Do not try to [open the doors of light for self]…but rather smile upon those that are downhearted and sad; lift the load…in kindness…brotherly love. And…the gates of glory open before thee.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 272-8
Deep and radical change—the kind that deserves the label transformational—can happen on many scales. At the tiny scale of molecular transformation, consider what happens when two atoms of hydrogen bond with one atom of oxygen to produce a molecule of water. At the other end of the scale are galactic transformations evident in photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope. In between those extreme examples of transformation is the realm of humanity. Though, at times the world can seem like quite a mess, and it can be easy to lose heart and conclude that the changes we observe on the daily news are simply for the worse.
This kind of pessimistic thinking might leave us to conclude that all we can really concern ourselves with is personal transformation. We can work on ourselves, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, that line of reasoning cannot be fruitful in the long run. Each of us as an individual is too much connected to the whole of humanity for us to realistically aim only for a private spiritual awakening. I can remember years ago as a college student I heard a lecture by Hugh Lynn Cayce on the “World Affairs Readings.” He stated emphatically that “none of us are going anywhere until we all go together.” In a way, that was the central message for those readings that his father had given about international affairs and the destiny of the world. As a 19-year-old, I was both inspired and troubled. This business of spiritual growth and the transformation of consciousness was going to be a lot more complex than I had thought at first. I was going to need to be just as concerned about other people’s personal transformation as I was about my own.
What would it look like and feel like if we were willing to buy into the idea that there’s no personal transformation unless there is collective transformation? I think it starts with us each day affirming that we are planetary citizens. There are far more things that unite us than there are factors that separate us—contrary to what the evening news may suggest. As Cayce tells us: “All souls are from one.” (1770-2) Recognition of that which unites us makes it easier to “serve” others, a life purpose that all souls have in common, as Cayce has repeatedly admonished us. I had an experience of this recognition just a few months ago when my wife Mary Elizabeth and I conducted two weekend workshops in Shanghai for the Edgar Cayce China organization. I was both enthusiastic and worried about this trip as the time approached. I knew about one of the most memorable prophecies in the Cayce World Affairs Readings about China and spirituality.
[China] will be one day the cradle of Christianity, as applied in the lives of men. Yea, it is far off as man counts time, but only a day in the heart of God—for tomorrow China will awake. Let each and every soul as they come to those understandings, do something, then, in his or her own heart.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 3976-29
That vision strongly suggests that the spirit and philosophy of the Cayce material has a vital future in the world’s most populous country. Maybe this trip was my own chance “to do something, then”—to contribute to this momentous transformation. But I was also worried. As a boy growing up in the 1950s, I developed some pretty strong conditioning about the Chinese and what to expect if I were ever to visit there (a prospect that seemed highly remote).
I was told by the cultural forces of my boyhood years that those people were different from us. They didn’t believe what we believe. They didn’t think the way we think. Now surely by 2016 I had matured enough and the world had changed enough that I had a whole different intellectual understanding of China than I did as a boy. But unconsciously and emotionally, there was still this lingering unease and a sense that my own personal transformation didn’t really have much to do with what goes on in the minds and hearts of 1.3 billion people 10,000 miles away.
The experience of that trip was profound for me. First, I was deeply impressed with the grassroots work in China to build a spiritual community interested in the Cayce material. Just take a look at their website edgarcayce.ws. It’s in Chinese, but you’ll see their good work. They deserve our support and help. Second, my wife and I were touched by the way that each person who came to our workshops shared the same issues, challenges, and hopes that we do here in North America. The Cayce teachings of reaching personal enlightenment through serving and helping others are universal in their appeal. These principles and practices connect us to the power of personal transformation and just as surely to a collective transformation as the human family.
Excerpt from “Personal Transformation” column by Dr. Mark Thurston in the Jan-Mar 2017 issue of Venture Inward magazine available to A.R.E. members at Edgarcayce.org/members.