In the late 1970s, my family moved from central North Carolina to the coast, hundreds of miles away from everything and everyone I had ever known—including our church. Although I wasn’t baptized at St. Andrew’s, it was, and still is, what we in the South refer to as “my home church.” Every Sunday, my mother, father, younger brother, and I would sit in the middle row of dark wooden pews, lined with green velvet tufted cushions. Inevitably, one of us kids would begin to squirm under the pressure of keeping quiet until we were dismissed for Sunday School and my mom would try to distract us by playing tic-tac-toe with tiny pencils and first-time visitor forms. My first memories of community are filled with images of the potlucks, seasonal pageants, and various other social activities held in the Fellowship Hall. Christmas was always my favorite. Marching down the center aisle toward the beautiful array of stained glass windows to the rhythm of the carols sung by the choir with my angel wings—white tights stretched over coat hangers sparkling with glitter. The majority of my neighborhood, according to my first grade calculations, attended St. Andrew. So much so, that discussing God and the Bible with all of my friends in Sunday school class seemed just like another group huddle that took place in our backyards and carports.
Almost as soon as the moving truck was emptied, my mother began looking for a church. In the beginning, she would attend the prospective service alone. Later, I became her assistant in this religious mystery shopping. Our standards were high. Each church that we visited would eventually meet with some sort of disapproval. Even the smallest infraction, such as poor eye contact by the door greeter, would send us to the next on the list. Dozens were selected. None were chosen. What each was missing was the sense of community, that feeling of belonging. Fast forward 20 years, and I was still looking for a spiritual home, literally seeking sanctuary.
After college graduation, there were plans for law school, a high-powered job, marriage, and then children. That was derailed by a short stint in theatre and a friend who introduced me to metaphysical ideas. Several synchronistic forks in the road led me to a job at a local Virginia Beach Friends School in Virginia Beach, Va. As a Quaker school, each day included morning meditation that was attended by staff and students from kindergarten to high school. Sitting quietly, offering yourself as a channel, listening to be moved by Spirit, to either speak or remain in silence. It was the first step on my spiritual journey.
My first job on staff in 2003, was at the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa. Sitting in the breakroom talking to all of the therapists, I recognized that feeling of community. The St. Andrew sensation. This feeling only deepened with my participation in a Study Group. The A.R.E. and the readings were like coming home, awakening something that had been dormant for decades. Thinking the journey complete, my spiritual home finally found, I continued with my meditation practice and became a member of the Glad Helpers Prayer Group.
In the beginning, my meditation practice was sporadic and haphazard at best. My methods were not based on any traditional teachings or modeled from any other practices. What I lacked in structure and conformity, was made up by my enthusiasm and perseverance.
When asked about a suggestion to begin a regular meditation practice, one response Edgar Cayce gave was:
This we would keep, but don’t be anxious about it. Let it be a necessity to thy better being, rather than giving or having the meditation for better being. It’s like whether you are baptized for or baptized to! It’s the same application within the inner self. You have the meditation because you desire to be attuned with Creative Forces. You don’t have the meditation because it’s a duty or because you want to feel better, but to attune to the Infinite!...
-- Edgar Cayce reading 1861-18
Today, my prayer and meditation practice keeps me grounded. Through meditation, both my perspective and perception have been altered. Knowing that I am myself and “yet one with God” gives me the opportunity to rise above any situation. My higher Self is able to make sense of things that are often confusing in my physical/mental, day by day consciousness. My perception is clearer and laser-focused on seeing the highest good in all things. Each time that I meditate, I grow in my acceptance that God is in everything, working through each interaction, guiding and supporting me through all circumstances grows stronger.
“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
This doesn’t mean that challenges won’t come my way or that I’ll always choose to take the high road. But knowing that there is access to the Divine, whenever and wherever needed by merely quieting my mind and opening my heart gives me solace and comfort that it is within my reach.
Looking back, most of my life has been a search for a place of spiritual belonging. The sanctuary was within me all along. It is that simple and yet so profound. The Edgar Cayce readings provide the tools to unlock the door. The application of those principles pushes it open. This sanctuary doesn’t require an impressive altar or a magnificent choir. The colors that often appear are not a reflection of the stained glass windows of the church of my childhood but the reclaiming of my connection to Oneness and the inner sanctuary of my soul.