Chronology in the Cayce Meditation Readings
(Posted on: February 26, 2013 by David McMillin)
The Edgar Cayce readings are a rich resource on meditation – what it is, how to do it, why to do it, and what to expect as an outcome. As part of my background research for the creation of the Searching For God online study group course, I did a computer search of all the Cayce readings that mentioned meditation (i.e., mediation, meditate, meditative, etc). I found 994 readings that discussed meditation in one form or another. I put these readings in chronological order (an important research technique I learned when studying physical/health readings) and noticed that there were definite patterns. Not only were there various forms of meditation recommended, these different methods of meditation changed over time.
The first mention of mediation was in a physical reading in 1921. The emphasis was on relaxation (stress management) to assist with healing by reducing “nerve tension” that was producing numerous physical symptoms. This individual was told that she:
… must take itself well in hand to rebuild the physical in its own self, see? This will be through meditation and through relaxation. This body should often lie down and rest, with no binding whatever about the body, two or three times a day. We will find by this relaxation that we will relieve this condition, so that it will come to a normal sleep. (4718-1)
Here is another example from a physical reading given in early 1931 that describes a one minute meditation (“whether walking, standing still, or resting”) for stress management:
(Q) How can I overcome the nerve strain I'm under at times?
(A) By closing the eyes and meditating from within, so that there arises – through that of the nerve system – that necessary elements that makes along the PINEAL (Don't forget that this runs from the toes to the crown of the head!), that will quiet the whole nerve forces, making for that – as has been given – as the TRUE bread, the true strength of life itself. Quiet, meditation, for a half to a minute, will bring strength – will the body [if the body will] see PHYSICALLY this flowing out to quiet self, whether walking, standing still, or resting. Well, too, that OFT when alone MEDITATE in the silence – as the body HAS done. (311-4)
Actually, the use of meditation for stress management is common in our modern world. As in so many things, the readings appear to have anticipated this trend. For about ten years (1921-1931) the readings that discussed meditation followed this pattern, along with general recommendations for prayer and mediation, as you might find in biblical scriptures. Keep in mind that during this decade, the readings were mostly health oriented. With the stock market crash in 1929 and subsequent closing of the Cayce hospital, the focus of the readings shifted to a more spiritual emphasis due to a group of individuals coming to Cayce and requesting readings for spiritual growth.
Thus we have with the next major phase of meditation in the readings with the Study Group readings (Search for God and Glad Helpers healing group). These readings contained the detailed meditative instructions and methods that have come to be associated with the “Cayce approach to meditation” for both individual and group application.
As a result of the study of these series and related readings, a compilation of two volumes of readings and reading excerpts on meditation was published by the A.R.E. The first volume consists entirely of readings in the 281 (Glad Helpers) series (281-1 – 281-65). The second volume is more diverse in scope, but still has the same overall perspective, as stated by Dr. Herbert Puryear, who was the A.R.E. Director of Education at the time of the publication. In the Foreward Puryear states:
Herein you will find extracts and entire readings representing a rather complete coverage of the information in the readings on these themes: meditation and prayer for healing; and the endocrine system and the functioning of energies related to it, called the kundalini influences. It is felt that a thorough study of the readings dealing with these processes will lead to a deeper, more sound and more helpful understanding of the vast realm of human experience subsumed under the one word, meditation. (Puryear, 1975, p. vii)
The Glad Helpers readings (281 series) are particularly explicit about how to do “deep meditation.” Here is an example from this body of meditation readings:
Then, as one formula – not the only one, to be sure – for an individual that would enter into meditation for self, for others:
Cleanse the body with pure water. Sit or lie in an easy position, without binding garments about the body. Breathe in through the right nostril three times, and exhale through the mouth. Breathe in three times through the left nostril and exhale through the right. Then, either with the aid of a low music, or the incantation of that which carries self deeper – deeper – to the seeing, feeling, experiencing of that image in the creative forces of love, enter into the Holy of Holies. As self feels or experiences the raising of this, see it disseminated through the INNER eye (not the carnal eye) to that which will bring the greater understanding in meeting every condition in the experience of the body. Then listen to the music that is made as each center of thine own body responds to that new creative force that little by little this entering in will enable self to renew all that is necessary – in Him.
First, CLEANSE the room; cleanse the body; cleanse the surroundings, in thought, in act! Approach not the inner man, or the inner self, with a grudge or an unkind thought held against ANY man! or do so to thine own undoing sooner or later! (281-13)
Note the caution provided at the end of this excerpt regarding the danger of doing this type of meditation with any form of impurity and selfish motives. During the second phase of readings on meditation, this warning was provided in numerous readings involving deep meditation and the raising of the life force energy (called “kundalini”) in the readings. The importance of focusing on a spiritual ideal and positive affirmations were emphasized. The use of a prayer of protection was encouraged during deep meditation.
The meditation recommendations for the study groups were also consolidated into an article on meditation that was included at the beginning of “A Search For God” Book I. Keep in mind that many of these individuals were seeking to develop psychic ability (in the Norfolk Study Group #1) and healing ability (Glad Helpers). These are rather advanced meditation practices. Interestingly, members of these groups were not initially familiar with meditation and learning to meditate in this way was a challenge.
The third and final phase in the readings that discuss meditation began in 1935 with readings for seven individuals that recommended the use of the “radio-active appliance” while meditating (899-1, 1016-1, 1020-1, 1022-1, 1023-1, 1040-1, 1053-1). The appliance was said to assist with relaxation and healing. So the intent seems to have been to combine the relaxation/stress management/healing type of mediation that was recommended during the first phase with the deep meditation emphasis of the study groups. Here are a couple of examples of using the appliance as an aid to meditation:
Use a Radio-Active Appliance for ATTUNING the body. And during the use of same, whether used daily or at set periods (as may be given in circling the body), use that period as a period of DEEP meditation; gradually raising, through the system, opening the centers of the body for better understanding. (1473-1)
(Q) Is the nervousness in one member of the family transferred to me?
(A) Only as the body mentally allows same to react. Each ENTITY is a universe, or a combination of universes, within itself. These reactions may depend upon the creative force within itself to carry on to the fulfillment of its purposes in any material experience.
Do not ALLOW, do not entertain any lack of confidence in self to contact the creative energies within self sufficient for the fulfilling of that purpose.
Do these things materially. And, as indicated, during the periods of the application of the Radio-Active Appliance, MEDITATE.
MEDITATION means, then, the entering within self to seek for the Creative Forces; or to seek that God may make for the using of the body – mentally, physically, spiritually – as a greater manifestation of His love in and among men. (1020-1)
In seeking to understand the chronological pattern involving the use of the radio-active appliance, it is helpful to understand a bit about the appliance itself. The first commercial models of this device were built in 1925 by a businessman, Tim Brown. When Brown ceased making the appliances, a relative of Cayce (Gray Salter, a cousin I think) began making them for patients at the Cayce hospital in the late 1920s. With the closing of the hospital there may not have been a reliable source for them until Health Home Remedies company began manufacturing them in 1935. So the readings’ apparent sudden referrals for this appliance in 1935 may have been a result of its increased availability. These types of chronological patterns are actually quite common in the physical readings.
A question concerning meditation was addressed in the second reading for the Norfolk Study Group when a member asked if his method of meditation was correct. The answer was that there are “various manners of meditation” (262-2) that can be useful. Systematic research into meditation in the readings confirmed this and also revealed a chronological pattern in the various recommendations for meditation.
Broadly speaking the recommendations fell into three phases that corresponded to Edgar Cayce’s career in the context of the types of readings that were being requested and the available resources to meet the needs of those seeking the information.
Scattered among these three major phases of readings on meditation are other variations including mindfulness exercises and assorted ways of meditating when seeking guidance. In choosing to apply the Cayce information on mediation, it may be helpful to recognize this variability in the options that are available and choose what best fits the needs for each unique individual.
Puryear, H. B. (1975). Meditation – Part II: Meditation, Endocrine Glands, Prayer, and Affirmation. Virginia Beach, Va: A.R.E. Press.
A.R.E. Library Series on Meditation
Volumes 2 and 3 of the Library Series published by the A.R.E. Press contains the most extensive compilation of readings on mediation, apart from the entire collection of readings currently available in a searchable database format.
Meditation Article in A Search For God Book I
This very readable article condenses the Search for God Study Group readings (262 series) and Glad Helpers readings (281 series) into a coherent approach to deep meditation that represents what I have called the Phase 2 stage of meditation readings.
If you interested in the chronological patterns in the Cayce physical readings, I gave a lecture at the A.R.E. that was videotaped and is available below. Just click the link above.