Cayce Health Database
An ideal is a standard by which
one lives. "The ideal gives us a sense of stability, guidance
and orientation, as well as a criterion for judgments." (Puryear &
Thurston, 1987, p. 95)
"An ideal is not a goal. It is a motivational
standard by which to evaluate our goals and our reasons for pursuing those
goals. The goal is what; the ideal is why! A spiritual ideal
is not so much a goal toward which we move as it is the spirit in which
we grow. It is a living and dynamic standard by which we quicken
and measure our daily motivation." (Puryear, 1982, p. 112)
The readings frequently
suggest an ideals exercise designed to examine and modify dysfunctional
attitudes and behaviors based upon spiritual considerations. This
exercise consists of writing down one's ideals on paper. The process
involves making three columns headed: SPIRITUAL, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL and
listing words under each which signify the meaning of each category.
The spiritual ideal is a person or concept which conveys the highest sense
of purpose or meaning to which one may ascribe. The mental ideal
is the mental attitude which is consistent with the spiritual ideal.
The physical ideal is the behavior or physical manifestation of the spiritual
ideal. Thus, the holistic perspective is maintained by the coordinating
of physical, mental and spiritual ideals.
The technique is cognitive-behavioral since it
brings to awareness the attitudes and beliefs upon which a person is operating
and links the mental dimension to concrete behaviors. The mental
and physical ideals are modified to be consistent with the spiritual ideal.
The difference between this technique and many contemporary cognitive-behavioral
models is the role of the spiritual ideal as the standard for mental and
physical processes. The Cayce readings do not advocate a "value-free"
approach to healing. However, the values are not to be imposed by
an outside agency - each person must work through the process on one's
own to find one's own balance.
The readings state that ideals will change as
one progresses through life. Therefore, the ideals exercise is an
ongoing process of reorientation. It may be viewed as a tool for
maintaining balance and integration at all phases of one's life.
The use of ideals has important clinical implications.
Persons who have high spiritual ideals, but whose mental attitudes and
physical behaviors fall short of these spiritual ideals, may be prone
to self-condemnation for failing to live up to their own standards.
Or, they may project their perceived shortcomings onto others. Self-blame
or blaming of others is likely to lead to psychological and/or interpersonal
problems. On the other hand, a person with low spiritual ideals
(or the complete absence of them) may find life meaningless, boring and
An obvious benefit of this exercise is its potential
for focusing on beliefs which have been unconsciously adopted during childhood
and adolescence. The insistence that the ideals be written down
and reviewed regularly is critical in this respect.
Puryear, H. B. & Thurston, M. A. Meditation and the Mind
of Man. Virginia Beach, VA: A.R.E. Press, 1987.
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis
or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional
for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health