Power of Breath / Past Lives & Edgar Cayce

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Date Host George Noory
Guests James Nestor, Joanne DiMaggio

Science journalist and author James Nestor has been traveling the world researching the science behind the lost arts. In the first half, he discussed the tremendous power of proper breathing, referencing ancient texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology. "The vast majority of us are breathing the wrong way," he remarked, with many people breathing through their mouth instead of their nose (which has a built-in filtering and conditioning system that brings in more oxygen). Sleep is particularly problematic, he added, with issues such as sleep apnea and snoring. The painter George Catlin in the 1830s, traveled out West living with some 50 different Native American tribes. The one thing they all had in common, Catlin observed, was that they respected breath as a medicine and never breathed from their mouths, Nestor recounted.

The most ancient form of yoga was focused simply on sitting and breathing rather than the movements we think of today, he continued. On the extreme end of breath control is the example of Swami Rama, who spent years developing techniques living in Himalayan caves. There were accounts that he could shift heat around on his hand through thought and breath alone, as well as deliberately alter his heart rate. Nestor reported on a study in which it was found that when subjects recited either a Catholic prayer or a Buddhist mantra, they breathed in an even rate of 5.5 breaths per minute, which lowered their heart rate and blood pressure, and more oxygen was delivered to the brain.

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Joanne DiMaggio has been actively involved with Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) since 1987, and has been professionally pursuing past-life research and therapy for over 25 years. In the latter half, she detailed the fascinating case of how Cayce, the great American prophet, gave a life reading for the two-day-old nephew of his secretary, Gladys Davis in 1936. Cayce declared that the infant, T. J. Davis, was the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson, and would have an enormous impact on America, beyond even Jefferson's, when he grew up. Cayce ended up mentoring the boy for the first nine years of his life. DiMaggio interviewed Davis (now in his 80s) about his recall of the Cayce years and his subsequent experiences. T. J. Davis ended up living a rather ordinary life that didn't match Cayce's expectation, and DiMaggio attributed this to Davis' absentee parents, as well as T. J.'s free will in the matter.

On the subject of reincarnation, DiMaggio (who believes she has had 150 lives) suggested that we return for a new life between 50 to 200 years after the last one. However, in the case of suicides or tragic deaths, souls may return much quicker, she cited. DiMaggio considers our earthly existences as a kind of school where we work out karmic issues. Spirit guides confer with us while we're in the afterlife, and function kind of like guidance counselors, helping us decide which karmic matters we want to take on, she explained. Sometimes the things that we're drawn to can give us clues about our prior lifetimes, she said. In her case, she found herself completely fascinated by material about and from the 18th century.

News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein, Steve Kates

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