Edgar Cayce on Reincarnation
Edgar Cayce found that the concept of reincarnation was not incompatible with any religion, and actually merged perfectly with his own beliefs of what it meant to be a Christian. Eventually the subject of reincarnation was examined in extensive detail in over 1,900 Life Readings.
Reincarnation is the belief that each of us goes through a series of lifetimes for the purpose of spiritual growth and soul development. Cayce's approach does not include the concept of transmigration, which states that it is possible for human beings to be born again as animals. From the standpoint of the Cayce material, souls only occupy human bodies through their spiritual growth and developmental process.
In essence, the Cayce approach to reincarnation provides a philosophical setting to the past focusing on practical ways of dealing with this life: living, growing, and being of service to one another in the present.
For him it wasnÂ¹t nearly as important to who individuals had once been, or even what they had been doing, as it was paramount that they focus on the present and the opportunities and challenges that faced them in this time, in this place, right now.
In terms of remembering your own past lives, the Edgar Cayce information provides a variety of approaches. In fact, oftentimes individuals who received readings would ask about such things as memorable dreams that were on their mind, personal traits and talents that they had always been drawn to, and even intense positive or negative relationships with other people in their lives Â Cayce described how each of these things could be tied to past-life memories. With these things in mind, in order to remember your own past lives the Cayce readings recommend such things as personal inventories of your talents, abilities, likes, and dislikes; working with meditation and dreams; taking part in imaginative past-life reveries or self-hypnosis, and so forth.
From Cayce's perspective, the reason for believing in reincarnation is not so that we can dwell upon the past or brag about the possibility of once having been someone famous, instead it is to enable a soul to understand the consequences of previous choices and to know that each individual is ultimately responsible for shaping and creating his or her life in the present. From the Cayce readingsÂ¹ perspective, the past merely provided a framework of potentials and probabilities. An individualÂ¹s choices, actions, and free will in the present would determine the actual experience lived this time around. Rather than being a fatalistic approach to life, it is much more one of nearly limitless opportunities.
Cayce teaches the reality of reincarnation and karma, but as instruments of a loving God rather than blind natural laws. Its purpose is to teach us certain spiritual lessons. Animals have undifferentiated, "group" souls rather than individuality and consciousness. Once the soul evolves through a succession of animal incarnations and achieves human status, it is not then reborn in animal form. Cayce's view arguably incorporates Theosophical teachings on spiritual evolution. Each person, in his view, existed in a self-conscious form before birth and would exist again after death.
As well as his health readings, Cayce gave many hundreds of so-called "life" readings, during which he would describe his subject's past lives. A number of those readings referred to past incarnations in the legendary lost land of Atlantis. In all, Cayce referred to Atlantis no fewer than seven hundred times in his readings over a span of twenty years.
From Cayce's perspective, we are not simply physical bodies or even physical bodies with souls, but are instead spiritual beings who are currently having a material experience. As souls, we have manifested in the earth in order to learn lessons that will enable us to return to our former state of spiritual awareness. At the same time, one purpose we all have in common is to bring the spirituality of the Creator into the earth.
A soul can choose to be born into either a male or a female body in any given lifetime or, as Cayce called it, an incarnation. A soul selects that environment (parents and family, location, personal obstacles, etc.) which will best allow for the learning of lessons it needs for completeness. The goal is to fully express love in all the challenges which physical life offers.
One's experiences are subject to the choices made with free will. As one grows, he or she learns-or rather remembers-his or her true relationship with God and one's heritage as a spiritual being. With free will, we can turn the challenges life presents to us into stepping-stones toward growth, or we can see them as obstacles and stumbling blocks. Either way, we reap what we have sown. We constantly meet the consequences of previous deeds and attitudes.
One frequently misunderstood concept regarding reincarnation has to do with karma. From the standpoint of the Cayce material, karma is not destiny; it is only memory. These memories are generally unconscious and influence our abilities, our faults, even our relationships with others, but with free will we can meet this memory as a positive or a negative experience. Karma provides us with the potential to learn a lesson we need in order to grow at a soul level, and free will determines whether or not we choose to learn it at this time. The choices we make determine the next set of potential experiences we encounter.
Much more than simply a concept that applies to a limited segment of the world, reincarnation is a philosophy that has-at one time or another-been embraced by all the major religions of the world. It's a concept that can allow us to have compassion for one another because ultimately we are all equal-there is only one God, and we are all His children.
From Cayce's viewpoint, it doesn't really matter if an individual believes in reincarnation or not. For some it can be a helpful concept, for others confusing. The main purpose is to allow individuals to become aware of their true spiritual nature and their ultimate relationship with one another. In fact, if we can think for a moment about the one person in our life whom we love most of all. then we will get an inkling of the goal of reincarnation: to be able to love every single soul, even ourselves, with the very same love.People, Edgar Cayce
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