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How Can I Work with Ideals?

(Universal Laws, Edgar Cayce Readings, Spiritual Growth) Permanent link

How Can I Work with Ideals?
By Kevin J. Todeschi



Venture Inward Magazine[Please note: This article is the second of two parts. The first part appeared in our last post, or you may read the entire article in our member magazine Venture Inward in the member-only section of our website (Jan-Mar 2013 issue).]


The challenge of working with ideals seems to be one in which we’re encouraged to move beyond simply a personal intellectual exercise. That next step is to be able to map out strategically how our ideals will affect interactions with others, our surroundings, and even ourselves. Then, we’ve got to be ready to act on them, to put them to the test. The changes we’re looking for in the process of working with ideals must be within ourselves. Even though our sense of an “ideal situation” or “ideal relationship” may include conditions changing or another person changing, Cayce emphasized that self-change is the key.




“First, know thy ideal—spiritually, mentally, materially. Not so much as to what you would like others to be, but what may be your ideal relationships to others!”
(Edgar Cayce reading 1998-1)

Many individuals have found that the key to making a spiritual ideal practical in their material lives is to work with a frequently mentioned concept in the Cayce readings: “Spirit is the Life; Mind is the Builder; and the Physical is the Result.” That three-part sequence suggests a three-part way of setting ideals.

  1. The first step is to take a sheet of paper, and draw two vertical lines to create three columns. Label the first column, “My Spiritual Ideal”; the second, “My Ideal Mental Attitudes”; and the third, “My Ideal Physical Activities.” Although the Cayce readings encourage us to choose a challenging spiritual ideal, it’s recommended that the spiritual ideal we choose be something we can understand, work with, and see progressively manifesting in our lives. Ultimately, a spiritual ideal is the highest “spiritual” quality or attainment that we could hope to have motivating us in our lives right now. The word “spiritual” has connotations of viewing life more broadly than just a materialistic perspective.



    For some people, a spiritual ideal is most closely associated with the pattern for living set by Jesus. For others it might be a distinct quality, such as “love” or “kindness” or “forgiveness.” Many people have found it useful to choose that quality or attribute which is currently missing or lacking in their own lives and in their relationships with others. As we look across the array of relationships and situations we now face, what quality is most deeply needed? For example, perhaps we may find that more than anything else we need to be more “forgiving” or more “understanding” in our interaction with other people. Of course, that’s simply the quality needed right now more than any other one. As months and years go by, we change and grow. Quite naturally, the word or phrase we might choose would also change and evolve. That’s the dynamic feature of working with ideals in the Cayce tradition.


    Let’s consider a more concrete example: Suppose that our spiritual ideal is currently going to be “forgiveness.” We’ve chosen that particular quality because it seems so central to what we now need to improve a host of difficult situations. It also describes a sense of life that lifts us out of the material, cause-and-effect way of running our lives. We find that forgiveness is a spiritual quality because of this inspirational impact it can have on us. And so, the single word “forgiveness” would be written under the first column, which we previously labeled “My Spiritual Ideal.”

  2. Under the second column, we can begin to list “My Ideal Mental Attitudes.” They are states of mind and ways of thinking which will help build that spirit of forgiveness into our relationships with others and with ourselves. What might some of these mental ideals be? Perhaps “compassion” is an attitude we want to work toward in relation to a frustrating parent; maybe “openness” is the mental attitude we want to hold toward a daughter with whom we’ve been having difficulty; and possibly “patience” describes that attitude to use with ourselves. Our ideals chart should list the key people in our lives with whom we need to exercise this spiritual ideal of forgiveness. And once we’ve finished making our entries, this second column will list the positive mental attitudes which are stepping stones toward being forgiving—that is, toward fully realizing our spiritual ideal.

  3. Under the second column, we can begin to list “My Ideal Mental Attitudes.” They are states of mind and ways of thinking which will help build that spirit of forgiveness into our relationships with others and with ourselves. What might some of these mental ideals be? Perhaps “compassion” is an attitude we want to work toward in relation to a frustrating parent; maybe “openness” is the mental attitude we want to hold toward a daughter with whom we’ve been having difficulty; and possibly “patience” describes that attitude to use with ourselves. Our ideals chart should list the key people in our lives with whom we need to exercise this spiritual ideal of forgiveness. And once we’ve finished making our entries, this second column will list the positive mental attitudes which are stepping stones toward being forgiving—that is, toward fully realizing our spiritual ideal.

  4. But this still leaves the third column—physical ideals—the most detailed. It’s the one place to write out all those physical activities we’ll do in relationship to specific individuals or situations. Entries in the column labeled “My Ideal Physical Activities” should be linked to the mental attitudes to which we’ve just made a commitment. For example, with the relationship to ourselves and the mental attitude of “patience,” perhaps each of the following would be ideal activities to help foster both patience and self-forgiveness:


    1. stop saying (or even thinking) “I can’t”;
    2. make a list of every instance where I have been forgiven for something;
    3. begin praying that I will have the determined endurance to go forward.

For each ideal attitude and important relationship, we should have next to it a list of activities with which we’ll be working. These are our physical ideals—our activities which can map out ways to bring the spiritual ideal into the material world. We’ll know that progress has been made with our spiritual ideal when the mental attitude on the ideals sheet becomes our usual state of mind and the physical activity listed becomes our automatic and natural response. As we really begin to work with ideals, making them a part of who we are, we can then choose a more challenging direction—a brighter North Star toward which we can point our lives. The important thing is to work with our ideals because we’ll discover what it is we should be doing in the situations where we find ourselves. Life is purposeful. Setting and applying ideals is the best way to uncover that purposefulness.


As we work with ideals, we’ll discover that they need to be fine-tuned, becoming even more challenging with the passage of time. As an example, if one of our physical ideals is “gentleness of speech,” we can find many ways to work with it—even across the breakfast table. Those intentional efforts continue until it becomes a natural part of us. Once our conversation matches up with “gentleness of speech,” we could stretch ourselves a little more and reword that physical ideal to be “acting in a friendly way.” Now we have a new set of challenges and room for further growth. This same kind of expansion can happen with each one of our physical ideals, our mental ideals, and even the spiritual ideal itself.


Ultimately, There Is One Ideal
Although the readings encourage us to “choose a personal ideal,” they also assert that “there is only one Ideal.” One individual was told, “There is one way, but there are many paths.” (3083-1) In essence, this suggests that each of us is moving toward an “ultimate ideal.” Whether we want to label that ideal “perfection” or the “Christ Consciousness” or “God Consciousness” or whatever term is most comfortable, the ultimate ideal is the highest spiritual attainment possible. However, each of our smaller ideals (such as “love” or “service” or “kindness”) can serve as building blocks toward that highest ideal.



Ideas vs. Ideals
Although each of us might have different ideas, plans, or goals about how things should be done, the readings advise that—in spite of all our differences—we can share a common why. Even during the turmoil and international chaos of the 1930s, the readings gave a “prescription” that could serve to bring all of humanity together. In spite of the fact that each nation had different ideas, Cayce suggested the world could share a common ideal. That ideal was his “answer to the world”:

“The world as a world ... has lost its ideal. Man may not have the same idea. Man—all men—may have the same ideal! ... that can only come with all having the one ideal; not the one idea but ‘Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart, thy neighbor as thyself!’ This [is] the whole law, this [is] the whole answer to the world, to each and every soul. That is the answer to world conditions as they exist today.” (Edgar Cayce reading 3976-8)

Repeatedly, the readings encourage us to become aware of what we are building within ourselves. Ultimately we’ll have the chance to meet it! As we work with a conscious ideal, not only is our direction made more clear, but the ideal becomes a living, breathing portion of who we are at a soul level. An ideal is like a personal tapestry that we create one stitch at a time. It can be worked with and ironed out and toiled over until the end result is something we can proudly share in our interactions with others. Each of us has the opportunity to consciously decide who we wish to become as well as how long it takes us to get there.

“Thus the warnings that there be the sureness in self as to what is the ideal—not merely from a religious or theosophical or theological standpoint, but according to what is thy ideal of home, home life, friends, friendship, relationships with individuals, and the conditions as may surround the entity; physically, yes; mentally, to be sure; but above all spiritually.” (Edgar Cayce reading 2428-1)


Kevin Todeschi 2001 conffKevin J. Todesch is the Executive Director and CEO of Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. and Atlantic University, as well as a popular author and conference speaker. As both student and teacher of the Cayce material for more than thirty years, he has lectured on five continents. A prolific writer, he is the author of twenty books including best-sellers Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, Edgar Cayce on Soul Mates, and Edgar Cayce on Vibrations. His latest book, Edgar Cayce on Auras & Colors: Learn to Understand Color and See Auras was written with professional psychic Carol Ann Liaros and explores tools for seeing the human aura and for understanding the interpretation of color.


 

The Importance of Ideals

(Edgar Cayce Readings, Spiritual Growth) Permanent link

The Importance of Ideals
By Kevin J. Todeschi



At different periods in our lives, all of us struggle with what we should be doing, where we should be going, or how we might possibly fill that special niche which God has in mind for us. We often find ourselves searching for something, yet unsure what it is. One of the most frequently mentioned principles in the Edgar Cayce readings is the concept of “ideals,” and it’s that very same principle that can provide us with an approach to answering this inner call.





Because the readings recommend writing down our ideals—physically, mentally, and spiritually—we might believe this is a one-time assignment. We might assume that filling in columns on an ideals chart or jotting down notes will be something never again wrestled with once set on paper. And yet, Cayce made it clear that working with ideals should become a frequent activity in our lives—one in which we’re challenged, encouraged, and even prodded to begin a personal masterpiece at a soul level. From this approach, the readings’ insights on ideals provides assistance in helping us manifest in our lives the very best we have to offer our world, our God, and ourselves.


In simplest terms an ideal is the motivating influence of our lives. It undergirds the intentionality of why we do what we do. It is like a North Star that guides us in the dark of night—allowing us to focus on the direction in which we wish to be headed.


Whereas a “goal” is something attainable, in Cayce’s terminology an “ideal” always keeps challenging and stretching us. It’s really a motivating pattern that guides our lives. A personal ideal is like the rays of the sun that can warm our faces as we’re pointed towards it. You can’t help but know when you’re looking at it head-on!




What may be surprising from the readings’ perspective is that everyone works with ideals, even if it’s done unconsciously. For example, in reading #1011-1 the person was told, “Each individual entity, whether aware of same or not, sets before self an ideal in the material world, in the mental world, in the spiritual world.”


Ultimately, that which an individual dwells upon, he or she then becomes.


Since ideals shape our lives, our experiences, and even who we’re becoming, then, by definition, they must be extremely important. But Cayce goes even one step further. As he told one person: “Then the more important, the most important experience of this or any individual entity is to first know what is the ideal—spiritually.”
(Edgar Cayce Reading 357-13)


Not only is it very important, it is the most important thing we can do.


Kevin Todeschi 2001 conffKevin J. Todesch is the Executive Director and CEO of Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. and Atlantic University, as well as a popular author and conference speaker. As both student and teacher of the Cayce material for more than thirty years, he has lectured on five continents. A prolific writer, he is the author of twenty books including best-sellers Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, Edgar Cayce on Soul Mates, and Edgar Cayce on Vibrations. His latest book, Edgar Cayce on Auras & Colors: Learn to Understand Color and See Auras was written with professional psychic Carol Ann Liaros and explores tools for seeing the human aura and for understanding the interpretation of color.


Venture Inward Magazine [Please note: This article is the first of two parts. The second part will appear in our next blog, or you may read the entire article in our member magazine Venture Inward in the member-only section of our website (Jan-Mar 2013 issue).]


 

Why Edgar Cayce?

(Edgar Cayce Readings, Spiritual Growth, Dreams) Permanent link

Why Edgar Cayce?
By Jerry Lazarus


“Each of us has the same spirit that gives us the ability to interpret our dreams.”

Edgar Cayce dreamsOver the years people have asked me why I’m interested in Cayce’s approach to dream interpretation. While I’ve studied Freud, Jung, and many contemporary dream theorists, none offer the depth, breadth, and scope of Cayce’s understanding of dreams.


Cayce started interpreting dreams in 1923, some two decades after Freud published his work Interpretation of Dreams. Cayce placed an extraordinary emphasis on dreams, along with prayer and meditation. In reading 3744-2, Cayce said: “In this age, at present, 1923 … there is not sufficient credence given dreams; for the best development of the human family is to give the greater increase in knowledge of the subconscious, soul or spirit world. This is a dream.”


Cayce interpreted 1,500 dreams for 69 people over a 20-year period. These dreams were by no means unique; they were the everyday dreams of Everyman and Everywoman. It was his interpretations that set him apart from most dream theorists. Here we find a parallel to Cayce’s medical readings. Repeatedly, many doctors completely agreed with Cayce’s diagnoses, but they disagreed with his treatment methods.


Such immediate and accurate analysis, whether of dreams or of illnesses, poses an enormous challenge to conventional minds. How can we begin to fathom Cayce’s extraordinary abilities to work with dreams? His skills included but were not limited to:


  • interpreting anyone’s dream with swiftness, surety, and accuracy
  • recalling parts of or entire dreams forgotten by the dreamer
  • correcting parts of dreams inaccurately recalled by the dreamer
  • predicting when a person will dream about a certain topic, sometimes pinpointing the exact night
  • interpreting the dream’s symbols and message before hearing the dream;
  • connecting the theme in a current dream with a past one, describing what the dreamer had done or not done about it
  • commenting on the dreamer’s undisclosed intimate details, including those of dreamers he wasn’t acquainted with

A study of the large collection of dreams Cayce interpreted shows that he departs from dream interpretation techniques embraced by popular culture, including the views of many psychologists and psychiatrists. Dreams are not mere fantasies, and they deal with more than psychological issues. They address and enrich all aspects of a person. Dreams reflect an individual’s purpose, makeup, and destiny. This destiny is to become well-rounded and complete individuals, fit to be companions and co-creators with God. Embarking on a spiritual journey and being open to making changes, we can expect much understanding from our dreams. They are telling us about our attitudes and aspirations, characteristics and capabilities, strengths and sincerity. Our dreams address all these in some form, at one time or another, but not randomly, for dreams are perfectly timed and sequenced.


Someone asked Cayce, “What state or trend of development is indicated if an individual does not remember dreams?” His answer was direct and succinct: those who do not recall and apply their dreams show “negligence” in their association with God. The desire to know God and oneself impels an individual to pay attention to his dreams. (5754-3)Even Cayce, with all his psychic abilities, was repeatedly told in the readings to study his dreams—which he did. Cayce encouraged someone, “And too oft, ye disregard them; or too seldom do ye pay any attention to them! They are parts of thy experience. How oft have ye visioned in symbol or in dream those very things that happened to thee later!” (1537-1)


Dreams 08 2013

 

Cayce’s interpretations demonstrated his ability to tap into a higher level of knowing: what has been, what is, and what might be for each person. However, narrating facts of past events without reflection and challenge carries little meaning; speaking of current events without regard for their implications has no transformative value; commenting on the future without a spiritual framework for growth and change does not fully engage the dreamer. Dreamers are to work with what they have in hand, within the time, place, and circumstances, applying the highest ideals they know.



A spiritual force operated within Cayce. That force was not merely churning out data about a person or topic; anchored in love, it encouraged everyone to grow to their highest potential. Cayce assures us that we too have the same spiritual force, giving us the ability to interpret our own dreams.


Jerry Lazarus Blog 082013Jerry Lazarus is a spiritual life coach, speaker, and author. He has a master’s degree in religion and meditation, and has studied Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. Jerry is the dream columnist for Venture Inward magazine, a frequent speaker for A.R.E. conferences, and teaches a course on dreams at Duke University. He leads workshops and retreats on dreams, meditation, ideals, comparative religion, and other spiritual and mystical topics across the United States. His book, Dreams: Listening to the Voice of God, is available at his Web site: jerrylazarus.com.


Want to get active in an A.R.E. Dream Group or try our free Dream Dictionary App for iTunes and Android? Visit EdgarCayce.org/dreams.

Experiencing God

(Spiritual Growth, Dreams) Permanent link

Experiencing God
By Brent Parisen




My experience started in 1970, when a friend told me how she and her friend had personal experiences with Jesus. They were delivered from an addiction and subsequently converted to Christianity. Then she asked me if I was saved. I replied that I didn’t even know if Jesus was real, having grown up in an agnostic household that did not attend church.


Several nights later, out of a heartfelt desire to know the truth about Jesus, I asked if he existed, feeling that if God is omniscient and all powerful, He could easily hear me and answer in a way that I would know beyond all doubt it was not my imagination. I felt that my asking needed to be totally heartfelt, wanting to sincerely know the absolute truth of the matter. Several nights later, I dreamt of Jesus with my head on His shoulder, feeling love, which was so strong that it woke me up with tears. Then, thinking about it, focusing on Jesus, the love grew stronger and stronger to the point where all I wanted to do was be with Him, and absolutely nothing else mattered. As I continued focusing on Him the love continued to grow, to be like fire, becoming more unbearable due to the intensity.


sun and earth blog 08-06-2013


I had the impression that I was experiencing only one photon of the sun as His expression of love, which was becoming unbearable and really just the beginning. In retrospect, this makes perfect sense, since I’m finite and He’s infinite with infinite love, and it’s just not possible for the “finite” to manage the infinite in our limited form. By at the time, I felt like my nerves could handle no more, so I stopped focusing on Him and the experience stopped. My impression was that it’s impossible to carry on life in this three-dimensional world while fully sensing Him, since the experience is all consuming.


After that experience, hearing the right kind of music or devotional material would put me in a receptive state to sense Him, and I would break down in complete absorption. If I’m out in public and start to think about Him, making a good connection, I get the same heartfelt love and have to shut it off so as not to make a scene in front of other people.


Around 2001, I had a strong impression that I was now to focus on the Father. So I did and did not feel any difference in the energy; they were absolutely identical. This made me wonder if I was really focusing on the Father since there was no difference. My next thought was “what about the Holy Spirit?” I thought it would probably be the same, but I did change my attention, and to my surprise I felt a strong feminine, very demure presence. So then I returned to the Father and had a number of strong impressions:

  • We need the veil to function on earth; otherwise, it’s impossible to carry out our purposes due to the all-consuming distractions, and our bodies cannot handle the intensity of the influence. There would be no desire to live.
  • The intensity of love (from Him, and to Him) is like fire that is agony and ecstasy. I’ve recently read that souls in purgatory suffer due to a longing, fire of love for God that burns out their sins so they can enter Heaven.
  • What I find interesting whenever I read that “God loves us” is that it is a vast under-statement, it doesn’t even begin to describe the amount of His love, which is infinite, way beyond our comprehension. As I’ve indicated, full experience of Him would burn us out.
  • There is such a strong sense of life from Him that when I moved away in consciousness, there was utter emptiness, no life, absolutely no desire to live, it was truly horrible.
  • Since God is everywhere, it’s not physically possible to move away from Him, only in consciousness.
  • When I focused on His presence, He was truly everywhere and so strong—stronger than the physical world we live in—I wondered if the physical world is real. Truly ironic that in reality He is more real than the physical world. I had the impression that He doesn’t want to impose Himself in our lives, so he remains incognito.
  • I felt that He was truly understandable, straightforward, and unchangeable; whereas mankind is a veritable hodgepodge, Gordian knot, mass of contradictions. It seemed like there is no mystery in God, only in man.
  • Going to Heaven is not enough, only union with the God is enough.
  • Looking at Him, there is such beauty that all I wanted to do is praise Him; I could not help it, it was involuntary.
  • God has and continues to create unimaginable universes, physical and non-physical, in multi-dimensions; however, He values heart-to-heart communion with us more than anything else.

Looking back, I can see that I have to first ask Him before I can receive an answer. That way He knows I am truly ready to receive and make use of an answer, and He doesn’t want to impose on me.


I certainly appreciate the Cayce material stressing the importance of seeking God in everything, including meditation. As said, seek and ye shall find. So, the initiative is on our part, we must first seek Him. I remember Cayce saying to settle for nothing less than walking and talking with God.

 

 

Brent Parisen Blog 08-06-2013Brent Parisen graduated with a BSEE degree from the University of Michigan in 1969. After college he worked at Hughes Aircraft in California, where he had his spiritual awakening while living near the beach. Later, he worked at Nortel, until his eventual retirement in 2000. He and his then-wife Barbara were active in study groups, and he has been an A.R.E. member for several years.

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