Concerning a Physical Basis Mental Illness
by Charles Thomas Cayce, PH.D.
(Presented to the Medical Symposium, A.R.E. Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona, in January 1978)
What I'd really like to do with you tonight is to report on some current research. The title of this discussion is "Suggestions from the Edgar Cayce Readings Concerning a Physical Basis for Mental Illness."
One is the focus in this material, and the focus throughout the Edgar Cayce readings, of the constant interaction between us and those with whom we come in contact. If we are serious about this business of telepathy and energy fields and so forth, then we must conclude there is at least regular, if not constant, interaction between us and those readings, that this communication - this interaction at levels other than those related to the sense receptors (the five major senses) between healers and the recipients of healing, when we are specifically focused on that process - whether it is in chiropractic or counseling or any of the other specific healing professions - when we are specifically focused in this way, that communication, that interaction, at the non-verbal level is enhanced, is speeded up or intensified. It's not just what we are doing with our hands, what we are saying with our mouth. Please keep this in mind, as we go through this material.
The second and major perspective to keep in mind is the major concept in the readings concerning wholeness - concerning the potential for all of us in the healing professions to work not only in one dimension, whether that be physical or mental if we are talking about counseling, or spiritual, but constantly we should be trying to work with all three dimensions of our patients, our clients: the physical, mental and spiritual; whether that includes suggesting meditation while we are doing the adjustment or giving the treatment; or however we might integrate those three. There is the major focus in the readings of a constant inter-relationship of those three dimensions when imbalance occurs. Thus we need to work with all three of these if we are working with healing.
When I was in graduate school during a period of my life when I was extremely skeptical, trying to become very objective about this material, the Edgar Cayce readings, I had an opportunity while working in a child treatment center, the Residential Child Development Center in Memphis, Tennessee, to set up an experiment that would specifically test one of the tiny hypotheses in the Edgar Cayce readings. This involved approximately 60 young people divided into four groups, approximately 15 in each group, matching each group for reason for referral to the treatment center. This was everything from commitment of felonies to much more minor disturbances, always with a concomitant mental difficulty of some sort, an emotional difficult of some sort as diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist.
These four groups were matched generally for background and reason for referral, and each group received one of these four treatments:
- One group of 15 children was talked with individually as they were going to sleep; was given what was referred to in the readings as presleep suggestion. In the question and answer period you might want to talk a little about the details of that suggestion, and I can refer you to the specific readings. These 15 got this suggestion, this informal sort of discussion, as they were going to sleep.
- Another 15 received essentially the same sort of suggestion, but around 2:00 a.m., when they were supposedly asleep, and most of them were.
- Another group received the same sort of discussion, but during the day, - usually at a meal when they were wide awake, or supposedly wide awake.
- And the fourth group didn't get any discussion at all, but they were sat with for the identical amount of time as they went to sleep, and the person who was sitting with them simply read other material and tried to speak as little as possible, simply answering questions as they were asked.
The two measures of the effectiveness of that treatment were, first, an interview by a team of one psychologist, one social worker and one graduate student before and after the treatment. They didn't know which of the children had gotten which treatment. They didn't even know what the treatments were. The second measure was a six month follow-up on how many of the children had been re-referred through any one of the social agencies in the city - essentially how many of them had gotten caught again for doing something wrong.
The results were so dramatic in favor of the effectiveness of pre-sleep suggestion as a tool for working with emotional difficulties in children that I was jarred in a major way.
A second step in this story involved looking at what came to be the compilation of several circulating files on mental illness. One of those is schizophrenia, and two of the readings were particularly interesting to me. I'd like to share just a little of those with you.
One was for a lady about 30 years old, and I remember this very vividly: this was a summer when I was home from graduate school and I came across the physician's follow-up report on this particular patient. This physician was an osteopathic physician and his provisional diagnosis was insanity. The treatment was osteopathic treatments as outlined in an Edgar Cayce reading. The duration of the treatment was six weeks; the results of the treatment immediately following the treatment, one year and two years later: simply "cured." This report was written in February 1947. That jarred me, and I went through that particular reading in detail.
Another reading right before that one in this compilation of the readings on schizophrenia was for a man 47 years old. David Kahn had asked Edgar Cayce to give a reading for this man, and in the correspondence, which is frequently as fascinating or more so as the reading itself, was an illustration of the strange "coincidental" way readings were given for specific people. This was the brother-in-law of a nurse who spent many years with the Kahns' two sons, Arty and David, and Mr. Kahn asked Edgar Cayce to please try to give a reading for this man who was a former foreman superintendent in a postal service department in New York. The reading was given, and one of the first questions asked at the end of the reading was, "What was the original cause, or what produced this condition?" The answer was, "A fall on the ice injuring the coccyx end of the spine." This is a descriptive paragraph from the letter that Mr. Kahn wrote Edgar Cayce:
"Mr. 1513 had a nervous breakdown while in the Postal Service from overwork, or so the doctor stated. They tell us he will now be dismissed for two weeks."
At the time of the reading he was in a mental hospital. The reading was given, and osteopathic treatments were prescribed and given. The man was immediately released from the mental hospital and diagnosed as cured. Again, the duration of the treatments was six to eight weeks. What particularly caught my attention about this reading was a piece of correspondence following the series of two readings in which Lydia J. Schroeder Gray in 1938 wrote this little note to be included with this man's two readings:
"Mr. Cayce lectured at the McAlpine Hotel in New York City on this date. 'Introducing Cayce, Mr. David Kahn announced a man had just entered the hall whose story he wanted to tell. Mr. Kahn then described this case 1513 - which was a description of a very dramatic shift as a result of a series of osteopathic treatments. At the conclusion of the story, Mr. 1513 rose from his seat and came to the front of the hall. In a quiet choked voice he said 'every word of this is true; and I came tonight to shake the hand of the man who gave me back my life."'
Then there are a number of letters from his family.
I don't know how many of you, probably most of you, have worked with someone who is mentally ill, who is diagnosed as psychotic. The statistics tell us now most of us will have that opportunity, virtually all of us in our lifetime, if we haven't already. One in five, if we look around us one in five of us, according to the statistics, will seek professional treatment at some point in our life for some sort of "mental disorder." So statistics indicate we'll all come in contact with an opportunity for working with some of this material.
Those were the first two steps: the reading of that material, the testing of a specific hypothesis, coming across that specific pre-sleep suggestion as part of a treatment for mental illness in a number of the readings given for this sort of problem.
A third step was in an Atlantic University session focused on material from the readings on healing, specifically for professionals in the healing arts, with a specific emphasis on the people in counseling professions. There was a chiropractor at that session, there were vocational guidance counselors, people in private practice in psychotherapy, a medical student, two nurses, all sorts of people from the healing professions. I think most of us, probably all of us, as we work in our specific area, have the opportunity to include counseling as a major part of that work. That was the third step, the A.U. session.
For me that was an opportunity to pull out of the readings what seemed to be 15 or 16 fairly specific kinds of treatment - 15 or 16 applicable steps in working with someone with emotional or mental disorders. And those steps and a report of several of the case histories of people who have worked with those steps are what I'd like to share with you.
I think probably all of us can identify with an experience we've had that has a magical quality which we are a little afraid to share for fear it will somehow lose its magic. I've had that feeling about this system of treatment. It seems to have worked so well, so dramatically, in the nine cases where we've tried it, I'm almost afraid to talk about it for fear the magic formula will be lost.
I've been very cautious about the people who have tried working with it again for fear of somehow losing the magic ingredient. Let me go through the system of treatment:
- First, a change in the environment. That is, take the person out of the situation he is presently in and put him in another situation. Out of the home situation, out of the work situation, whatever the present living environment might be, change that.
- Second, have the person near the ocean. The sound of the waves and near an area of the beach where the person can see the sunrise and the sunset. If the person is overly active, he should pay particular attention to watching the sunset; if he is depressed, he should watch the sunrise, and pay particular attention to the sun as it is horizontal with the line of vision.
- Third, spend 45 minutes to an hour a day in a pine thicket- that's the sort of strange stuff in the readings; you don't know where it's coming from, whether it's the odor of the pine trees, or just a general sort of atmosphere of peace and calm that might be a part of a pine forest. 45 minutes to an hour a day in a pine thicket.
- Fourth, have a companion with this person who is within seven years of the person's age. If the person is 14, the companion would be no older than 21. They must be within a 7-year cycle of t the person receiving treatment. Such a companion must make this commitment for a month at least on a 24-hour basis. Them some specific suggestions about the companion: he needs to be one who is familiar with healing prayer and has worked with that some, and is familiar with the business of setting ideals and has worked with that to some extent. Then, the companion prays for the person having difficulty each day; in one specific reading noon was suggested. In several readings it was suggested getting other people to pray for this person having difficulty, to pray at that same time and it would be helpful. So the companion would pray for the person he is working, with at noon each day.
- Fifth, each day the companion awakens the person he or she is working with and listens to that person's dreams. He doesn't analyze them. Perhaps this has a cathartic effect or simply getting the dreams out, getting some of what's inside out, and this would be done first thing in the morning, with the companion awakening the person he is working with. As the person goes to bed at night, the companion makes positive suggestions. Here's the pre-sleep suggestion business. The companion sits with the person being worked with and makes positive suggestions. We'll talk a little more about that later.
- Sixth, the use of the radioactive appliance - the chloride of gold, and so forth. There's specific information in the readings on how that would be used.
- Seventh, osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments. In at least two specific readings it was suggested that three treatments in succession within a two-week period be done, then a week off, and so on, but that business of three in a row seems to be important; three, one immediately following another in fairly close succession seems to be an important aspect here.
- Next, massages and sweats. Specific material is in the readings about that.
- Next, diet. Basic dietary suggestions from the readings. An important aspect of this, in every reading I've come across, is the six to eight glasses of water daily. But the low intake of meat, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Interesting aside: I’m sure many of you have worked with people having emotional difficulties who would not eat correctly. In one reading the person who was the companion raised the question, "How in the world do I get this person to eat the diet that's been suggested - the fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.?" The answer was, If those around the person having difficulty would eat the foods, very soon the person you are focusing on will be eating the foods also. These are the only things you have in the house - that which is best to eat - and the diet shifts very quickly.
- Tenth, physical work with the hands that involves "breaking a sweat" is the phrase used in the readings. Getting the person to begin to perspire. Physical work with the hands where perspiration is a part of that.
- Eleventh, castor oil packs. Specifically mentioned is the castor oil packs for people with mental difficulties involving the facilitating of coordination between the cerebrospinal and the sympathetic nervous systems.
Let me give you an example of a typical day:
As we have stated, you have the person with a companion who is working with the healing prayer and who is working on his ideals. Upon awakening, the companion listens to the person's dreams, without any sort of analysis taking place. Then breakfast, and the dietary suggestions for breakfast, physical work after breakfast that involves working with the hands and perspiring. At noon healing prayer, either the two together or at least the companion praying for the other person. Lunch with dietary suggestions, a rest period afterwards. The radioactive appliance used at that time, and again listening to dreams if there has been a nap. A walk on the beach and walk in a pine thicket. The walk on the beach following the walk in a pine thicket and catching the sunset at that time. In the afternoon the chiropractic or osteopathic adjustments as a part of that regimen on certain days, then supper and going to bed early. After the person is in bed but before he is asleep, the pre-sleep suggestion would be used. That's the general regimen we've tried and the results have been simply fantastic.
There has been no situation where the person having difficulty was on less than 350 mg. of thorazine or some comparable tranquilizer or sedative, and that's enough to choke a horse. In no case was it more than three days before the person was completely off all medication, was having no hallucination, no paranoid reaction. That's not heard of in the business of working with psychotic difficulties.
None of these steps involve a treatment facility. The way this is done is that a young person needs to be found - I've been working primarily with young people in terms of this treatment. This person must be within the 7-year age cycle, and must have the time free and be interested in trying this - interested in working as a healer. At times I have given this person an abnormal psychology book and had them read about what they're going to be working with: what the symptoms are and what's involved in a psychosis, what sort of things they will be seeing.
Try to get a feeling about the young person as a companion. There is a constant interaction between that companion and the psychotic person, and that's where the catalyst occurs for healing to take place in the person having difficulty.
The other techniques are additional, informal helps, but that's the major thing. If there's a good feeling about the young person and enthusiasm, then they simply go off. If the person having difficulty is from Virginia Beach, they go away from Virginia Beach to the Children's Camp in the woods and stay at a farmhouse or somewhere nearby. If they are not from Virginia Beach, they find a house or apartment to rent and live together for a period of at least a month and go through these steps.
A couple of points which might be of interest to you. The one about watching the sunrise or the sunset with the sun horizontal to the line of vision. I've had some dealings with an American Indian medicine man who talks literally about that same business as a treatment for emotional difficulties, getting out where you can see the sun either coming up or going down, and going through a little ritual. Now, the ritual varies depending on the healer you talk with, but that business Eula Allen talks about it as "grounding" or "re-energizing" or whatever you want to call it - the relationship with the forces of nature and the person who is unbalanced in terms of his or her own forces, that establishing of that relationship is talked about in lots of sources. If you've read the books about Don Juan, the teachings of Don Juan, that same procedure is described.
Let me go a step further with that procedure and describe for you how Eula Allen worked with it. She was as close to a medicine woman as we have around here, and the author of the Trilogy on Creation based on the Edgar Cayce readings. She has worked extensively with young people, particularly those having difficulty with drugs and drug experiences. She has the person get out in his bare feet in the morning or in the evening when there is a dew on the ground, or when the ground is wet, stand facing the sun and spread his palms and breathe in and out slowly a few times. Essentially that same sort of procedure is described from many different sources. I would suggest you try working with it, not only as a balancing technique, but as an attunement technique.
A couple of other specific comments on these situations. The business of listening to dreams rather than analyzing them. We've worked with that in several different ways. If you're working with someone who's having emotional difficulties, you might try this technique. Have the person simply write down his dreams, or tell them to someone else, and turn loose of them, release them, not think about them any more. Do this for a period of a week or more to find out if you see a positive effect. It's a very different dynamic than picking through each particular dream as you remember it. That's an area where these companions have felt a change going on, a loosening of tensions during that listening-to-dreams period.
We could talk more about each of these specific treatments. I think what's going on with this procedure is that you're jolting a person out of patterns they have slipped into which are causing the imbalance. These include physical patterns related to diet, exercise and sleep; externally oriented rather than a balance between internal and external orientation, and the moving-of the person to another location, linking them with someone who is clear about his ideals and healing prayer - this provides a sort of jolt like jumping a battery, you get a sudden shift of energy that alters the person's behavior patterns, and you can see these behavior patterns shift as you watch this person over a period of days.
Usually in the case history of the person who's trying this treatment you see a sort of vicious cycle where there are tensions occurring in the person's home or work environment, the sort of tensions we all experience regularly, but thrown on top of that has been a jolt in terms of dietary shift or a period without sleep, or ingestion of chemicals of some sort, so there's a base line of tension, and some added stress to that which pushes the body and mind out of balance and it is this jolt process that I think produces the reorientation.