The Kybalion: Chapters 11 and 12


The Kybalion
By The Three Initiates
The Yogi Publication Society Masonic Temple
Chicago, Illinois. 1912

We continue our reading of The Kybalion and explore the principles of Rhythm and Causation. Rhythm is our constant companion as we move along the course of our making and create the existence we wish to attract. Causation is the container of receipt and return that demands we be ever mindful of our actions and the consequences that ensue. It is the great rule maker that shapes our destiny as we go about our work of checks and balances at every turn.

The fine points of each of these principles comes in awareness that they are all pervasive and unavoidable in their impact on this and every lifetime’s experience. They are also the life within the essence of creation itself. The rhythmic contractions of the birth canal are the only way to naturally birth what was quickened. And, the effect of a union of polarities on all levels of existence is the causation of something Divine to be spawned.

Chapters Eleven and Twelve

Chapter Eleven: Rhythm

“Everything flows out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the measure of the swing to the right, is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates”

This principle of Rhythm surrounds and permeates everything in the manifest and non-manifest world. It’s feeling is one very much akin to the Cause and Effect, in that each produces the other; yet its expression is one that spans a broad base of similarity, disparity, autonomy, singularity, equanimity and more. For every Yin there is a Yan that is inherently composed of the same ingredients yet expresses itself as it will in accord with what other laws mold and shape it. These statements are expressed below…..

“ The Principle of rhythm is closely connected with the Principle of Polarity described in the preceding chapter. Rhythm manifests between the two poles established by the Principle of Polarity. This does not mean, however, that the pendulum of Rhythm swings to the extreme poles, for this rarely happens; in fact, it is difficult to establish the extreme polar opposites in the majority of cases. But the swing is ever “toward” first one pole and then the other.”

Now let’s also add what we have learned of the Law of Vibration in the preceding chapters……

“The Hermetic Teachings are that not only is everything in constant movement and vibration, but that the “differences” between the various manifestations of the universal power are due entirely to the varying rate and mode of vibrations. Not only this, but that even THE ALL, in itself, manifests a constant vibration of such an infinite degree of intensity and rapid motion that it may be practically considered as at rest, the teachers directing the attention of the students to the fact that even on the physical plane a rapidly moving object (such as a revolving wheel) seems to be at rest. The Teachings are to the effect that Spirit is at one end of the Pole of Vibration, the other Pole being certain extremely gross forms of Matter. Between these two poles are millions upon millions of different rates and modes of vibration.”

So, if both statements are true than the “sweet spot” of interest regarding rhythm is indeed what lay between the two “extremes”. If we liken this to the idea of the ebb and flow of the nightly tides that place of rhythm could then be the mid-point between sea and shore where the maximum debris is gathered as it is carried in towards shoreline. The other rhythmical point would then be the mid-point between shore and sea, where what is selected from the shore is carried out towards endless ocean, much falling to the wayside in the process.

Now, let’s expand these thoughts to encompass the vastness and ebb and flow of the Universe….

“ Beginning with the manifestations of Spirit–of THE ALL–it will be noticed that there is ever the Outpouring and the Indrawing; the “Outbreathing and Inbreathing of Brahm,” as the Brahmans word it. Universes are created; reach their extreme low point of materiality; and then begin in their upward swing. Suns spring into being, and then their height of power being reached, the process of retrogression begins, and after aeons they become dead masses of matter, awaiting another impulse which starts again their inner energies into activity and a new solar life cycle is begun. And thus it is with all the worlds; they are born, grow and die; only to be reborn. And thus it is with all the things of shape and form; they swing from action to reaction; from birth to death; from activity to inactivity–and then back again. Thus it is with all living things; they are born, grow, and die–and then are reborn. So it is with all great movements, philosophies, creeds, fashions, governments, nations, and all else-birth, growth, maturity, decadence, death-and then new-birth. The swing of the pendulum is ever in evidence.”

We are the product of the rhythm of exchange between the macro and the micro-cosmos. And, this ideology is replicated ad infinitum in the acknowledgement that we are at once the vast universe of our physical being and the tiniest of holographic particles of light in the largess of the galaxies and stars. The natural conclusion from this process is the occurrence of effects to maintain a specific balance in all things thus created…..

“ There are other features of the operation of this Principle of Rhythm of which we wish to speak at this point. There comes into its operations that which is known as the Law of Compensation. One of the definitions or meanings of the word “Compensate” is, “to counterbalance” which is the sense in which the Hermetists use the term.”

Again, this idea of compensation is one that we as human beings are very familiar with. We continually are in the process of maintaining what we have achieved/acquired and in that action bringing on board the necessary tools/ingredients to successfully keep the scales from tipping too far in either extreme/excess. When we fail at these attempts our state of balance and rhythm is upset. This is a core concept underpinning the practices of Auyurveda and Chinese Medicine. When the doshas/elements within the human constitution are imbalanced (note- this does not mean everything being equal! It means having the compensatory state of balance in comparison with what it is trying to counter-balance), dis-ease and an upset to the natural and healthy rhythm of all of the physiologic systems occurs. The digestive system’s rhythm is off kilter. Circulation is not flowing rhythmically, neurological deficits and irritations occur and more.

If we seek out a practitioner to restore the balance, herbs and advice of methods of compensation ensue. The stimulating of the polarized form of what is lacking or the homeopathic approach of giving specific dosage of what is out of line to “compensate” and thus break the unhealthy rhythm of what that cycle was producing as toxin.

Taking this premise and applying it to the full experience of our corporeal and physical lives…

“ The Hermetists regard the chain of lives as continuous, and as forming a part of one life of the individual, so that in consequence the rhythmic swing is understood in this way, while it would be without meaning unless the truth of reincarnation is admitted. But the Hermetists claim that the Master or advanced student is able, to a great degree, to escape the swing toward Pain, by the process of Neutralization before mentioned. By rising on to the higher plane of the Ego, much of the experience that comes to those dwelling on the lower plane is avoided and escaped.”

We could consider this second paragraph as the Homeopathic effect as described previously; the same goal being that of neutralization. As we move through the cycles of lifetimes of experience we have for our use the lessons and the responses to various experience. The trick is in being able to tap into the Universal Rhythm that holds the keys to those memories. To those of the Eastern and Buddhist paths; the Siddhis/Yogis and Bodhisattvas one of the goals is to escape the pain and suffering of the wheel and eventually reach a place of enlightenment, having choice to return o physical incarnation or leave that Wheel as ascended master. The Hermeticists and those of Western philosophy tend more towards throwing themselves more fully into the world, embracing the pain and suffering and taking from it the lessons needed to effect growth. Each has its own natural rhythm and efficacy of effect, the expression and path of expression being the differentiating factors. In any case, we see the Law of Compensation playing its role in how and what responses are made to this physical incarnation of experience….

“ The things that one gains are always paid for by the things that one loses.” And….

“ The Law of Compensation is ever in operation, striving to balance and counter-balance, and always succeeding in time, even though several lives may be required for the return swing of the Pendulum of Rhythm.”

If we view life as a beautifully orchestrated piece of music that holds the intended rhythm for our spiritual growth in the pace and dynamics of its playing; this Law of Rhythm is one that we may easily get in step with. This is my interpretation of the Principle of Rhythm:

Principle the Fifth: The Principle of Rhythm

1-2-3, 1-2-3
The metronome strikes out the beat
The perfection of rhythm
The movement of feet.

Release and contraction
As above, so below
Measure upon measure
Synchronicity and flow.

The silent strings that are plucked
~ lips moving ~
Sound with not a single word
The pause carefully paced between breath
The call of Will to action
That with physical ears is not heard.

Crescendo and climax
Inspiration and exhale
Limitless space at its birthing
Spirit of humanity extending
And moving beyond its SELF
To part the veil.


Chapter Twelve: Causation

“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”

Now, we move into waters that continually shift, take on new form and etch out evolved paths that nonetheless are still interconnected despite the disparity of semantics. The concept of polarity generally is only identified within the ideas of male and female, right and left, up and down, white and black, and all the other attributions that are used as definition. Opposition is certainly part of this state, but that is only a small piece of a much larger piece of the puzzle.

Homeopathic principles make use of the similarity of substances and the resulting canceling out of the third product that is an aberrant expression of that similarity. One might not consider this to be polarity in action, but in act it is the creation of the antithesis produced by things of the same quality that sets up a new form of polarized response that acts on much the same way of repellant as light repels and (supplants) the dark.

“ The Principle of Cause and Effect underlies all scientific thought, ancient and modern, and was enunciated by the Hermetic Teachers in the earliest days. While many and varied disputes between the many schools of thought have since arisen, these disputes have been principally upon the details of the operations of the Principle, and still more often upon the meaning of certain words. The underlying Principle of Cause and Effect has been accepted as correct by practically all the thinkers of the world worthy of the name. To think otherwise would be to take the phenomena of the universe from the domain of Law and Order, and to relegate it; to the control of the imaginary something which men have called “Chance.”

This is the ripple or “butterfly effect” in action…..

“There is a relation existing between everything that has gone before, and everything that follows. A stone is dislodged from a mountain side and crashes through a roof of a cottage in the valley below. At first sight we regard this as a chance effect, but when we examine the matter we find a great chain of causes behind it. In the first place there was the rain which softened the earth supporting the stone and which allowed it to fall; then back of that was the influence of the sun, other rains, etc., which gradually disintegrated the piece of rock from a larger piece; then there were the causes which led to the formation of the mountain, and its upheaval by convulsions of nature, and so on ad infinitum. Then we might follow up the causes behind the rain, etc. Then we might consider the existence of the roof In short, we would soon find ourselves involved in a mesh of cause and effect, from which we would soon strive to extricate ourselves.”

Read this excerpt offered in the Chapter Ten….

“Light and Darkness are poles of the same thing, with many degrees between them. The musical scale is the same–starting with “C” you move upward until you reach another “C” and so on, the differences between the two ends of the board being the same, with many degrees between the two extremes. The scale of color is the same-higher and lower vibrations being the only difference between high violet and low red. Large and Small are relative. So are Noise and Quiet; Hard and Soft follow the rule. Likewise Sharp and Dull. Positive and Negative are two poles of the same thing, with countless degrees between them.”

Now, read it through again from the perspective of the Law of Cause and Effect. All of the previous Laws- Vibration, Rhythm, Correspondence, etc…. are products of and adhere to this law of Causation. Without the emptiness within the container to fill there would be nothing created with which to fill it. Each state is dependent on the other and in its simplest form encompasses a cycle of one causing the effect of the other, which stimulates a new cause to effect. Now read the above paragraph a third time. Just in that re-reading we have demonstrated the Law of Causation!

“ Just as a man has two parents, and four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents, and sixteen great-great-grandparents, and so on until when, say, forty generations are calculated the numbers of ancestors run into many millions–so it is with the number of causes behind even the most trifling event or phenomena, such as the passage of a tiny speck of soot before your eye.”

If we think of our world as being part of and also containing many worlds within it; each having their own plane of dynamic and because of the structure and vibration of each having their own nuance of interpretation of the great Laws, we may understand more fully the thought presented below….

“Nothing escapes the Principle of Cause and Effect, but there are many Planes of Causation, and one may use the laws of the higher to overcome the laws of the lower.”

In fact, we are making use of this principle to varying degrees when we engage in prayer, meditation and magickal working. We are drawing on what we have available to us through the diligence of our work (and I might add one of the primary effectors of that work being the expansion of our mental states of being and ability to navigate multiple levels of consciousness) of preparation to access the strands of causation required as ingredient towards successful manifestation. An example of this is the process of disease itself. It has been postulated that physical disease first manifests as a state of disruption at the level of the subtle bodies. If not addressed it will eventually manifest in the physical body and the work of treating at the level of the physical body becomes the source of healing. We have also seen that an individual may have been diagnosed with a terminal form of Cancer and given less that months or a few years to live. Yet, for some, when they employ what are considered to be alternative modalities- most of which have a spiritual and etheric component- there have been astounding results for some in living 7- 10 years beyond the initial prognosis. Despite their bodies increasingly metastasized.

In fact, I knew of such a man who had pancreatic cancer, known for its devasting and ravaging effects in a very short period of time. He had been given 6 months to live. This man was a music teacher extraordinaire and the Temple of his worship was in the work he did with kids who could not afford instruments; giving them his gift and love of music. His will to live was strong and he accessed a variety of healing modalities. The cancer continued to metastasize, but he missed very few days of work, the primary purpose being in reaching as many kids as he could before he died. He lived 7 more years and when he died, he had hundreds of children’s lives whom he had touched, many of whom pursued music as teachers and performers. This was a rare example, but it also reminds me of the power of purpose or cause, the effects that cause can have on maintaining a physical body, that should have long expired, to do the work and the effect on multiple planes of existence that were produced; not to mention how those lives effected others. Another fine living example is Dr. Stephen Hawking!….

“ Stop to think a moment. If a certain man had not met a certain maid, away back in the dim period of the Stone Age–you who are now reading these lines would not now be here. And if, perhaps, the same couple had failed to meet, we who now write these lines would not now be here. And the very act of writing, on our part, and the act of reading, on yours, will affect not only the respective lives of yourself and ourselves, but will also have a direct, or indirect, affect upon many other people now living and who will live in the ages to come. Every thought we think, every act we perform, has its direct and indirect results which fit into the great chain of Cause and Effect.”

In conclusion…

“ There is no such thing as Chance. The blind goddess has been abolished by Reason. We are able to see now, with eyes made clear by knowledge, that everything is governed by Universal Law-that the infinite number of laws are but manifestations of the One Great Law-the LAW which is THE ALL. It is true indeed that not a sparrow drops unnoticed by the Mind of THE AL–that even the hairs on our head are numbered–as the scriptures have said There is nothing outside of Law; nothing that happens contrary to it. And yet, do not make the mistake of supposing that Man is but a blind automaton-far from that. The Hermetic Teachings are that Man may use Law to overcome laws, and that the higher will always prevail against the lower, until at last he has reached the stage in which he seeks refuge in the LAW itself, and laughs the phenomenal laws to scorn. Are you able to grasp the inner meaning of this?”

Many will be familiar with the concept in Quantum Physics regarding the point of space within the quantum field that is affected and changes only because it has when it is observed. Similar in thought to the eternal philosophical query…

“ if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to witness, does it make a sound?”

Using that as a frame of reference, I would also add that;

Neither the causation of movement, nor the causation of sound are important. Regardless of the fact held in either of these statements, the pondering of them effected a new seed of thought in response to the query….

This is my interpretation of the Principle of Causation:

Principle the Sixth: The Principle of Cause and Effect

Pull against the tides
The glistening sand and shell is revealed.

Open the heart in gratitude
And the crowd of humanity rushes in.

Retreat into the hollow space of silence
And the echo of sound is unbearable.

Speak loudly of the unspeakable truths
And the quiet guilt takes your breath away.

Move with the dynamics of fiery will
And gates of iron tremble at your foot fall.

Close your eyes to the disease of injustice
And chaos drives the chariot of destruction.

Rip through the veil of bountiful limit
And the great tsunami of potency crashes down.

Move into the heart and fullness of God
And She pulls you deeper into her embrace.

Remain in the place of expanded stillness
And all of the inner workings of the cosmos
Become the sweet fulfillment of the Soul.


Next Post: Chapters 13, Gender and Chapter 14, Mental Gender


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