of the major inspirations I received from the Edgar Cayce readings
has to do with making changes in one's life to get closer to living
one's ideal day. The basic idea is to take some little step in the
right direction, and expect that it will lead to the next, even if
you don't know at first how you will eventually reach your goal. In
an earlier story of how I received a major
transformation from my dreams I shared how this principle
came true for me in a very profound manner. Later, when I expected
that I could move beyond my habit of smoking cigarettes through the
same magical method, I was mistaken. Instead, I had to come to understand
Cayce's principle in a very deliberate manner. From that experience,
in fact, I came away with a program of "trailblazing" that
I have used to help many people make desired changes in their lives,
through the "Dream Quest" and through the use of Hypnosis
to channel guidance from the Higher Self.
story that follows shows you how the deliberate seeking of intuitive
guidance for a first step, and a next step, can lead to blazing a
trail into a new life. If you have any questions about this experience,
don't hesitate to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies is offering a conference,
An Intuitive approach to making life changes," from
September 27-October 1, 2002. If you have any questions about my portion
of this conference, please contact me.
I started smoking when I was 14, and by the time I was in my 40s,
the symptoms were getting worrisome and hard to deny: the coughing,
breathing constriction, and circulation problems were scaring me,
but I felt helpless to stop. I had quit so many times before, only
to resume smoking within 24 hours or less after my declaration of
intent. I no longer had any credibility with myself. Although the
feeling of helplessness about quitting was similar to the critical
juncture I had reached with alcoholism, which had led to an important
stage in the ultimate process of recovery, it didn't work
the same way with cigarettes. I had declared myself to be a hopeless
smoker, but even recognizing my powerless to control my smoking and
appealing to a higher power, as much as that has worked with the drinking,
it was not working with the cigarettes. What worked, as it turned
out, was something different, something that built upon what I had
learned from my dreams and drinking experience, but different in significant
To create a recovery program from smoking cigarettes, I used hypnosis.
I didn't use it in the way people generally think of using hypnosis
for smoking cessation, for example, to plant suggestions on quitting
or being smoke-free. Instead I used hypnosis to contact or create
a higher consciousness from which I sought and received guidance on
how to go about quitting. Here's how it happened.
I had been practicing being hypnotized. While under hypnosis, I would
endeavor to generate creative ideas, for example, about writing or
research projects. I wrote about some of this work, conducted with
Henry Bolduc acting as hypnotist, in my book Channeling
Your Higher Self . At times the subject of smoking would
come up, both as a block to my fuller creativity and as a challenge
to higher creativity. So I asked the hypnotist to pose this question
to me: How will I ever quit smoking? The answer was that I would FINISH
smoking once I had completed certain tasks. The first task was to
replace my feeling of helplessness with a feeling of mastery. Unlike
experience that led to a recovery from alcoholism, which
was dependent upon the acknowledgment of helplessness, in the case
of smoking I had to begin with the reverse, to assert some control.
How could I assert control? the hypnotist asked me. The answer I gave
was to start with a very small step, to count my cigarettes.
I accepted this guidance, but to implement it I had to develop a plan
that would be easy to follow. I invented a system that enabled me
to count my cigarettes effortlessly. I got a cigarette case and vowed
to only smoke cigarettes that I took from this case. I would stock
the case with five cigarettes each morning, and restock it whenever
needed, five cigarettes at a time. Although I always carried a pack
of cigarettes with me, I never smoked a cigarette directly from the
pack. I always loaded five cigarettes into the case, then took a cigarette
from the case. It was a simple matter to notice when I smoked the
sixth cigarette of the day, for example, by noting when I had to restock
the case, and then load it up again. My spirits were pleased and my
confidence increased as I saw that I could keep my vow. I achieved
that first step of mastery. I continued this procedure for the approximately
three years that it took me to finish smoking. Although
three years may seem like a long time, had I not started the process,
I might still be smoking today.
Twice a year I would practice my hypnosis with Bolduc. I would review
my progress and receive further guidance. I would give myself discourses
on the meaning of my smoking and provide further procedures to follow
to move closer to the goal of finishing smoking. A major procedural
idea was to practice being a non-smoker for short periods of time
at critical junctures during the day. One such juncture was after
the evening meal. My higher self instructed me to postpone my after
dinner cigarette by going for a walk first, then smoking all I wanted
when I returned home from my walk. The prediction was confirmed that
many times when I returned from my walk I would forget
to smoke for as long as an hour. Also as predicted, I made many useful
observations about the nature of my craving for cigarettes.
In the hypnosis sessions, I received, besides these specific procedures
for practicing being a non-smoker, diagnostic and explanatory discourse
on the meaning and purpose of my smoking. One of the major themes
of these discussions was that I used smoking to create a wall around
my feelings and to shield myself from others. Part of my task in finishing
smoking was to learn to be comfortable with my feelings, to be more
sensitive in detecting them, and to develop the capacity to experience
other people's feelings without being lost in them, or confusing them
as my own. As it happened, this theme of emotional sensitivity and
contagion came up just as I was writing about and investigating the
of intimacy, and the fear of it, in psychic functioning.
My higher self seemed to be saying that smoking had been guarding
the gate to my taking conscious responsibility for my psychic ability
and the implications of that ability.
I realized later that I was learning to deal face to face with the
process of deconstructing an addiction by reconstructing the ego for
which the absence of the addiction was a compensation. In the case
of my alcoholism, I did not analyze the attachment until it had passed,
not did I consciously experience the withdrawal of the attachment;
it simply disappeared, literally overnight. But I couldn't use this
same formula for dealing with the smoking problem. I had to face it
directly and had to experience and understand all the aspects. This
process included experimenting with Nicorette gum to learn that any
problem dealing with nicotine withdrawal could easily be handled by
The last hypnosis session contained a surprise encounter that was
very emotional. In an earlier session I gave a discourse on how I,
like many other teenagers, had formed impressions, from advertising
and other sources, that formed a self-image of myself as a smoker.
I had rejected this diagnosis, but came to realize that I had associated
smoking with meditation, and was influenced by Native American images
of tobacco. I had some books on tobacco pipes and knew some of the
mythology, and had made a cult of a self-image surrounding smoking.
Then in this final session, I sensed the presence of some other individuals.
I looked more closely at that feeling and sensed that it was a Native
American, someone who reminded me of the Indian on the TV commercial
who has a tear flowing down his cheek. He said that he was sad that
I, as a brother sprit, was having to let go of tobacco. At that statement,
I saw behind him a large chorus line of Indians, and they were all
crying for me. What is an Indian, they wailed, without his tobacco?
In fact, I had in my collection, several valuable tobacco pipes and
some beautiful books, including some about the mythology of tobacco
among Native Americans. Then the Indian spokesman said that the group
knew I was doing this project for a good cause, and they wanted to
support me because it was in the greater interest of the spirit. The
Indians stood aside, parted their line and revealed behind them a
large tobacco field. It was bright green and in the sunlight, the
leaves glowed. They said they had a present for me. And from among
the tobacco plants jumped up a moving figure which I first identified
as a ball of energy. Then as it came closer I realized, or the Indian
explained, that it was a tobacco plant spirit. The Indian explained
that the tobacco spirit was sacrificing itself willingly to be with
me to keep me company on this sacred journey I was about take. The
spirit jumped across the top of the tobacco leaves and dove into my
chest. When it entered my body I felt a big rush akin to a nicotine
hit when you have a cigarette after a long absence. I also felt a
real sense of being loved, as well as having received a sacred blessing.
It wasn't too long after that experience that the final day came.
It wasn't planned, but it happened spontaneously. I went to interview
a psychic, Ray Stanford, as part of a research project. In our discussion,
the subject of smoking came up. I mentioned that I had been at work
on a project to finish smoking by embracing psychic ability.
He asked if I wished him to ask the Holy Spirit to help me finish.
I said OK. After the interview, we stood up and held hands in a brief
moment of silent prayer. As I walked out of the interview room, I
realized I was now free of cigarettes if I was willing to walk away
from them. I never smoked a cigarette again.
Practicing the skills I had learned, I used Nicorette gum for awhile,
and then moved on to regular gum, and then occasional mints. I walked
more, hugged more people more often, and became more intimate with
my feelings, and those of others. I went on to publish my work on
The healing of the drinking occurred outside my awareness. I made
no conscious effort, nor did I consciously go through any withdrawal
process. It all occurred magically in my dreams and indirectly through
my suffering. Quitting smoking was different. I couldn't apply the
events from the first as a formula or technique. Instead I had to
invent anew. I had to put out some effort. I drew upon the higher
power for guidance, and I developed a plan and kept with it. Working
on that plan developed new qualities within me. It opened me up more
inward listening, or intuition.
One disturbing component of the symptoms of smoking had been a concern
for my heart, as in heart disease. Hugging peopleenthusiasticallyexperiencing
feelings, being closer to other people's feelings, were all qualities
or capacities that came into blossom as I quit smoking. My heart was
opening. I came to develop a theory of the Intuitive Heart as a means
of resolving the paradox of acknowledging the existence of psychic
ability and the attempt to maintain personal boundaries. This philosophical
and existential dilemma had been a pre-existing personal problem for
me, one deeper than I had realized, for it had been prefigured in
One day, as I was contemplating the connection between having traded
in cigarette smoking for conscious psychic functioning, I realized
that I was making a great deal of progress responding to the challenge
of a dream I had had in the past.
In the dream, I am camping in the woods in a tent. On my way through
the woods, I spy a family of bears. I realize that if they see me,
they will eat me for dinner. No sooner do I think that thought than
they do see me. Mama bear chases me. To avoid her, I climb up a tree.
I am way out upon a limb when I turn around and see that the bear
is climbing right up after me. With that realization--bears can climb
trees too!--I awaken.
From this dream predicament there is no exit. I once painted a picture
to dramatize the situation. I am out on a limb, and I can't go any
farther out without falling off. Unless I can fly I have to face the
bear-some choice. If I try to back down the tree, then the bear will
devour me. The dream is somewhat like a Zen koan.
In retrospect, having finished smoking and embraced psychic intimacy
instead, I realized I had responded to this koan by dancing with the
bear. Not only was this an actual image from a later dream, it also
meant an acceptance of the transpersonal feminine. As a symbol of
the goddess, the mother bear shows her two sides, being both lovingly
protective and capable of turning on her young in anger. Fear of the
devouring bear is fear of surrendering to the chaos of life. How can
the personal I' survive the devouring onslaught of psychic information
shattering all personal boundaries? By embracing all experience in
a spirit of love, my heart expands to identify with all of life. It
was just this image of the transpersonal qualities of the heart, of
love, that gave me my solution to the paradox of the psychically expanded
self-concept. My research then showed that making a caring, loving
connection with another person, to find the other person in our own
heart, was a way both to have intuitive, empathic insights about that
also to expand the domain of our own self-knowledge. This
expanded self is the interconnected self, the relational self that
is the basis of the feminist paradigm of the ego. Thus my transformation
went from moving me from power to surrender to a higher power, and
then from self as a bounded entity to that of a relational phenomenon,
adding both psychic and spiritual components to my experience of being.
Becoming a recovering alcoholic was my initiation
into higher consciousness. Becoming a recovering smoker
provided me with an initiation into psychic awareness. Now, for my
next exceptional human experience, I am now becoming a recovering
intellectual, letting go of the protective attachment to rationality
to explore what lies beyond.
see details about the Edgar Cayce conference on Trailblazing,