The Path Out of Failure
By Mitch Horowitz
The Closure—and rebirth—of the Cayce health center holds universal lessons in how to overcome setback.
In the winter of 1931, the Christian mystic and medical clairvoyant Edgar Cayce came to feel that his life’s work had amounted to nothing.
Edgar had long dreamed of establishing a hospital based on his channeled health readings. But in February of that year, the mystic’s Virginia Beach hospital and research center ran out of operating money and was forced to close its doors, less than two years after opening. Patients had to leave, files were carted off, and Edgar wandered the halls alone gathering his personal belongings before the building was shuttered.
The hospital building today.
The financial collapse arrived after longtime contributors quarreled with Edgar and abandoned him and his work. The Great Depression did the rest to gut his 30-bed facility.
“I’ve been tested,” Edgar told his wife Gertrude. “And I’ve failed.”
Today, the original hospital building is not only back in the hands of the organization that Edgar founded, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), but the campus has recently undergone a major remodeling and is now a bustling facility that houses a well-regarded school of massage, a refurbished health spa, new classrooms, the offices of a reconstituted Atlantic University, and a health-food restaurant that ranks with dining experiences in “crunchy capitals” like San Francisco and Boulder, Colo.
The new health facility is sleekly designed – to the left I am pictured in its remodeled lobby with actress Lindsay Wagner (right), and A.R.E.’s own “bionic woman,” the tireless Marianna Theo (left).
Edgar’s dream of a dedicated health center is now alive in ways that he wouldn’t have imagined back in the grim winter of 1931. How did this turnaround occur?
Months after the hospital’s closing, while Edgar remained withdrawn and depressed, his eldest son, Hugh Lynn Cayce, then 24, approached him with an idea to reconstitute the Cayce work. But, as the future A.R.E. director saw it, his father needed to free himself from dependency on one or two big donors, as well as from fly-by-night seekers strictly interested in a personal reading. Instead, Hugh Lynn envisioned a member-supported organization that would keep people involved in all its facets of his father’s work – spiritual growth, personal healing, and ancient mysteries – while also providing a steady base of member support.
In essence, Hugh Lynn called for self-determination. He wanted the newly formed A.R.E. to demonstrate: 1) financial independence, with a scrappy willingness to do as much, or as little, as its member-based budget permitted; and 2) intellectual integrity, with a determination to organize, verify, and cross-reference the readings so that patients and seekers were not treated in isolation. Hugh Lynn’s formula transformed temporary defeat into renewed action and purpose.
Hugh Lynn’s program is every bit as serviceable for anyone facing setback today as it was for his father in the early 1930s. Here is what Hugh Lynn told Edgar, as recounted by Cayce family friend and biographer Thomas Sugrue:
“Maybe there’s something wrong with us. Suppose we stop expecting people to do things for us and start doing them for ourselves. The world doesn’t owe us a living because we have a psychic medium in the family; we ought to work for what we get just as everyone else does.
“In the first place, we don’t know anything about the thing we’re trying to sell. We look at the information as if it were a faucet. Just turn the tap and whatever we want flows out. We were going to give the world our wisdom – the wisdom that came out of the faucet when we turned the tap. We figured it was our wisdom because we had the faucet.
“We don’t know anything about psychic phenomena. We have our own experiences, but we don’t know what else has been done in the field.
“What do we know about the Life Readings? Do we know the history well enough to check the periods mentioned for people and give them a bibliography – a list of books and articles – with each reading? Certainly not!
“Do we know enough about philosophy, metaphysics, and comparative religion to check the readings on what is said in these fields?
“When a reading makes a statement and says it is a philosophical truth, do we know what philosophers believed the same thing, and what religions have it in their dogma?
“When a statement about anatomy, or about a disease, or about the use of a medicine or herb is made, do we know whether medical authorities believe the same thing or condemn it, or know nothing of the matter?
“If a person asked us for everything the readings have said about appendicitis, or ulcers of the stomach, or migraine, or the common cold, or epilepsy, or marriage, or forgiveness of sin, or love, could we produce it? Certainly not. That work was barely begun when the hospital closed.
“I think it would be wise if we stopped looking for large donations, stopped dreaming of another hospital, and concentrated on developing a little stock-in-trade. Then, when the next change comes, we’ll be better prepared and we won’t muff it.”
“I don’t know how to do that sort of work—” Edgar began.
“You don’t have to,” Hugh Lynn said. “I’ll do it … I’ll take over the job of manager of the Association. We’ll keep it small; we’ll have a modest budget and a modest program.
“We’ll work quietly, by ourselves, with the help of the local people who are interested. We’ll start study groups. We’ll take series of readings on various subjects. We’ll build up a library on psychic phenomena.
“Then when people come and ask what we do, we can say something other than that we take two readings a day, send them to people who pay for them, and put copies in our files. That isn’t much for an organization that goes around under the name of the Association for Research and Enlightenment.”
I ask you to consider how Hugh Lynn's ideas can be applied in your own life today. I find four principles in his statement:
- Self-Sufficiency. As much as possible, cultivate a sense of realistic self-reliance. Are your plans or projects rightly scaled, or are they overly dependent upon the resources or approval of others? Outsiders can withdraw their support just as quickly as they give it. Build on solid foundations.
- Higher Vision. Regularly check yourself to be certain that your plans are based on the ethical and spiritual certainty of serving something higher, and interjecting real benefit into the world.
- Steady Goes It. Build your projects patiently and methodically. Be willing to do as much, or as little, as resources permit. This is not only practical but also grants you the satisfaction of knowing that you are functioning without compromise and within your own means.
- Sweat Equity. Constantly ask: Am I performing my work with the highest quality and integrity? Do I suffuse my work with the skill and effort necessary to provide the finest possible service?
And, finally, I challenge you to apply these principles in one more way. If you are not already an A.R.E. member, please consider supporting the vision that Hugh Lynn brought into the world. With each of us who steps up, Hugh Lynn and Edgar’s work is further validated and realized.
Mitch Horowitz is a PEN Award-winning historian and the author of Occult America and One Simple Idea: How the Lessons of Positive Thinking Can Transform Your Life. He introduces and narrates the audio edition There Is River: The Story of Edgar Cayce by Thomas Sugrue, and many other audio books. Mitch most recently spoke at A.R.E. on the theme of Mind As Builder.
My Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experience
By Joyce Keller
I was only eight years old, but I should have known better. I should have said, "No thanks," when my 16-year old sister, Grace, offered to teach me to swim. I should have realized that she only theoretically knew how to swim. She had really never gotten wet during her high school swimming classes. But she knew the various swimming styles and techniques.
She also realized that my handicapped mother had instilled a deep fear of water in us, mostly because my mom knew that she would not be able to ever go in water herself should an emergency arrive. In addition, one of my little cousins had recently drowned in Flushing Bay, N.Y.
My sister was determined that we face our swimming fears! There was no stopping her today; she had a look of fierce determination on her face. I knew better than to challenge her. She took me by the hand, and boldly announced, "Today is the day I will turn you into a swimmer!"
I had a deep feeling of foreboding, as we both sallied forth into Southampton Lake. It was a bright, sunny August day. I looked up and saw a beautiful blue sky, with majestic white clouds. But when I looked down into the lake, it was murky and dark. I thought to myself that I had never been able to see the bottom of this lake. It was always muddy and had a reputation of being "bottomless." How could that be? There had to be a bottom to it, right? It definitely could not go all the way to China, or wherever it is that "bottomless" lakes go.
With a feeling of dread that I was working hard to overcome, I allowed my bigger, bolder, and more courageous sister, to lead me into this nasty lake.
We walked slowly and carefully, hand-in-hand, into the water. She then announced, "We have to walk out farther, because it is still too shallow for real swimming…" What was she saying? What "real swimming?" The water was already up to my waist and getting higher by the second.
Just as I realized that we had already gone out too far, I stepped into what seemed like an incredibly deep hole…apparently, she did also, because as I started to submerge, I realized that she was no longer holding my hand. I felt myself going down…deeper and deeper into what seemed like an endless tunnel. It was dark, and when I couldn’t hold my breath any longer, I started breathing in water…more and more water was rushing in to my body.
First came intense panic, then overriding fear. I tried to call my mother, but of course that was useless. At a certain point, I started to see my young life passing before me: my school, my friends, the parrot who was my friend, my bike, and all the things I loved…my baby brother…God…this was all happening so fast…I thought about my dad, who had just had a heart attack…I remembered how ill both of my parents were and how they were struggling to keep us together as a family… When I realized the utter hopelessness of my current family life, and the looming challenges, I knew in a flash that I did not want to continue this existence. I was suddenly quite happy and relieved that it was going to end, and that I would be going back home to God.
At the point of complete physical surrender, when I no longer was struggling to breathe or to stay in my body, a very strange thing happened. A beautiful angel appeared and extended her hand to me. I was sure I was hallucinating, but I didn’t really care. I was happy to go with her.
Then she spoke to me…it was the most incredibly, melodious, angelic voice…she said, "Joyce, are you ready to come with me?" I said, "Oh, yes…let’s go!" But then she spoke again, and with a sweet, gentle laugh said, "It’s not your time…you can’t go with me now. You have so much work to do. You are going to have a long life, get married, and have two children. You have made a contract before your birth to do God’s work for a very long time. That’s why you have to go back. Don’t worry so much about your parents. They are also going to live a long time, and things will improve. Not everything will be as bleak as they seem to be right now. So, when you take my hand, you will be back on the beach, and you will be fine."
With that, I took her hand, and realized that my cousin George, who had been relaxing on the beach, had jumped into the lake and pulled both my sister and me out. He did some form of resuscitation on both of us and left us to cough a bit and dry out. That angel’s words were correct. My parents went on to live many years, and things slowly, but surely, did improve at home. She was also right about my future. I had two children, and my service to God continues to this day.
I’ve had many metaphysical experiences in my life. Most are impossible to understand and explain. I’ve had many out-of-body experiences, and have done a great deal of astral travel. I believe it is something we all can do. In all likelihood, most of the flying dreams we have are actually astral travel. Most of us have experiences that seem exceptional, or other-worldly. Remember the old adage, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears."
Prayer and meditation open the door to greater understanding, and bonding with the highest angelic forces. The primary lesson in near-death experiences (NDEs) is to know that death should not be feared. It is merely a doorway to higher understanding and love in the universe. The earth is only a temporary place of soul growth and experience. The most important lesson is to love one another.
Joyce Keller is an American television and radio host, author, and psychic medium. She has hosted a live radio show since 1989 on New York's WGBB, and is featured in both editions of the book, 100 Top Psychics in America (Simon & Schuster). She has also authored seven international best-selling books, including the Angel Series books, Seven Steps to Heaven, Calling All Angels, and The Complete Book of Numerology. Her new book, Why Am I Here? A Concise Guide to Your Purpose and Potential, is a simple yet powerful guidebook to your purpose and potential. It includes valuable information that will help you use angel guides, astrology, karmic patterns, Akashic records, and more to recognize important aspects of yourself that are signs toward your true purpose. Her website is JoyceKeller.com.
KARMA AND GRACE
By Diana S. Lewis
The current topic of study in our A Search for God study group is "Grace and Karma." The
question kept arising about grace—with the law of karma operating, where does grace come in?
For example, in a letter to Mr. Cayce, a 42-year-old schoolteacher commented on her life
"I was interested in your statement to the effect that mine is an unusual reading.
The reading was also most interesting. I was especially glad of the assurance that I have not
piled up a lot of negative karma to be cancelled. As to the reconciliation of the law of karma and
the law of grace, I can't seem to get it straight. As I understand the law of grace, one can by
trusting in Christ avoid the consequences of a sin, or in other words not have to suffer according
to karmic law. If Jesus came, not to take away the Law how was it replaced by the Law of grace?
I am not so sure I know what the law of grace is." (Edgar Cayce Reading 3282-1, reports)
Mr. Cayce’s readings regarding this subject tell us the following:
"Yet, it is a fact that a life experience is a manifestation of divinity. And the mind of an
entity is the builder. Then as the entity sets itself to do or to accomplish that which is of a
creative influence or force, it comes under the interpretation of the law between karma
and grace. No longer is the entity then under the law of cause and effect, or karma, but
rather in grace it may go on to the higher calling as set in Him." (Edgar Cayce Reading 2800-2)
"... Just as that influence termed by some students as karma. This is the natural law, yes.
But there is the law of grace, of mercy. And this is just as applicable as the law of karma,
dependent upon the stress or the emphasis put upon varied things." (Edgar Cayce Reading 2727-1)
Prior to retiring one night, I asked for the answer. This is the dream I had:
There was a jailor. He took a prisoner and put him in a cell that was made of concrete
walls three feet thick. The prisoner, who was a holy man, immediately went to the only
window. There were sturdy iron bars on the window, but the holy man was able to take
his hand and make the bars move apart with ease. He had the choice, he knew, to be free
of his cell at any moment that he chose. The jailor who put him in the cell immediately
came over to inspect the bars on the window, but for him they did not move and were
impenetrable. In the second part of the dream, the holy man moved the bars of his cell
and stepped just outside of his cell. He didn’t run from his cell.
My interpretation was that the dream was an illustration of the law of karma and the reality of
grace. The jail cell is the law of karma. It is concrete, and to the untrained physical eye, it is
reality. And to the jailor, who can only perceive it as that, it is his reality. On the other hand, the
holy man knows this cell for what it really is. The cell is only an opportunity to learn the lessons
that he has come to learn. And he knows he chose to come and be in this place, at this time, for
his own benefit. He therefore is free of this situation, because he chose the situation willingly,
and can leave at the time of his choosing. That is the grace. Grace is the absolute spiritual reality.
Grace is the knowing that we chose this and we can exit if we want to. Hence when the holy man
stepped just outside of his cell, but chose to stay and not run, he was accepting his karma. He
was at peace because he was able to see it from a different perspective. The ability to see from a
different perspective is also a result of grace. Karma is the physical law. Grace is the spiritual
reality! Grace then, is the absolute reality!
I wrote a note to myself: So then we must ask ourselves, what is reality? Is reality the physical
karma that we deal with day to day, or is reality the ability to see our situations as stepping
stones on the path to enlightenment? Think then on this—perception is everything. If we meet a
situation with positive thoughts, looking to God, it frees us from doubt, fear, and worry. That
freedom is a direct result of being in a state of grace. Hence grace frees us. That freedom brings
us peace so we are able to be truly at rest even while working out our karmic debt.
Diana Lewis was introduced to Edgar Cayce, the A.R.E., and A Search for God (ASFG) study
groups at an early age when she began attending her parents’ study group while still a teenager.
After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University and nursing school, she married and
had two children. Her current ASFG study group is in Falls Church, Va. and she lives and works,
as a nurse, in Fairfax, Va.
Excerpt from the Spring, 2016 Newsletter available to A.R.E. members
Cayce's Secret to Staying Young
By June Bro
When people hear that I am 95, some of them say, "You look 20 years younger. What is your secret?"
Of course I'm flattered, but I'm thinking, "When I look in the mirror I see wrinkles, spots, sagging skin, thinning hair, and flab. And they don't know that my knees don't like to go down steps."
My first response to them is that I have some hearty genes from my Scandinavian grandparents.
My next response is that when I was born in 1920, the air was much cleaner and the waters were purer (we could drink water from Lake Superior when swimming and camping). We ate a lot of food that was grown locally and the seeds were not altered much, if at all.
My third response comes from an experience I had at age 23. Newly married, my husband and I came to Virginia Beach to work with the Cayces and Gladys Davis. Edgar's son Hugh Lynn Cayce, who had managed the office, was now in the Army as part of the war effort. They needed some help. We decided to come.
I was in the middle of a Master's degree in music, and my husband was in the middle of a Master's degree in ministry. I left my school where I had a full scholarship and Harmon got permission from the University of Chicago Divinity School to take a year off to do research on the work of Edgar Cayce (which later became his PhD thesis). This was the best decision we ever made in our marriage of 54 years.
Without the help and wisdom of Edgar Cayce and his readings, I probably wouldn't be living today. Too much stress is not good for the body or the mind. Edgar's philosophy took away a lot of the stress, fears, and doubts I was feeling.
I was brought up a Christian, and had always loved the church and Jesus, but often wondered how I could ever be like Jesus in 80 or 85 years. Then the idea of reincarnation became real for me. In my reading from Mr. Cayce, he mentioned several former incarnations that seemed to fit me perfectly. The idea of many lifetimes to work on relationships and other problems came as a huge relief to me. I didn't have to become like Jesus in just one lifetime. Pressure off!
It didn't just relieve the pressure, it also took away my fear of dying. I realized I had died many times. Why should I be afraid? I wanted to shout it from the housetops: You don't have to fear death! More Pressure Off!
Like every child, I had a lot of fear about the idea of heaven and hell. Mr. Cayce took the pressure off on that account, too. He said the same thing Jesus had said: we need to learn how to build heaven right here on Earth. Edgar Cayce also taught me this: heaven and hell are both states of consciousness. The more we try to live the "heaven on Earth" Jesus talked about, the more the transition from life to death will be like our concept of heaven. We are talking about the fruits of the spirit here: loving-kindness, joy, peace, patience, goodness, meekness, and temperance-all given in Galatians 5:22-23. If we have tried to develop these fruits, we will take these beautiful states of consciousness with us, and our transition to the next realm will reflect them.
"...little by little, line by line, here a little, there a little, do we gain that necessary for the development in and through the ever giving forces, necessary for the transition that must come to each body." (900-64)
Edgar said a few nevers that I have tried to observe. He said never to put milk or cream in coffee; to drink soda pop; to eat fried foods. I'm sure there are others, but I have tried to follow these three since I was 23. That has probably helped my body to age well.
The mind, too, is a remarkable gift to us. It can be the instrument for choosing the ideals we want to live by. I give thanks for the many chances I have to gain the wisdom I need to make good, holy choices. I want to be able to see God in everyone in spite of what they say or do, to help bring the Kingdom of God closer. Holding on to that ideal is probably the hardest of all attempts to grow closer to God and one another.
The biggest and best secret of all is that we can do it with the help of God-whatever name we call Him.
Excerpt from June Bro's "The Art of Living" from the Jan-Mar 2016 issue of Venture Inward magazine available to A.R.E. members at Edgarcayce.org/members.
Dr. June Avis Bro found her life deeply affected by working daily with Edgar Cayce when she and her husband, Harmon, came to Virginia Beach in 1943. She set about sharing her interests with others as a pastoral counselor and minister, as well as by using her skills in the performing arts. She has a graduate ministerial degree from Andover-Newton Theological School, near Boston, and a doctorate from Chicago Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching on six campuses while raising five children, she has been a research assistant at Harvard, lectured and held workshops in many cities, led overseas tours to the Near East and China, and served as pastor. A concert pianist, she has served on the music staff in churches of most of the major Protestant denominations and draws on her background in the arts to illuminate myths, symbols, and dreams. At age ninety, she released her first piano CD called “Soul Soundings,” which is being sold in the A.R.E. Bookstore. Her column for A.R.E.’s Venture Inward Magazine, "The Art of Living" is based on her life reading given by Mr. Cayce in 1944. She wrote the forward to the recently re-released book A Seer Out of Season written by Harmon Bro.
Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. blog offers opinion pieces from contributors with a wide variety of backgrounds. These opinions are valued and create points of discussion. Opinions expressed in our blog may not necessarily represent the opinion of A.R.E.