The Edgar Cayce readings are full of information on the power of the mind, and one of the most frequently quoted passages from the readings is, “Mind is the builder”—sometimes with the fully extended version of: “Spirit is the life, mind is the builder, and physical is the result.

When delving into the readings on this topic, all of which are available in the Cayce series book, The Power of Your Mind, I came across a gem of information that gave me a better understanding of the full meaning of how the mind works as the builder.

Cayce asks the group present to consider these two phrases: 

As a man thinketh in his heart so is he

which has a meaning very similar to “mind is the builder". And second,

Thou canst not by taking thought turn one hair white or black, nor add one cubit to thy stature.

Edgar Cayce reading 262-79

At first these two statements seem to be in conflict, and Cayce states:

Mind is the motivative influence in expression as to the growth in which the inward self would make for its expressions in materiality or in matter. What meaneth, then, those that spoke as given, ‘As a man thinketh so is he’?
Then does this belie that the Master gave, ‘Ye cannot by taking thought add one whit or one cubit to thy stature, nor turn one white hair black’?

Edgar Cayce reading 262-79

Cayce then answers his own question, with this:

There is the Mind of the soul. There is the Mind of the physical being. There is ever that battle between the flesh and the spirit...

Edgar Cayce reading 262-79

When Cayce says “flesh” here, he is speaking of “materiality” or the three-dimensional life we are living here on earth. The battle as I see it then is between using our minds for growth in the “material world” vs. growth in the “spiritual world.” As Cayce elaborates:

Then as the Mind dwells upon that in materiality or in the flesh or of the earth-earthy, to satisfy, to make for growth within the flesh, this—as the Master has given—does not find itself in that of growth but rather as He gave, ‘Seek first the kingdom of God within you; then all of these things may be added unto you.’

Edgar Cayce reading 262-79

In other words, if I want to change myself in the physical, but the reasons for doing so are not grounded in spirit, I can’t “think” my way into those changes. But if I align my thoughts with my ideal, and my ideal is in line with the creative forces, surely the sky is the limit!

More from this reading:

Not as thou seest fit, not for thine own indulgences, but that ye may indeed and in truth be one in Him with the Father, and thus fulfill in each experience that which is the fulfillment of that destined for thee...

Edgar Cayce reading 262-79

So how does this affect my destiny … my future?

Cayce answers, Then the question, naturally, is asked: Is the Destiny of a Mind set at the time of its birth into materiality? As to what it will think, as to what its environs will be, as to the length of its period of expression in the earth? Is it destined to lose a tooth on a certain day, a hair on a certain day, an arm, or this or that experience. These are in those signs that have been indicated, that as ye are, as ye were, so will ye be by or through that which has been accomplished in the experience of the body, of the mind, of the soul; that it, the soul (the only living portion of same), might be one. It is destined that it will pass through that experience necessary to give it, the soul, the greater opportunity for its becoming one with that purpose for which it came into being.

Edgar Cayce reading 262-79

The insights I gained from the study of this reading helped me to more fully understand that I am what I am, based not only on what I think, but also on what I thought that led me to where I am. And the spiritual motivation behind my thoughts—my SOUL mind from which my BODY mind’s thoughts develop—will lead me to where I’m going.

Remember, ever, it is God that gives the increase. It is not anything that an individual may do, except keeping in that it knows to be the right.

Edgar Cayce reading 262-111

*Reading 262-79 is part of a series of readings that were given to Norfolk Study Group #1 (to learn more about Study Groups, visit our Study Group web pages). This particular reading was given in March of 1935.