The Edgar Cayce readings repeatedly emphasized the importance of meditation as an integral ingredient for personal transformation. In fact, they suggested that the following information on "Meditation" be added to the twenty-four lessons that comprise A Search for God. However, to become familiar with the group process, some readers may wish to start with the chapter on "Cooperation", reading the meditation information individually or picking it up later for group discussion.
In this material world we are conscious of the phenomenon of growth. We should be equally aware of spiritual progression that includes both a broadening of understanding of the relation between the Creator and ourselves, and a definite improvement in capacities for more useful lives. Too much stress has been placed upon the desirability of escaping from physical existence. The average individual has come to look upon spiritual things as being intangible and ethereal, unconnected with normal life.
The eternal question that runs through life is this: What is truly valuable in thought, in activity, and in experience? Only from within can come a stable estimate of what is worthwhile. This sense of appreciation or this inner realization is based fundamentally upon an understanding of self-self in relation to others and self in relation to God. Meditation is the means to this end.
II. Prayer and Meditation
1. Prayer defined and illustrated
Some individuals give little thought to either prayer or meditation. They are satisfied to drift with the current, hoping that somehow or somewhere conditions will work out for the best for them. There are others who seek a better way, searching for that light which renews hope, gives a more perfect understanding of their present lot, and justifies the course of life that is being pursued.
Prayer is the concerted effort of our physical consciousnesses to become attuned to the Consciousness of the Creator. It is the attunement of our conscious minds to the spiritual forces that manifest in a material world. It may be a cooperative experience of many individuals, coming together with one accord and with one mind.
Prayer to some is the pouring out of personality for outward show, to be seen by others. To others it means entering into the closet of the inner self and pouring out the ego so that the inner being may be filled with the Spirit of the Father. These divergent attitudes are illustrated in the example drawn by Christ.
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, [said Jesus] this man went down to his house justified rather than the other." Luke 18:10-14
2. Meditation defined
Meditation is the emptying of ourselves of all that hinders the Creative Force from rising along the natural channels of our physical bodies to be disseminated through the sensitive spiritual centers in our physical bodies. When meditation is properly entered into, we are made stronger mentally and physically. "He went in the strength of that meat received for many days." (281-13)
Meditation is not musing or daydreaming, but attuning our mental and physical bodies to their spiritual source. It is arousing the mental and spiritual attributes to an expression of their relationship with their Maker. This is true meditation.
Meditation is prayer from within the inner self and partakes not only of the inner physical person but of the soul aroused by the spirit from within. In prayer we speak to God, in meditation God speaks to us.
3. Will prayer answer for meditation?
Will asking a question answer it? No, but it shows that we desire information, and therefore it has its merits. Just so when we pray. We show to our heavenly Father that we are anxious for His guidance and help, for the manifestation of His promises in our lives. It then takes an attitude of waiting, of silence, of listening, to be able to hear the still small voice whisper within, and to know that all is well. Prayer therefore is the basis of meditation.
Only when we are still may we know God, and when we know Him we are willing to say and mean, Thy will be done." It is then that He sups with us.
In prayer we ask for cleansing; before true meditation we must be clean in body and mind so that we may be fit to meet our Lord. One is a complement of the other.