The record shows that psychic phenomena are a mysterious unknown occurrence that defies explanation, and manifests in strange and unaccountable ways. Often called ESP or extra-sensory-perception, such accounts involve telekinesis, clairvoyance, astral projection, and include religious episodes such as transcendental or mystical experiences. Such experiences are well known and highly sought in the East; they have names such as Satori, Moksha, and Nirvana. Thought is always at the center of this activity, yet of a power that seems to reach beyond the fixed neural wiring of the brain.
Whether a gift, a talent, or just a psychic ability, one figure that stands out in occult science is Edgar Cayce. The 'Sleeping Prophet', as he is called, was a medical diagnostician, a prophet, and a devoted student of bible lore. He left over 14,000 documented records of clairvoyant statements he had given for more than six thousand people over a period of forty-three years. Through self-induced trance-sleep he cured people he had never seen, and answered metaphysical questions that he, at first, could hardly believe in the waking state.
Cayce, Plotinus, and many religious doctrines, have long taught the immortality of the soul. It is embodied in the principles of transmigration, or reincarnation, and its sister doctrine Karma, also known as the law of cause and effect. It seems logical that the soul should require more than one life-experience in the earth-plane to evolve and develop its spiritual "life." Edgar was surprised to hear upon waking that he had answered questions about these states of existence between physical lives. There was no mention of this idea in the bible, and he worried that something had gone wrong with his strange psychic gift. But he continued on with his readings that now included the "Life Reading." It has been of great benefit to many people, especially those souls living in distressed conditions.
The Cayce readings maintain that each person is responsible for the circumstances in which he finds himself. He is not the innocent victim of his environment, but is simply meeting self. When you appear again in a new body, you do not start from scratch; you pick up exactly where you left off. "When a soul enters a new body, a door is opened, leading to an opportunity for building the soul's destiny. Everything that has been previously built, both good and bad, is contained in that opportunity. There is always a way of redemption, but there is no way to dodge responsibilities which the soul has itself undertaken." This is an important aspect of the concept of "meeting self." He continually emphasizes that "thoughts are things"; that "thought is ever the builder." The scriptures allude to the same idea in the phrase: "So as ye think it in your heart, so have ye done it." In Cayce's words: "From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh; and thoughts are deeds, and each builds to himself that which is to be glorification or edification or resentment built in self." We return again to face the results we have brought about. We are free to choose, and we have made choices in our former lives that we are responsible for; and as we make daily choices so do we set the conditions for future choices, the consequences of which are inescapable.
Plotinus places greater emphasis on the need for a soul to renounce the material world since matter is the principle of evil, but Cayce stresses the self-less activity of a soul in terms of the highest ideals within the material world. "That which makes for soul development, which is the purpose for the entrance of a soul into material experience, is ever through the will for the entity to be in accord with that which is its ideal. If the ideal is chosen for material blessings, material benefits, self-indulgence, fame and fortune, then little may be the soul development; for in these manners there is the deceitfulness of fame and fortune." The ideals that offer the greatest advance in soul development are in terms of self-less activity, but there is always an alternative to working off accumulated debts by unselfish dedication to the welfare of others less fortunate than ourselves. "Then, as there has been and is the passage of a soul through time and space, through this and that experience, it has been and is for the purpose of giving more and more in his relationships one with another; in mercy, love, patience, long-suffering, brotherly love, for these be the fruits of the spirit, and they that would be one with Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
One lifetime of genuine sacrifice to the welfare of others might well equalize five or six sterile life experiences where progress stood still. Cayce always and emphatically stresses the power of free will over pre-ordained destiny, and that no soul is ever so encumbered with old debts that it must resign itself to drearily pay and pay. And the soul can advance by methods that are not immediately apparent to our conscious reason. The blind man healed by Christ, for example, was not blind because he had sinned, but because his soul was gaining stature from the experience of blindness.
Cayce makes a distinction between the personality and individuality; he explains that the personality is that temporal, passing aspect of the physical body, while the individuality is immortal and eternal. The personality is a highlighted portion of the individuality, and is shaped by three or four incarnations, that area of earthly experience on which the individuality wants to work. Each incarnation reflects the emotions and talents of the person. Thus a personality is only an aspect of an individuality. A soul might assume any of several personalities, each of which would express a portion of itself. When a life is finished the personality vanishes. Its pattern is absorbed into the individuality. Its record is retained, but it becomes a part of the individuality, which is at all times the sum total of what it has been; all that it has felt, experienced, and thought down through the ages. "Personality is that ye wish others to think and see. Individuality is that your soul prays, your soul hopes for, desires. They need not necessarily be one; but their purpose must be one, even as the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are one. So must body, mind, and soul be one in purpose and in aim." The problem of many souls is that their personality and individuality are not in harmony. The implication is that the emotions lead a soul in the direction that is not in accord with its ideals, so there is little progress. "The individuality and personality do not reflect the same shadow in the mirror of life."
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