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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Learning to Trust my Intuition: The Story of Edgar Cayce

Edgar Cayce

I often feel like I’m lead to read a particular book. Like God’s saying, check this one out–I have something I want to tell you.

When I was at Virginia Beach over Thanksgiving with my family, my brother took us to the boardwalk and asked in passing if I’d heard of Edgar Cayce, one of the few documented psychics. Even though he only had a high school education, he could diagnose people’s medical conditions in his sleep and prescribe treatment. There’s his institute over there (a block from the boardwalk).

I thought that was kind of interesting. Especially when he said Cayce lost this ability when other people encouraged him to try to use it for money. Which is exactly why I don’t think psychics can use their powers to tell you what numbers to pick for the lottery. Otherwise, why would they need to be charging you for their services?

That night, my other brother also took us to the boardwalk to see the Christmas lights, and he also mentioned Edgar Cayce when we drove past his institute. Later I found out that, even though they live together at the beach, they had never talked about Cayce with one another. They both learned about him from TV: one of them saw his story on the Discovery Channel, and the other one saw it on the History Channel.

When I got home, rather than trying to go to bed at a reasonable hour, I spontaneously decided to look up this guy and find out more about him. He has a biography called There is a River, so I thought I’d buy it and get the in-depth story.

The book doesn’t get interesting until Cayce does his first reading. What happened was, he developed severe laryngitis that lasted for several months, and no doctor could find a cure for it. At the time, hypnotism was becoming popular, so some famous guy (I’m not good with names) tried to hypnotize him to see if that helped. Cayce was able to talk while he was in a trance, but the suggestion that he would be able to talk when he woke up never worked.

Then this other dude who was doing some self-study on hypnosis but had no formal training got the idea that if Cayce gives himself the suggestion to talk, it might work. And sure enough, when he was given the suggestion while in a trance to say why he had laryngitis, Cayce gave a detailed account of what the problem was, how it developed, and what the cure was. And then the hypnotized Cayce told the guy to give him a suggestion to increase the blood flow to the neck. So the guy did, and he could actually see Cayce’s neck area get red. And after Cayce was instructed to wake up, he was able to speak again, but he had no memory of what had happened.

So then this guy decided to use Cayce to open his own hypnosis practice. Cayce agreed to it but was conflicted because he didn’t know what to make of the readings. He was really religious, and he was worried that maybe they came from the devil. Or maybe he would give bad medical advice and he would end up killing someone. Or maybe going into a trance would make him go crazy–because that’s what they thought at the time, since they didn’t know that much about hypnosis.

One of the things I found interesting about reading Cayce’s story is the realization that when people have a gift, they’re usually not like, oh cool! I have a gift! They’re afraid of it. They don’t know what it means. And it often feels like it’s more of a curse than a gift. They don’t know what they’re supposed to do with it, and often other people use their gift for selfish purposes.

There’s a lot more interesting stuff about the book but I thought I’d see what the response is to this blog post before I talk about it more.

 

Is Optimism Always a Good Thing?

 

You know how when you ask people how their holiday was and they say it was good? Well, I didn’t. I wasn’t trying to complain or anything. I just like to be honest.

My back was hurting for 3 weeks, which means I did very little over the break. The worst part was that I couldn’t play tennis. It may sound extreme to some people, but my mental health was severely compromised. I tried to practice gratitude, patience, self-compassion, and all that, but the truth is, without tennis, life hardly seems worth living.

That’s why I spent 2 and 1/2 weeks in denial about how bad my back was hurting. Which means I tried to play 3 times. The tennis sucked and I wasn’t able to move at all. I couldn’t even swing. The last 2 times actually made my back worse.

Why would I continue to try to play, knowing that I couldn’t move? Knowing that it might slow my recovery down? Because I was so determined to get better that I was completely out of touch with reality. I was almost delusional.

Sometimes I beat myself up over this. Many of my relationships have failed because of this same delusional optimism. I’ve relapsed into depression because I was unrealistic about how much I could take on. I’ve wasted countless hours trying to fix some mistake in my knitting rather than cutting my losses and ripping the thing out. (Unless you knit, you probably don’t appreciate how obsessive this is, but it is a serious waste of time.)

But at the same time, my optimism is what allows me to enjoy tennis, even when I lose badly. It’s why listening to people’s problems all day doesn’t get me down. It’s why I’ve been able to knit dresses.

Plus, even if it’s unrealistic, unbridled optimism can give us something to look forward to. Like, even if the chance of winning the jackpot is 1 in a billion, isn’t it fun to imagine what you would do with the money? To debate whether you would take the payout and calculate how much you’d have after taxes or whether you’d spread the payments out over 20 years?

I’ve actually been thinking about buying lottery tickets because the indoor facility where we play in the winter has closed, and without tennis I really do get depressed. So I fantasize about winning the lottery and building a facility, where I would build it, how many courts it would have, whether I would also have outdoor courts. Maybe I’ll even include a pro shop. Then I could buy cute tennis outfits wholesale and save some money. Not that I would need to save money since I would have won the lottery.

Do you see how much more enjoyable this obsession is rather than thinking about how I am going to be depressed and out of shape without tennis? Even if I don’t get to play, either way. And really, what’s a couple of dollars every week if it keeps hope alive?

Plus, someone has to win the lottery. So someone’s optimism paid off. Why can’t it be me?