John Van Auken

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A Lite Heart is Best

One of many wonderful scenes in ancient Egyptian art is “The Judgment,” sometimes called
“The Weighing of the Heart.” It appears in the papyrus scrolls of The Egyptian Book of the
Dead. The scene shows a deceased Egyptian named Ani being led to the chamber of his
judgment. The god Anubis, the underworld guide, brings Ani before a huge scale. On one side of
the scale, Ani’s heart is placed in a jar. On the other side of the scale is the feather of the goddess
Ma’at. Observing this weighing of the heart are various other gods. Thoth (Hermes, to the
Greeks) stands nearby with Ani’s Book of Life in his hands, ready to inscribe the outcome of this
weighing. Horus, the god who was immaculately conceived by Isis to save the world from
Egypt’s satan, waits to see if Ani’s heart is light enough for him to lead Ani out of the
underworld through Osiris’ chamber and on up into the heavens. Isis and Nephthys stand behind
Osiris, who is seated on his throne. All await the outcome.
If one’s heart were heavy with regret, unfinished Earth business, or the pull of selfish desires,
then the ancient Egyptian - in this case, Ani - could not enter the heavens. A beastly creature
would eat his heart, and he would have to return to Earth to get a new heart, one light enough to
rise into heaven (presumably by reincarnating and living a better life than before).
Do we have light hearts? Or are we carrying around a lot of unresolved issues, unfulfilled
desires, the weight of broken dreams and promises, or whatever is weighing on us? The Edgar
Cayce readings tell the story of an Egyptian high priest named Ra Ta who, at a very old age and
in decrepit condition, was able to rejuvenate himself and live another one hundred years in order

to work on the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza. When Cayce was asked how this priest
rejuvenated his aged body, he answered: “through the casting aside of the years of toil and strife
through which the body of Ra-Ta itself had passed.” In order words, by letting go of the things
that had aged him. We tend to hold on to our pain, our suffering, our sacrifices, and our regrets.
All of which age us and weigh our hearts down. Forgive and forget is a much healthier



From Karma to Grace

Today, those of us seeking our own personal spirituality are especially aware of the influence of
karma and grace. Let’s explore these two forces, and let’s begin at the very beginning.
In conceiving us, God, Creative Forces, gave us the gifts of individual consciousness and free
will. With these we were to come to know ourselves to be ourselves, and yet choose to be one
with the Whole (God, others, and ourselves). Only with independent consciousness and free will
could we choose to be God’s companions and co-creators. Yet, these powers are often compared
to a two-edged sword, because they can lead us towards heavenly oneness or towards hellish
selfishness. Each of us has to learn how to bring our mind and will in closer harmony with
God’s. But learning implies mistakes, and mistakes with the mind and will can be very harmful.
Therefore, before the two great gifts were given (consciousness and free will), God established
a simple but universal law: whatever we do with our mind and will comes back to us, not as
punishment or retribution but as education and enlightenment. The law is intended to help us
appreciate the effects of our individual thoughts, words, and actions upon God, others, and even
ourselves. We recognize this law when we say, “What goes around, comes around.” In the
scriptures it is written: “As you sow, so shall you reap”; “With what measure you measure, so
shall it be measured to you.” Even proof-oriented scientists observe that for every action there is
an equal and opposite reaction. This is the law of action and reaction, cause and effect, the law of
The law is unavoidable and immutable. Jesus teaches that not one jot will be erased from it.
How then can any of us recover from mistakes? How are we to learn, if every misuse or abuse
brings reactions? Are we now trapped in a tangled web of karmic backlash to our past actions,
words, and thoughts? Cayce’s readings teach that, “God has not left us without a way.” That way
is grace.
Grace is that wonderful spirit that imbues every fiber of our being when we practice the fruits
of the spirit: kindness, patience, understanding, forgiveness, love, gentleness, fellowship, and
long-suffering. Cayce says that “against these there is no law.” But he says “doubt, fear, avarice,
greed, selfishness, self-will; these are the fruits of the evil forces. Against such there is a law.”
Obviously, we want to choose grace over karma.
Jesus calls us to “learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” The meaning is that a
built-in grace already exists in this exacting law of karma. Here’s how it works: The law is
absolute, right? Yes. Therefore, what we do or think comes back to us. Then, if we begin to
understand mistakes by others, the law -- always at work and never compromising -- reacts with
understanding toward our mistakes! If we begin to forgive others, the law reacts with forgiveness
for us. And, best of all, if we forget the misuse or abuse by others, then ours is forgotten, too.
This is the deeper meaning behind Jesus’ words “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Few of us could
sacrifice enough to make up for all our mistakes, but having mercy toward others who have
misused their gifts brings mercy to us. The law is absolute. Therefore, jots of understanding,

forgiveness, and forgetting come back upon us as we give them out to others. It is perfect. It is
simple. What we give, we receive. The law is filled with latent grace waiting to be released.
Do we seek forgiveness? Then, we must give forgiveness. Seek understanding? Then, give
understanding to another. If we want our sins forgotten in the Mind of the All-Knowing, then we
need to forget what others have done to us. Let it go; release it. Stop holding onto little spites,
hurts, and bitterness. They weigh us down, limiting our ability to grow closer to heavenly
consciousness. Ancient Egyptians weighed the heart to see if it was light or heavy. A heavy heart
caused the soul to sink into the underworld, but a light one allowed the soul to rise through the
heavens. Cayce explains that the High Priest Ra Ta rejuvenated his body by “casting aside the
years of toil and strife through which the body had passed,” 696-1. In other words, he let go of
the things that had aged him. By letting go, we may release ourselves and others from the heavy
burdens of regret, disappointment, self-doubt, and guilt. Just let them go! Shake them off, get up,
and get going again. But for this to work, we must also do it for all those we meet -- allowing
them to be freed of their burdens and our judgments.
Most of our opportunities to grow in grace will not be with strangers, for the hardest to forgive
are those closest to us: parents, siblings, spouses, children, coworkers, and friends. These
relationships bring the greatest challenges and opportunities each day. And, we may also think
that the greater opportunities for soul growth concern life and death issues, but they more often
concern little everyday situations. The very next person that walks up to us brings potential
grace. To release this grace, we simply have to use our God-given mind and will to choose to
interact positively.
However, we can take this too far, allowing others to do whatever they wish despite their
influence on themselves, others, and God. Tough love is as much as part of the journey as
understanding. Sometimes, we help our loved ones, friends, and coworkers more with loving
truth. Jesus did not ignore Peter’s errors, but called him to rise to a higher level.
Karma and grace go hand-in-hand, because the law is so perfectly crafted. Grace is the rosebud
on the thorny stem of karma. The blooming of this bud is dependent on our present use of free
will and mind. Cayce taught, “God is Law, and the Law is Love.” The disciple Peter wisely
observed that “Love covers a multitude of sins.” The disciple John taught that “God is love; and
he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Cayce asked us all: “How can it be
then that you do not understand God loves you?” Sensing our questioning reply, given that our
lives are not always happy, he stated: “Why do you suffer? It is mercy, it is justice to your soul!
For those things that are cares of the flesh and of the Earth cannot inherit eternal life. Hence life
alters, life changes in the experiences of individuals through their sojourns in the Earth, and thus
you learn your lessons, even as He; for though He were the Son, though you are His sons and
daughters, yet must you learn obedience through the things that you suffer.” Karma is a teacher.
Freedom comes with responsibility. And oneness is not achieved without cooperation. Obeying
the law of love is required.
Let’s live in grace by applying the fruits of the spirit each day.



Our Body is also a Temple of Spiritual Forces

The first formal mention of spiritual structures within the human body, including energy centers
and pathways, appears in the Yoga Sutras, c. 300 BC, written by Patanjali (pa-tan-jah-lee). He
revealed six centers and a seventh luminescence that occurs around the top of the head. These
centers are depicted in two ways: as chakras (literally, spinning "wheels”) and as padmes
(literally, “lotuses”). Therefore, one may understand that the spiritual centers are both energy

vortexes that generate movement as they are stimulated (as a spinning wheel) and enlightenment complexes that unfold as they grow in wisdom (as an opening lotus). Cayce correlated these
centers with the endocrine glandular system in the body. He also said that there are twelve
(1861-11), but seven are of importance here. Whenever we find seven people, places, or things in
a classical story, we may correlate them with the seven spiritual centers. Cayce’s most famous
example of this is in his interpretation of the Book of the Revelation. He correlates the seven
churches, seals, vials, and plagues to the cleansing and opening of the seven spiritual centers
within a seeker’s physical body (for more on this, see my book Edgar Cayce’s Amazing
Interpretation of the Revelation).
Patanjali also identifies three pathways in the body. Two are an interwoven double helix called
ida and pingala, often represented by double serpents (as in the caduceus). The third is a single
path, the sushumna, beginning in the lower pelvic area and traveling directly up the body to the
top of the head. These pathways correspond to the body’s two nervous systems: the sushumna to the central nervous system, with its spinal column and the brain, and ida and pingala to the
deeper autonomic nervous system, with its woven nerves that begin in the lower torso and ascend to the brain. These three pathways act as one. The energy flows through them simultaneously.
The endocrine glands along this pathway are, in order from lowest to highest: gonads (testes in
males and ovaries in females), cells of Leydig (named after the doctor who discovered them,
located in and above the gonads), adrenals (located on top of the kidneys), thymus (located in the
upper chest), thyroid (in the throat), pineal (near the center of the brain at the top of the spinal
fluid canal), and pituitary (just above the back of the roof of the mouth, behind the bridge of the
nose, tucked under the frontal lobe). In order as chakras they are: the root, navel, solar plexus,
heart, throat, crown, and brow, or third eye. Many modern books and teachers list the crown as
the highest and the third eye as sixth, but Cayce instructs us otherwise, as do many of the more
classical texts and images. For example, in ancient Hinduism the kundalini pathway is
symbolized by a cobra in the striking position, not straight up. In mystical Egyptian and Mayan
art it is a winged serpent in the striking position. In Hebrew and Christian mysticism, it is the
shape of the shepherd’s staff. The energy flows along a path that is like a question mark (?), not
like an exclamation mark (!). Cayce says it flows up the body to the base of the brain, then over
to the center of the brain and the crown of the head, and then on to the forehead and the great
frontal lobe of the brain and the third eye.
Cayce states that the navel and the crown centers have a powerful magnetism between them. He
says that the crown is always ready to illuminate and elevate, but that individuals must open the
navel center before they can begin to transcend and transform. He calls the navel center the
“closed door” and the crown the “open door.” Some Eastern texts call them the “lower gate” and
the “jade gate.” Reconnecting these two centers is key to restoring our connection to the divine
within. Here are three Cayce excerpts on this:
“This was from the flow of emotion from the kundaline center or the Lyden (Leydig) gland, to
the ones in the center [pineal] and frontal portion of the head [pituitary]. This is nothing to be
fearful of, but keep the emotions better balanced.”
“Second sight, or the super-activity of the third eye may come whenever there is the opening of
the lyden (Leydig) center and the kundaline forces from same to the pineal.”
“We find that there has been the opening of the Lyden (Leydig) gland, so that the kundaline
forces move along the spine to the various centers that open with this attitude and these activities of the mental and spiritual forces of the body.”