By John Van Auken
As we experience 1998, a year Edgar Cayce identified as a significant mile-post in the long journey from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age, it is important to understand what "the work" is. A.R.E. members have used the term since the organization was founded, but what does it really mean? The term originated in the readings, so that seems a good place to begin.
Too often the source of this work is identified as Edgar Cayce, which keeps the focus on personality rather than the real transpersonal source. In reading 254-96 we have this clear statement: "...the source is the universal consciousness that must be tapped that thy spirit, thy portion...of that infinite love, may seek to know the heart, the will of thy Maker!"
From the sleeping Cayce's perspective, "tapping" the universal consciousness is the foundation upon which this work was and continues to be built. However, even though the source is the universal consciousness, it is tapped individually. The readings frequently caution to keep the work open to varieties of individual backgrounds and needs, not to make it another "ism" with a set of laws for gaining enlightenment.
A Psychic, Inner Work
By its nature the work is an inner work, "For all psychic work is of the inner man's, and is the exploration of a thought in conjunction with the minds of others..."(254-12) Cayce identifies inner thoughts and attitudes as the cause of much of our outer circumstances. The impact of thought was evident during his psychic readings when he had difficulty discerning a person's thoughts from his or her actions. Reading 254-12 stated: "...thoughts are deeds and may become either miracles or destructive forces, depending upon how they are used by the individual in their inner selves."
Being more aware of our inner thoughts in conjunction with the minds of others - friends, family, co-workers - is a footing upon which this work stands.
A Work on Self
The "tapped-in" Cayce challenges us often; one recurring theme is work on self: "Yet have ye lived it in thine own life day by day? If ye have ye have conquered thyself! And who present may say they have?" (254-96)
Who indeed has conquered self? Who walks the talk? Who lives it? Whether we are dealing with challenging illnesses, relationships, life situations, or personal demons, all are meeting self, according to Cayce. He ties this to the reincarnation and karma tenets.
In dealing with the problems that arise in daily life and analyzing them in meditation, I think we realize that we are often meeting our old selves, old friends, and old enemies. How well we meet them depends upon how well we have mastered and do master self (also see 2174-2). Work on self is another footing upon which the work stands.
A Work of Service
Throughout the readings, "service to others" is a mantra all are encouraged to hold. For example, a new trustee of the A.R.E., upon joining the board of trustees, was asked: "Wilt thou ... let thine mind, thine heart, thine body, be used as a channel of blessings to others?" (257-20) The same reading guides the trustee to apply "self in the ways and manners as has been designated for any officer or trustee, or anyone to whom there is given this opportunity...to be a channel through which others may gain an idea and a manner of closer approach to the thrones of grace - mercy, peace, joy - as come from service to man, and from keeping the precepts of the Creator."
Service to others is the outer flow of our inner work, and an important part of this work.
Peace and Harmony
Finally, reading 254-108 says: "...through the phenomena or work of Edgar Cayce, or the study of same, there are manners presented through which there may be attained greater peace and harmony in the experience of all that seek." This reading also states that before we can hope to bring about peace and harmony in our dealing with others, we must develop those same qualities within self.
The work, then, is about tapping into the universal consciousness, improving our thoughts, conquering self, and serving others. And the result of the work is greater peace and harmony for all.
John Van Auken is a Director at the Association for Research and Enlightenment. He is considered an expert in spirituality, reincarnation, ancient mysteries, and rejuvenation of the body, dream work, meditation, prophecy, mysticism, and Edgar Cayce concepts.