Edition Eighteen

Peace and Serenity

Most of us would like to experience peace and serenity within ourselves, to be in harmony with others and the world in which we live.

Although some of us may have been introduced to such ideals at an early age and accepted them as something to be desired and pursued, few of us have been educated or trained so as to realize these as fully as we would like to in our everyday lives.

Instead, many of us grow up all too conscious of discord within ourselves, with others and the world at large.

A Spiritual Wasteland

Our competitive society, mass media and popular culture do little, if anything, to help us find our way out of the spiritual wasteland we may have become bogged down in.

As the English poet Wordsworth said long before our time:

"Coming and going, we lay waste our powers, little we know in nature that is ours. We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon."

We may accept such a situation as normal and struggle on, constantly effected by increasing levels of stress and discontent. Consequently we become dis-eased in certain ways and disconnected from the healing currents and regenerative wellspring of life itself.

We may eventually doubt that we can ever know anything different. Yet the deep-seated desire to feel a sense of serenity within ourselves and peaceful communion with others, even on a transitory basis, persists. It prompts some to seek respite through drugs or other unhealthy means, sometimes with tragic results.

Improving Our Attitudes

Fortunately this does not have to be the case if we are willing to do some personal growth work, to learn who we really are. Essentially it involves making some improvements to our attitudes, emotions and to our lifestyle.

Once the problem of internal discord is recognized and the need for change acknowledged and acted on, inner peace and serenity become relatively possible, depending on the individual desire and effort made.

Many paths and processes hold out the hope of acquiring this Holy Grail. Courses drawn from ancient Eastern mystical teachings to modern Western methods of personal transformation are available today to anyone serious about spiritual development and personal growth.

Spirit, Mind, and Body As One Union

At the core of all the authentic modalities, whether taught within a psychological or religious framework, is the recognition of both our need and innate ability to achieve the harmonious union of Spirit, Mind and Body, to know and be one's true Self.

Having grown up in Ireland in a social and cultural environment that I found heavily authoritarian and repressive, like many others of my age I was struggling to find and express my own identity.

At the same time I was hoping to find resolutions and answers to the conflicts and confusions that were the baggage of my upbringing. Interested in spirituality, my quest led me to explore Eastern religions, meditation and the work of the famous American seer Edgar Cayce, who had much to say about spiritual, mental and physical health and the relationship between all three.

Functioning in Present Time

A lecture series had attracted me to the Centre for Living Research, a metaphysical centre that existed at the time in Dublin.

It was there that I undertook to learn a psychological integration process that was compatible with my own beliefs and aspirations. Although not specifically seeking personal peace and serenity when I enrolled in the course, the work involved certainly enabled me to achieve a state of inner tranquility that I might never have known otherwise.

On a functional level the process taught me how to consciously harness and direct the creative, imaginative level of mind so that I gradually improved the way I saw myself and how I related to the world around me.

Combined with daily meditation practice, it helped me tap into and express those qualities that are essential to personal growth and transformation; positive attitudes and emotions and functioning in present time, which in turn helped foster a more loving consciousness.

The Balance of External and Internal

Although aspects of Christianity had appealed to me, I had found church dogma and ritual mostly unfulfilling. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that the psychological/spiritual work I was doing enabled me to experience something of that " peace that passes understanding."

Of course this was inevitable since in reality I was learning how to attune to and give expression to my own Christ Self.

The process also helped me look objectively at and deal more harmoniously with internal and external issues and problems in my life. The net result was a strengthened sense of who I was and what I could accomplish and a personal contentment that I had not known before.

The Discourses of Edgar Cayce

Personally and professionally I felt motivated to study the Edgar Cayce material in depth. Famous for his trance-state ability to correctly diagnose and suggest natural and effective remedies for many illnesses, Cayce also gave psychic discourses, called ‘readings', on matters related to personal growth and spiritual development.

Time and again he pointed to the need for individuals to attune themselves through meditation to the spiritual source of their own being and to work at manifesting their spiritual nature in the physical world day by day.

The Cayce source provided a study course for those interested in working with these directives. This material also fed and nourished my own growth, especially after I joined a study group. Numerous such study groups now exist all over the world.

The Heart of Spiritual Seeking

Although Cayce himself was a practicing Christian and his psychic discourses and directions were phrased in Christian terminology, I found the material that came through him in trance to be universal in concept and application.

It crosses all religious lines and goes right to the heart of the spiritual seeker's quest for insight and understanding. In a nutshell, what Cayce had to say was that we are all on a journey into wholeness.

He pointed to the need to go within by way of creative thought, reflection and meditation and to adjust our everyday lives in ways that would enable us to experience and express increased health and happiness.

He advocated balance between spirit, mind and body and loving service to others as the way to achieve lasting peace and serenity.

By Mark Finnan