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Monday, October 29, 2007

Edgar Cayce On Psychic Development

Taken from www.EdgarCayce.org

It's no wonder that many people came to Edgar Cayce with questions about the development of psychic ability. Cayce himself exhibited extraordinary talents-both in the conscious state and while unconscious in the trance state. It made good sense to seek advice from such an expert. What did "America's best-documented psychic" have to say about how we can enhance our own psychic sensitivity?

One item we're bound to be struck by as we read through the Cayce information is the shortage of techniques or tricks for becoming psychic. There are methods, certainly. The readings present a systematic strategy for how the serious seeker can reliably and safely increase his or her psychic awareness. But rarely do we find anything simplistic and mechanical. There are no easy-to-follow steps that will magically make us clairvoyant and no shortcuts for seeing visions of the future. Even when Cayce was mildly encouraging about the use of something as gimmicky as a crystal ball, his advice always downplayed the technique or tool and, instead, emphasized the purposes and the attitude one brings to it.

Cayce's psychic development program is fundamentally one of soul growth-that is to say, it challenges us to the slow, sometimes-difficult task of character development. It repeats again and again to curious dabblers that enhanced psychic awareness carries with it increased responsibilities. We shouldn't seek one if we don't want the other.

Perhaps the best orientation to psychic development is a pair of readings given in 1932, just before Cayce was scheduled to lecture on the subject to a large gathering in Virginia Beach. These two readings were given for himself; they were the result of his own search to understand better how these abilities work.

Several points in these two readings stand out as key principles that underlie all that Cayce had to say in any reading about psychic awareness. Most basic is the idea that "psychic is of the soul." We can understand this tenet in at least two ways. First, it means that these abilities are possible only because each of us has an immortal, creative core: a spiritual "body." In fact, you'll find that one of Cayce's most succinct definitions of psychic development is simply "the development of the spiritual body". (5752-2)

The other meaning of "psychic is of the soul" points to purposes and intentions. The deepest and most authentic part of you-your soul-has a commitment to love and oneness. Therefore, psychic abilities naturally come forth as an expression of our oneness, of our connections with each other. What's more, we can expect psychic talents to emerge to a greater degree as we make a commitment with our conscious personality selves to be more loving.

These two readings that Edgar Cayce obtained for himself contain several other noteworthy principles, one of which is: We all have psychic talents-whether or not we've taken the time to tap them. The potentials are always there. Then, the reading proposes a useful analogy: Psychic development is like training for any sort of skill-a sports skill (like boxing) or an artistic skill. There are certain "rules of living" that have to be followed in order to get the desired results.

Exactly what sort of lifestyle would be most conducive to psychic development? The best answer is found in the final portion of reading 5752-2. "How [to] develop the psychic forces? So live in body, in mind, that self may be a channel through which the Creative Forces [i.e., God] may run." It goes on to recommend a specific attitude toward life - one in which psychic ability becomes the natural byproduct of a willingness to have God work through you to help others. That approach requires balance ("normalcy, not extreme in any manner!") and a strong commitment to one's own ideals ("…be true to that thou promiseth that source from which all health, all aid, must come.").

Another key point comes up in these two readings. It concerns the nature of the subconscious mind, a central part of the psychic process. The psychology of the Cayce readings theorizes a three-level model of the human mind: conscious (or physical consciousness), subconscious, and superconscious (or spiritual consciousness). The subconscious mind has an intermediate position; therefore, it can borrow (or "partake of") material from either of the other two. This characteristic has very significant implications as we try to understand our own psychic experiences. Some of what comes to us psychically from the subconscious mind will be a reflection of our own higher selves and superconscious minds. But just as surely, some of what comes as a psychic experience may well be a product of our material life desires. Put most bluntly, we've got to be careful because some paranormal experiences-be they dreams, voices, or visions-may not come from a very high source and may simply mimic what our physical selves desire.

Obviously great caution is required as we try to make that distinction. In fact, much of the material regarding psychic information concerns the need for inward discernment. Part of the answer rests with application. If we sincerely apply the best guidance we've received - and if it bears good fruit for everyone involved, then it was from a high source.

Another aspect of Cayce's response to this dilemma is to act with good motives and purposes. By consistently living our lives with a commitment to service, we can reliably expect psychic impressions that come from such a high source.

Understanding Psychic Development

From Cayce's perspective, the true source of psychic powers is God. Not many parapsychologists-who make scientific studies of ESP-would be bold enough to make a claim like that. But it's exactly what the Cayce readings proposed. Furthermore, that true source can be found within ourselves. If we're interested in psychic guidance, we don't have to look very far. Cayce was especially fond of quoting the Bible on this very point: "...look not as to who will ascend into heaven to bring him down..." (5752-6). The focus should be on the abiding presence of the Spirit-within ourselves and immediately surrounding us.

But our attunement with that Spirit is almost invariably imperfect, and it comes in degrees or shades of reliability. This was mentioned earlier in terms of the subconscious mind's capacity to draw from either the physical conscious mind or from the spiritual superconscious mind. But the problem of understanding and evaluating psychic experiences is really more complex than this. Even within the spiritual realm, there are levels or degrees of truth and reliability. The highest possible psychic realization, according to Cayce, is to know that God will communicate directly with us. Put another way by Cayce: Spiritual "awakening" means becoming conscious of the relationship between the finite and the infinite. But this is not to say that other beings in the spiritual world should always be rejected or ignored. For example, what are we to do if we think we've been contacted by a recently deceased individual (someone from "the borderland," as Cayce called it)? The readings' caution was more often against directly seeking (or even being obsessed with) contact with such spiritual beings as deceased relatives. They may well approach us-even with very helpful messages-but Cayce warns about focusing our attention on that sort of experience as opposed to appreciating it if and when it arises spontaneously. Often the Cayce readings draw a sharp distinction between spirituality and soul development on the one hand versus spiritualism and contact with disembodied beings on the other.

We all have psychic talents simply because we all are souls. But with that exciting promise comes a catch. We must "eliminate self" if we want these potentials to blossom. What did Cayce mean? The annihilation of our sense of individuality? If we study the readings in their entirety, it becomes clear. What's to be eliminated is selfishness-the impulse to look out for our own self-interests alone. God honors and respects our individuality; but when we take our independence to an extreme and begin to harm others, then we've fallen out of attunement with the source from which psychic awareness originates.

Clearly, the spiritual discipline of meditation is one key to Cayce's psychic development program. By the daily practice of meditation, we attune ourselves to the highest levels of mind within ourselves. We can even use the few minutes at the end of our meditation period as a time to be open and receptive for specific psychic guidance. Closely related to the subject of meditation is the process of balancing and attuning the physical body. For example, Cayce often makes reference to the spiritual centers of the body, those seven contact points at which spiritual forces especially flow into the physical body.

Another important principle about psychic development and the physical body is the vital necessity to get the body into optimal fitness. First, we should recognize that physical health and vitality are part of the attunement of body, mind, and spirit. Furthermore-and a special insight by Cayce in regard to disturbing psychic experiences-when there are imbalances in the body, it can open the subconscious mind in such a way that very disorienting paranormal occurrences take place. When people reported to Cayce their accounts of upsetting voices, troubling dreams, or other forms of frightening psychic events, more often than not the problem was identified as some sort of physical imbalance. Therefore, any sound approach to psychic development cannot ignore the need to get the body fit.

Sleep and dreams are other productive areas for pursuing our psychic sensitivity. When we're asleep and the subconscious mind is directly active and accessible to our awareness, we're in a "nearer condition" to a contact with God and the higher selves of those we care about.

Closely related to sleep is that in-between state we experience as we lose consciousness at night or as we begin to awaken in the morning. The hypnagogic or hypnopompic states are fruitful areas in which to explore psychic awareness. But Cayce warns against playing around with these altered states of consciousness. They're best used in conjunction with a regular prayer and meditation life. That way, we're more likely to get reliable psychic information.

In summary, how would Cayce have answered those skeptics who say that it's far better not to explore the psychic realm? The readings clearly agree that we shouldn't get distracted or obsessed with psychic phenomena. Instead, these experiences are a natural part of human life and are offered to us as assurances that we are connected to one another and to a God who cares about us. It's an aspect of life worth paying attention to and worth understanding-what Cayce calls "the great study for the human family." (3744-5)

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