The Kybalion:Chapters 3 and 4


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 concepts of the Mind and the All.

Chapters Three and Four

Chapter Three: Mental Transmutation

“Mind (as well as metals and elements) may be transmuted, from state to state; degree to degree; condition to condition; pole to pole; vibration to vibration. True Hermetic Transmutation is a Mental Art.”

This chapter had me at the title. There is something very seductive about the thought of completely changing your mental processes.

Awareness of the Power of the Mind to overcome disease, change attitude and perception and create or destroy the physical vehicle that projects its product has recently come to the foreground as being the panacea for whatever ails you. This is vastly true, but there are also many other factors and components that must be aligned in just the precise way to set up the dynamics (or vibration) that will effect suitable change. The first step is transformation of the thought patterns before Transmutation or complete and utter replacement by something entirely different may be achieved.

“Transmutation” is a term usually employed to designate the ancient art of the transmutation of metals–particularly of the base metals into gold. The word “Transmute” means “to change from one nature, form, or substance, into another; to transform” (Webster). And accordingly, “Mental Transmutation” means the art of changing and transforming mental states, forms, and conditions, into others. So you may see that Mental Transmutation is the “Art of Mental Chemistry,….”

We read that the ancients, in particular the Egyptians, were well versed in what we would consider today to be of scientific and advanced branches that correlate to mystical philosophies. They were aware of both simultaneously, each feeding the other in an informed way and drawing conclusions of practice that comprised a wholistic approach to mundane and spiritual matters that has since been unparalleled. And, in fact, we see a form of mental chemistry playing out in modern society with the advent and proliferation of courses, coaching and books that are geared at changing the pattern of thought and thus effectively changing your life. These, however, often lack the attention to the Spirit of the individual and the effects of these treatments on that part of matter that lay within the formless state of the living mind of creation.

The premise presented here is that we have within our power the ability to affect everything in manifest form by use of the Mental processes and via the Mental planes. This task is not as easily accomplished as may be thought because there is insufficient connection made between what is required as deeper knowledge and what is only the basic “formulary” used for the quick fix. The need for understanding of the basic Universal Laws that control this principle of Mental change is paramount in the efficacy of effect.

In working backwards towards the foundational principle, we are told that

“The first of the Seven Hermetic Principles is the Principle of Mentalism, the axiom of which is “THE ALL is Mind; the Universe is Mental,” which means that the Underlying Reality of the Universe is Mind; and the Universe itself is Mental–that is, “existing in the Mind of THE ALL.”

And the natural conclusion then is:

“If the Universe is Mental in its nature, then Mental Transmutation must be the art of CHANGING THE CONDITIONS OF THE UNIVERSE, along the lines of Matter, Force and mind.”

If we think on the creation myths of the Ancients, in particular, that of Atum and the rising of the primordial mound it is the “thought” that stimulates awareness of the state of aloneness and the subsequent seeding of the waters to produce more of Itself. In Qabalistic philosophies, the same is true as the brilliance of mind of Kether fuels the desire to create from its Self-awareness and the polarized pair of Chokmah and Binah are the emanations from its singularity.

For me, the idea of Mentalism is one that I grew up with having a background in Metaphysics and New Thought as a child. The power of the mind to create and further more to effect manifest life is one I read about in the lives of the Siddhis and Ascended Masters and Yogis. At the lesser levels described in The Kybalion, telekinesis and poltergeist activity would aptly fall into the designation of “psychic phenomena” and the tales of the Svengali-like mind control of hypnotists and the clinical techniques of the behavioral therapists fall nicely within “mental influence”

Chapter Four: The All

“Under, and back of, the Universe of Time, Space and Change,
is ever to be found The Substantial Reality-
the Fundamental Truth.”

Moving into the next chapter we carry with us a vital piece of information (or revelation, depending on your base philosophy) from the last paragraph of the former:

“We shall now proceed to a consideration of the first of the Hermetic Seven Principles–the Principle of Mentalism, in which is explained the truth that “THE ALL is Mind; the Universe is Mental,” in the words of The Kybalion. We ask the close attention, and careful study of this great Principle, on the part of our students, for it is really the Basic Principle of the whole Hermetic Philosophy, and of the Hermetic Art of Mental Transmutation.”

By and far this is probably the most paradoxical and enigmatic chapter of the book; primarily in its efforts to describe and define something that is indefinable and incalculable in its effects without the necessary interface of the (limited) concepts provided by the corporeal human mind. This is not to  say that we are to blindly accept any definition or conclusion as fact nor are we to dismiss what perceptions present themselves as the stuff of human will and mind putting its interpretation on the information given. I think that these are the precursors to the flexibility of mind and perception that is needed to even minimally wrap our attention around a concept that is limitless……

“Man considering the Universe, of which he is a unit, sees nothing but change in matter, forces, and mental states. He sees that nothing really IS, but that everything is BECOMING and CHANGING. Nothing stands still-everything is being born, growing, dying-the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline–the law of rhythm is in constant operation–there is no reality, enduring quality, fixity, or substantiality in anything– nothing is permanent but Change. He sees all things evolving from other things, and resolving into other things–constant action and reaction; inflow and outflow; building up and tearing down; creation and destruction; birth, growth and death. Nothing endures but Change. And if he be a thinking man, he realizes that all of these changing things must be but outward appearances or manifestations of some Underlying Power–some Substantial Reality.”

So we are drawn back to the foundations of the concept that in order to form a place of reality, that reality must contain substance …

“Substance” means: “that which underlies all outward manifestations; the essence; the essential reality; the thing in itself,” etc. “Substantial” means: “actually existing; being the essential element; being real,” etc. “Reality” means: “the state of being real; true, enduring; valid; fixed; permanent; actual,” etc.”

Having this understanding as the base from which to draw, we find ourselves mentally moving in what is essentially limitless space. These are the concepts of the form and formlessness of matter and what we perceive as being solid as nothing more than the organized design of “interrupted energy” that takes on whatever shape it is directed to take. Moving backwards through the creating process gives way to the thought that the origin of this matter that we perceive is the primary source of the continual streams of energy that are acted upon it. Therefore that inceptual point of formlessness is part of everything and as such is the All from which everything emanates.

With this idea in mind we are brought to the concluding statement of the infinite and the living attributes of the All. And, the need for living mind to beget what is at once part of the whole and therefore part of the singular. This is:

The Principle of Mentalism
THE ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.

If we think in terms of consciousness and creation, the primal formless state of the Limitless All (or creator) is that of AM (existence). When observation and awareness is directed towards that AM, the I comes into being which stimulates the creation of something more than itself. This creative process begins with informed awareness, the mental aspect being the primary building block. Pure thought forms the concept which then can be acted upon by emotion and will. It is from this principle that the subsequent six principles emanate.

“THE ALL” is Infinite Living Mind–the Illumined call it SPIRIT!”


Next Post: Chapters 5, The Mental Universe and Chapter 6, The Divine Paradox

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