But what is it about human consciousness and life that causes
us to live barely conscious of God? Is it that proverbial apple
that distracts us from all of the other joys and wonders of walking
with God in the Garden? The apple of Genesis was on the Tree of
the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why would we be forbidden to eat
from that tree? It would seem that knowledge would be helpful
to our development. Cayce says that the ultimate goal of every
soul is to know itself to be itself, yet one with the Whole. Therefore,
self is good. It is to be developed, fully known, and then united
with the Whole. Did forbidding us from eating of the Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil have something to do with our current
difficulty with living in the Presence?
The answer is spiritual and physical, and somewhat complex;
but let’s explore it. According to Cayce, the fall from
full consciousness of God occurred long before physical life.
It occurred in the spirit and the mind, before our souls began
to incarnate. This is indicated in the first chapters of Genesis.
In the first two chapters, God creates us three times! The
author of Genesis cleverly conveys this story, even changing
the name of God to indicate our shifting relationship with Him/Her.
The first creation is expressed in those well-known words,
“Let there be light.” Cayce explains that this light
was the Logos, the Christ, with which the disciple John opened
his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God and the Word was God.” In the original Greek
manuscript, the word for Word was the Greek word Logos, which
means much more than “word.” The Logos is defined
by philosophers and theologians as the rational principle that
governs and develops the universe and which incarnated in Jesus
Christ, as the disciple indicated when he wrote: “and
it became flesh and dwelt among us.” We were part of the
Logos. Cayce explains: “In the beginning, God said, ‘Let
there be light.’ You are one of those sparks of light,
with all the ability of Creation, with all the knowledge of
God.” This first creation is our spiritual, godly being.
As the psalmist writes: “You are gods, sons [and daughters]
of the Most High,” Psalm 82:6.
The second creation occurs later, in verse 26 of chapter one
of Genesis, where Elohim creates us in “their” image.
Elohim is a plural Hebrew word that English Bibles translate
as “God.” Many scholars have wrestled with the question
of why a plural word was chosen for the name of the Creator.
One answer is that the original and most high God was and is
all-inclusive, collective, not separate from any of the creation,
and that created beings are intrinsic portions of the Whole.
Cayce stated it this way, “Not only God is God, for self
is a part of that Oneness.” The Whole, however, is greater
than the sum of its parts.
The Genesis author writes: “Let us make adam [English
Bibles use the word man here; but it is actually the Hebrew
word adam, meaning “a being.”] in our image, after
our likeness.” This is the second creation. It is the
creation of our individual soul, mind, and free will.
It’s important to note that this being was also created
male and female in one, and the gender characteristics were
not separated until chapter 2, verse 21. This is the original,
hermaphroditic nature of our complete soul, as Cayce and others
The third creation came after we had begun to move away from
oneness with Elohim. The author conveys this by changing the
name of God to Yahweh Elohim, which English Bibles translate
as “Lord God.” The author writes: “Then the
Lord God formed adam [the being] of dust from the ground [now
we are beginning to incarnate into matter], and breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life; and adam became a living being.”
Cayce indicates that coming to the third dimension and the
physical world was a further movement away from conscious contact
with the infinite Whole, a process that had already begun in
the spirit and the mind as we developed individual consciousness.
Our self-motivated desires, combined with the power of free
will, led us to seek life independent of the original at-onement
we had with God and the rest of creation. This eventually led
to a physical body. A physical body was the ultimate in separation
and isolation, confining our free, universal, infinite mind
and spirit to an encasement. Nevertheless, the Lord God attempted
to help us with this, even though He/She knew it was not ideal.
Allowing free will to be truly free was more important than
keeping us on track. Free will, no matter how many mistakes
were made with it, was the key to true companionship with God.
It is important to note that, at this point in the story, the
Lord God also creates the Garden and the Tree of the Knowledge
of Good and Evil, placing it in the middle of the Garden and
asking adam [the being] not to eat from it, lest he/she die.
This indicates that, though we were now physically confined
in matter, we remained immortal.
Here the Lord God notes that it is not good that we are alone.
Yet, after searching the whole Earth for suitable physical companions
for us and finding none, the Lord God decides to create a natural
companion from within our original nature. To do this, the Lord
God causes a deep sleep to fall upon adam [the being], and separates
ishshah [female] and ish [male]. From here on there are now
two bodies, one for the female half of our original nature and
the other for the male half.
It is unfortunate that the male portion of adam [the being]
received the name Adam. If he had been named something like
“Bob,” it would have helped us through the ages
to better understand the truth about the genders. It would have
also helped if English Bibles had used the word side instead
of rib. The same Hebrew word has both meanings. Truly, Eve was
taken from a side of the original being, not a rib.
In the Garden was the most cunning beast of all, the serpent.
Fascinatingly, the Hebrew word used for this creature comes
from a root word meaning “the sound of a whisper,”
as in a hiss (naw-khash). But it also has the connotation of
conjuring a magic spell by whispering, as an enchanter would
do. Add to this Cayce’s correlating the serpent with the
mind -- the whispering mind of individual consciousness with
free will -- and we have a better sense of just how much a part
of ourselves this cunning creature was and is today.
On a physical level, the serpent also represents our kundalini
energy. Lowering our consciousnesses and energy, in order to
better experience this physical plane and matter, compares with
the serpent coming down out of the tree to crawl on the ground.
This is why so many mystical teachings talk about “raising
the serpent” in order to better experience God’s
presence. Jesus taught Nicodemus three “heavenly”
concepts: 1) No one ascends to heaven but he or she who already
descended from it; 2) We’ve been physically born, but
now we must be born again, giving birth to our spiritual self;
and 3) As Moses raised the serpent in the desert, so must the
Son of Man [the Daughter of Man] be raised up to eternal life.
Moses raises the serpent following God’s instructions
and prior to his ability to ascend the mount to meet God face-to-face.
Raising the serpent is raising the mind’s consciousness
and body’s energies in order to operate at high levels
of vibrations, levels that are more compatible with God’s.
Cayce said the winged serpent in ancient Egyptian and Mayan
teachings reflected this very process. The Mayan’s great
god Kukulcan (Quetzalcoatl, for the Aztecs) was their winged
serpent savior. One might think of the wings as the rising consciousness
and the serpent as the rising kundalini energy.
All of this is in pursuit of an answer to our question: Why
forbid us from eating of the Tree of Knowledge? Here is Cayce’s
“When an entity, a soul, uses a period of manifestation
-- in whatever realm of consciousness -- to its own indulgencies,
then there is need for the lesson, or for the soul understanding
... to become aware of the error of its way. What, then, was
the first cause of this awareness? It was the eating, the partaking,
of knowledge; knowledge without wisdom -- or that as might bring
pleasure, satisfaction, gratifying -- not of the soul but of
the phases of expression in that realm in which the manifestation
was given. Thus in the three-dimensional phases of consciousness
such manifestations become as pleasing to the eye [apple’s
beauty], pleasant to the body appetites [apple’s taste].
Thus the interpretation of the experience of deviation from
the divine law is given in the form as of eating of the tree
of knowledge. Who, what influence, caused this -- you ask? It
was that influence which had set itself in opposition to the
soul remaining in that state of at-onement [with the Whole,
With the loss of at-onement, the sacred Tree of Life was then
guarded from us, as an act of Divine mercy, so that we could
not live forever in this state of separation. Death occurs for
the first time. We were and are celestial beings, children of
the most high God, universal, infinite, eternal. We could not
be allowed to live forever in the individual, finite, temporal
world of matter.
It is helpful to know that Cayce said the fundamental basis
of all sin or evil is self for self’s sake. The Earth,
the flesh, and individualness are not evil in and of themselves.
It is how we use them that makes for the darkness of sinfulness
and evil or the lightness of virtue and good. But it is equally
important to note Cayce’s emphasis on at-onement with
God. How many of us are in that state? Can we consciously know
at-onement with the Infinite, Universal Creator? Can a finite
mind be one with the Infinite One?
The answer found in all mystical branches of the great religions
of the world is Yes. A finite being can indeed experience the
Infinite, as did Enoch, Moses, Elijah, and many others, including
Buddha and Muhammad.
However, experiencing the Infinite One is not as difficult
as maintaining oneness with It. Most humans have had a sense
of the Presence of God from time to time in their lives. The
challenge is budgeting time for experiencing the Presence, then
coming out into daily life and sustaining a sense of at-onement
with the Presence as we speak, act, think, and engage with others.
It is subtle, gentle, and natural, once one becomes familiar
For help experiencing the Presence, here are some tips:
TIPS FOR EXPERIENCING THE PRESENCE
by John Van Auken
"Let this be, O God, a living thing in my experience!
For the spirit of truth must prevail! Let ME, O God, be a channel
through which the Spirit is directed!" --262-118
"Help me, O Father, to put away - more and more - the
cares of this world and look to thee as the author and the finisher
of faith; as the manifestation of that which is good, which
is holy, which is right in the Earth. And let me, O God, in
my dealings, in my conversation with and my invocation before
men, be a living example of the truth of the Christ in the Earth."
“By the listening within -- there is the answer. For,
the answer to every problem, the answer to know His way, is
ever within -- the answering within to that real desire, that
real purpose which motivates activity in the individual. Each
entity, each soul, knows within when it is in an at-onement.”
"Thou art -- [as is] each soul -- in touch with the very
Infinite within self, if ye will but LISTEN -- LISTEN within!
For as given to the prophet of old [Elijah]: not in the storm,
not in the earthquake, not in all those mighty influences and
forces can man draw nigh to his Maker, but rather in the still
small voice as from within. So oft comes [this] even to the
entity in the present, as upon the wings of thought that have
been so easily and so often closed through doubt. But know He
speaks with thee!" --1157-1
Here are some tips that make entering and living in the Presence
easier (both to experience and to maintain):
1. Budget the same time and set the same place each day for
entering into the Presence. The subconscious sees through the
same eyes as the outer self, and when it consistently goes to
that designated place at the designated time, the subconscious
begins to help us realize our stated (and acted upon) goal of
entering into the Presence.
2. Use the imaginative forces. As strange as this may sound,
Cayce encouraged us to use our “imaginative forces”
to help us move out of finite reality into the infinite consciousness
that is God’s. Imagining this breaks down the logical,
earthly dimensions that keep us feeling finite. Reach out with
3. Don’t attempt to direct God or the manner of our experiencing
the Presence. We must use our will to move into the Presence
and to hold ourselves there, but once there, Cayce instructs
us to set our will aside. Cayce encourages us to say a little
affirmation, such as, “Not my will, but Thy will be done
in and through me.” It takes complete absorption in the
Presence, while at the same time complete tranquility about
4. Live the outer life in a manner that reflects the inner
at-onement we are seeking. The subconscious is sensitive to
the subtlest inconsistency between what we believe and what
we do. And since life situations are so fluid, it requires clarity
and honesty with oneself in order to reach true harmony between
inner and outer life. Let’s live the truth we seek.
5. Judging oneself is a barrier to being in the Presence. It
all began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve hid themselves
from God’s Presence. In their minds, their mistakes had
made them “naked” in the Presence of the All-Knowing.
Not even God could help them with this self-imposed judgment.
God is not only All-Knowing but All-Merciful.
6. There are also many physical techniques for entering the
Presence. First among them is ablution, a cleansing process
using water to wash one’s hands and face. The second are
sensory stimulations that inspire the bodily self to higher
levels of awareness. Common among these are incense, candlelight,
music, chanting, and body movements to create stillness, such
as yoga and tai chi. Breathing methods that raise the energy
of the body and the mind are also excellent. One simply draws
the energy of the body, and the consciousness of the mind, up
with every inhalation, unites with the breath of God, then bathes
the mind and body with every exhalation.
Once the body and the mind have been cleansed, inspired, and
lifted to higher levels, most classical schools teach us to
enter into the depths of silence. In the deepest silence is
found the secret place of the Most High. To help still the mind
many schools use mantras (a word or phrase for centering the
mind). Cayce recommends affirmations. These not only center
the mind but inspire it. (See two of them in the center of this
According to Cayce and many of us who experience the Presence,
one only needs to abide in It to receive benefits. Cayce explains
that there is a magic in this silence, a magic that works with
unseen forces to effect a transformation upon those sitting
silently in the Presence. Try this, and let me hear how well
it works for you.