Enlightenment: Subtle and Sublime

By John Van Auken


As I look back over the years that I have been studying and applying the concepts and practices in the Edgar Cayce readings―-the disciplines, meditations, dreams, seeking God consciousness, loving one another even when it hurts, and developing intuitive knowing―-it occurs to me how subtle, how natural, the enlightenment has been. I cannot point to a moment of supernatural development. The growth of my psychic abilities, as meager as they may be, turned out to be so subtle that if l hadn't been looking for them, I'd never have noticed them. Even God proved to be more subtle and natural than I expected.


Arms in the AirWhen I began this journey, I was looking for the supernatural, because that's what I thought enlightenment was. After all, if we're talking about experiencing the very presence of the Omnipotent, then it's going to be a phenomenal experience of supernatural proportions, right? Of course! But in the seeking, it turned out just as Elijah shared with us. You remember how he searched for God in the lightning, the earthquake, and the fire, but found God in a still, small voice within? In my experience, that voice was and is so subtle that I would have easily missed it if Elijah and Cayce hadn't given me a heads up about its nature.


I'm equally surprised at how easily the Divine connection is lost in daily life, with the slightest shift in attitude or focus, it is gone.


Cayce guided us to observe Jesus as an example of what it is to walk through life in touch with God. For the most part, Jesus' life was subtle and natural. He basically went around doing good and relating to people and their struggles, dreams, mistakes, and needs, both materially and spiritually. He attended weddings, weekly synagogue, dinner parties, fishing trips, and so on. For the most part, Jesus was natural not supernatural, subtle not dramatic. In some cases, he even worked at making miraculous events appear more natural. For example, the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead could have been a much more spectacular event, but Jesus minimized it by telling all those around that "she sleeps."


helping handsFeeding the 5,000, could have been better staged for greater impact; a good PR person today would turn that into a spectacular media event. Rather than praying over a basket of loaves and fishes and then quietly passing it around, he could have had the food instantly appear in everyone's lap. He would not be in any history books if it were not for the Spirit moving through so many that knew him―-both in that life and through the Holy Spirit that touched so many after that life.


When I get still and review my years on the path, I see miracles in my life, but I'm struck by how subtle and natural they were. Now, things that I struggled so hard to realize in the early years of this search come so easily, so naturally that they do not seem profound or phenomenal. Yet, when considered objectively, they are incredible. For example, if I'm up against a major decision or challenge, I naturally receive dreams that shed inner light on the issue. If I'm feeling the loneliness or busyness of life, I just sit still in deep, rising meditation and inevitably end up in the presence of Oneness. Calmed and contented by this experience, I get up and continue on. These are miracles, but so subtle and natural as not to be noticed for what they really are.


Edgar Cayce dreamsCayce once said that in this world it is the little things that count: a smile, a kind word, a forgiving comment or deed, and the like. It's taken me years to fully realize just how right he is. When I listen to my children or young friends and their struggles, I see the subtle but sublime Spirit working its magic through them. Someday we'll all realize how close our relationship is to one another and the Cosmos, even during those times when it feels so separated. When the kids ask me those big, profound questions, I find myself answering with Cayce's little but powerful principles: Use what you have at hand; in the doing comes the understanding; keep on keeping on; focus on the virtues and good qualities, and minimize the vices and weaknesses―-especially when interacting with others.


Cayce gave many of these little tips that are profoundly powerful when applied in life. One of the best pieces of advice I received along the way was from his eldest son, Hugh Lynn Cayce. He told me to read his father's readings. I did. They're filled with subtle power and sublime magic when applied in daily life in little ways each day. 


Excerpt from the March/April 2001 issue of Venture Inward magazine available online to A.R.E. Members at EdgarCayce.org/members.  

To learn more about membership, please visit EdgarCayce.org/Membership.



John Van Auken  137x170 pxJohn Van Auken is a director at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E., and is one of the organization’s most popular speakers, traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad to address audiences on the body-mind-spirit topics found in the Edgar Cayce readings. He is an acknowledged expert on the Cayce readings, the Bible, ancient prophecies, world religions, meditation, and ancient Egypt. He writes Venture Inward's Ancient Mysteries column and is the author of several books, including Edgar Cayce on the Spiritual Forces Within YouFrom Karma to Grace and Edgar Cayce and the Kabbalah.