This book changes lives.
Since 1931, individuals have been meeting to discuss, debate, and apply the material contained in this volume. Since that time literally thousands of groups (and tens of thousands of individuals) have found answers to questions that they sometimes could not even formulate. The information has positively affected lives worldwide.
A Search for God, Books I and II, were written to be helpful to individuals from all walks of life and all religious backgrounds. Whether a person comes from a Christian, Jewish, agnostic, or Eastern background, these books could reach out with the hope that true spirituality supersedes religious denomination. Admittedly, the group members responsible for this material presented their understanding of universal laws in what may appear to be decidedly "Christian" terminology. Their primary intent, however, was to explore the oneness of all life and the truths found in the wisdom of the world's religions. The lessons making up this material led the original group through a study of meditation, psychic ability, reincarnation, and universal laws - information that somehow bridged religious differences and found a common spirituality for all souls who are children of the same God. There are no claims to any unique revelation; in fact, a portion of the Preface states: "There is nothing new here. The search for God is as old as humanity."
Today, individuals from every religious tradition can be found in Search for God study groups the world over. These groups are ecumenical, yet, as we read and apply this material, it's important to remember that many of us may have biases and presupposed definitions about certain terms. Occasionally we may discover that they are not shared by others nor in line with the Cayce information itself. One key to working with A Search for God is to be open to the concepts and insights of others, and not become frustrated by the terminology used by a group of individuals who, more than fifty years ago, stated their insights in a language they could best understand.
The origins of A Search for God deserve special attention. In September, 1931, a group of ordinary people had a meeting with Edgar Cayce, one of the world's most notable clairvoyants and mystics. The meeting was called because the members wanted a new challenge. For several months they had been studying the great religious traditions of the world. Now they wanted to work more directly with Cayce's psychic information. Some wanted to become more spiritual; others, to know if they, like Edgar Cayce, could develop psychic abilities; a few others desired to be of service to a troubled world. But all members of the group hoped to discover more meaning and purpose in their lives.
In the first psychic reading to the group, Cayce offered a promise: if they were sincere in their desire and commitment, they could give "light to the waiting world." The group members made a covenant with one another and promised to follow certain disciplines to enhance their work together:
• They would meditate every morning in their own homes, conscious of the fact that the other group members were meditating at the same time.
• They would faithfully attempt to apply these lessons on spiritual laws suggested by Cayce's psychic information, share their own discoveries about the material with one another, and be attentive to insights and inspirations that came to them individually in meditation.
• They would submit questions about their own progress as well as questions on the lesson material to Cayce's psychic source.
• They would attempt to live what was being studied and to record their personal experiences for possible inclusion in the text they would write.
• They would not move on to the next lesson until each individual in the group had learned, understood, and applied the lesson being studied.
This final pledge led the group into an extraordinary commitment of time and energy. The series of twenty-four lessons outlined by Edgar Cayce took the group eleven years to apply and compile! Each lesson required an instructive essay that combined a summary of key principles along with brief reports on how group members had worked with the material.
Cayce's promise that the group could become a "light to the waiting world" was fulfilled. Study Group #1 - as they called themselves-went on to author this book, A Search for God. Although the first twelve lessons, comprising Book I, were not published until 1942 - marking 1992 as the 60th anniversary of A Search for God, Book I-additional groups formed soon after the initial lessons could be mimeographed. The remaining twelve lessons, comprising Book II, were finally published in 1950. This present special edition of Study Group #l's creation is the first time both books have been printed in one volume.
The lessons, given in sequential order, begin with "Cooperation." Although not part of the original series, a twenty-fifth lesson on "Meditation" was later added to give insights into Cayce's approach to this important discipline. According to Cayce's instructions, it was placed in the beginning of Book I.
Working creatively with A Search for God is much more than simply gaining knowledge of spiritual principles. Instead, this material must be applied, understood, and even "lived" so that we can move beyond mere intellectual knowledge about concepts into a true awareness of universal laws operating in our daily lives. When A Search for God is approached from this perspective, it can truly facilitate lasting, meaningful, personal change. In fact, these twenty-four lessons have been called one of the earliest and most effective tools for group therapy and personal transformation introduced in the Western Hemisphere.
Interestingly, in 1934 a Cayce reading told Study Group #1 that the life-changing insights of their experiences would still be helping people a hundred years into the future. Today, nearly sixty years later, that prediction is clearly being realized.
Few teachings about the spiritual path have stood the test of time. This edition, A Search for God, is one of them.
Numbers at the end of quotes are file numbers of psychic readings by Edgar Cayce. The original readings are in the custody of the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, Va.
Bible references are taken from the King James Version. P.E. refers to a personal experience. P.R. refers to a psychic reading.
In some instances in the text of this edition, nouns and pronouns have been modified from the male gender to be inclusive of both genders, i.e., mankind to humankind.