Edgar Cayce's A.R.E.
spacer

Free Soul Life video

Edgar Cayce Readings Dvd

spacer

A.R.E. Blog

How Can I Work with Ideals?

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

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.


 

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.

spacer