When I was an eight-year-old boy, I frequently looked up into the night sky, saw all those wonderful sparkling stars, and wondered how far out space really went. I knew from school that distances out there were measured in light years, not miles, and that the farthest star that had been studied must be billions of lightyears distant from our planet Earth. But how far was that? And, when you got to the end of space, what was beyond that?
It boggled my mind - and, in my more mature years, I have come to the conclusion that space must not be a three-dimensional unit. It must be something like the source of all things we call God - simply not understandable by our present, limited mental functioning.
The human body and Its mystery is like space and its infinitude, like the atom and its vastness, for we understand none of these with our present, finite minds - even as we understand God only partially and our own spiritual nature with dimness of vision. But it is our challenge to charge ahead and try to understand as we go about our daily tasks in life - and my tasks have moved me toward that mystery we call the human body, with Its illnesses and its need to be healed and made whole.
In his extended state of consciousness, Edgar Cayce saw illness and health related to right action and error; but it was all superimposed on a cosmic plan that placed man in the center of things, with a spiritual origin and a spiritual destiny. From Cayce's source of information, and from the Old Testament story, man was created as a spiritual being before this universe came into existence.
Rabbi Herbert Weiner, an authority on the Kabala, the Jewish book of wisdom, likes to tell the Kabala story about the Angel of Forgetfulness. It seems that everyone, prior to his birth, is given a chance to see what is going to happen to him. The Angel of Forgetfulness takes the individual to a special place and shows him all the important future events in his life if he chooses to be born at that time. If he chooses to go ahead, the Angel then touches him on the center of the upper lip, he forgets everything that he saw, and he is born.
Whether or not events are exactly like that (and you will have to decide - unless you remember), it is without doubt a beneficial thing that we cannot foresee the future. We have enough difficulty keeping up with the present without seeing what is in store for us - even though at that time we might have accumulated a bit more experience and hopefully a lot more wisdom.
Looking into the past is another matter. Assuming that we have lived many lifetimes to contribute to our present state of being, the past, as we understand it, is already finished and can be met again only in reaping the harvest of what we have done or sown. This law is called karma, or the law of cause and effect. However, the past is gone.
So, it is part curiosity and part for purposes of understanding and learning that many seek information about past lives and what happened in the dim, dark regions of ages long ago. The life readings, which provide a significant portion of the Cayce material, give much helpful information about past lives. Today - unlike times even in the recent past - people are remembering more and more past life experiences, and there are many individuals who can give the seeker a past life reading.
In the field of healing, one cannot bring about a true change unless he takes into account the ongoing experience of life that one moves through over the period of many incarnations . . . that is, if reincarnation really happens. I have taken the position that it does.
Illness and health often have their inception in past lives. Tendencies of the emotions arise in the glands that are the repositories of memories of past lives. Such tendencies lead unerringly toward a lack of balance, or a greater degree of balance, which spells either disease or better health. Understanding these tendencies, putting up with the karmic physical hangovers, helps us to be patient with ourselves as we seek better health and a reawakened consciousness.
We can then say that we are spiritual beings, gifted with minds and bodies, who have experienced past lives here on Earth, and who are part of an ongoing living process, seeking the direction that will lead us toward that goal that instinctively we know is our spiritual destiny.
A pathological condition does not appear miraculously or all at once. It develops in a process that takes time. Some conditions tell a story about their beginnings and their development, and without these bits of reality somewhere in the body, a disease could not come into existence. Disease does not exist outside the body. Pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and carcinogens do have reality when not in contact with the body, but the diseases they cause are only potential, and the so-called disease-producing factors never create disease one hundred percent of the time. Within the body are all the natural defenses, which in most cases protect the body against disease organisms.
Probably the most Important point to be aware of In the prevention of disease is that these protective mechanisms inherent within each human body can be deficient, but they can be strengthened. The critical moments come about when, due to disturbing activity of the mind or the emotions, or perhaps through lack of care about the needs of the body itself (such as diet, exercise, and sleep), there is a suppression of the defenses, and the door is opened, so to speak, to the disease process.
Once a beginning is made, there is a progression of the disease toward serious and sometimes life-threatening illness. However, the disease may be interrupted or reversed at any point, and the return to normal functioning may be rapid, or it may occur over a long period of time. Sometimes, the return or healing may be almost instantaneous. Nevertheless, the nature of disease is fundamentally a process, because man - also a progression in the span of time - is where disease takes place.
The idea that man is body, mind, and spirit, and that all three are one, in a very real sense, needs to be recognized and dealt with each time the patient comes, into contact with the physician, the healer, the therapist, the nurse, or the front-office personnel. When one is looking for the cause of the disease and searching for the best therapy program, this holistic concept of the human being needs recognition and appreciation.
Within the concepts of the Edgar Cayce readings, it is often repeated that illness is sin, or being out of harmony and not experiencing at-oneness with God. If all illness is sin, then we must ask just what Cayce meant when he worked with that activity In the lives of men. According to Cayce, a person may need castor oil - if he is In a castor oil consciousness; or he may benefit most from penicillin - if he is In a penicillin consciousness. A diathermy treatment may be his choice in order to come to a healing, or surgery may be necessary - all due to the nature of his consciousness. It is no wonder that there are so many ways to arrive at the state we call healing. Further, if we can use physical means to overcome sickness, which is sin, then we should also be able to use mental means and spiritual aids in reversing the pathological process.
As we look at man's experience over many lifetimes, and the illnesses that are built out of the law of cause and effect, is it possible to reverse these processes through fruits of the spirit or through physical aids? This is a question that everyone who is acquainted with the idea of reincarnation must ask. Through my research of the Cayce readings, I have come to the conclusion that most of the serious, long-term, degenerative diseases are karmic in their nature: Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and the like. There are seemingly contradictory points of view expressed in the world literature, the Bible, and in the Cayce readings as to the potential reversibility of such diseases.
To the physician it is essential that conclusions to the question of reversibility be drawn, for they would have a strong bearing on how a patient is to be treated. For example, if one carries to a logical conclusion the statement in the Bible that "He who kills with the sword will die by the sword" (Rev. 13:10), then the karma that afflicts the body must fulfill its course. There are many other citable instances that would lead one to assume that it would be fruitless to seek a full return to normal in a real karmic condition.
However, there is always a point where karma ceases and, like any "debt," is paid off. There is no law that the debt must be paid off only when a person dies in the physical body, carrying his disease process with him to the end. There is always a point where karma ends, and it seems that this is the point where spiritual understanding occurs, or where the "lesson" is learned. This juncture might be called "Where Karma Ends and Grace Begins." For what we are calling grace seems to be that point at which forgiveness is accepted by the person experiencing the karma. Such self-forgiveness may have been offered for a long time, but the self-acceptance may have been rejected. The Cayce readings appear to lend credence to the concept that such rejection is rebellion, and rebellion is sin. as is the disease. Thus, the self-acceptance must be a portion of the healing process, and must be a part of the spiritual learning that an individual undergoes during his time on Earth.
If karmic forces can. then, be met In definite spiritual purposes, the physician working with "incurable" diseases is challenged to treat such patients as individuals who may at any moment have learned the lesson that brought about the illness experience. Accordingly, his treatment program must have a spiritual direction, and the mind must be engaged in bringing about the necessary educational process. The physician must work patiently with the patient who is trying to overcome what has become part of his total life experience.
As a physician, it becomes truly fascinating when one approaches the healing of the human body from the point of view of it being an adventure in an individual's total consciousness, and an opportunity to witness grace as it becomes active in the disease process.