The Spiritual Practice of Welcoming the Stranger
by Dr. Pam Bro, Ph.D.
In these days of so much hostility to the "other," the stranger, the immigrant, LGBT people, etc., and in these days of incivility in much of our public life, I’m highly recommending we intentionally practice the spiritual dictum of "welcoming the stranger.” In my Judeo-Christian tradition, this is a commandment (Exodus 22:21): "Do not mistreat or oppress a stranger, for remember, you were once a stranger in the land of Egypt.”
I am currently a stranger in a strange land—strange to me that is: Utah. Its mountains are breathtaking in scope and beauty; the Alpine lakes beckon one to relax and restore one’s self. I know two people here—my daughter and her husband—and their hospitality couldn’t be more loving. I am so grateful. It’s a safe place to start slowly but surely to build the spiritual community I so deeply valued back in my old beloved home, Virginia Beach, Va.
It occurred to me recently that there are three times during the year when Americans open their doors willingly to strangers. One is Halloween, when we not only open our doors but we offer sweet treats as well! I’ve always preached that this should be a Holy Day for Christians, because opening our doors to neighbors and strangers alike, and especially children, should be a Christian trademark.
The second instance is garage sales and estate sales. Having just held an estate sale myself, as folks traipsed through my whole home, asking prices and making offers, some of us actually began to feel like a party was afoot! In fact, at one point I quipped, "Gee, I’ve met more neighbors here today than in the 10 years I’ve lived here. I should have held the estate sale when I first arrived!” Garage sales are usually friendly events, as well. I’ve been to several in Park City, Utah, and they have exhibited some of the old-fashioned small talk and bantering that I miss and still crave among neighbors.
Last, but not least, I recently attended a new church in this area. Though there were only about 30 older adults, and the pastor had asked newcomers to raise a hand to identify themselves (I did and was the only one), not one person came up after the service to welcome me. I was quite disappointed, and even a bit shocked. How I missed my beloved community, Living Waters Sanctuary, at that point! Whenever a stranger wandered into our midst, several members would immediately go up and introduce themselves and start a conversation with that person. What a wonderful practice, and we did it for 10 years, and it made God smile! For our Creator is the ultimate host, always inviting us to the table to sup with Him/Her in our hearts on Love and S/He invites us to do the same with our fellow humans.
So, friends, I know many of you are already practicing this "extravagant welcome" (a phrase coined by Rev. John Thomas, former president of the United Church of Christ). Let’s keep it up. Let’s teach our children how to do it. Let’s open our hearts and our doors whenever possible, so that the stranger—and the more diverse from us, the better—becomes an ally, and the ally becomes a friend. We have nothing to lose and a world of neighbors to gain.
Dr. Pam Bro is a former spiritual counselor for the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa, and founder and newly retired pastor of Living Waters Sanctuary in Virginia Beach, Va. A former Associate Pastor at Yale University, she is a dynamic motivational speaker and workshop leader. She holds her doctorate in theology and anthropology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, her Masters in Divinity from Union Seminary in NYC, and her Masters in Theatre from Schiller College, Berlin, Germany. She has enriched her field of spiritual counseling through her work with the Lakota Indians, Mindfulness Training with Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, and has more than 40 years of working with and lecturing on the Edgar Cayce readings. Her grandmother, Margueritte Bro, and her parents, Harmon and June Bro, knew Mr. Cayce in 1943. In April 2016, she received the Human Rights Award from the Human Rights Commission in Virginia Beach, Va. Open to many paths of spirituality, she draws upon diverse traditions and practices. She is the author of the book SoulQuest: A Trail Guide to Life. To learn more, visit PamBro.com.
NEW! An Alliance for Global Consciousness
Promoting Global Connectivity and Expanded
By Kevin J. Todeschi
One of the undergirding premises in the Edgar Cayce readings is the concept of our connectedness to one another. In fact, the readings go so far as to suggest that we are ultimately responsible for our neighbor—whether that neighbor lives next-door or on the other side of the world.
The readings are also adamant that a concept of Oneness should be the underlying philosophy of all spiritual and religious traditions, and even recommended that this premise be incorporated into our educational principles as a human family:
"The first lesson for six months should be One—One—One—One; Oneness of God, oneness of man's relation, oneness of force, oneness of time, oneness of purpose, oneness in every effort—Oneness—Oneness!"
(Edgar Cayce reading #900-429)
For the past year, A.R.E. has been working with other like-minded organizations to find a way to share what we have in common with one another and to collectively promote expanding human awareness. Out of this mutual cooperation, the Alliance for Global Consciousness has been born:
Made up of individual organizations whose members explore topics like personal spirituality, subtle energies, near-death studies, health and healing, life after death, meditation and mindfulness, personal enlightenment, human connectivity, energy medicine, out-of-body experiences, ESP, and psychic phenomena, and every avenue of human consciousness—the mission of the Alliance for Global Consciousness is to elevate our service to humankind and advance the evolution of our work, both individually and collectively, while moving further toward a shared purpose:
The transformation of human consciousness
across the globe
As an alliance of organizations, our aim is to assist one another and to share each other’s events with interested individuals throughout the world.
As a founding member of the Alliance, Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. invites you to explore the AGC website, visit each organization's page, and check out each organization’s events, helping to create Global Connectivity and Expanded Human Awareness in the process.
Welcome to this new adventure!
KEVIN J. TODESCHI is the Executive Director and CEO of Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (www.EdgarCayce.org), and Atlantic University (www.AtlanticUniv.edu). As both student and teacher of the Edgar Cayce material for more than 35 years, he has lectured on five continents in front of thousands of individuals. A prolific writer, he is the author of 25 books, including Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, Contemporary Cayce (co-authored with Henry Reed) and Edgar Cayce on Mastering Your Spiritual Growth.
We Are Stardust—
Scientists See Our Stellar Origins
By John Van Auken
In 1969, scientists analyzed a meteorite that landed in Murchison, Victoria, Australia,
called the Murchison meteorite. To everyone’s surprise, this little piece of space rock
contained all the ingredients necessary to form physical life! It contained nucleobases,
uracil, and xanthine—nucleobases are molecules that are the precursors to DNA and
RNA (Ribonucleic acid, present in all living cells). These are the basic building blocks of
physical life. The meteorite also contained 92 amino acids, 19 of which are found on the
earth (Earth and Planetary Sciences, June 15, 2008).
As far back as December 27, 1976, Time magazine was publishing the origins of life as
being from the stars: “In fact, the earth and its star—the sun—are built in part from the
ashes of dead stars, and human beings are literally star children. People—and all other
forms of life on earth—are collections of atoms forged in stellar furnaces. ‘All of
chemistry and therefore all of life has been formed by stars,’ says Astrophysicist Patrick
Thaddeus of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. ‘With the
exception of hydrogen, everything in our bodies has been produced in the thermonuclear
reactions within stars.’”
Astronomers explain that all the elements heavier than hydrogen originated inside stars,
long ago, as the stars shone by the fusion of hydrogen. The iron that carries the oxygen in
our blood was created when a star, in its dying phase, exploded.
Henry Moray, in his book The Sea of Energy, was among the first to reveal that space is
the biggest sea of energy that is known to exist, and we’re floating inside it. Not only is it
big, but its energy exceeds nuclear energy densities, so even a small piece of it is super
powerful. This space energy is called “zero point energy” or ZPE. Most agree that virtual
particle fluctuation contributes to it and that it may be an unlimited source of free energy
for homes, cars, and space travel. Zero point electromagnetic radiation energy has the
potential to power future interplanetary spacecraft and provide all the energy needed to
maintain a city on a distant planet.
But what’s more important is that it is the energy in which our bodies live and have our
being. Dr. John Bahcall from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (Einstein’s
workplace) said, “We are all quantum fluctuations. That’s the origin of all of us and of
everything in the universe.” These virtual particle fluctuations are changes that generate
energy, ZPE, and we are all virtual particle fluctuations, as is everything in the universe.
And then there is consciousness or “self-awareness.” Evolutionists admit that
“consciousness is one’s most precious possession” In their book, Evolution, the late
geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky and his co-authors wrote: “In point of fact, self-
awareness is the most immediate and incontrovertible of all realities. Without doubt, the
human mind sets our species apart from nonhuman animals.” And yet the origin of
consciousness and self-awareness is a mystery to scientists.
Edgar Cayce, and many others, saw the idea that brains developed consciousness as
having the whole process backwards, teaching that consciousness developed superior
brains in order to function better in the physical universe. And, human consciousness is
the highest form of awareness, revealing such functions as judgment, common sense,
insight, aesthetic sensibility, compassion, and—most of all—morality. No other animal
under the influence of instinctual urges will discern between females that are taboo
(sister, mother) and those that are acceptable for mating. Only the human shows the
ability to constrain powerful instinctual urges based on higher ideals and morals.
Human powers of rational comprehension exceed anything that could be simply an
evolutionary necessity. Perhaps that is what drove Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington to say,
shortly before he died: “The idea of a universal mind, or Logos, would be, I think, a fairly
plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.” Or, as John Beloff put it in
his article “The Mind-Brain Problem”: “The position of mind in nature remains a total
mystery. It could be that there exists some sort of a cosmic mind, perhaps co-equal with
the material universe itself, from which each individual mind stems, and to which each
ultimately returns. All we can say is that it looks as if a fragment of mind-stuff becomes
attached to an individual organism, at or near birth, and thereafter persists with this
symbiotic relationship until that organism perishes (The Journal of Scientific
We are physically children of the stars and mentally symbionts of the Cosmic Mind, or
God’s Universal Consciousness. And we are seeking our way home.
Excerpt from the A.R.E. Member Newsletter (Spring, 2016), available at
John Van Auken, is a long-time A.R.E. staff member and current Director of E.C.F. and one of our
most popular teachers of meditation and mystical spirituality. He has appeared on several television
programs and is the author of dozens of books, audios, and DVD’s including Angels, Fairies, Demons, &
the Elementals. He manages A.R.E.’s Archaeological Research and is a respected leader of international
tours to sacred sites.
The Divine Name and Other Sacred Sounds
By Jonathan and Andi Goldman
Mantras are "words of power." They are sounds for personal and planetary healing. The
word "mantra" is Sanskrit and may be translated as the "thoughts that liberate from
samsara (the world of illusions)." Mantras are listened to or recited for many different
purposes; as a means of achieving different states of consciousness; to create resonance
with specific attributes of divine energy; and to manifest different qualities, from
resonating the chakras to embodying compassion. Mantras are found in all the different
sacred traditions including Judaism and Christianity—the "Hail Mary" or "Amen" in the
Christian tradition, or the "Shema" [pronounced sh’mah] or "Shalom" in the Hebrew
tradition are the equivalent of mantras, as is any repetition of prayer, chant, or sacred
sound. The prayers, chants, and sacred sounds of the Native American tradition or the
Islamic tradition may also be considered mantras. In fact, there is virtually no spiritual
tradition, including those of indigenous peoples, in which the recitation of sacred sound
as mantra does not occur.
While there are many mantras that are quite long and complex, people are often looking
for short mantras that may be easily sounded together in a group. Please note that it does
not seem to matter in what pitch, frequency, or keynote the mantra is chanted with regard
to the effect of the sound.
Of all the sacred sounds on this planet, the one that is most often chanted is the OM.
Undoubtedly, at any given moment, there is someone, somewhere, chanting this sacred
mantra. The OM is considered one of the oldest vocal sounds in existence—many
speculate that it has been chanted for untold thousands of years. It is considered to be the
"first of all mantras," the original, primordial sound—the mantra of creation.
OM is a mantra from the Hindu tradition, a Sanskrit word said to be the sound from
which the universe and all of creation first manifested. While pronounced OM, certain
Sanskrit scholars state that it is written as AUM. Many consider the two words to be
interchangeable. OM is said to be the sound that contains all sounds—it is the totality of
all other sounds. Swami Sivananda Radha says, "The cosmic sound AUM, or its
condensed form, OM, is the origin of all other sound. OM is everything. It is the name of
OM is a multi-dimensional sound and as such may be understood a number of different
ways. One understanding is that OM (or AUM) represents attributes of the major trinity
of Hindu gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Another understanding is that the A
represents the physical plane, the U the mental and astral planes and the M, all that is
beyond the reach of the intellect. AUM or OM is the initial syllable that begins almost all
mantras. Thus OM represents the Infinite, the One Mind, the all-embracing
Consciousness—that which is the very essence of existence.
THE DIVINE NAME
The Divine Name is a newly rediscovered sound that is universal in its origin and said to
be encoded within our DNA. This is not simply a word, but a vocalized sound that can
shift the vibratory rate of all who experience it. In addition, many sources believe that the
Divine Name was the most sacred of sounds found in the Old Testament—the
foundational book of the Abrahamic traditions, which is responsible for over half the
planet’s religions. The Divine Name was said to be so powerful that it became prohibited
from the Old Testament and then became lost for over 2,500 years. The Divine Name is
composed of a harmonically related series of vowel sounds that resonates all the chakras.
This sacred sound begins at the crown chakra at the top of the head, goes down to the
root chakra at the base of the spine, and then returns to the crown chakra.
The power of this sound is extraordinary. The Divine Name is composed of vowel sounds
with specific resonances that can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their spiritual
path, religion, or belief system. Because of the universality of this sound, knowledge of
this sacred sound has now been found in many different traditions throughout the world,
from Native American to ancient Egyptian.
The Divine Name puts the person chanting it into deep meditation with higher levels of
consciousness. Along with the powerful spiritual effects of this self-created sound, the
Divine Name can be used to create extraordinary health benefits for us on a personal
level, balancing our chakras and our electro-magnetic field. Through learning to create
this sound we’ll activate our innate God force; generating major positive changes and
transformational healing for ourselves and the world.
Contained within the Divine Name are the sounds of three mantras OM/AUM, AH, and
HU. Many perceive the Divine Name as not only a universal sound, but that it is also the
personal name of God.
Excerpt from the Jan-Mar 2016 issue of Venture Inward magazine, which is available
online to A.R.E. Members at EdgarCayce.org/members.
To learn more about membership, please visit EdgarCayce.org/Membership.
Watch the Reflections: Wisdom of Edgar Cayce interview with Jonathan and Andi Goldman.
Jonathan Goldman, MA, an authority on sound healing and a pioneer in the field of
harmonics, is the author of several books including his recent release, The Divine Name.
His award-winning recordings include Chakra Chants" and "The Divine Name." He is
Founder and Director of the Sound Healers Association and CEO of Spirit Music.
Andi Goldman, MA, LPC, is a psychotherapist specializing in holistic counseling and
sound therapy, Director of the Healing Sounds® Seminars and Co-Director of the Sound
Healers Association, and the wife and partner of Jonathan Goldman. Their website is
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.