Finding Meaning in the Mundane
Thoughts from Lynn Sparrow Christy
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
- Civil rights leader Howard Thurman
I came upon that quote this morning, and it struck me deeply. It made me wonder how often we have it backward when we seek to make a meaningful contribution to the world. I was especially primed to ask that question, because just a few days earlier I had read an article called “The Chef Who Saved Me.” In it, journalist Brett Martin tells of how an assignment to interview the famous chef Jacques Pépin became the turning point at a very difficult time in his life. Depressed, broke, and unable to eat for weeks following a relationship break-up, Martin describes a post-interview lunch with Pépin at the chef’s culinary school, where Pépin’s warmth, openness, and generosity with his time as they discussed the various dishes they were served re-kindled his interest in living. “I sat in a state of wonder,” Martin reports, “At a time when I had forgotten the possibility of pleasure, Pépin had effortlessly, instinctively brought me back to life. Without knowing it, Pépin had extended a hand to a drowning man.”
Martin went on to heal emotionally, write several books, and eventually settle into a happy relationship with someone who shares his newfound love of cooking. He tells of once again meeting Pépin several years later on another journalistic assignment, and once again sitting down to share a meal and conversation, most of it about the very ordinary things people talk about when they don’t know each other well. Then, Martin writes, “Suddenly I was seized by the urge to spill more: ‘I’ve tried, Jacques,’ I wanted to say. ‘Honestly I’ve tried. To live with an open heart. To give more than take. To work joyfully. To be awake to the world always. To live up to our lunch. But, it’s hard. And I fail all the time.’ What I said instead was, ‘I’ve tried. Over and over. But…I just can’t debone a chicken.’ ‘Ah, well,’ he patted my arm. ‘That’s probably OK, too.’”
That article left me with a profound sense of just how much our daily life can be the arena of our deepest service. “Chef” might not be the first occupation that comes to mind when we think of spiritual vocations, yet Pépin’s role in Brett Martin’s life could not have been more spiritual. For those with core values around serving and making a contribution, we can so easily leap to the idea that our service to the world must be something clearly demarcated as “spiritual” or “helping,” something of clear value to society. We can feel stuck and fear that we are not living our soul’s purpose if we don’t find ourselves in the kind of role a spiritual person “should” occupy. Yet, in the wisdom of the Edgar Cayce readings we often find the idea that our deepest contribution comes in the little things we do to manifest our ideals over the course of daily living. And, to build on the opening quote from Howard Thurman, living is the operative word here.
As Thurman astutely points out, being fully alive is, in itself, a contribution to the whole of Life. Finding those things that make us come alive is the greatest platform from which to share life with others. Beyond that, keeping the spirit of life in what we do is equally important. I am reminded of a dream I had years ago, when I was given the message, “Choose life. Not the thing.” At the time, I understood it to be an admonition — almost a warning — not to mistake the forms of life for life itself. So quickly we crystallize our roles, our identities, and our interests into things rather than processes that keep us engaged with life. Even our work, be it what we do for a living or the work we do on ourselves to grow, can so easily become a thing, something that takes on hardened form as an it.
Yet the essence of spiritual development is just the opposite. Rather than cling to the hardened forms of our lives, we are called to engage in ongoing evolution — which is just another world for change. Memoirist Cheryl Strayed put it this way: “Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” Yet how often do we do just that? “To work joyfully” and “be awake to the world” is how Martin describes the aspiration that Chef Pépin awakened within him. To be awake to the world is to stay open to new possibilities, new ways of being and thinking and, yes, serving. Here is where our joy is to be found, and this, too, is part of what the Journey to Wholeness and Integrative Growth is all about. Here’s to Life!
 The Week, August 21, 2015. Excerpted from the original, which appeared in GQ.
Lynn Sparrow Christy has been working in the field of spiritual growth and personal healing for her entire adult life. This work has been shaped by a deep connection to spirituality during childhood that led her through traditional Christian faith to the barrier-shattering work of Edgar Cayce and on to the leading edge thinking that characterizes the contemporary integral/evolutionary movement. Along the way, she has developed an eclectic career as a writer, conference speaker, hypnotherapist-life coach, minister, and trainer. She is trained as a master hypnotherapist, hypnosis trainer, life coach, and master N.L.P. practitioner. She has also done extensive personal study, training, and practice with energetic modalities such as qigong and energy medicine and often shares these practices with her clients.
She is a director for The Journey to Wholeness and Integrative Growth program, the initial program offered by the Tarsia Center (at the Association for Research and Enlightenment), which offers programs in emotional processing, healing, integration, and wholeness.
The Giving Tree
By Heather Preston
Leaning on the deck rail of my little Sausalito house one spring day, straining to see through the upper leaves of a large tree obscuring the hill beyond, I wished idly that if only the top two feet of the tree were gone, my view could be restored. Within the next few days, leaves began dropping from the top of the tree, but only from the top two feet. A few days later the last leaf dropped from that area of the tree.
I could once again see the hill across the valley.
It became apparent, a couple of weeks later that no more leaves were going to follow, that the remaining lower leaves were intact, healthy, and secured. Then it dawned on me that something utterly remarkable had happened. I caught my breath in confusion and amazement. Was this possible? There, indeed, was the view I had wished for. It was as if the tree had “understood” and granted my wish. A thrilling idea.
I was grateful. But as time passed, I became uneasy, for even though I couldn’t have expected what happened, the tree had granted my wish at its own expense. I read once that a tree’s topmost leaves are unique in that they protect it in some way, processing the sun’s energy differently from its other leaves.
After telling a few friends this story and showing them the empty top branches, some were silent and some squinty-eyed. Cold observation proved the tree to be bare on top. “Right, it’s bare on top,” they would say and point out possible reasons, “Not enough water?”
Pretty soon the novelty turned into concern for the tree’s well-being.
I wanted those leaves back more than I wanted the view. I went out and pleaded with the tree to grow the leaves back and said that I was really sorry to have caused it any harm.
Slowly, to my great relief, buds started reappearing on the empty branches, tiny ones at first, only a scattering of green here and there. Then more and more popped open and stretched into leaves. Within a short time, the treetop was filled with beautiful new green leaves. I was weak with gratitude. Friends now marveled to see the perfectly normal tree. The rationalizers still rationalized. But I knew what I knew.
One of my friends, Francis Rath, who prior to becoming a bookstore owner had been a rather imposing law enforcement officer, found that in the course of his work, he could put his hands on people in trauma, and they would instantly stop convulsing and breathe normally. He was a true healer and a sensitive. About a year after the leaf-dropping incident, Francis was at my house for a party. He stepped outside for a breather and leaned against this tree. He later told me that he felt it to be remarkable; its emanations were compassionate and giving. He asked me if I knew that this was “one special tree.” So I told him the story that I have just told you.
“Compassion is no attribute.
It is the Law of Laws…a shoreless universal essence,
the light of everlasting right and fitness of all things,
the love of love eternal.”
From Buddhism: The Seven Portals
Heather Preston is an award-winning artist and author. After graduating with honors and distinction from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she studied in Europe, taught fine art, was represented by leading galleries, and exhibited widely. Her book "Tree Spirits: Tales and Encounters" won the silver finalist medal for the 2010 INDIE Book Awards; it is available at ARECatalog.com. She is a regular contributor to Venture Inward magazine, a benefit for members at EdgarCayce.org/members. For an extensive biography visit HeatherPrestonArt.com.
The Power of Intent
By Elaine Hruska
Most well-known healers, including those who have a specialty or technique to impart to others, embrace the notion of intent as a guiding principle in their work. Probably, next to centering (a grounding, meditative practice that usually precedes the therapeutic, healing sessions), intent is an all-important component of the process, focusing on the motivation of the practitioner.
This component involves several aspects. Not only does the healer need to have a strong desire to help, but also an understanding of how to achieve the goal and how to facilitate the intervention and relinquishment of attachment to the outcome. Understanding one’s motives (why one wishes to help or to heal) is part of the healer’s responsibility in self-learning, making the healing act one of careful consideration and mindfulness.
Before we present Edgar Cayce’s approach to intent, here are several explanations from the dictionary and from other healers that may help to clarify the meaning of intent.
As a noun, intent signifies a purpose or aim that is firmly directed or fixed, with some degree of earnestness and intensity. It implies a meaning or significance to an act that may not be explicitly expressed. There’s also a spirit of determination in carrying out the act.
“Early in the development of Therapeutic Touch” (a healing modality that has been taught to tens of thousands of health professionals), co-founder Dolores Krieger, PhD, RN, stated, “Dora Kunz and I had realized that a foundational concept underlying its efficacy was that the therapist rebalanced vital energies with intentionality. The connotation of that term ‘intentionality’ is not only that the will was involved—for example, wanting the person to get well—but there was also the implication that there is a goal in mind for the object of the intention. Logic would then suggest that Therapeutic Touch is being done as a conscious, mindful act based on a person’s knowledge of the therapeutic functions of the human vital-energy field.” (Therapeutic Touch: Inner Workbook, Bear & Company, Inc.). Dr. Krieger began to recognize that the mind directs the flow of energy, transferring it through the universal field. The therapist is helping the one being healed to relocate his or her own center; and the impetus for this transport of energy is the therapist’s intentionality.
Osteopath Dr. John Upledger received his introduction to the power of intent in the late 1960s, when he and other physicians began using acupuncture to treat patients at several free clinics in Florida. Some of the doctors had great success, while others didn’t—even on the same patients. As described in his book Your Inner Physician and You, Dr. Upledger at first thought it was suggestion, so the doctors tried to control any negative or positive comments about the expectation. What they discovered is a seemingly strong correlation in the practitioners’ unspoken attitude: Those physicians who genuinely believed in the beneficial effects of acupuncture got better results than those who didn’t. It became apparent that it wasn’t where or how the needles were placed that counted, but who put them there.
“The therapist’s attitude...has much to do with the success of the patient in his/her healing process.” Indeed, the success rate seemed in this instance to reach beyond technique.
Cayce consistently emphasized the importance of attitudes for healing success. In several readings regarding massage, we have examples of intention on the part of the therapist. One 38-year-old man was given this advice, some of which was also aimed at the practitioner:
A gentle massage to quiet the body would be well, with prayer—and not by those who do not live what they pray. Do not merely pray that he will be well, but well for what? Do not pray for the body to be well for what the body can do for self but for those whom he has aided and also hindered. (3439-1)
For a five-year-old boy the time during the massage was to be a “period for meditation and prayer, and for the conversation about the spiritual life to the unfolding mind and body.” (5406-1) Good conversations during massages were also mentioned in other readings. The quality of the massage was addressed in this reading:
Do not hurry through the massage. Take time to give same, and let it be done with the spirit of truth, of hope, of purpose, of the suggestive influence as will aid in establishing the coordinations needed for the rebuilding, the replenishing for this body of those conditions. (2642-1)
Often in the readings the word intent is equated or linked with purpose, such as, “The intent, the purpose, is to serve...” (254-34) Mentioned in nearly 600 readings, intent denotes one’s “highest motives” (31-1) and, when used in healing, that certain conditions will be overcome.
For, while mind is the builder, it is the purpose, the intent with which an individual applies self mentally, that brings those physical results into materiality. (257-252)
The power of intent, it may be said, awakens a response in the body for the healing to begin. Whether done with the laying on of hands, a massage, a pack, or a spinal adjustment, there is a force that will flow through us when we begin to apply what we know.
The methods of healing we use—be they of the physical, the mental, or the spiritual—simply awaken within the cells and atoms of our bodies the willingness to allow this life force to flow through us. In achieving this awakening through intent, we, as practitioners, become, then, authentic channels of blessing to those for whom we care.
Excerpt from the Spring, 2013 issue of Venture Inward newsletter, available to A.R.E. members at Edgarcayce.org/members.
Elaine Hruska is a therapist for the Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Health Center & Spa located in Houston, Texas. She holds her MA in transpersonal studies from Atlantic University and is considered an expert on the Edgar Cayce health readings. She trained under Harold J. Reilly, a pioneer in the field of massage therapy and a world-renowned physiotherapist who created the Cayce/Reilly Massage. She is the author of the best-selling books Edgar Cayce's Quick & Easy Remedies and Your Key to Good Health: Unlocking the Power of Your Lymphatic System.
August 2015 Update
From the Desk of Kevin J. Todeschi
This is my update for August 2015 to A.R.E. members and friends who are interested in the new and exciting trends occurring within Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. and Atlantic University. A number of exciting things are happening this month! Please share the following with your friends:
CREATE CAMPAIGN UPDATE – Only 4 months left!
As you may know, this is the “Capstone Year” of our $30 million CREATE Campaign (capital, endowment, and program support)… and, thanks to some recent donations for our renovation projects, we have raised approximately $29 million! We still need $1 million to renovate our Library and Conference Center (new restrooms, HVAC system, Library carpeting, expanding the auditorium, parking improvements, and upgrades throughout the building). Donors of $500 or more to the project will be listed on our Stairway to Heaven. Help us make a great impression on our visitors. Visit www.EdgarCayce.org/donate to help!
ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY – GET A CLOSER LOOK AT SOME OF OUR STUDENTS
Luis Palma, Class of 2015 just launched Palma Wellness Therapies. Luis is an Army Afghanistan War veteran with a background in Special Operations, and is currently a Captain serving as the Executive Officer for an Infantry Battalion. Luis is a peaceful warrior who is passionate about diplomacy and conflict resolution. After completing his Master of Arts in Transpersonal Studies degree with Atlantic University and the three levels of Integrated Imagery: Regression Hypnosis, Luis opened Palma Wellness Therapies in Lake Norman, NC. These therapies specialize in transpersonal hypnotherapy and energy wellness practices, as well as offer professional teachings of wellness modalities: www.palmawellnesstherapies.com.
Michael Bianco-Splann, Class of 2016 (projected) just released a new book: Conscious Leadership: 7 Principles That WILL Change Your Business and Change Your Life. In his latest publication, Michael writes about insightful alternatives and practices that will enrich your leadership skills while bringing into alignment the whole you, with all your unique and essential humanness. In addition to being a student at Atlantic University and an author, Michael is a life coach and motivational speaker. To learn more about his work, visit www.illuminateambitions.com.
Yvonne Gleason, Spiritual Guidance Mentor Training certificate student, Reiki Journeys. Not only is Yvonne Gleason a student at the University, she is also the editor of Reiki Journeys: Stories of Personal and Spiritual Growth through Reiki. A portion of the book sales directly benefit the Life with Cancer Family Center’s Reiki treatment program. Learn more about Yvonne and her community outreach by visiting: Reiki for Women, www.reikinorthernvirginia.com.
The application deadline for the Spring 2016 semester is November 15, 2015. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.428.1512
CAYCE/REILLY® SCHOOL OF MASSAGE
The Cayce/Reilly School of Massage celebrated the graduation of 16 students on August 9 with a lovely ceremony and a packed auditorium – congratulations to the newest generation of proud C/R graduates! The School is actively recruiting and accepting applications for our next program starting on September 28, 2015 – any students who start the program in September will receive a $500.00 tuition discount. Visit our website: www.caycereilly.edu to apply online today.
We are also excited to announce the launch of our new Yoga Teacher Training Program. The 200-hour program will run from January through December 2016 – training classes will be held one weekend per month at our beautiful oceanfront campus where attendees will enjoy learning the art and science of yoga practice as well as the holistic health concepts found in the Cayce readings. Please visit our website for more details coming soon and to reserve your spot in this inaugural training!
We are pleased to announce that, for the first time, the School is advertising in the Education & Training Military-to-Civilian Transition Guide – a publication that goes out to 250,000 service members seeking education and training opportunities following their military career retirement. We feel this is one of the most valuable means of promoting our wonderful and unique programs to the military-based target market!
A.R.E. ONLINE COURSES
A.R.E. online courses are designed to allow the participant to focus on your spiritual growth and personal enrichment from the comfort of home. With 24/7 access to all lesson material, staying connected to a network of like-minded seekers is easy and convenient. Upcoming eGroups:
Manifesting Creativity through Mandalas, Meditation, Ideals, and Yoga, August 19 – September 15, 2015
Mentored by Rachel Alvidrez. SPECIAL PRICE: $79
Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records and Relationships, September 2 – September 29, 2015
Mentored by Kevin Todeschi. SPECIAL EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: $79 (ends August 26)
To learn more and register, visit www.edgarcayce.org/egroups, or call 800.333.4499.
SUMMER 2015 AT A.R.E. CAMP IS A SUCCESS!
The true spirit and resiliency of the A.R.E. Camp community was bright and steady this summer, as we rallied to open Camp on time after the devastating loss of the Dining Hall and Kitchen. Almost three months later, A.R.E. Camp has just finished the last program of this adventurous summer, the Adult Retreat! A full group of Campers enjoyed a week-long workshop with Ellen Selover and Denise Furgason, all while living a Cayce lifestyle, eating fantastic food, and having a ton of fun.
The planning stages for the NEW Dining Hall and Kitchen are in the works, and we hope to begin construction this autumn in order to have a fully operational and open facility for the start of our 2016 season! Nearly 200 people have already contributed almost $70,000 in funds and wish-list items to A.R.E. Camp in response to the fire. THANK YOU! We need to raise at least an additional $100,000 to help cover the gap between our needs and what insurance will cover. If you would like to pitch in to help, you can do so here:http://www.edgarcayce.org/camp/
NEW YouTube CHANNEL VIDEOS
We’ve added several new videos to our YouTube channel in recent weeks. First, authors Sidney and Nancy Kirkpatrick reveal the fascinating stories they uncovered in their book True Tales from the Edgar Cayce Archives; next we have Atlantic University faculty member and author Bunny Paine-Clemes, discussing Creative Synergy with the head of Atlantic, James Van Auken; and finally, spiritual mentors Eileen Malo and Lynn Sparrow Christy sit together for a talk about personal spiritual growth and the new program Journey to Wholeness and Integrative Growth.
The Cayce readings say we are all naturally psychic, and this September 25-27, Headquarters conferences brings you You Are Psychic: A Step-By-Step Course for Advancing Your Intuitive Potential --an experiential weekend filled with practical hands-on ways to develop and apply your innate intuitive abilities and take them to the next level! Featuring professional psychics, trainers, and authors Carol Ann Liaros, Suzanne Giesemann, Henry Reed PhD, Jeycea Thompson, Donita King, and Donald B. Carroll, this inspiring weekend also includes a special opening social and meet-and-greet with the Wayshowers, a group trained in psychic development and spiritual service by Henry and Carol Ann. In HQ-sponsored Field programs, we are excited to launch a new 2-day program on Ancient Mysteries in the Vacaville, Calif. area-- Light from the Distant Past: Ancient Insights Revealed for Today , November 13-14, featuring David Hatcher Childress, John Van Auken, and James Tyberonn! Don’t miss this exciting Friday evening-Saturday evening program featuring some of A.R.E.’s most renowned explorers!
A.R.E. 2015 TOURS
- China and Tibet – Led by John Van Auken, September 15-28, 2015. Walk the back of the dragon on the Great Wall of China…feel the peace and serenity of that past life as a Tibetan monk… This once-in-a-lifetime adventure is filling up very quickly, so get a move on and save your space!
- New Mexico and Mesa Verde – Led by Don Carroll, October 24-31, 2015. Join us as we “walk the good red road” and tune into the sacred energies of Mother Earth in a land that long been an area of pilgrimage by those seeking the wisdom of the Native American cultures.
AND COMING UP IN 2016:
Cuba, the “Return to Atlantis” Tour– Led by John Van Auken, February 13 – 21, 2016.
- 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!
- Ireland – Led by John Van Auken, July 10 - 24 2016!
- PLUS… Greece – More details to be announced.
If you would like additional information about any of our travel programs, contact our Travel Programs Administrator at email@example.com or by phone at 1-888-273-3339!
A.R.E. BOOKSTORE & GIFT SHOP
This month the bookstore is proud to announce the arrival of new product lines that embody the Cayce ideal to make the world a better place! We are now featuring Chavez for Charity bracelets and Basic Spirit Pewter, which donate a percentage of sales to benefit worthwhile charities all over the world.
In addition to that, we’ve begun our Weekly Wisdom Workshops! Every Thursday night you can join us in the bookstore to learn about things like Psychic Development, EFT, Crystal grids and more. Call 757-457-7258 to register or for more information.
Thank you for your prayers, generosity and ongoing support for this great Work!
Kevin J. Todeschi
Executive Director and CEO
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.