By Robert L. Ferro —
What comes to mind when you think of an A.R.E. A Search for God Study Group? Could it be friendships, psychic experiences, mutual support, or maybe personal growth? Did “Spirituality” come to mind? That’s right, spirituality, the safe approach to soul growth which the Edgar Cayce readings speak volumes of.
A very unique brand of spirituality is advocated in the Edgar Cayce Readings. A brand that affirms choice ultimately determines our destiny; change your thoughts, you change your life. Choose to lie down and shrivel away or choose to be pruned and grow by exercising your own birth right. Practical Spirituality is the crowning jewel entwined within the Cayce Readings and constantly directs us toward truths designed to better our life. These truths usually, were expressed in simple words, but other times in the words of a professional vernacular. But the words used were always those of the seeker’s vocabulary chosen specifically for the enrichment of that person and always encouraging the individual to seek with an uninhibited mind, with dignity and nobility. “Mind is the builder” was ever the mantra used to inspire the imagination of the seeker no matter the consequences.
The readings tell us that God created all souls for companionship and we were called “Sons of God;” co-creators with God, then we sought personal experiences and became entangled with materiality and bit by bit we lost sight of our divine purpose. (364-7) The group provides a friendly setting guided by spiritual principles aimed at helping you to cope with a complex and materialistic society while encouraging you to search and rediscover the God within you.
Understanding this inner process is part of the quest. An analogy can be made by understanding how a seed germinates. The seed intrinsically holds a genetic code directing it to acquire the appropriate minerals and nutrients in order to replicate itself into a new plant similar to the one it originated from. Our soul also retains a similar intrinsic pattern which constantly presses us upward until we reunite with our Creator.
Typically when we join a group we seem to think that more knowledge will provide all of our answers. We often expect change to come fast and furious, but eventually we realize that Rome was not built in one day and we gain a glimpse of our full potential as we realize the cosmic responsibilities we have as souls.
A long-time member of a group once announced that as far as she was concerned the study group’s purpose was to train us to be “fruit inspectors.” Then added, ultimately we will be judged by how we live the “fruits of the spirit” her point was that in the end we have to answer for our own actions and choices. Did our selected choices reflect righteousness, peace, mercy, and gentleness without partiality and hypocrisy? Surely knowledge of the right nature is to be sought, and the Cayce readings supply an ample amount of this type of knowledge, but the readings also make an interesting point when emphasizing that we first should seek better self-understanding.
“In all thy getting, my son, get understanding. This is putting proper emphasis in the proper places, and do not become sidetracked by things that would pertain to material or spiritual alone, or things of the body or things of the heavenly force. For you grow to heaven, you don’t go to heaven. It is within thy own consciousness that ye grow there. For first must come peace and harmony within thy purpose, thy ideal, thy hopes, thy desires.” (3409-1)
A.R.E. study groups stress sharing and supporting each other no matter what the challenges may be. When properly conducted, the group’s dialog is respectful, constructive and of greater value for all. The approach is simple and to the point, you study self and your relationships from a spiritual perspective. Personalities are replaced with spiritual purpose and ideals, all intended to constantly guide you toward fulfilling the purpose for which you were born.
The journey toward wisdom.
The Cayce readings remind us that the book of Job, from the Old Testament, symbolically outlines our personal struggle back to the Father – “the big picture.” The book begins by describing Job’s deep loyalty to God and details Job’s material and spiritual wealth. This symbolizes the overwhelming wealth our soul’s possessed at creation. Then Satan engages God in a dialog claiming that Job would not be so loyal if he was not so affluent. Eventually God allows Satan to interfere with Job’s life. This illustrates our past struggles between spirituality (God) and materialism. (Satan) As time moves on we find that Job loses all of his wealth, as well as his wife and families, and ultimately his own health. Again this loss symbolizes the price we paid for becoming too earthly and forgetting God’s divine plan. But Job stands fast, and refuses to curse God even though his life turns to shambles. In the midst of his maladies three of his friends reach out to comfort him. They tell him that even though he might not be aware of the reason for this calamity, he somehow must have disobeyed God’s laws; for our God is a just God. The first comforter relates this concept by using mystical allegories hoping to provide some enlightenment and relieve some of Job’s suffering. The second comforter instead uses a more traditional or dogmatic approach emphasizing that Job’s lack of adherence to his belief is the cause of his ailment. The third comforter is more of an intellectual and merely relays the same allegations with logic and facts, but ultimately all three tell Job that somewhere somehow he must have disobeyed God’s laws. Job listens to the three but then realizes that they are not very helpful, thus discards them as “poor comforters” and he becomes even more desperate and frustrated. Then, in a fit of anger, Job approaches God personally and in a tirade criticizes God on the way he treats his own creations. God answers Job in a thunderous voice which sets Job aback. The dialog then eases up, a friendlier conversation emerges and Job reflects on his behavior. Slowly then he begins to recuperate his health, his wife returns as well as his children with their families and eventually Job acquires twice the wealth he previously possessed. God then instructs Job to pray for his comforters.
Here lies the key points, the comforters are symbolical for the earthly tools available to us as we live in the earth plane. The first comforter – the mystic – symbolizes what some of us call the metaphysical approach for understanding our purpose and existence. In other words, a better understanding of the cosmic reason for us being created. The second comforter – the dogmatist – implies that we must clearly formulate and live our belief. (The ideal) The third comforter – the intellectual – is our ability to use logic, discernment and balance as a means to better our life. These approaches are the tools available to us as we move along our personal journey; but they are not the ultimate solution. This is why Job rejects them as “poor comforters.” Yes, these tools are the best available to us, and that is why Job was directed to pray for the comforters, but they are not the final step. Job does not regain his gifts until he personally goes to God and pleads his own case. Job’s health and wealth are regained when cooler heads prevail and he changes his thought patterns and alters his behavior. It’s the living of our knowledge that renews our cells, our DNA and our sub-atomic particles, for only when these have changed can we assert that we are a spiritually changed person. Unfortunately, this change sometimes comes through acts of desperation. But with an attitude of a mind that puts away hate, malice, anxiety and jealousy we create an atmosphere of love, patience, kindness and gentleness and our life is more in harmony with God and neighbors.
What amazes most seekers is how fast turmoil evaporates when you focus on serving others not just talking about what needs to happen. Some of us have worked with this material for decades and still find new ways to help others each time we revisit. You gain a deeper sense of how spirit is embodied in relationships and events, whether in a simple or sophisticated manner the spirit becomes alive and undeniable. The person’s own peaceful behavior then testifies to the premise that God does manifest within each and every one of us.
The benefits of participating in these groups can’t be overstated when one considers the eternal needs of the soul. So, let’s for the moment, look at the original question; “Why join an A.R.E. Search for God Study Group?” Considering the group’s potential, perhaps, we might rephrase the question and ask; why shouldn’t we want to join an A.R.E. Search for God Study Group?