By Lora Little
“As has been indicated, each entity, each individual GROWS or applies, or is meeting self in the varied experiences…” (294-192)
And each soul is, in the experiences of consciousness on the material plane, constantly meeting self and that self HAS DONE to others in the relationships to that which IS spiritual, which is creative, which is real, which is everlasting. (1232-1)
For ever does one constantly meet self. That which is thought and done and hoped as constructive forces GROWS. That which is selfish, aggrandizing, with the motive for self-glory or fame, does not grow but becomes as the dead weight that must be carried or must be met—and one is CONSTANTLY meeting self. (1432-1)
Over and over again we are told in the readings that the conditions and relationships we encounter in our daily lives are opportunities for us to come face to face with our own strengths and weaknesses. This is not my favorite of Cayce’s ideas since it forces me to face things about myself I would rather ignore. However, over the years in study group I have found this concept to be oh so true.
Of course, I first encountered it when I found myself irritated with a fellow member who had a certain tendency that I suddenly realized I had myself. I wondered then how many times I had irritated other people with my own manifestation of that trait. That got me thinking. If we are meeting ourselves through others that means we are meeting not only our weaknesses but also our strengths.
I decided one night during a Search for God meeting to pay attention to each person sitting around the room with me. If the Cayce readings are correct on this point then each of those people had something about them, positive and negative, that could tell me something about myself.
The more I thought about it the more interesting it became and suddenly the things that irritated me most about some people took on a whole new light. I felt much more connected to them and certainly more empathetic. I knew they were struggling with some of the same things I was although to greater or lesser degrees. Then it occurred to me that I could also give myself a pat on the back for the many positive qualities of the people around me. Perhaps I had some of those within me as well. That felt better of course.
It wasn’t much longer after that “meeting self” realization that I was given an even bigger test with this particular lesson. It just so happened that a very unusual fellow entered our group. On the positive side of things, he was a sincere seeker and almost never missed a meeting once he joined us. But it wasn’t long before he became a bit of a challenge for our group.
He often arrived late and his entrances were not exactly quiet and graceful. He had a very loud speaking voice that was unpleasant to the ear. Once he was seated he often interrupted the group with long meandering questions so that it was difficult to get him to stop talking to allow the meeting to move forward. He had strong opinions and wasn’t afraid to express them. Many of them leaned toward the negative and he seemed to have a great deal of despair and anger about the world in general.
On top of that, because of a health condition he cleared his throat loudly and often, even in meditation. Many times he even belched in meditation and he almost always yawned loudly despite my gentle attempts privately to describe the goal of silence during meditation.
We soon realized he simply lacked basic social skills. But still there was something about him that was very likeable. He brought us his dreams, his poetry, and shared with us many synchronicities in his life. If we gathered socially at a local restaurant you could always count on him to be there. It was obvious we meant a lot to him. He seemed rather lonely. Our group rose to the challenge and responded to him in a very loving and accepting manner, although in truth we often enjoyed the few nights he was absent from our meetings.
Then in the summer of 2010 our Memphis summer workshop featured Lynn Sparrow on Karma and Grace. Of course, our dear member never missed an event so he was there. Some people in the audience complained to me about a man who was making too much noise with his breathing & coughing and I knew immediately who it was. I just advised them to sit up closer to the speaker, as I knew our friend could not help making some noise due to his health condition.
The very next meeting following the workshop he arrived elated, talking fast and loud about a new understanding he had gained regarding karma and the purpose of suffering. His life now made more sense to him and he felt he finally understood why some things had happened to him the way they had. It seemed he had turned a corner in his life and it was a delight to witness him being so positive and hopeful.
Sadly, only a few days later we received a phone call from a close friend of his that he had been found dead of natural causes in his home. It was presumed to be a heart attack. It was then that we discovered he had no living relatives and that friends were putting together a memorial for him that we were invited to attend.
And so we did, thinking that we would likely be part of a very small group honoring his life. We were so wrong. The large room in the funeral home was full of people who knew and loved our problematical study group member. They were so fond of him that they had taken the time to decorate the large room at the funeral home with memorabilia from his life.
Very lively rock and country music was playing as moments from his life—from youth to recent days—were projected via video montage on a large screen in the front of the room. Many of his friends got up and told stories of his life as a poet, local rock singer, and just all around character. With much humor and affection they told tales of this gentle, eccentric, oddball individual who had held such a special place in their hearts. He was just as much of an enigma to them as he had been to us but they also could not help but like him.
We quickly realized how little we had known about this outwardly disruptive, abrasive, difficult study group member. There was so much more to him than we had ever imagined. And he had had such an effect on so many people from many different walks of life.
Who was this soul, really, and what was it that had drawn him to our study group? Were we his teacher or was he ours? I think it was the latter. At least it certainly was for me. I learned that I could meditate even after being startled by his very loud belches and yawns and could incorporate humor and joy into the silence. I learned that kindness and patience is more important than keeping the meeting on task, not an easy lesson for a Virgo to take in for sure. I learned that accepting people where they are in this moment although sometimes difficult is a true expression of the grace of God.
I came to appreciate the patience of my fellow members and was inspired by their ability to manifest the love of God and man to this unusual member of our group week after week. And I learned once again that Search for God groups truly provide us with the opportunity for profound and life changing experiences as we encounter ourselves through our relationships with our fellow group members.
About the author:
Lora Little is a 30-year A.R.E. Member and a 22-year SFG study group member. She is an active volunteer with the Mid-South Area Team in Memphis, TN and a team member in A.R.E.’s ongoing search for Atlantis.