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  Mysticism
  The Presence

  by John Van Auken

High on a list of activities for improving ourselves spiritually, mentally, and even physically ought to be time spent in the presence of the “Creator of the universe and all the forces and powers therein,” as Cayce once referred to God.
Yet, life being what it is in this world, time in the Presence is often at the bottom of our list. In many cases, we acknowledge the importance of being in the Presence but don’t make the time for it. Some of us believe that it isn’t even possible. But there’s more to the low priority of being in the Presence than busyness and doubts. Cayce once observed that even those who have experienced the Presence don’t always go back, but get lost in the many activities of life and individual consciousness. Cayce says that some of this is due to “the lack of what may be called stamina, faith, patience or what not.”

 
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  The Presence
    In Our Father's House
    Spiritual Mysticism
 

  The Light of an Idea

    Evil & the Devil
 

  Egyptian Gods as Metaphors

    God & the Godlings
 

  Interpretating the Revelation

    
    

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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 have taught.

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 clarifying answer:

“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 God].”

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 with It.

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." --262-118

“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.” --2174-3

"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 your mind.

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 the outcome.

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 page.)

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.

-END

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