerous Cayce readings have not only been a continuous source of inspiration and guidance to me and countless individuals worldwide, they have also over time fostered the development of holistic processes and techniques that help us learn what Cayce described as “the simplicity of the ability of individuals to apply that as may be obtained from their own subconscious self, cosmic forces and universal consciousness (or call it by whatever name the individual may choose)—THIS is the great truth that MUST be apparent to the layman, the individual, the scientist, the mathematician, the historian, the individual seeking information through these sources finds this apparent.” (254-46).


As one studies the Cayce material, it quickly becomes evident that what is being emphasized is the need for each of us to engage with positive transformation by becoming more aware and expressive of the “fruits of the spirit”—joyfulness, patience, compassion, generosity, faith, forgiveness, etc. These are an intrinsic part of our nature and true identity, our Christ Self.


To achieve this, we are encouraged to attune to and manifest the highest within ourselves through the creative and transcendental agency of the mind: “‘Let that Mind be in you which was in the Christ, who thought it not robbery to make himself equal to God,’ but living in materiality in the earth, in matter, as a body; but with the Mind, with the thought, with the manifestations of a Creative Force all together.” (262-78).


The Cayce source encouraged everyone to meditate daily, to pray, and to set a spiritual ideal, which together lead to the awareness of God’s presence at work within us. What one finds is that, true to the Cayce adage, with application comes the greater understanding.


Mark Finnan is a longtime member of A.R.E. and student of the Cayce readings. He is an actor, author, and playwright based in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. In recent years he has been writing and performing a series of sacred dramas based on the Cayce material, which have been presented at spiritual conferences, centers, and churches in Canada, England, and the US. You can learn more at MarkFinnan.com

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