My Experiences with Meditation

by James S. Thornton

Thirty five years ago while an engineering student at YSU, I happened on Jess Stearn's book Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet. I'd always been interested in science fiction and strange and unusual true stories. The Cayce story made me realize that the Bible stories I'd heard all my life were not just myths and fables, or events that took place thousands of years ago in "Bible Times", but were also happening in today's world. This Truth is what I'd unconsciously been searching for all my life. I realized that Edgar Cayce's life demonstrated that such experiences can potentially happen to me! This left me with the strong emotional impression that "I've come home...". I immersed myself in the Cayce Readings, and at the end of Spring quarter 1968 I drove to the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) in Virginia Beach to check it out - and to reassure myself that such a place really exists! My focus and interest intensified - unfortunately, however, to the detriment of my grade point average. Instead of studying, I read the book Venture Inward by Hugh Lynn Cayce (Edgar's son), which explored both dangerous and safe pathways to access the unconscious mind. I opened up to the importance of dream interpretation, even though I'd seldom remember them. And I became especially impressed by an experiment conducted with a group of college students who meditated for two weeks. So impressed with their reports, I decided to try the experiment my self. After two weeks I did indeed experience similar experiences. However, even with personal proof, I wasn't ready to continue and another 9 months passed before I was ready.

In the interim, I became sidetracked by the phenomenal side of the Cayce Readings and fixated on Astral Projection with it's promise of leaving the physical body at will. Paul Twitchell's book Eckankar, gave explicit instruction for getting out the body. After a lot of study I finally felt ready to give the process a try. Laying on my bed I soon began to experience the signs that things were happening just as the book promised. However, to my surprise, instead of popping out of my body as expected, I was shocked to hear an unfamiliar 'voice' coming just above the roof of my mouth saying "Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven which is within, and all things will be added there unto." I immediately lost all desire to leave my body and became determined to understand this unprecedented experience. The Cayce Readings provided plenty of insight and support for the indwelling of the Spirit within - AND some strongly worded cautions against the practice of astral projection. What especially caught my attention in the Readings was: "Sooner or later, ALL souls must learn to meditate".

In the following spring (1969) the girl I was "pre-engaged" to realized - to her credit, that we were on different wavelengths philosophically. To say the least, she wasn't happy with my new found friend 'Edgar Cayce' (and my involvement in the Peace Movement), and she decided to call it quits. I became so emotionally distraught and tense that I was unable to f-u-n-c-t-i-o-n with regards to school and my class work. I knew was in serious trouble and started thinking that I needed prescription medication so as to get back on track. As a last resort, recalling my experiences of the summer before, I decided to give mediation a try. Within three days I was amazed to find myself back in control! FINALLY I determined to make meditation a daily part of my life.

As an outward parallel to my inner work, I joined a local Cayce "Search for God" study group to involve myself with like-minded folk. I worked with Cayce's Readings on the importance of setting personal Spiritual, mental and physical Ideals. Also using this process, I wrote out and 'Idealized' my life-partner and attracted a mate to Ohio from Texas. I continued working with my dreams and also got interested in astrology. Janet and I joined The Association for the Understanding of Man (AUM), which was headed up by Ray Stanford, a psychic with abilities similar to Cayce. Another helpful organization was Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship.

The plan was to crank up my trusty little egg timer to 15 minutes (as recommended by Cayce for beginners) and meditate. I immediately see that setting aside time consistently day after day wasn't going to be easy. I would be too tired; not feeling well; busy; ate too much; or just plain lazy. My body and mind fought and resisted my will to sit still and become quiet. I kept reading, studying, attending lectures and workshops looking for insight and inspiration. I experimented with different preparatory exercises such as taking a shower, brushing my teeth, chanting, types of prayer, visualization techniques, incense, sitting positions, differing diet, exercise, getting enough sleep, using a negative ion generator and even wearing various crystals. Slowly I separated what works for me as an individual, from that which does not. Over time, with patience (and Cayce said "In patience ye possess ye your soul"), I adopted a format that carried me into the Silence.

For a long time I needed to daily force myself to sit in my chair facing east. Hands resting on my thighs with the thumb and first fingers touching. Never a "morning person", I would get ready at night and meditate just before climbing in to bed. I would start with Cayce's recommended 'Head & Neck' exercise and then his 'Breathing' exercise. Cayce gave that the Lord's Prayer was really a 'mantra' to open the seven Spiritual Centers and I would visualize them opening. If moved, I would chant for additional attunement. Finally, in spontaneous prayer and surrender would seek to enter into the Silence and wait with expectancy... In closing, I would send the Spirit raised in meditation to others with a sense of thanksgiving. Gradually the itches that would desperately need to be scratched and the unceasingly restless o the mind began to fall away. Early on I would dread meditation and put it off. Soon I got to the point where I would sit and be glad to be in that state meditating. Then if I for some reason did not get ot meditate, I felt disappointed and that something was missing that day. Now I daily look forward to it and find myself thinking about the process during the day and how I can improve upon the process It has become a natural, joyous and effortless part of my every day commitment.

Of course, Life is always presenting its challenges. When John was born, he was both up early in the morning and late at night! Out of desperation I start getting up and meditating in the middle of the night at 3:00am! After what seems an eternity, John begins settling in to a more regular schedule.

Always having been high strung and nervous in my early years, after meditating for a while I begin to notice that sudden noises and movements no longer startle me as before. It's almost as if I'm somehow 'expecting' it. The aging process seems to have slowed and my health has improved.

Years pass and I continue to hone my technique. I keep searching for new sources of inspiration, advanced techniques, and that ideal mindset that will carry me into a more complete and fulfilling experience. I push the 'envelope' seeking longer and longer periods of meditation, but when I got to 40 minutes I seem to hit an invisible barrier. I finally get help using Cayce's Impedance (or Radial-Active) Device which effortlessly adds a good 10 to 15 minutes to my sessions. Increasingly it takes less time for my mind to settle down and I'm experiencing more of the Silence, along with joy, and an 'infilling' of Spirit. However, once again I seem to be up against an invisible barrier.

Finally I begin to notice that the occasional opportunity to meditate during the day would easily extend to an hour or more. I come to terms with my being by nature a 'night' person and realize that a good part of my difficulty is tiredness and the events of the day weighing on my mind. I break with my late night habit and in 1996 commit to getting up an hour earlier to start my day with meditation and prayer. Now I need to set an alarm so that I don't get carried away and being late for work!

From the reading of Venture Inward, over the years It's now become an ongoing daily adventure and rewarding experience. The Silence and inspiration continue to deepen and the movement of energy becomes stronger and more frequent. Intuitive and creative flashes are common - usually giving insight just for the needs of the day. I am thankful to have persevered during those early times and pray that my experiences may inspire those of you who read this.

 

 

 

Meditation: My "Take" on the Process

by James S. Thornton

My article in a previous Newsletter focused on my struggles and experiences with meditation. With this installment, I'd like to focus on means and methods. The Edgar Cayce psychic readings place tremendous stress on the need to meditate - even going as far as exclaiming that sooner or later, ALL souls must learn to meditate. Today we have access to information on meditation through books, magazines, internet and classes. Most of us can carve out enough time out of the day for daily meditation if we put our mind to it. Research shows that the time spent meditating is more effective than an equal amount of time spent in sleep. It's reasonable to postulate that we have spent a lot of our past lives pretty much 'clueless' regarding such spiritual areas as meditation. That being the case - how can anyone aware of the spiritual benefits of meditation not take advantage of the opportunities available today? I would also make the point: Just because we have opportunities in any one lifetime may not guarantee a repeat of similar opportunities in some future sojourn. Cayce gave that the Spirit is the Life, Mind is the Builder, and the Body is the result. Per Cayce, each of us as individual "entities" are a composite of three interrelating or interfacing bodies: Spiritual, mental and physical - and that in meditation these three bodies become more integrated through atunement to one another. Cayce also asserts that electricity, or, actually, the electron is an element or manifestation of God / Spirit. Also, what we term "Life Force" is low vibrational or a "static" form of electricity. How does this relate? Science now knows that the body converts food to glucose in the liver. Glucose enters the blood stream and passes through cell membrane into every cell of the body where enzymes break apart the glucose molecule releasing electrons! Is it any wonder that the electrons released after a thunderstorm (in the form of negatively charged ions) are so uplifting? In a practical sense, we can now begin to understand what Jesus meant when he said "... I have come that you may have Life, and Life more abundant". What does Scripture record? His followers 'waited' (meditated) in the 'Upper Room' (Third Eye Center) and received the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit". The symbology is obvious: Set yourself aside, withdraw the consciousness upward and inward to the Third Eye center and in stillness 'wait' for the quickening of Spirit. The Ray Stanford psychic Source explains what happens in meditation: As the mind stills, and the breathing becomes rhythmic, consciousness which extends even to the subatomic levels of matter, begins to act upon molecules of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the reproductive glands of the body. This ATP, which is major energy molecule in the body, responding to consciousness, releases electrical energy. This electrical energy finds its way up through the spinal fluid to the Third Eye center, and hence, creates the experience 'illumination'.

Now, with a basic understanding of the 'mechanics', this is what I find works for me:

First of all, you must BELIEVE. If you don't believe that you can learn to swim, your chances of swimming are considerably less than one who does believe - even though that person may experience serious physical handicaps. Secondly, "Where there's a Will, there's a way." In the end, dedication and devotion are vital to the process simply because Spirit is responsive to need. The NEED to meditate will open the way through Grace. When we determine to experience what we hold as our 'Ideal' through meditation, Grace enters in. "Synchronicity" is one aspect of Grace - when everything just seems to fall into place.

Structure your day to carve out a time and space away from distraction, that is quiet, and not too soon after eating. This may prove to be a real challenge! Perhaps that's why Cayce recommended getting up to meditate at 2:00 am (after having at least 4 hours of sleep). Start out meditating at least 15 minutes and increasing the time spent at your own pace. Facing east, sit in a chair with the back erect (no slouching) maintaining the natural curvature of the spine. Or sit cross-legged on the floor on a pillow. Hands should comfortably rest on the thighs with palms facing upward and the thumb and first finger of each hand gently touching at the tips. This hand position (called a "mudra") helps to focus the mind. You can also lay down on your back with your palms downward on your solar plexus (as recommended by Cayce) - provided you can keep from falling asleep. Cayce recommends a preparatory breathing exercise: Close the left nostril (with a finger) and breath in through the right nostril and out through the mouth - do this three times while sensing "strength". Then, closing the right nostril, breath in through the left nostril and then out through the right nostril three times while sensing an opening of the Spiritual Centers. Per Cayce, the Lord's Prayer acts as a "mantra" to open the chakras. Then in spontaneous prayer, however so moved, invite in the Holy Spirit and Lord of Hosts.

When you find the mind wandering or losing focus, use an affirmation, such as "Be still and know that I am God" to bring the mind back. The mind is a taskmaster and likes to be in control, so resist the 'crises' that pop up and affirm to yourself that the mind has the rest of the day to have its way - but as for now, during this Holy Time, the priority is attunement to Spirit. Enter in to the Silence with the anticipation of meeting an old long lost friend or lover. Expect the unexpected! Don't limit yourself with expectations or preconceived notions. When an experience occurs, release it. If you hold onto it, it will likely hold you back from even greater experiences. Don't force the breathing, but allow it to progress naturally. Do not seek messages and visions - be aware that these may be tricks of the mind to gain attention and control. As they come spontaneously, usually in a 'flash', take note, but keep the attention at the Third Eye center which is physically located between the pineal and pituitary glands. As the mind stills and the consciousness begins to synchronize to the breathing, an impulse of energy from the first chakra (gonads) will rise up through the 'gateway' of the second chakra, up through the spinal fluid and Spiritually energize the Third Eye center. This experience of Cosmic Consciousness may also manifest as the experience of seeing light resulting from the excitation of the optic nerve which passes between the pineal and pituitary glands.

In closing, direct the Spirit that has been quickened and raised in meditation by prayer towards those individuals who have intentionally asked for prayer or are within your sphere of responsibility. Also, send to those situations and conditions within the world that are in need. End with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Years ago Cayce recommended running a Violet Ray for 20 minutes in the room before meditation. The Violet Ray is a machine invented by Nikola Tesla that generates negative ions. It's clear from the Cayce Readings that the positive effects of negative ions were long ago anticipated Cayce. I recommend experimenting with a good negative ion generator during meditation.

The above is a basic overview of the process. As mentioned, there's a lot of material available on meditation. As individuals with differing make ups, and experiences (which include unconscious 'karmic' memories from past lives), you may be predisposed to benefit from specific aides or meditative rituals such as incense, chanting, and/or influences from gems, stones and symbols. As it is said; Nothing succeeds like success. read, study, experiment, and allow your own intuitive processes to guide you on this marvelous and miraculous adventure.

 

 

Guidance Through Dreams

by James S. Thornton

 

DREAMS - Our dreams come from our inner and deeper Selves to (1) give us feedback on how we are living respective our Ideals and principles; (2) keep us in balance mentally, physically and spiritually; and (3) providing guidance for living our daily lives. Each night we have 7 to 8 dreams as we move in and out of several cycles of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep for a about an hour and a half of dream time. The language of dreams is a symbolic language that can be interpreted. The symbols are both personal and universal in nature and come from the Unconscious Mind. We know that the Unconscious Mind is amendable to suggestion and that an individual can get its cooperation by (1) setting your Ideals and principles; (2) having a sense of purpose; and (3) simply asking for help by affirming a program.

 

TECHNIQUES

 

REMEMBERING: Keep a notebook and pencil (or tape recorder) by the bed. Suggest to yourself before going to sleep that you'll remember any IMPORTANT dreams. Get enough sleep. Affirm that your dreams will be a medium for communication and guidance. Repeatedly affirm to yourself that you are willing to deal with and be open to WHATEVER needs to be dealt with. Expect the unexpected.

INTERPRETATION: Dreams are very 'self-centered' and are primarily concerned with your own inner and outer personal world even when involving or seemingly about others. Other people in our dreams almost always relate to aspects of us or our relationships. Note your state of mind and feelings upon awakening. Try to relate the dream to a 'theme' or give it a 'title'. The opening of the dream sets the stage for the rest of the dream even if the scene changes. Look for puns and cliché's. Note what characteristics people in the dream remind you of. Note directions ("left" is receiving or the future; "right" is giving or literally "the 'right' choice"; "up" - making progress & "down" - losing ground); colors (example, "red" - warning or energy); numbers; location; clothing; etc. What objective or subjective qualities do the characters convey? Pictures and ages of children may indicate something rooted (begun) in the past. If nothing seems to make sense, ask for a clarifying dream and also keep in mind that the dream may be precognitive and is dealing with some future event. Health issues in dreams should be taken seriously and if things check out health wise, then look at it as being symbolic. Purchase a good dream dictionary and add your own personal symbols to it. Don't become too attached to 'programming' your dream life (getting tomorrow's lottery number), but allow spontaneity and allowing the 'spirit' to move.

 

DREAM TYPES

 

CLEARINGHOUSE DREAMS - Sorting out the cares, concerns and events of the previous day. They
usually occur early in the night. The more important dreams tend to occur toward morning.

FRUSTRATION DREAMS - Falling (perhaps not living up to your standards), being chased (running away from a problem that you need to face). Nightmares generally reflect feelings of not being in control of some area of your life. For example; being stung by bees (too busy?); a car that's out of control (who's driving? He/she may be controlling you); dreams about dying and death are usually symbolic of endings, new beginnings, transitions and/or rebirth.

TEACHING DREAMS - Showing you something about yourself, relationships or environment. For example; discovering a room in your house that you didn't know existed filled with beautiful works of art may indicate an innate creative potential you were not aware of. Problems with teeth or gums indicating dental problems or symbolic of gossiping (bad-mouthing someone). Again, dreams with health related themes should be taken literally and checked out. If everything is okay, look to a symbolic interpretation. Sometimes a loved-one on the other side or someone from a Higher Realm will literally come to visit you in a dream.

PRECOGNITIVE DREAMS – It has been said that nothing of any consequence happens to an individual that is not first foreshadowed in a dream. There is much scientific evidence that everyone is at least to some degree unconsciously psychic or you may be unconsciously picking up information in your day-to-day activities too subtle for your conscious mind to recognize. The dream may be literal, but is usually symbolic in nature due to the fact that the dream is trying to give information that may help the dreamer change an outcome; or see / accept a situation differently. Since precognitive dreams can sometimes 'see' a long time into the future, it is necessary to get into the habit of recording dreams and reviewing them periodically. The unconscious can be 'programmed' by suggestion to get intuitive information (stocks & lottery numbers?), but also affirm that God's Will be done.

PROBLEM SOLVING DREAMS - Before going to sleep, contemplate and pray about a problem. Ideally, try to resolve the problem in your conscious mind to the best of your ability and then ask for a dream giving insight and / or confirmation concerning your decision in the matter. Ask the same question over a period of several nights before moving onto another issue.

LUCID DREAMS - A Lucid Dream is a dream in which you become consciously aware that you are dreaming. If that happens, it may be possible to control the dream and have some really extraordinary experiences. Upon becoming lucid, try meditating within the dream state. Lucid dreams can sometimes be induced by looking at your hands in the waking state and affirming that you are aware that you are dreaming. When you see your hands in a dream, it may induce lucidity.

DREAM INCUBATION - An individual or a group of people may decide to "incubate" a dream for another person who is seeking answers.

 

SOME COMMON SYMBOLS

 

HOUSE is your life or body and the rooms represent areas of life: Kitchen is diet or where you 'cook' (plan) things up; bathroom is hygiene and elimination; basement is subconscious storage (forgotten memories); first floor is the physical; second floor is the mental; attic is soul; roof relates to highest ideals; living room is your daily life; the front of the house is your public life and the rear private life

CAR represents your mental (mind) or physical (body) vehicle: the motor is 'motivation'; steering is the 'direction' your life is going; tires are usually a pun on being 'tired'; keys relate to your 'getting started'; muffler problems are talking too much; the driver is the person in control of you; brake problems may indicate being out of control; radio - being tuned in; name of car ('Dodge', 'Accord', Taurus - bull);

BODY is the vehicle of our consciousness: Hair is thinking and thoughts; feet & shoes give insight into our understanding; hands are service and 'grip'; clothes relate to personality and how you want to project yourself or how you're seen; wallet / purse relate to identity & self worth; sex is intimate relations or who or what you're 'in bed with'.

ANIMALS are characteristics of self: Spider relates to entanglements; insects indicate irritations; dog relates to qualities of faithful or unfaithfulness; cat is "cattiness"; bird is the heart center; snake is temptation, evil or the kundalini.