Metaphysics teaches that in order to change a situation, a person should first begin with self. To heal others, you must first heal yourself; to love others you must first love yourself, etc. As simple as this may seem, it is one of the hardest concepts for people to accept and practice.
Regardless of the desired outcome, each person must meet their self. This leads to the questions, “Who is self,” and “how do I meet self?” According to Edgar Cayce there are ample opportunities to meet self each and every day.
Merriam Webster defines self as the person that someone normally or truly is. The Cayce readings describe self through the concepts of personality and individuality:
Personality is that seen by others. Individuality is that which shines out from within, separating one from another.
--Edgar Cayce reading 345-2
There are many methods to meeting the personality of one’s self. Perhaps one of the most comfortable ways to meet self is in meditation. A quiet, safe, and familiar atmosphere is the ideal environment to begin this self-discovery. Through focused intentions, an individual is able to make sense of their thoughts and truly meet their self.
In my meditation, I focus on my breath. Reducing my body to a simple function allows me to quiet my mind and listen to my inner self. During this stillness I am able to commune with the Christ within and bring myself into peace.
Meditation is a practice that takes work and it does not call to all people. Another opportunity to meet self is through dreams. It is a simple fact that all humans dream and this is the perfect way for self to speak to the conscious mind.
Throughout the ages dreams have affected individuals in their waking lives. Cayce spoke about the importance of dreams and provided invaluable insights to people through his readings. He recommended that people record and analyze their dreams,
...for dreams are that of which the subconscious is made, for any condition ever becoming reality is first dreamed.
--Edgar Cayce reading 136-7
As a child I was seldom affected by my dreams, but in the winter of 1990 I was startled by the following dream: “I was on a space ship leaving the Earth. Everyone was forced to evacuate to avoid danger. As my futuristic family and I flew away, the Earth imploded. We watched the whole destruction from an observation room. We were safe, but the Earth was gone.”
As a young child, I awoke from this dream terrified. My mother soothed me, assured me it was just a dream, and I went back to sleep. A few short months later, at the age of 10, I fell into a coma and had a near-death experience. My prophetic dream was spot on. My world had imploded, but just as in the dream, everyone was safe in the end. Although I did not understand the message of my childhood dream, self was sending me a warning of things to come.
Meditation and dreams are personal ways of meeting self. Another, sometimes less pleasant way of meeting self is through another person. Cayce mentioned on several occasions:
...self is constantly meeting self.
--Edgar Cayce reading 1771-2
When there is an encounter with someone who appears to be unpleasant, that person is generally reflecting an aspect of ourselves that needs our attention. Sometimes the attribute is from a previous lifetime, at other times it reflects our current life.
I remember my first several encounters with a very unpleasant woman at my church. She was grumpy and unapproachable, yet she was an active member in the community. While attending a class, I was randomly placed into a workgroup with her. This did not please me whatsoever, but it was only for a short project, so I just accepted the assignment. At the beginning of the second class, this woman ran up to me as I entered the sanctuary and she scolded me for not responding to the group email she had sent out. I informed her that between my mother’s chemotherapy treatments, my two children under the age of three, and my full-time position as a store manager, her email was not a priority. I walked away from her, took my seat, and prepared for class.
A couple of years after that encounter, the same woman came to me and informed me that shortly after we met she had made it a personal goal of hers to make me smile. She said I looked so unhappy when we first met and she found me difficult to approach. I laughed and told her of my first impression of her. She was shocked that anyone would think of her that way, but she appreciated the feedback and acknowledged the importance of our conversation. After coming to know one another through a common service to our church, we had become friends. I supported her when she decided to serve as a board member, and she took the time to get to know me and my family.
My experience with this woman is the perfect example of meeting self through another person. Through mirroring negative aspects of one another we were given the opportunity to change ourselves. Both of us met this opportunity and we each grew as individuals and friends.
Keep in mind that life is filled with opportunities to meet self. Be thankful for the pleasant encounters in life and be prepared to work at the unpleasant ones. Know that each soul constantly meets its own self. No problem may be run away from. Meet it now!
--Edgar Cayce reading 1204-3