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The Readings Approach to Spiritual Growth, Meditation and Prayer


 
   
The Readings Approach to Spiritual Growth, Meditation and Prayer
  
One of the major subjects in the readings
has to do with spiritual growth, meditation, and prayer.

For this reason, over a period of eleven years (1931 - 1942)
Edgar Cayce gave a series of 130 readings
to a group of individuals (Study Group # 1)
who were working with spiritual laws.

Interestingly enough, some members of the group had
originally been interested in obtaining information
on how to become more psychic.

Cayce responded that the goal was rather
to become more spiritual, and, as individuals
worked more consistently with spiritual principles,
they would naturally become more psychic.

This set of readings on spiritual growth
has served as a guide for many others
from every religious background,
enabling them to become more aware of themselves
through cooperation, prayer, faith, meditation, and love.

Thousands of individuals have studied this material
compiled by the first Study Group.

These interdenominational discussion groups
examine these readings on soul growth
in individual homes all over the world.

From Cayce’s perspective, we are essentially spiritual beings
who – at the moment – happen to be in the earth.

We are not simply physical bodies with souls
but are instead souls who happen to be
in physical bodies as a means of gathering experience.
[It is interesting to note that in the Bible
a spiritual being was created (Genesis 1)
before a physical being (Genesis 2).]

Since part of our purpose in the earth is to come
to know our true relationship with God,
perhaps more than anything else meditation
is a key to understanding that relationship.

Edgar Cayce began recommending meditation
as early as 1921, long before many even knew
what it was.

Most of us began to hear about meditation during
the 1960s and ‘70s. At first, we might have thought
it was something unusual or even bizarre,
or else we might have thought it was something
practiced only by Eastern religions.

However, a great deal of clinical research has proven
that meditation can - at the very least - positively affect
our health and well-being.

By practicing this method of becoming silent,
individuals can reduce their anxiety levels
and learn to become more relaxed.

Many physicians now recommend meditation
as an effective way for their patients
to lower their blood pressure.

In simplest terms, meditation is the practice of quieting
our physical bodies and our minds, and focusing
our attention inward instead of upon the outside world.

It promotes coordination at three levels:
physically, we begin to relax;
mentally, our busied thoughts become quiet and,
spiritually, we become re-energized and
are able to deal more lovingly and effectively
with the people and events around us.

As we take the time each day to put away
from our thoughts the countless cares
with which we’re bombarded,
we can begin to reestablish an awareness
of our own spiritual nature.

In one respect prayer is talking to God,
but meditation is listening to that portion
of our being (superconsciousness)
which is in constant communion
with the Divine.

By following a few simple steps, anyone can meditate.
Even a beginner can experience the calming effects
of a few moments of purposeful silence.

If you would like to try to meditate,
the first step is to get into a comfortable position.

It’s probably best to sit in a chair, keeping your spine straight,
your feet flat on the floor, and your eyes closed.

Find a comfortable place for your hands,
either put them in your lap or at your sides.

Slowly take a few deep breaths and begin to relax.
Breathe the air deep into your lungs,
hold it for a moment, and then slowly breathe it out.
With your mind, search your body for any obvious
tension areas or tight muscles.

You can try to relieve the tension by deep breathing,
imagining the area as relaxed, or gently massaging
any tight spots with your fingertips.

When you have finished getting comfortable and relaxed,
then you are ready to move on to the next step.

The second step is to begin to focus your mind on one,
single, peaceful, calming thought.

Instead of thinking about what went on at work today
or what has to be done with the remainder of your day,
try focusing on a thought such as “I am relaxed”
or “I will be still and feel at peace.”

You can also use a Biblical verse or a phrase
with a spiritual focus, such as “God is Love.”

These thoughts are also called affirmations.
The first way to work with them is to try
to clear your mind of everything else.

The first “stage” of actual meditation involves thinking
about the message of your affirmation.

In the last example cited above, you would think about
the words God is Love.

After a few moments of thinking the words,
you should be able to move on to the second
stage of meditation, which is feeling the meaning
behind those words.

For example, you can say the words “God is Love”;
however, the feeling of those words can be much
more meaningful than the actual words themselves.

The third step is to hold the feeling in silent attention,
without needing the words of the affirmation.

Gently bring your focus back to the words of the affirmation
every time your mind begins to wander; that is to say,
first begin thinking of the words of the affirmation,
then try to concentrate on the feeling behind them.

Don’t let yourself become discouraged when you find
yourself thinking more about distractions than focusing
upon the affirmation.

It will take time to teach yourself to be able to think about
only one thought.

Spend from three minutes to fifteen minutes trying to hold
the affirmation silently.

The longer meditation periods are for when you have
built up some experience.

The fourth step is to send out good thoughts or prayers
to other people when you feel your meditation time
is coming to an end.

If you have been focusing on peace, then try to send
a sense of that peace to someone about whom you’re
concerned.

As you begin to practice meditation daily,
it will become easier.

You might also notice that the sense of peace inside you
during meditation will begin to carry over into the different
parts of your day.

Cayce’s approach to meditation differs from that
of some schools of thought that contend that
because the mind gets in the way of the meditator,
it should be blanked out.

The readings suggest that mind is a constructive force,
allowing for the closest attunement possible if used
in the right way.

Through the regular practice of meditation we can begin
to heal ourselves in body, mind, and soul.

As we focus on a positive affirmation, we may find
that our negative habit patterns begin to change
to be more in keeping with a positive direction.

It is while practicing the silence of meditation,
by relaxing our physical bodies and quieting
our conscious minds, that we can set aside
our daily concerns for a moment and attempt
to attune ourselves to the spiritual side of our nature.

From the standpoint of the Edgar Cayce readings,
the most important relationship each of us has
is that relationship with God.

One of the most beneficial ways we can come to know
that relationship is through the regular practice of meditation.

For this reason, the readings suggest that meditation
is something that every single soul should learn to do. 

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Updated: 2 September 2013