Claiming the Most Special Hour of the Day
By Mark Thurston, PhD
The best hour for meditation is two o'clock in the morning. The better period would be that…in which the body and mind may be dedicated to that.
(Edgar Cayce Reading 2982-3)
I am not sure when I first heard this strange idea about an optimal time for meditation. It was probably more than 45 years ago-at one of my first A.R.E. conferences, or perhaps at a meeting of my first A Search for God study group. Get up in the middle of the night and meditate at this time that is perfectly suited for attunement and personal transformation. I am sure my initial reaction was similar to what most anyone else would say or think, "Oh, sure, that sounds great, but there is no way that's going to happen for me!"
But in spite of my early reluctance to embrace such a radical project, I have had periods in my life where I did, in fact, become a devoted practitioner. And I have come to believe it may be one of the most powerful and accessible tools for transformation that Edgar Cayce ever mentioned. Let's consider what he had to say. I hope it will convince you to give it a try.
In one reading, a 35-year-old woman asked, "What are the best hours for meditation?" His answer gave a specific time and emphasized dedication: "The best hour for meditation is two o'clock in the morning. The better period would be that which will be set as a period in which the body and mind may be dedicated to that." (2982-3) The same advice was given to the original A Search for God study group when they tried to find a time to meditate together daily. But was 2:00 a.m. the only time when everyone was available? Or was there a deeper spiritual or even physiological significance?
Cayce may have been pointing to a profoundly important fact of our evolutionary history and the way our brains are designed to operate. Scientific evidence for this possibility emerged more than four decades after Cayce's death. In 1992, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr published a study in the Journal of Sleep Research in which he reported on a month-long study done with volunteers who were placed in a controlled environment that had 14 hours daily of darkness. For the first few days the subjects slept an average of 11 hours, seemingly compensating for their longstanding sleep deprivation. By the fourth week a new pattern emerged: approximately four hours of sleep followed by a natural awakening for one or two hours, followed by another phase of about four more hours of sleep. That intermediary period was characterized as a period of quiet wakefulness or calmness that could be likened to meditation.
Approaching this as a historical issue, Professor Roger Ekirch's book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past describes the extensive evidence that before the modern era of electric lighting, people naturally slept in a pattern like the one Wehr had discovered in his lab: a "first sleep" for four or five hours, then a calm, meditative-like wakefulness for an hour or two, and finally a "second sleep." It sounds like Cayce's advice about a best time to meditate was really just an invitation back to making the best possible use of an hour that is already embedded in our ancestral DNA.
So why is it so hard to say "yes" to this advice? Surely, our modern culture of 24-hour news and entertainment provides a strong force to counter this innate tendency to 2:00 a.m. wakeful calm. In his recent book Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age, Clark Strand makes an impassioned plea for us to have the discipline to disengage from our computer screens and TVs in the evening and to reconnect with the natural rhythms of light and dark. In fact, he makes the case-without any reference to Edgar Cayce's work-that the survival of our civilization depends on our willingness to embrace the darkness, to reclaim the ancient wisdom of the goddess, and to make optimal use of that hour in the middle of the night when we are called to wakefulness.
Maybe you feel you want to experiment with this in your own life. Try it for 28 days. Even if you don't feel ready to make such a commitment, you'll probably still have those nights when you wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., and perhaps you can reframe what is going on. Instead of insomnia, you can see it as an opportunity to commune with God in the silence of the night.
It's just the way that thousands of years of human history have programmed your brain and hormonal system. It's an opportunity to use that time wisely, and there's no better use than a meditation period on those nights.
Mark Thurston, PhD, is an author, psychologist, and educator who worked at A.R.E. and
Atlantic University from 1973 through 2008. He is now a faculty member at George
Mason University's Center for the Advancement of Well-Being where he teaches
courses about consciousness, mindfulness, and spirituality; he is also the creator of
"Discovering Your Mission In Life" on DVD. More about his work can be found at
Join Mark in Virginia Beach for the Inner Life Retreat: Experiencing Your Sacred Self March 4-6, 2016. Learn more.
January 2016 Update
From the Desk of Kevin J. Todeschi
Hello and Happy New Year! This is the first update of 2016 to A.R.E. members and friends who are interested in the new and exciting trends occurring within Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E., Atlantic University, and the Cayce/Reilly School of Massage. A number of exciting things are happening this month! Please share the following with your friends:
CREATE CAMPAIGN WRAPS UP WITH $31.6 MILLION - TOTAL!
We announced back in October that our multi-year CREATE Campaign had surpassed its $30 million goal as it made its way to a December 31 finish. Now we are proud to announce that – thanks to your generosity – we blew past the goal by more than $1 million! The final total was $31.6 million. This total includes $7.5 million for building projects, nearly $2 million to enhance our endowment, and more than $22 million in support over the years that went into underwriting our life-changing programs and initiatives. Congratulations to everyone who helped over these Campaign years… and THANK YOU to each and every one of you who contributed to the A.R.E., Atlantic University, and/or the Edgar Cayce Foundation over the years. Well done!
What now??? Well, we still have to raise a bit more money to finish our Visitor Center renovations and HQ landscaping (lighting, parking, and other such “glamorous” projects); we still have to build a new Dining Hall for A.R.E. Camp before this summer (another $100,000 or so is needed); and, of course, we always need financial support for our ongoing programs to thrive: Prison Outreach, Library, Camp, Prayer Services, Study Groups, and so on. For more info on these projects, contact Development Director Patrick Belisle at email@example.com or – to give now – go to:http://www.edgarcayce.org/support
RICHARD COPELAND ESTABLISHES ENDOWMENT FOR A.R.E. PRISON OUTREACH
Longtime member and benefactor Richard Copeland has established the Copeland Prison Outreach Fund – an endowment that will generate funds annually to support the operation of our transformational Prison Outreach program. In the short-term, funds generated by the Copeland Fund will allow us to expand our new Prison Libraries program and begin to purchase a new paperback edition of A Search for God, Book I to mail out to requesting inmates. Since most prisoners are denied hardback books, this is a huge step in getting this material back into the hands of those who are desperately seeking a new way of life. Most importantly, this endowment gives long-term financial stability to this important program. Thank you, Richard, for making a real difference in the lives of these seeking souls. And Happy 94th Birthday to you!
U.S. CONGRESS MAKES IRA CHARITABLE ROLLOVER PERMANENT!
Now You Can Help A.R.E. and Save More on Taxes. This could be your opportunity to help "Make the World a Better Place" while saving on your taxes. Last month, Congress voted to make the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent! This law – revitalized and now permanently extended – allows anyone 70 ½ and older to contribute their Minimum Required Distribution from their IRA account (up to $100,000) directly to a non-profit (Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E.), thereby reducing their yearly taxable income. For additional information on how you can take advantage of this opportunity, please contact: Marianna Theo, 757-457-7215 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW POST TO EDGAR CAYCE BOOKS BLOG
Excerpted from John Van Auken’s new book, we hope you’ll enjoy this blog post on the supernatural, what it is, and what it isn’t: Angels, Fairies, Demons, and the Elementals. We have a natural inclination to look outside of ourselves for the supernatural world. It is not out there. Well it is, but it is not visible. And it’s important to recognize that those who “see” the supernatural do not have additional parts to their eyes that you and I lack. You can also hear John talking about the book at our ARECatalog site: http://www.arecatalog.com/ProductCatalog/Product/6892/Angels-Fairies-Demons-and-the-Elementals.
NEW POST TO OUR SPANISH-LANGUAGE BLOG
For our Spanish speaking friends, members, and supporters, we offer regular posts—often translations of our English blog—on our Spanish Wordpress blog located at this link:
https://edgarcayceespanol.wordpress.com/. Please share with your friends and family who may be interested!
Atlantic University would like to welcome Peter Woodbury, MSW, to our faculty. Peter is an accomplished psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. He is also a popular presenter for the A.R.E. and leads A.R.E. tours to South American sacred sites. Peter will be mentoring Integrated Imagery: Regression Hypnosis Level 1 in Summer 2016. This course can be taken as a Graduate Certificate or part of the Master’s in Transpersonal Studies degree.
Join Peter as he shares techniques and guides students into experiencing a psycho-spiritual experience. This experience makes deliberate use of altered states of consciousness to enable people to access the many dimensions of the unconscious mind. Classes are offered as a hybrid of online instruction mixed with a mandatory four day face-to-face residential in Virginia Beach. To register go to http://www.atlanticuniv.edu/integratedimagery.html or call 800-428-1512. Application deadline is March 27, 2016.
CAYCE/REILLY® SCHOOL OF MASSAGE
The Cayce/Reilly School of Massage will welcome its newest class of students on January 25, 2016 and will also celebrate a graduation of the June 2015 class on Sunday January 24. Our next class will start on June 20, 2016 – visit our website: www.caycereilly.edu for more details on our 700-hour program and to apply online today.
Our Continuing Education program includes many wonderful classes for massage therapists as well as a number of new courses available to the general public. Please visit CayceReilly.edu for more information. And come visit our Student Clinic to receive the unique Cayce/Reilly massage technique at a reduced price- call 757-457-7146 to schedule your appointment.
Registration is now open for the 2016 season at A.R.E. Camp! We have some fantastic programs lined up for our 2016 season, including two fantastic family camps, children’s sessions, and even young adult and adult programs too! Come spend some time in the sundrenched Blue Ridge Mountains this summer, creating magical memories with friends old and new, enjoy programs hosted by popular resource people, hike the surrounding mountains, swim in the cool crisp pond, and live life the Cayce way! To register now, or for more information, visit www.EdgarCayce.org/SummerCamp.
If you’ve been to A.R.E. Camp, you’ll know that the experience would be incomplete without the extraordinarily creative and joyful staff! Camp is so lucky to have so many people who come to help create the magic each year! If you, or someone you know, would like to join us in serving with joy on the A.R.E. Camp Staff this summer, the staff application can be found at www.EdgarCayce.org/SummerCamp, or you can contact Malenka Kaydan, A.R.E. Camp Manager, at Malenka@edgarcayce.org.
2016 A.R.E. CONFERENCES
The "Bionic Woman" is coming to A.R.E. Headquarters! Lindsay Wagner, known to many as an award-winning television star, is also a renowned spiritual teacher and author. She joins us April 1-3 for The Golden Thread of Wisdom and Oneness: The Great Teachings That Enlighten and Unite Us All along with Mitch Horowitz, Peter Woodbury MSW and others. Come discover the great spiritual teachings that unite us all, and explore the concept of Oneness, which is an important core teaching from the Edgar Cayce readings.
2016 A.R.E. FIELD CONFERENCES
Experience a vacation for the soul at A.R.E.’s spring retreat at the beautiful Lakeview Conference Center in Palestine, Texas, featuring beloved presenters and Cayce researchers Sidney and Nancy Kirkpatrick, the March 17-20. True Tales from the Cayce Archives: Lives Touched & Lessons Learned from the Sleeping Prophet will include lectures, hands-on activities, and workshops, plus time to be inspired by the lush nature trails, boating, fishing, and more. Enjoy delicious meals and cozy rustic lodging with like-minded friends old and new. For a listing of other Field Conferences near you, visit:
TOURS CORRECTION: In January-March Venture Inward, page 61 the dates of two tours were reversed. The dates you will find below are correct. We apologize for any inconvience.
- Peru and Bolivia, Where Heaven Meets Earth .
Led by Peter Woodbury with Andean Shaman, Juan de Dios Kucho, May 11 – 22, 2016, with optional extension to see and experience the Nazca Lines! This tour encompasses all the BEST in one remarkable program. Come this year and experience it for yourself!
- Ireland, Land of Leprechauns, Fairies, and Elves! – Led by John Van Auken, July 10 - 24 2016! Walk the winding paths through quaint cottages, touch the standing stone circles, wander the lush green valleys, and raise a glass at a traditional Irish Pub to toast your latest adventure!
- England, "The Sacred Mists of Avalon," led by popular tour leader, Don Carroll, September 24th to October 3rd, 2016. This tour includes exceptional, private access to the Temple of Stonehenge (where the general public is no longer allowed to visit).
- Bermuda Cruise, "The Mysteries,"
led by Patrick and Jane Belisle, October 23 to October 30, 2016. Departing from NYC on the fabulous, new, Norwegian Breakaway, enjoy past life regressions, meditations, and dream sharing on this economically priced "tour like no other." For more information and registration go to www.arebermudacruise.com.
- And in the works for early November, our first ever A.R.E. Tour to beautiful Costa Rica.
Join ever popular tour leader, Peter Woodbury, in this "Island Adventure" like no other. Visits to the Rain Forest, Quaker Peace Center, Zip Lining, Raft Adventures, and exploration of the mysterious Stone Domes. Sure to be a first-time adventure you won’t want to miss.
A.R.E. GIFT SHOP AND BOOKSTORE
The first Psychic Fair of 2016 is Saturday, January 23. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. in the Visitors Center, and the last appointment is 4:30 pm. We have some new readers, new vendors, and new speakers lined up for the new year! Space is limited so plan to arrive early! For more information, call Dalia Bassett at 757-457-7258.
Wishing each of you a Blessed start to a Brand New Year!
Kevin J. Todeschi
Executive Director and CEO
Enlightenment: Subtle and Sublime
By John Van Auken
As I look back over the years that I have been studying and applying the concepts and practices in the Edgar Cayce readings―-the disciplines, meditations, dreams, seeking God consciousness, loving one another even when it hurts, and developing intuitive knowing―-it occurs to me how subtle, how natural, the enlightenment has been. I cannot point to a moment of supernatural development. The growth of my psychic abilities, as meager as they may be, turned out to be so subtle that if l hadn't been looking for them, I'd never have noticed them. Even God proved to be more subtle and natural than I expected.
When I began this journey, I was looking for the supernatural, because that's what I thought enlightenment was. After all, if we're talking about experiencing the very presence of the Omnipotent, then it's going to be a phenomenal experience of supernatural proportions, right? Of course! But in the seeking, it turned out just as Elijah shared with us. You remember how he searched for God in the lightning, the earthquake, and the fire, but found God in a still, small voice within? In my experience, that voice was and is so subtle that I would have easily missed it if Elijah and Cayce hadn't given me a heads up about its nature.
I'm equally surprised at how easily the Divine connection is lost in daily life, with the slightest shift in attitude or focus, it is gone.
Cayce guided us to observe Jesus as an example of what it is to walk through life in touch with God. For the most part, Jesus' life was subtle and natural. He basically went around doing good and relating to people and their struggles, dreams, mistakes, and needs, both materially and spiritually. He attended weddings, weekly synagogue, dinner parties, fishing trips, and so on. For the most part, Jesus was natural not supernatural, subtle not dramatic. In some cases, he even worked at making miraculous events appear more natural. For example, the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead could have been a much more spectacular event, but Jesus minimized it by telling all those around that "she sleeps."
Feeding the 5,000, could have been better staged for greater impact; a good PR person today would turn that into a spectacular media event. Rather than praying over a basket of loaves and fishes and then quietly passing it around, he could have had the food instantly appear in everyone's lap. He would not be in any history books if it were not for the Spirit moving through so many that knew him―-both in that life and through the Holy Spirit that touched so many after that life.
When I get still and review my years on the path, I see miracles in my life, but I'm struck by how subtle and natural they were. Now, things that I struggled so hard to realize in the early years of this search come so easily, so naturally that they do not seem profound or phenomenal. Yet, when considered objectively, they are incredible. For example, if I'm up against a major decision or challenge, I naturally receive dreams that shed inner light on the issue. If I'm feeling the loneliness or busyness of life, I just sit still in deep, rising meditation and inevitably end up in the presence of Oneness. Calmed and contented by this experience, I get up and continue on. These are miracles, but so subtle and natural as not to be noticed for what they really are.
Cayce once said that in this world it is the little things that count: a smile, a kind word, a forgiving comment or deed, and the like. It's taken me years to fully realize just how right he is. When I listen to my children or young friends and their struggles, I see the subtle but sublime Spirit working its magic through them. Someday we'll all realize how close our relationship is to one another and the Cosmos, even during those times when it feels so separated. When the kids ask me those big, profound questions, I find myself answering with Cayce's little but powerful principles: Use what you have at hand; in the doing comes the understanding; keep on keeping on; focus on the virtues and good qualities, and minimize the vices and weaknesses―-especially when interacting with others.
Cayce gave many of these little tips that are profoundly powerful when applied in life. One of the best pieces of advice I received along the way was from his eldest son, Hugh Lynn Cayce. He told me to read his father's readings. I did. They're filled with subtle power and sublime magic when applied in daily life in little ways each day.
Excerpt from the March/April 2001 issue of Venture Inward magazine available online to A.R.E. Members at EdgarCayce.org/members.
To learn more about membership, please visit EdgarCayce.org/Membership.
John Van Auken is a director at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E., and is one of the organization’s most popular speakers, traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad to address audiences on the body-mind-spirit topics found in the Edgar Cayce readings. He is an acknowledged expert on the Cayce readings, the Bible, ancient prophecies, world religions, meditation, and ancient Egypt. He writes Venture Inward's Ancient Mysteries column and is the author of several books, including Edgar Cayce on the Spiritual Forces Within You, From Karma to Grace and Edgar Cayce and the Kabbalah.
By Kevin J. Todeschi
In 1936, Edgar Cayce was asked to give a reading which would provide individuals with a deeper understanding of Christmas. As we extend to each and every one of you our sincere wish for a beautiful Holiday, we offer this excerpt from Cayce’s Christmas message:
For time never was when there was not a Christ and not a Christ mass …
Such we find as that happening in Bethlehem of Judea ages and years ago … the songs of the angels, or that music of the spheres that sang, “PEACE ON EARTH - GOOD WILL TO MEN!”
For this, then, is in EVERY birth - the possibilities, the glories, the actuating of that influence of that entrance again of god-man into the earth that man might know the way.
Thus this comes at this time to bring to the hearts and minds of those of that Glad period the fact that not only 1900 years ago but TODAY, He may be born into thine own consciousness, thine own understanding; He comes unto His own!
… For He is thy Elder Brother, He IS the babe in thy heart, in thy life; to be then even now - as then - nourished in the heart, in body, in mind. And indeed do His words become more and more then of meaning, “As ye do it unto the least of these, thy brethren, ye do it unto me!”
… May the Peace, the Joy of His Consciousness, His Presence, His Joy be thine this day; yea, all thy days in the earth! For He is nigh unto thee, He is in thy midst! (262-103)
Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. blog offers opinion pieces from contributors with a wide variety of backgrounds. These opinions are valued and create points of discussion. Opinions expressed in our blog may not necessarily represent the opinion of A.R.E.