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Study Guide to  Kevin J. Todeschi’s

Soul Development: Edgar Cayce’s Approach for a New World

Study Guide Prepared by Regina Clarke A.R.E., Inc.

Edgar Cayce Readings 1971, 1993, 1994, 1995

by the Edgar Cayce Foundation.

All rights reserved.

Introduction

How to Use This Study Group Guide

The method for using this guide is open-ended. The suggestions for discussion that follow are intended to give you an approach that not only addresses the material in each chapter, but that also offers you the opportunity in a group to explore the meaning and impact of the material in your daily lives. Please use whatever part of this study guide you find most helpful in your own soul development.

Sequence for Discussion

  1. Moment of Stillness
  2. Sit quietly for a minute with your eyes closed, and still the mind and body. This will help to align you all with each other in spirit, intention, and harmony, and to share your commitment to seek out the most direct understanding of the chapter together.

  3. Questions
  4. Before discussion of any question, have someone in the group read it aloud, preferably a different person for each question. Think on the question privately before you begin.

    Do not feel you need to study all the questions that are presented. The number of questions varies from chapter to chapter, according to the material, and you may choose to respond to some of them only. Just ensure that at least three of the questions are used to inform the study group meeting.

    It is also useful to read aloud the homily framed at the end of each section; these passages are not taken from the Edgar Cayce readings but are offered for additional reflection. Be sure to leave enough time for those two events to occur.

    The questions about each chapter form the principal content of this study guide, but it also is important to address the application of the material in your own life.

  5. Application

Remember that an idea takes on life not only when it enters our imaginations, but also when we begin to live it, day to day. An idea can be a seed decades before we understand how to bring it into our lives directly, before its promise is made actual, before its message is real to us. Above all, we need to make the message available to our conscious awareness as we go about our everyday existence. We can begin that now.

"What can we do?" are words that echo in our minds in many ways, for many reasons. One of the most direct answers in the Cayce readings is: "Do something!" It was often recorded in the readings that we each must assume responsibility for taking action.

Each study group meeting will be more valuable as each person decides to apply the study group material during the week that follows and to do something that actively addresses that aspect of soul development.

Our existence is only one of our manifestations, but one that is infinitely precious. Our incarnation is but a thickening of the eternal energy of the soul, brought into this short interval we experience as life on earth. For what purpose?

Chapter 1:

The Edgar Cayce Material and Soul Development

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. We are cocreators with God, responsible for our lives; that is part of the message of Chapter 1. What are we intended to create, then?
  2. Service to others is essential in the Cayce cosmology and in the Christ Consciousness.
  3. When did you last experience service from someone else? Offer service to someone else?

  4. What is the role of love in our lives, and do we recognize how it assists the development of our souls?
  5. Soul memory is karma, but karma is not destiny. Destiny arrives through the choices we make every day, for in each action of each day we create our future. Why are we so often careless with this?
  6. Some say you they are not responsible for helping less fortunate people, and refuse to donate to charities. It is their choice, they say, not their obligation. Are they right or wrong? What would you say to them? How are their actions, and your response, related to soul development?
  7. If you were the father in the parable, what do you think you would have done in his place? What did the father’s actions show to us? Why?
  8. Cooperation is more than compromise; it is an active agent of transformation here on earth. It is a spiritual effort to bring Light into everyday experience, to show the Creative Forces at work. This becomes visible in the smallest of ways, not only in the larger scheme. In our own corner of the universe, we are free to choose this kind of cooperation all the time. What stops us from doing this? And when do we feel willing to cooperate—are there particular terms we require to occur? Why is cooperation a spiritual matter?

Application

"Are ye not all children of God? Are ye not cocreators with him?" Chapter 1 explores this message taken from the readings. The Creative Forces seek expression, and the closer we are aligned with our own true nature, the more we become able to identify this ideal of cocreation with God at a deeper level.

During the next week, record actions you take that you feel are most aligned with your true nature. How did you identify these?

Love connects all the dimensions that we intuit, witness, participate in. Love is ONE light. The world changes day by day with every action each of us makes, whether that action is material, emotional, or spiritual. What would happen if we all chose, even once a day, to act with love where we were, at the same moment? What energy would be released then?

Chapter 2:

Case Histories

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. What matters in soul development is not necessarily the deed we do, but our intent and motivation to do it. Are we able to identify our true intent? How often do we want to?
  2. "Each soul truly has a duty to all others." Does your ideal fit this aspect of soul awareness?
  3. Like Meg, we need to acknowledge our own responsibility for each situation we experience. In spite of all the hardships she encountered, she believed the learning was essential, and felt the Lord’s presence through it all. If she had felt like a victim, would her life have been different? Do you feel or act like a victim in some part of your life? If so, what can you do to change that outlook?
  4. We have been everything in one life or another—celebrity, royalty, wrongdoer, seeker, naysayer, creator. And we have felt everything—self-pity, joy, giving, grief, bitterness, regret, despair, hope, faith, cooperation, openness, being closed. The life we are living in this moment of time must surely have a purpose unique to our own soul’s need. Why are you who you are right now?
  5. Cayce told one man that it was "Better to do even the wrong thing, than to do nothing." Why?
  6. Many of the case histories describe people who experienced both advances and regressions in soul development, because of the choices they made in different lives. Even the smallest of choices affected the outcome. Can you tell which choices you make help you, and which do not?
  7. Resentment is a corrosive emotion. Yet in life after life, it may persist and continue to retard soul growth, producing the friction between people that prevents cooperation. Why do we let it exist within ourselves? "God looketh upon the heart." Do we?
  8. What is your greatest soul strength? Your greatest soul weakness?

Application

Each life gives us the chance to change something. We experience failure from past lives again and again, until we make a better choice. What have you encountered over and over, in a negative way, that has reappeared in the same pattern for you, no matter where you live or work? Describe the pattern you discover. Write it down.

"There Is A River" is the title of Thomas Sugrue’s biography of Edgar Cayce. The River is not only the river of life, but of the eternal energy of the soul as it flows through us…and so is transformed.

Chapter 3:

Soul Development through Meeting Self

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. Read aloud the questions in the first and last paragraphs of the chapter. What effect do these questions have on your thoughts?
  2. The readings tell us we are the biggest obstacle to our own soul development? Why is this?
  3. Do we need a past-life reading to help us explore and understand actions we carry out in the present?
  4. Each individual is worthy of the same measure of love and compassion and of our efforts to provide whatever assistance possible. This statement tells us that we cannot just simply turn aside. How, then, do we deal with difficult people? Is it possible to feel this compassion, no matter what we see? And what kind of action from us is possible? Is it essential?
  5. What if you are indeed a work in progress? What kind of state are you in now, if that is so?
  6. According to the readings, each judgment we make retards our soul’s development. Is it possible to refrain from judgment of others? And what are we to do when we are faced with situations in which we witness hostility, indifference, hatred, abuse, or harm directed toward others?
  7. Is this chapter suggesting that what happens to us and to others is grounded in a kind of inevitability?
  8. Not everyone sees life as a learning process. How do you react now to such a person in your daily life? How could you choose to react? Why are such people in your life at all, do you think?
  9. Are the journey towards soul awareness and the consequent soul development likely to bring us freedom from illness and tribulation?
  10. The case histories in the chapter showed many different responses to the wisdom of the readings by those involved. Each made certain choices. Consider those. What do the differences reveal to us?

Application

One of the readings in this chapter tells us that every conversation and contact with others gives us the chance to leave a thought, an idea, that will "better that individual." Observe consciously for the next week how often you do this in encounters you have with others. Observe with awareness, also, any resistance you feel toward doing this at any particular time. Write down those observations.

We have access right now to perfection, and to total awareness, if we but choose to see. Our path is often the very act of seeking that awareness—to remember how.

Chapter 4:

Soul Development and Personal Loss

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. Each of us may have lived a life as a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, and more. What does this tell us about the nature of our relationship with faith and with others?
  2. Think of a loss you have experienced, one that pierced you deeply. Do you believe you were able to be transformed and become more creative because of it? If so, how? If not, why not? Do you believe there can be loss without purpose?
  3. What does it require to love and obey God?
  4. Estelle described her awareness that she could awaken others to spiritual truths. All of us can do this, in the channels and paths open to us in each life, if we receive the Divine within. But how does this awareness signal the end of a need for power or control over those around us?
  5. Body, mind, and soul need to be in unison with each other, for "life is the manifestation of God in motion." (1298-1) How can this be reflected in our daily lives?
  6. What is the cost of self-indulgence? How is this different in the Cayce cosmology from our typical ideas about this concept?
  7. Are we willing to act like Robert, caring for a loved one who is incapacitated? If not, what stops us? Must we all be like him?
  8. "Thou knowest innately the Way," we are told in the readings (1298-1). What does this mean? What evidence do we have in our lives that this is so?

Application

Is there anything that especially makes you angry at others? That triggers irritation, resentment, or silent rage? Do you know the source of this feeling, at the soul level?

Write down the nature of the irritation or anger. Think about when it seems to appear. Ask yourself why you feel that way and then also write down your answer. Don’t settle for one answer. Delve into the idea, until you discover at least five reasons for your feelings related to that source.

"As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." The Psalmist sang of life in the midst of despair. Does not the same joy exist for all of us, the same Light held within?

Chapter 5:

Soul Development Through Life’s Experiences

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. Patrick said he changed his behavior by simply deciding to do so. We each can do this in a moment, the same way, by deciding we will. Why do we hesitate?
  2. What does it mean, to take back our personal power?
  3. Bernard chose not to deal with his girlfriend and child at the child’s birth. That choice limited his soul’s growth. Yet it also served as a catalyst many years later for his desire to do something positive to change the situation and, so, advance his own soul development. How would his life be different had he never made that original choice, had never experienced any of it?
  4. What can possibly be the purpose of experiencing abandonment or abuse as a child? Or finding yourself faced with one challenge after another with no apparent achievement of your dream? Look at the stories of Jamie, Jackie, and Shelly. Each had to enter a certain experience of darkness before she could discover the healing power she possessed herself. Each one worked hard to understand the true nature of everything that had occurred in her life. What made their lives fulfilling?
  5. What is the role of other people in our experience, if they are not responsible for our lives and well-being?
  6. Bernard’s early life experience is not uncommon—the experience of being in a family where talking about feelings is discouraged, forbidden, ignored, or sometimes ridiculed. Yet emotion is the core of our being, out of which who we are must evolve. What is the effect of this family dynamic on the world at large, do you think?

Application

Bob’s adjustment to his son’s homosexuality was profound. His eventual refusal to judge his son was an act of unconditional love. When have you found yourself experiencing something similar? Why was this your response? What keeps this state of mind from happening more often for you? How would it change you if it did? Consider this in a quiet time you set aside for yourself.

Each day our minds enter an inner debate, filled with opinions about people, and about ourselves. If every thought determines the quality of our life, our Divine Self in human form, what does that inner voice bring into being?

Chapter 6:

The Nature of the Human Will

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. Our will determines the path and outcome of our human existence. What is the nature of the will?
  2. We exist as both a personality and as an individual being. One is a mask, which we call maya or illusion. The other is the true self, where the soul is always aligned with God. What are some of the masks we wear?
  3. "…no influence exceeds the will of the entity..." (2560-1) What does this mean?
  4. Every situation we encounter holds a choice, and requires an act of will. Think of the last few times you felt negative energy in connection with a person or event. What did you bring into that energy to expand it? To reduce it? Why? How does this help to shape the soul’s development?
  5. "Others are instruments that the Universal Forces use to have us meet ourselves." How do gossip and small talk about others fit into this idea? What about anger toward anyone? Do we ever want to avoid certain people, and actively do so? How are we using our will in these events?
  6. People can be victims, bystanders, or conscious cocreators. We all have been each of these at some point in time. What attitude shapes each of these roles? How are we responsible for that attitude?
  7. What does it mean to be "in attunement" or "out of alignment," in reference to the human will?
  8. Do you really believe you are responsible for all the events of your life?
  9. What is it that awakens us to the Christ Consciousness, which is the awareness of Oneness with God? What role does the will have in revealing this?

Application

"Each should know this: That, as is self’s own ideal, is the standard by which the will is controlled or measured. What is thy ideal?" (262-9) During the next week, ask yourself that question. Write down any thoughts that come to mind concerning it, even if you do not feel entirely certain what your ideal may be right now. Don’t judge your responses in any way, but rather allow the information to come to you freely. Meditation is also useful for this.

Everything is attitude. Do we seek results, or revenge? What is fair—that others do right by us, or that we do right by them? Or could it be that we really have no accountability for how they think and choose, but only how we do?

Chapter 7:

Keys to Soul Development:

Ideals, Attunement, and Application

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. Why is it beneficial for us to set spiritual ideals? What are the effects in our lives if we do not do this? In the lives of people close to us? Our children? Our co-workers?
  2. Think of a political leader in the past or present who has sown great seeds of war. Do you have anything in common with that person that can be called an ideal?
  3. What we think, so we are, and so we become. That is one of the messages from the readings, and one that greatly determines the direction in which our soul develops awareness. What we focus upon is a reflection of our own self. If we choose to focus on negative events or thoughts, the energy of that effort draws more of the same towards us. Why then do we entertain negative thoughts at all? Are there situations where we have no other choice? What is the impact on our ideal?
  4. On page 140, there is information about creating a guide map to use for personal soul development. Did you follow through on this? Why or why not? Explore its purpose.
  5. What would you be most willing to do, on a daily and consistent basis, to express your Ideal in action? Would this be difficult to sustain? What awareness would it require? What would make it effortless?
  6. Meditation is listening to the Divine within. Do the affirmations at the end of the chapter assist you as forms of meditation? Many of them carry a similar theme, though they come from different readings. What is this theme?

Application

The readings say that, with service, we are able to align ourselves and our actions with spiritual ideals. Which act of service could you offer, within an hour of leaving this room, that would demonstrate this truth?

Will you do it?

"In my Father’s house are many mansions." This biblical passage is among the most resonant with the Cayce material. For he often declared that there are many paths to God, many sojourns in levels of truth before revelations come, but One destination. And that is to know we are eternally beloved, and that we are never alone, and in that Divine love we have already been given everything. What then must we do with our life on earth?

Chapter 8:

Light to a Waiting World

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. Hugh Lynn Cayce described three aspects of telepathy not commonly considered: sensitivity to others’ needs, stirring creativity, and healing. He concluded that each of these is meant to be expressed—be revealed into the world. He said also that all of us are, at different times, healers or destroyers. Do you agree? Can this be so?
  2. Each of the twelve lessons in the chapter is wider in meaning than its literal definition and typical practice. Patience, for example, is not simply forbearance, but a union of body, mind, and soul—focused to allow Spirit to work with us in our lives. Discuss, in a similar framework, Lesson 8, "The Open Door."
  3. What is personal transformation?
  4. In the original study group, the members learned to guard their thoughts, guard their words, for those both have power. How vigilant can we be in this? Is it really necessary?
  5. How can we become a light to those in need, as Cayce said? Do we want to be thanked for our good deeds to others, or do they exist for their own sake, because we feel the motion of Spirit within? How can we transcend the limitations of our awareness, so that we are free to help others?
  6. Explore true psychic ability as it is revealed in the Cayce material.
  7. The Norfolk group were pioneers in the avenues of psychic exploration and soul development. What did they accomplish, in the end, with the twelve lessons? What made that study group unique?
  8. What does it mean to be an unconditional channel for healing?

Application

Look over the twelve lessons described in the chapter. Which one draws you the most as a challenge you have not yet met? Which one seems to describe something you fully live out in your life? What do your answers reveal to you? Do you feel impelled to take action of any kind?

We do not have to wait for the world to change, to change ourselves, to illuminate the path for others. Are we waiting, even so, for someone else to begin?

Conclusion

Moment of Stillness

Questions

  1. What is it day-to-day that most measures the level of our soul’s growth?
  2. Our weaknesses come out of selfishness, our strength out of selfless love. What moves us away from one and toward the other? Have someone read aloud this passage from the chapter:
  3. "Know that as you do unto the least of your associates, your acquaintances, yes—your enemies, you do unto yourself in your relationships with your Maker.

    Then so live that you may ever look every man in the face and see the reflection of your God. For the soul of every man is the image of thy Maker." 361-9

    Can we imagine really doing this? Living this way?

  4. What worlds have we already formed around ourselves by our choices of action and word?
  5. The new world paradigm is stated simply, yet promises the true manifestation of cocreation with God. Do you believe it is something you can help to realize, now?
  6. In their context, the last two words of the conclusion are powerful ones. How do you answer?
  7. Ask yourself, "Who am I?" Are you open to the answer?

Application

The creative and healing power of the Christ Consciousness comes with every step we take forward on our soul’s journey. It is revealed in our actions toward others and in the way we live.

If you could choose only one action now that would drive your life toward that awakening, what would it be?

The vital transformation that creates the butterfly in a sudden moment is no different from the one that creates us—for in our journey we too emerge out of darkness suddenly, and forever.

 

 

     

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