When surveying just a small sampling of the physical readings delivered by Edgar Cayce, one may be surprised, considering how ill some of the recipients were, to detect a tone of optimism and hope in the text of the readings themselves. In addition to supplying a comprehensive description of what was occurring in the person’s body, plus a sequence of treatments to help remedy the unhealthy condition, the reading often noted the mental state of the person and gave advice on the proper attitudes to achieve and maintain wellness.
Cayce’s emphasis on the overall importance of attitudes in achieving health is noted by Dr. Harold J. Reilly as representative of “thinking that was not at that time generally accepted by the medical profession... Back in 1930, psychosomatics was a novel idea. Only a few pioneering doctors connected the emotional, mental, and spiritual conditions of their patients with their state of health or dis-ease...” (The Edgar Cayce Handbook for Health through Drugless Therapy [A.R.E. Press]) Now, of course, these ideas have become more mainstream. Yet Cayce recognized this connection between body, mind, and spirit long before the concept of psychosomatic illness was accepted by health professionals. Fears and emotions do indeed have an effect on the physical condition.
Following are some excerpts from the Cayce readings’ health advice on this subject:
...you can take a bad cold from getting mad. -- Edgar Cayce reading 849-75
No one can hate his neighbor and not have stomach or liver trouble. No one can be jealous and allow the anger of same and not have upset digestion or heart disorder. -- Edgar Cayce reading 4021-1
...anger can destroy the brain as well as any disease. For it is itself a disease of the mind. -- Edgar Cayce reading 3510-1
...what we think and what we eat—combined together—MAKE what we ARE; physically and mentally. -- Edgar Cayce reading 288-38
Another excerpt mentions that negative emotions can even be worse than a poor diet:
...don’t get mad and don’t cuss a body out mentally or in voice. This brings more poisons than may be created by even taking foods that aren’t good. -- Edgar Cayce reading 470-37
Change of Attitude Comes First
On occasion, Cayce recommended that the mental attitudes be dealt with first, before attempting physical treatment; otherwise, very little would be changed or accomplished for the individual. Here is one example:
...if anything is to be done in the way of correcting or eliminating the causes of the disturbances, much in the mental and spiritual must be considered by the body first. For, there will be little to be gained by making physical applications without there being a change in the mental attitude and spiritual purport of many of those conditions about the body. -- Edgar Cayce reading 3194-1
To what specific attitudes was the reading referring?
Do not be so pessimistic about self, conditions, or others. Do not give expression to nor hold to, nor entertain malice, injustice, self-righteousness, or those things that cause such great amounts of anxieties through the body. -- Edgar Cayce reading 3194-1
For other individuals it might be self-centeredness, hate, jealousy, or self-satisfaction that would need to be addressed, with an emphasis on patience, long-suffering, kindness, love, and gentleness. Without these latter virtues, one reading states that “there cannot be healing...” -- Edgar Cayce reading 3124-2
The Physical Affects One’s Attitude
Poor health, a painful condition, or simply a general malaise might sometimes give way to and accompany a negative attitude. Such was the case for a 35-year-old tavern owner who had several complaints: stomach and intestinal problems, back pain, and a rapid pulse; yet X-rays revealed nothing. In his reading, he asked Cayce what would give him a new interest in life and he was told:
Change the attitude towards life. Be interested more in creative influences and in spirituality, and there will be a better interest in life. Of course, the change of the general conditions physically will have much to do with the attitude. For with a constant pain, or cramping pains and disturbance through alimentary canal, the general interest in life becomes such that the body appears rather peeved with most everything. -- Edgar Cayce reading 4064-1
Cayce encouraged him to follow the recommendations given in his reading, since doing so would create better conditions in his overall general health.
One woman was advised not to feel sorry for herself because she was having difficulty walking without some assistance. If she would think about others having no limbs at all or in constant pain, she would discover that she’d have “much to be thankful for.” -- Edgar Cayce reading 3642-1
A 62-year-old man asked Cayce a question which is frequently on the minds of sick people: “How long will it take to cure the condition?” Cayce responded:
Remember, the condition is both pathological and psychological. To take the properties as outlined and not change the attitude towards the surroundings and the conditions will be LITTLE worthwhile. Become more OPTIMISTIC in the outlook upon conditions surrounding the body; knowing that, if self is spent in doing the best service for that the body worships (whether of the spiritual or mental nature), the results if not in keeping with that desired is self’s own fault! If the ideal is set in the spiritual things, and the results are not in keeping with that meted out, the fault is then in the manner in which the ideal is kept. -- Edgar Cayce reading 592-1
The reference to setting an ideal, a mental exercise that is also related to the healing process, stresses the importance of this activity for one’s spiritual growth. For those who may not be familiar with this process or who may need a refresher, the best place to begin is with “What Is My Ideal?” which is Lesson III in A Search for God, Book I. See also readings 262-11 through 262-14, which contain Cayce’s remarks to the first "A Search for God" Study Group on this topic.
Achieving and maintaining the proper, positive attitudes to effect change in one’s health is without a doubt an ongoing process requiring the qualities of persistency and consistency. Yet the importance of this activity is highlighted throughout the body of the Cayce readings, making it in itself both a noble and a worthy goal.
Excerpted from the Winter 2017 Cayce Quarterly newsletter.