The Edgar Cayce Readings and Oneness
One of the great ironies of human nature is the fact that the very structure intended to enrich our relationship with God is the one thing which divides us most as a human family. For countless eons, more wars have been fought on religious principles than for any other reason. Even to this day, wars, bloodshed, political battles, and countless examples of our inhumanity to one another are commonplace as one group tries to instill (or enforce) its belief systems, its politics, or the supremacy of its God onto the lives of others.
The first lesson for six months should be One-One-One- One; Oneness of God, oneness of man's relation, oneness of force, oneness of time, oneness of purpose, Oneness in every effort-Oneness- Oneness!
-- Edgar Cayce Reading 900-429
These conflicts are not simply between various religions but are also within each denomination. There are sects within Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam-within every religion!-many convinced that they are just a little more right than anyone else. Even various churches, temples, and synagogues have found differences with other members of their own sect who have somehow fallen away from the "original" or the "true" faith.
In addition to separating people from one another, these conflicts have also caused individuals to become disillusioned with religion-some even becoming convinced that religion is a waste of time. Too often, the result has been that people have given up their faith in God because of their disappointment in humankind.
Interestingly enough, the Edgar Cayce material states that part of the problem is due to our ignorance of our oneness with one another.
WHERE IS thine OWN will? One with HIS, or to the glorifying of thine own desires -- thine own selfish interests?
-- Edgar Cayce Reading 900-429
Cayce's information presents a hopeful and inspiring approach to spirituality and religion that inextricably weaves all of humanity together. Rather than focusing upon the form of specific religions or dogmas, the readings instead focus upon the importance of every single soul attempting to manifest an awareness of the living Spirit in the earth.
From Cayce's perspective, our goal is not to simply wait for heaven or to escape the earth; instead, we are challenged to bring an awareness of the Creator into our lives and into our surroundings wherever we may be, right now.
What is the difference? ...Truth...is of the One source. Are there not trees of oak, of ash, of pine? There are the needs of these for meeting this or that experience...Then, all will fill their place. Find not fault with any, but rather show forth as to just how good a pine, or ash, or oak, or vine thou art!
-- Edgar Cayce Reading 254-87
The good news is that, in spite of how things may appear in the world today, the readings assert that all of Creation will eventually be brought into an awareness of this oneness and of the Law of Love which it implies. One of our challenges as individuals is to make the world a better place because we have lived in it. Perhaps the best approach to this consciousness is reflected in the Bible when it states that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and our neighbor as ourselves.
As a means of discovering the oneness of Spirit, the readings encourage comparative religious study. Through such a discipline, each of us might see beyond surface differences and, instead, find the commonalties we share with one another:
...coordinate the teachings, the philosophies of the east, and the west, the oriental and the occidental, the new truths and the old... Correlate not the differences, but where all religions meet- there is one God! "Know, O Israel, the Lord God is one!"
-- Edgar Cayce Reading 991-1
...consider a field of corn. In the grain of corn there is life. Man plants it in the soil, works it, and then he reaps the harvest. Not every man selects the same kind of corn. Not every man plows it alike. Not every man sows it alike. Not every man reaps it alike. Yet, in each case it brings forth the very best that there is. It is the God or the life within each grain that the man is seeking. It sustains his body, and also produces enough seed to raise more. That's religion. That's the denominations.
-- Edgar Cayce Reading 991-1
When the concept of reincarnation is studied, what becomes apparent is not what religion people may be in the present but rather, more important, how individuals apply the knowledge they possess. Within the cycle of reincarnation, we have all been Jewish, we have all been students of Eastern or Middle Eastern religions; we have all been agnostic or even atheistic; we have all been Christian. It's important to remember that first we are all children of the same God, and only secondly are we separated by doctrines or specific religious beliefs. We are spiritual beings manifesting in the physical world. Our religious dogmas and beliefs have changed as readily as we have. To be bigoted toward any situation, type of individual, or experience-especially with the knowledge that we will draw those same circumstances to us in the future-is not in keeping with the concept of oneness.
Religion as a Form
The work of Edgar Cayce has attracted individuals from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. In fact, Cayce's view was that if the information in the readings was helpful and hopeful, making you a better person in the process, then you should be able to bring that renewed sense of "spirit" into your own faith. If, on the other hand, working with a particular concept wasn't helpful to you (the philosophy of reincarnation being one example), then individuals were simply told to leave it alone. Individuals were never advised to change their religious beliefs because of the Cayce readings. What Cayce was most concerned with was the application of spiritual principles, not an individual's specific religion. There is a difference between spirituality and religion, although both are important.
Religion is primarily concerned with matters of religious faith, ritual, structure, and tradition. Unfortunately, too often, a specific religion has been seen as the vehicle for personal salvation rather than simply being one of the various forms in which humankind is trying to understand the manifestation of Spirit in their lives. Many individuals have somehow elevated one religion above all others, perhaps deciding that there is but one form with which to demonstrate true faith. On the other hand, at times it has been the very religious structure with which individuals have become frustrated or disappointed, perhaps even deciding that they no longer need to have religion in their lives. Neither of these responses is in keeping with the concept of oneness. It is important to remember that religion serves a purpose. Without some form, spirituality can too easily become simply a philosophical mind-game rather than having practical ramifications for daily life. A loose spirituality may be fragmented, selfishly independent, lacking community, etc. Without religious form, children can be raised without a sense of the applicability of Spirit in their lives.
One of our confusions associated with religion is that we often mistake the form for the Spirit. For example, individuals may have a particular moving religious experience while attending a certain church or a service in a specific religious denomination. These experiences may include being overwhelmed by the spirit, having a very moving (or even a "kundalini") experience, awakening to the awareness of God's presence, even speaking in tongues. Rather than seeing these experiences within the context of form, however, individuals often assume that because their experience was valid, everything else associated with that religious form contains the same degree of value-they are only forgetting that throughout the history of humankind, individuals have had similar transformational experiences in every religion.
There may be different channels of approach, yes. For not all peoples walked in the field when the wheat was ripe. Neither did all stand at the tomb when Lazarus was called forth. Neither were they all present when He walked on the water, nor when He fed the five thousand, nor when He hung on the Cross. Yet each experience answered, and does answer to something within each individual soul-entity. For each soul is a corpuscle in the body of God.
-- Edgar Cayce Reading 3395-2
Remember, the essential premise of the Cayce philosophy is that we are all attempting to manifest the Christ Consciousness in the earth. Although we might currently find ourselves in the physical dimension, we are not physical creatures with souls; rather, we are souls who happen to be expressing ourselves in materiality. The distinction is important because, too often, we may associate ourselves with external, temporal things such as race, sexuality, color, and religion that are not a part of our true spiritual nature. It is not so much that we go to heaven; rather, we grow in awareness of our true spiritual nature and of our relationship with God and with one another. In fact, this process of growth and unfoldment is clearly described in the New Testament (Matthew 13:31-33 KJV) when Jesus discussed, in parables, the nature of Heaven.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
And, from the readings, "For you grow to heaven, you don't go to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there," (reading 3409-1).
Spirituality as a Living Awareness
Although religion often deals with form, spirituality generally deals with an individual's application of his or her individual knowledge or awareness. Since our natural state is spirit, reawakening to full spiritual awareness is one of the purposes we all have in common. In fact, in one reading (3357-2), Cayce stated that "Soul development should take precedence over all things." From the readings' perspective, this development is not achieved through some great deed or act; instead, it is a gradual accomplishment which is attained "line upon line, precept upon precept." What appears to be most important in terms of soul development is an individual's application of the things of the Spirit in their interactions with others: love, kindness, gentleness, patience, persistence, and consistency.
Since the purpose of life is to bring the spirituality of the Creator into the earth, attunement and application are at the heart of spiritual growth. Attunement is the process of reawakening to an awareness of our spiritual nature and our true relationship with God. As mentioned previously, the most frequently recommended tools for achieving this attunement are the regular practice of prayer and meditation. Both prayer and meditation are invaluable at reestablishing a conscious awareness of our spiritual source while inviting God's will to work through us as a "channel of His blessings" in service to others.
Repeatedly, a core concept from the Edgar Cayce material has been stated: Spirit is the life, mind is the builder, and the physical is the result. In terms of oneness, essentially what this means is that the one force, Spirit, constantly flows through us. However, it is acted upon by the properties of the mind and then channeled into our lives in accordance with our free will. Regardless of whether or not an individual even believes in God, everything about that person is given life through the properties of the one activating Spirit. What he or she does with that Spirit is a matter of choice, and "crimes or miracles" may be the result.
This ability of personal creation, whether through thought, experience or activity, caused the readings to identify the human soul as a cocreator with God. Because of this gift of cocreation, Cayce continually advised individuals that one of the most important things they could do was to establish an appropriate spiritual motivation (or ideal) for their lives, thereby directing personal choice into positive directions. From Cayce's perspective, too often, we are out of touch with the intentionality (the why) behind our everyday actions. By consciously establishing a spiritual motivation, such as service, compassion, love, or Jesus, as our pattern and then trying to make that motivation a greater part of our lives, real personal transformation and soul development can result.
The soul, then, must return-will return-to its Maker. It is a portion of the Creative Force, which is energized into activity even in materiality, in the flesh...Then, just being kind, just being patient, just showing love for thy fellow man; that is the manner in which an individual works at becoming aware of the consciousness or the Christ Spirit. Edgar Cayce Reading 272-9
Just like in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), we were with God in the beginning and, through choice and experience, found ourselves cut off from a complete awareness of Him. In one respect, the fall of humankind was really our descent in consciousness from the realms of infinity to those of time and space. However, this was not necessarily a "bad" thing or an erroneous choice. Just as a child learns through experience, choice, and making mistakes along the way, our own experiences through choice and will embody a maturation process that will enable us to come into our full heritage and an awareness of our true spiritual nature. In time, as we bring the spirituality of God into the earth, we will awaken to our own spiritual Source, eventually finding our way back to the Creator.
Not only is spiritual transformation our goal, but it is our birthright as well. With the proper spiritual motivation, we will be brought into alignment with this perfect pattern by working with attunement, appropriate mental attitudes, and a desire to bring our spiritual ideal into physical application.
What Shall We Do with Jesus?
Throughout history, the perspectives people have had on the life and teachings of Jesus have been varied, oftentimes even at odds. For some, Jesus has been seen as the only Son of God, bringing salvation only to those who call themselves Christian. Members of non-Christian religions may have ignored His life and ministry or they may have thought, "Well, Christians have been cruel to me, and therefore I'm not interested in Jesus." Individuals involved in New Thought or comparative religions may have decided that Jesus was "just a teacher," or they may have disregarded Him altogether. According to the Edgar Cayce readings, each of these perspectives is short-sighted.
Although Edgar Cayce was a Sunday school teacher all of his life, as well as an elder in the Presbyterian church, for him the meaning of Jesus' life went beyond that described by Christians and non-Christians alike. For that reason, regardless of our upbringing or our religious affiliation, the Cayce material offers some insightful and challenging information about the life and work of this man Jesus, who became the Christ.
Essentially, the readings present Jesus as our "Elder Brother," a soul who came to show each one of us the way back to our spiritual Source by perfectly manifesting the laws of the Creator. Part of His mission was to fully demonstrate the living awareness of the Spirit in the earth-something each one of us will eventually have to do. Therefore, Jesus' life of service to others serves as an example for all of humankind. In fact, the readings state:
For the Master, Jesus, even the Christ, is the pattern for every man in the earth, whether he be Gentile or Jew, Parthenian or Greek. For all have the pattern, whether they call on that name or not.
-- Edgar Cayce Reading 3528-1
Jesus Himself said "I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you," (John 14:20 KJV). We are all part of that same spiritual Source. Jesus was a child of God-just as we are all children of God. What Jesus did, we are all being called to do and, as our Elder Brother and the Pattern, He will show us the way. In fact, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is very much involved with us right now in teaching us about our relationship with the Creator. In discussing with God our joint spiritual nature and eventual destiny, Jesus said:
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world...That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
John 17:16, 21-23 KJV
This importance of this information, the fact that every individual is an integral part of God's creation and that we all share the same relationship with the Creator as even Jesus, will eventually transform (even revolutionize!) the ways in which we think about ourselves and treat one another.
Why do we have so many religious sects if the principle of oneness is an undergirding force in the universe? In part, the answer lies in our own diversity and in the fact that we are all drawn to what we need at a given time for our own personal growth and development. In addition, we also possess the very human trait of wanting to "pin down" our truth, putting parameters around our understanding so that we can deal with it. But truth is a growing thing, and the Cayce readings affirm that no one has all the answers to the marvelous question of who we really are as God's spiritual children. But even in the midst of our diversity, we share a common spiritual heritage. We are all children of the same God. We are all part of the one spiritual Source, our Creator, our Mother/Father, our God.
Each soul in entering the material experience does so for those purposes of advancement towards that awareness of being fully conscious of the oneness with the Creative Forces.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 2632-1
Oneness as a force suggests that each of us is connected in ways that we might never before have imagined. Our challenge is to bring that wholeness to consciousness, an "awareness within each soul, imprinted in pattern on the mind and waiting to be awakened by the will, of the soul's oneness with God." (reading 5749-14) Regardless of an individual's religion or personal beliefs, this Christ pattern exists in potential upon the very fiber of his or her being. It is that part which is in perfect accord with the Creator and is simply waiting to find manifestation in one's life.
Adapted from: Twelve Lessons in Personal Spirituality by Kevin J. Todeschi