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Episode 8 : Harmony and Hermeticism : The Art of the Mentalist.

Welcome back to the Infinite Harmony Podcast. I’m your host, Jackie Dragon and Today we’re going to discuss the 7th and 8th Harmonic Principles. The Principle of Change and The Principle of Polarity. And no, if you’re concerned you missed something, you haven’t. We’re going out of order. 

In order to unravel the mystery of these two principles we have to follow a golden thread into the mythos of Master Hermes Trismegistus and his legacy which span over two millennia and has a place in the ancient Greek, Islamic and Christian traditions.

A mythical figure that transcends time in many ways, having thought to have been alive in the time of Abraham and a teacher to the great masters of that era from all over the land, from India to Egypt. He is an amalgamation—a syncretism of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. Both gods were thought to preside over wisdom, magic, and writing, among other domains. However, the figure that emerges from this fusion isn't merely a god; rather, he's presented as a philosopher-king, a wise teacher, and a legendary figure at the intersection of divinity and human wisdom. His teachings, known as Hermeticism, have persisted as a mystic tradition deeply rooted in the notion that understanding natural law can build a basis for the pursuit spiritual understanding and that by organizing one’s mind, one can affect the outcome of this reality.

In other words… magic.

If you explore historical records, the mention of Hermes Trismegistus and Hermetic texts can be found in works from various times, ranging from Hellenistic Egypt to the European Renaissance. Texts like the "Corpus Hermeticum" were produced, which were essentially dialogues between Hermes Trismegistus and various disciples. These texts covered topics from cosmology and theology to astrology and alchemy. Even though they were likely written near the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, these texts claimed to represent ancient wisdom dating back to pharaonic Egypt. The historical authenticity of Hermes as a real individual or the original Hermetic texts as authentic records of ancient wisdom is a subject of debate. What is undeniable, however, is the impact of the ideas attributed to him. The texts and works that fall under the Hermetic tradition have had an undeniable influence on Western esotericism and have found their way into a range of practices, from alchemy and astrology to modern manifestations like the New Age movement.

The Hermetic teachings and practices do in fact open a window, albeit a narrow one, to the world of high magic and the principles no doubt practiced by the renowned occult sects of our modern history such as the Golden Dawn and the Free Masons. This magic, the magic of thought and our ability to manipulate thought and thus our external reality, is a practice as old as civilization itself, and the teachings we will look at today lay out some fundamental aspects of how to work with and control our thoughts, and thus reorganize reality within us, because by changing our thoughts we change our actions, and more importantly, we change our reactions. 

Its important to recognize here that we’re not talking about the art of manifestation in the new age sense. These studies are not intended to teach you how to make a million dollars appear out of nowhere. Working with the mind merely controls the inner landscape of our emotions and thus our actions. The magic of changing the reality around us is a dark and complicated web of knowledge that often leads to unintended consequences.

The idea that it is merely your thoughts that create the world around you is just another symptom of the hyper-individualist culture we live in…

But magic? Real magic? Well, like everything else, it is an expression of cosmic law. The laws expressed by nature. The laws interwoven into the breath of every being here on Earth. Humans have sought to understand such laws since the dawn of time, and early experimentation sought to unravel these laws into verifiable practices and methods with hope of attaining immortality, among other things.

The window to the ancient wisdoms of Hermes we will discuss today comes from a rather modern book. A book some scholars may not ever consider part of the true line of Hermetic Wisdom, but nonetheless, a book that influenced the Church of Infinite Harmony and our practices. This book is known as the Kybalion. Published under the pseudonym “The Three Initiates,” no doubt a reference to an ancient epithet of Thoth found in the minutes of a meeting of the council of Ibis in 172 BC that reads “Thoth the great, the great, the great.” 

The Epithet “thrice great” would lead to Hermes becoming Hermes Trismegistus,  Derived from the Greek "Trismegistos," from the words: "tri-" and "megistos" meaning meaning “thrice greatest.” The mythic occult referenced to a trinity is well known throughout history. The Platonic tradition, which was later amalgamated with Hermeticism, spoke of a tripartite soul consisting of reason, spirit, and appetite. In Christian theology, the concept of the Trinity embodies a tripartite notion of divinity.  In Hindu cosmology, the universe is often divided into three worlds: the Heavens (Swarga), the Earth (Prithvi), and the Underworld (Patala), as well as the Andean cosmology of Hanak Pacha, Kay Pacha and Uku Pacha. of  The greatest of the Hindu Pantheon is divided into the three of Bhrama the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. 

Hence, when Hermes is referred to as "Thrice-Greatest," there's a suggestion of a complex, multi-layered greatness that spans domains from the intellectual to the spiritual to the material. He has an of supreme wisdom and authority that elevates him beyond the realm of ordinary mortals and scholars and places him in the category of divine. He is as mysterious as the Master Jesus, as Lao Tsu, and the other great mystics that guide us toward greater understanding of the universe.

The Emerald Tablet, the first of the cryptic Hermetic texts is the original teaching of Hermes. The influence of the Emerald Tablet extends beyond the immediate scope of Hermeticism. Its themes have found resonance in various mystical and spiritual traditions, including alchemy, Kabbalah, Taoism and Sufism, among others. Its terse, aphoristic style is deceptive; though it can be read in a matter of minutes, its meanings unfold through contemplation and are said to reveal the fundamental principles governing the cosmos. 

The Kybalion also claims to be a direct teaching of Hermes. But now most scholars agree that The Three Initiates are in fact the occult writer William Walker Atkinson. It was published in 1903, and no doubt somewhere a thousand feet below the Vatican there are a group of hooded figures chanting in the lost language of an ancient civilization whom know the true origins of the Emerald Tablet and Hermeticism who scoff at the idea of the more modern Kybalion representing Hermes in any way.

But, despite being a modern translation, it has become a widely influential tract of knowledge for the occultists of the 20th century. The three Initiates themselves claim such when they say, ”Our intent is not to erect a new Temple of Knowledge, but rather to place in the hands of the student a Master-Key with which he may open the many inner doors in the Temple of Mystery through the main portals he has already entered.”

So lets open the portal to the art of mentalism

Today on the infinite Harmony Podcast…

How many time have you woken up on what you would call the wrong side of the bed. Perhaps you start your day by spilling your coffee on your work clothes, or getting a scathing email from your boss, then on your way to work you get cut off, or there’s an accident and you’re stuck in traffic, and then late, only to arrive at work and discover that one of your leading clients has found a better service, or whatever. The bad day just seems to roll down and sometimes even extends into the rest of the week. 

From the perspective of the Kybalion, the reason these seemingly unrelated unfortunate circumstances pile up the way they do, is because each of these negative thoughts, which are reactions to the experiences we have, build a gravity that attracts more negative thoughts and thus more negative perceptions of experiences. To the Kybalion, thoughts are magnetic, and being able to control the thoughts, gives us control over  how we experience reality. If you were to change our reaction to a spilled cup of coffee to one of joy or hilarity and decide that it’s an opportunity to change into your best suit for the day, and then when you get to work, despite being late you are gregariously complemented on your style, your attitude changes, and when you get that call, you’re so confident that you convince your client to stay onboard with the company. This process of thought manipulation is the secret key to equilibrium in your life that the Kybalion explores. Now of course this idea is not exclusive to the Kybalion, nor is it all that mystical. We are responsible for our reactions to our thoughts, which often drive the thoughts themselves. The fact that two humans can have entirely different perspectives on a single event, that the world is radically subjective, which is the bedrock of the postmodernists arguments, means that because our experience is subjective, we have a degree of control, if we can develop the ability to exercise that control. 

A quick note. Through out the episode I’ll be referring to Harmonic principles, which belong to the church, and hermetic principles mostly from the Kyballion. In some cases these principles are near identical, because the church bases some of its belief on these Hermetic teachings. Anyway. Sorry if it gets confusing, but I’m sure you’ll follow along. 

So before we get into the first Harmonic principle of today’s discussion, the  Principle of Polarity, its helpful to understand the Hermetic principle of the “All Mind,” which is an idea that the known physical universe and all energy within is a mentally created phenomenon of what the Kybalion calls “The All,” a universal, infinite, living mind. In other words, just as you create realities in your mind at night as you dream, or imagine outcomes in your mind that haven’t happened, playing out like little movies, this is the principle of mentalism, or the idea that the universe exists entirely within a great, unknowable mind, which itself is unknowable and undefinable.

So for those of you who have listened to the previous episodes, you may see the parallels with the dreaming of the Earth, or the dream like nature of reality. The imaginal realm. Which might leave you thinking, “OK, so if the universe is mind, and everything in the universe is conscious, then consciousness is just a giant invisible mind imagining reality? In which case I can dream whatever outcome I want? Am I the only mind? Does your mind affect my mind? I thought we were all Gaia. Are we Gaia’s mind?”

To which I’ll answer, “Well, maybe?”

It is here that I invite you to remain within the first Harmonic principle of the great mystery and get curious for yourself. The relationship between mind, matter, and consciousness has been the debate of theologists and philosophers for centuries. Hermetic thought has been considered by some to have been an influence on Platonic thought, and some thing vice versa. We see Plato discussing the soul in expansive ways. Not only do humans have souls in Platonic philosophy, but the entire cosmos is often portrayed as a living, intelligent being—a concept known as anima mundi "cosmic animism." This idea that the cosmos has a soul and is organized according to rational principles is perhaps where Platonic philosophy comes closest to intersecting with our more animistic world views. The “All Mind” is not necessarily a human mind, but something beyond.” The animists, myself included, believe that we are inseparable from that which is around us, that our spirits are interwoven in the mountains and wind. That all is alive. So the “All Mind,” in that sense, is alive as well.

We will discuss the intersection of rationality and animism often. The intersections of the indigenous mind and the rational mind, of static and dynamic systems. Rememerbing the Harmonic principle of coherence, ask yourself how two seemingly opposing concepts can merge into a third property superior to the duality of the two? A co-emergent quality. In this way, our thinking becomes thrice great.

As we’ve discussed before, in the natural world, the union of hydrogen and oxygen—two distinct and reactive gases—creates water, a substance that is essential for life and possesses properties that are vastly different and more complex than those of its constituent elements. This co-emergence highlights how the synthesis of opposites can yield something entirely new and vital, an idea that resonates deeply with Hermetic thought.


In all this talk of Harmonic and Hermetic Principles, let's take a moment to look at the word principle. Like many of our words the root stems from latin meaning something akin to source, or foundations or first. So the idea of establishing principles is establishing a foundation of thought first and foremost. These ideas become a basis for everything else. I will say however, the Church of Infinite Harmony hold within it a key not often found in other principle teachings of different traditions. Hidden in plain sight in the church’s very first principle, is the idea that all things can change, including the principles. This is important, because there is no declaration here that states that these principles, be them hermetic or harmonic, are not subject to change. A foundation can be reinforced, made stronger, changed. There is no claim here to absolute, because the absolute is paradoxical, which leads us to why the power and understanding of polarity is also the understanding of paradox and the infinitely unknowable nature of all.

Before we look the Harmonic perspective of Polarity, let’s look at the Hermetic Perspective derived from the Kyballion, which reads : “Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled." 

To the Kybalion, this is a foundational axiom for understanding how to navigate reality as we experience it in our human body. Think of all the ways in which we suffer not only individually, but as a culture for the inability to reconcile what seem like opposite perspectives, whether they be religious, political or social. The Kybalion says:

“thesis and antithesis and identical in nature, but different in degree.” This idea is fundamental in our understanding of Paradox, which in turn is fundamental to understanding our universe.

The current definition of Paradox reads something like this : “a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities” or “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.” But all of this doesn’t quite hit the mark of understanding that this word might provide. For that we have to turn to origin of the words, or maybe just what they may have meant in a different time before Webster came along and decided what words meant for us. The prefix “para” has origins that hint at something like beyond, and “doxa” which means opinion comes from “dokein” which is more like seem or think. This puts paradox in the realm of meaning “beyond thinking or what may seem to be.”

Now, by that definition Paradox becomes the fundament of the Tao, or that which exists beyond words, a world that represents the great mystery. Paradox as we tend to know it is something that is both simultaneously true and contradictory, or in other words identical in nature, but different in degree. Take something as simple as hot and cold. The Kybalion says “Heat and Cold are identical in nature, the differences being merely a matter of degrees. The thermometer shows many degrees of temperature, the lowest pole being called "cold," and the highest "heat." Between these two poles are many degrees of "heat" or "cold," call them either and you are equally correct. The higher of two degrees is always "warmer," while the lower is always "colder." There is no absolute standard — all is a matter of degree. There is no place on the thermometer where heat ceases and cold begins. It is all a matter of higher or lower vibrations. The very terms "high" and "low," which we are compelled to use, are but poles of the same thing — the terms are relative. So with "East and West" — travel around the world in an eastward direction, and you reach a point which is called west at your starting point, and you return from that westward point. Travel far enough North, and you will find yourself traveling South, or vice versa.”

The same can be said for light and darkness, or the scales of music, starting from C and ending with C, or sharp and dull, etc. From this perspective all opposing ideas on the same plane, say pro-choice and pro-life, or liberalism and conservatism are the same in principle but only different by degrees. For one to exist, so must the other.

Now where this understanding is most useful is when applied to the mental plane, our thoughts, when studying good and evil, or love and hate. Observing that all states of mind exist on a pole, say, courage and fear, and that mentally changing our mind states by just a few degrees can change our thoughts and thus the outcome of our lives. The study of these planes will warrant the observation that one cannot transmute anger to courage as much as one cannot transmute silence to sharpness or loudness to dullness. Understanding the polarities are degrees of the same thing, and developing a lexicon of sameness through the study of the mind and emotions can lead to the power of thought transmutation.

To better understand these poles and their degrees, let’s look at the Hermetic Principle of Rhythm. The principle of rhythm states “Night follows day; and day night. The pendulum swings from Summer to Winter, and then back again. The corpuscles, atoms, molecules, and all masses of matter, swing around the circle of their nature. There is no such thing as absolute rest, or cessation from movement, and all movement partakes of Rhythm. The principle is of universal application. It may be applied to any question, or phenomena of any of the many planes of life. It may be applied to all phases of human activity. There is always the Rhythmic swing from one pole to the other. The Universal Pendulum is ever in motion. The Tides of Life flow in and out, according to Law.”

So these poles and their degrees are not static, but always moving. When we look at this through the lens of mentalism, the “all mind,” we see that our mind is always moving in rhythm from one pole to the next. There is a natural movement every present. The basis of astrology is the principle of rhythm applied the celestial bodies. We are influenced by these rhythms, and thus by becoming aware of the natural rhythms, we can transcend the sense of bewilderment when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Rhythm is cosmic law. It is the why to the seemingly unpredictable nature of life. When we find ourselves caught in a downswing, a natural movement toward depression or lethargy, we can use the principle of polarity and the power of mentalism to neutralize the swing of the pendulum. 

We can neutralize the movements and find stability. 

The Kybalion says “The Hermetic Master, or advanced student, polarizes himself at the desired pole, and by a process akin to "refusing" to participate in the backward swing, or, if you prefer, a "denial" of its influence over him, he stands firm in his polarized position, and allows the mental pendulum to swing back along the unconscious plane. All individuals who have attained any degree of self-mastery, accomplish this, more or less unknowingly, and by refusing to allow their moods and negative mental states to affect them, they apply the Law of Neutralization.”

Further inquiry into this reveals that one can observe that the swinging of the pendulum is compensatory, or in other words, the farther it swings in one direction, the farther it swings in the other. This simple enough to see on the physical plane as stock markets rise and fall, or housing prices, or the tides roll in and out, but also on the mental plane, The psychological idea of mania for instance, where we experience higher highs but also lower lows, the thrill of a great night of drinking followed by and incredulous hangover. The Kybalion says “ The things that one gains are always paid for by the things that one loses. The rich possess much that the poor lack, while the poor often possess things that are beyond the reach of the rich. The millionaire may have the inclination toward feasting, and the wealth wherewith to secure all the dainties and luxuries of the table while he lacks the appetite to enjoy the same; he envies the appetite and digestion of the laborer, who lacks the wealth and inclinations of the millionaire, and who gets more pleasure from his plain food than the millionaire could obtain even if his appetite were not jaded, nor his digestion ruined, for the wants, habits and inclinations differ. And so it is through life.”

Recent studies in dopamine and dopamine receptors also confirm this natural pendulum. We have a baseline dopamine level we sustain, but when we have large dopamine peaks through substances and quick fixes, the pendulum swings below the baseline and leaves us feeling depressed. The more we crave quick fixes, the harder it becomes to get back above the baseline. Addiction is the narrowing of the pleasure experienced from dopamine, where it harder to get back above the baseline, and the fix does less to get us there.

Oh the Golden threads we can follow here. Have you ever noticed the satisfaction that arises from getting something you’ve worked incredibly hard for versus something easily attained. The first sip of a beer that you’ve been brewing and bottling for two months versus picking up a six pack at the store? The taste of an apple in the fall harvested from your tree, versus the supermarket? The laws of rhythm are present here, ever subtle, but a testament to the far greater cosmic law that we get out what we put in, that all things have a cost, and that there can be great rewards for paying our debts.

Like the Taoists have said for three thousand years, balance is a fundamental practice of a stable mind. The more we feast, the less we appreciate that which we feast upon. The desire for material greatness comes at a price. Understanding the rhythmic and polaric nature of the mind and universe gives us the ability to stabilize our mind along these poles and understand the mind’s natural rhythm. You’ll find this particular idea present in many esoteric traditions like the 8 limbs of yoga, or buddhist doctrine. Understanding the principles that govern our thought patterns is the basis of esoteric discipline. 

We’re hitting the mind gym folks. Time to make some gains!

Which leads us to the HARMONIC Principle of Polarity, yes, our principle, which reads: 

“Harmony can only be understood through disharmony, which manifests on the polarities as peril, danger, or discord. The disharmonic vibrations of our existence accentuate the innate human desire toward Harmony. One cannot be experienced without the other. The nature of the experienced universe is rooted in polarity.” 

From the Harmonic perspective, we see an acknowledgement that disharmony, discord and suffering are an essential part of our universe as we cannot know the equanimity of Harmony with understanding the quality of disharmony. The hermetic teachings offer a means of using our mental will to draw our mind to from one pole to the other to ease suffering, and the harmonic principle teaches us that acceptance is an equally valuable and potent tool of obtaining equilibrium or balance. 

 This sets us up for a deeper  understanding the Eight Harmonic Principle, the Principle of Change, which reads: 

“The universe is not static. It is in a perpetual state of atomic change, which is the very basis of the continuity of life. Our choices create change. The being that cannot change will suffer. Our liberation from suffering is dependent on our adaptability and our choice. We utilize the Harmonic Principle of Change to shift our thoughts, to rhythmically shift them from one feeling to another, one perception to another. We practice the Hermetic Principles of Vibration, Polarity and Rhythm to maintain an infinite mind state toward Harmony.”

As you can see, coded within the principle of Change are the practice of the Hermetic Principles as a means towards easing suffering in our daily lives. The acceptance of the old axiom that the only constant is change. Whether its the natural rhythms of our emotions and energy, or the bigger changes that arise out of relationships, careers or personal health. The universe is a dynamic system, meaning that it is always changing. Think of what it means mostly to suffer, of why we feel upset, irritated, angry. Think of how often it’s because something has changed, like the local deli ran out of your favorite soup, or a romantic partner no longer feels  * the same way about you as they did, or your landlord gives you 30 days notice, or the stock market is moving into a recession. Think of how often our suffering is merely an unwillingness to accept change. 

This is where yet another Hermetic practice comes in. Now, we’ve already talked about Polarity and Rhythm, so let’s talk about vibration. To the Kybalion, vibration explains the different states of various forms of matter and energy. We know this to be true from the standpoint of modern physics of course. Everything is moving. You only have to look as far as the Scientific American Journal to read articles such as Tam Hunt’s It’s all about vibrations…man” to read about the vibratory and resonant nature of consciousness and the human brain. These movements produce light, heat, sound and color. At certain densities and rates even magnetism and electricity are emitted. Everything is vibrating. So what does that mean? According to the Hermeticists it means that our thoughts also vibrate at a certain frequency, and by becoming aware of our thoughts, through the awareness of our vibration, much like polarization, we can change the thought forms in our minds. Reading deeper into the Kybalion you will find that the Hermeticists believe that through this principle one can truly bend reality, achieve degrees of telepathy, and even change the states of matter. 

Regardless of whether you believe that or not, the deeper teaching as recognized by the Church is simply that because all things are vibrating, including us, it means that they are in motion, and the awareness of that motion brings a deeper understanding of the nature of reality and our minds and our ability to move with things. 

There’s a quote from a little book called “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment” by Thaddeus Golas who also talks about our vibrations. 

He says “The way you see the world depends entirely on your own vibration level. When your vibration changes, the whole world will look different. It's like those days when everyone seems to be smiling at you because you feel happy. The way to raise your vibration level is to feel more love. Start by loving your negative feelings, your own boredom, dullness and despair. Changing the content of your mind does nothing to change your vibration level. Change the way you feel about the content.”

This gives us a little more insight to this process, that what we’re changing is how we feel about things, not just what we think. It’s not always possible to change our thoughts. Sometime’s we’re just depressed. But reminding ourselves that there’s nothing wrong with these states, finding a way to love the swing of the pendulum, we become more attuned to the rhythms, the frequencies they inhabit, and the changes that are occurring. We become aware of where we are on the poles, aware of the thoughts that are not moving with the changing world, that resist the movement. For those of you who have been lucky enough to have had their heart broken, think of the nature of that experience. Your partner ultimately decided, for whatever myriad of reasons that you are no longer a fit partner. Something changes. The heart breaks and we are swimming in grief. There is so much energy in this state. Where did it all come from, this endless well of thoughts and emotions? How much is the broken heart a resistance to the new reality of no longer being the beloved? How much of heart break is the pain that comes from an unwillingness to change in the deepest way? I’ve been through it, to be certain, and once I was able to truly embrace the change, the grief was still present, but present with a sweetness and awareness that I was experiencing the depth of my capacity to love, and that I could use the pain to propel me into a new life and new experiences…

Speaking of the heart, I’d like to step away from the Kybalion for a moment to talk about Rhythm and Vibration from another perspective, one of the Author and Master Herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner, to whom we have referred to often in this podcast. In our second episode we talked about two other Harmonic Principles, the Principles of Coherence and Co-Emergence, effectively the self-organization of life and the emergent properties that result through this process. In his preface to the New Edition of “Sacred Plant Medicine,” a book on the nature of Herbalism, Buhner talks about the coherence of seemingly random molecules into systems, and the information that arises out of those systems. He says “ the human heart is just such a nonlinear system. It possesses both self organization and emergent behaviors.” And what he says next speaks to the they Rhythm and Vibration inherent in these living systems.  He says that the heart contains pacemaker cells, or cells that set the rhythm of the heart. As the heart cells organize in the body in gestation, the first of them begin to beat, or vibrate at a regular rhythm. Each new cell that emerges steps into line with this rhythm until the heart. Fascinatingly enough, this vibration or movement happens through a process of cell polarization and depolarization, where the cell membrane changes its positive and negative ionic potential. Now, we have to take Buhner’s word on this next study, but according to his book “If one of the heart’s pacemaker cells is removed from the body , kept alive, and placed on a slide, it loses its regular breathing pattern and starts to fibrillate, to beat wildly and irregularly, until it dies. But if you take another pacemaker cell and put it close to that one-they do not need to touch - their breathing patterns will synchronize; they will beat in unison. The reason they do not need to physically touch is that they are producing, as all biological oscillators do, an electric field as they beat. Only the fields themselves need to touch.” 

If the heart, the rhythmic core of our existence, truly beats by the harmony of billions of cells, then we must certainly be able to extend our awareness to this rhythmic nature the Hermeticists speak of. Thus, we practice the Hermetic Principles of Vibration, Polarity and Rhythm to maintain an infinite mind state toward Harmony.

At the end of our Harmonic Principle of Change is a quote found in the Tao Te Ching which reads:

“Square without corners, vessel without walls, soundless tone, formless image—that is the shape of the Tao. Accept, allow, adapt, flex, bend, change—that is the method of the Tao. Create, complete, fulfill, reverse, return, renew—that is the movement of the Tao.”

Method and Movement of the Tao. We will follow many a golden thread to Taoism and its influence on the Church, but for now lets just look at these two ideas, that the Tao, the ineffable way of being that is in all things, that moves us forward through existence, it has a method and a movement. Let's look at the word “method” for a moment. It comes from the greek meta and hodos to form methodos. The word hodos means “way” and meta means something along the lines of beyond, or higher. So the method of the Tao is acceptance, adaptation, change. To adopt this method is to move in unison with the movements of the universe, which is creation, completion, renewal. As we discussed in an earlier episode about co-emergence, the universe is naturally moving toward a higher order of being through the synergy if differentiated substances or different beings and ideas. The method of mentally adapting and flowing with this grand movement is change and its acceptance.

The lessons of these Harmonic Principles are carried out on the mental plane, in our minds. By visualizing the vibration of a thought, by recognizing to what degree does it rests on its pole, we can influence the change taking place inside. This is what the Hermeticists mean when they say that creation is a mental process, that the universe is mental. Now we know that we can’t change a car tire into a brick of gold just by looking at it, but certainly if enough people decided that a car tire was worth more than a brick of gold, that central banks would start stockpiling used car tires to determine the country’s wealth, then, well, it would be as good as a brick of gold, wouldn’t it? This is the mental alchemy sought after for thousands of years; the true philosopher’s stone.

The Philosopher’s Stone.

The Lapis Occultus. 

The Draco Elixir.

A mythical element that was sought for thousands of years for it’s power to transmute lead to gold, or heal all that it touched and prolong their life. The Emerald Tablet was originally thought to hold the secrets of it’s creation. Sought by the Hermeticists, The Buddhists, the Sufis, the Taoists, and yes… Harry Potter.

But as time progressed, the exoteric quest for the stone became an inner journey of alchemy. The taoists transitioned from chemical alchemy to the internal martial arts. The cinnabar and lead and golden elixir became mental understandings of the actions of the mind through the valleys and peaks of yin and yang. The transmutations of base metals became transmutations of the soul. 

Imagine now a collective transmutation of thought. Imagine that the road to harmony is truly decided by the collective discipline of our minds, aiming to master the laws of neutralization, of polarity, so that we may rest in a space of expanded awareness to the nature of these paradoxes that plague our society. That we could collectively change what we ascribe value toward, change what we deem as important, as fundamental to a life well lived and an Earth well honored.

If you doubt that our perceptions affect our reality, please explain how anyone ever thought paying a few thousand dollars for a Beanie Baby was a good idea. Right now we’re deciding if value can be a digital token, a total abstract representation, a bitcoin. The point is that we decide the value of most things not by some material law of the universe, but by thought. Certain aspects of our reality are manipulated by our thoughts, and its within these aspects that practicing these Harmonic Principles will yield an ability to find peace of mind. And its not just the greater forces of the universe that are dynamic, it’s our whole social fabric as humans. In Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse says “We cannot exist alone. We cannot have the human experiences solely by ourselves. We often say that we are reflections of each other, but what does that mean? Am I the person I am because of how I relate to others? Or am I the person I am because of how I am seen? Other whom we relate to are in relation to others, and the whole social existence is fluid and changing. Change itself is the very basis of continuity. Only that which can change can continue. This is a principle of how we live.”

These practices are a way for us to relate to each other as humans, to accept each other, adapt to the change that is happening in each one of our lives and always affect those around us, and it is also a window into how much our actions affect those outside of us. The Tao Te Ching teaches us that to find stillness, to bring our mental vibrations down to a state of subtlety helps in stabilizing our daily lives. The Tao Te Ching asks us to “Know the male but hold to the female. Know the white but hold to the black. Know the peaks but hold to the valleys. Know complexity but hold to simplicity. Know sound but hold to silence. Know action but hold to stillness. Know knowledge but hold to innocence. Know the manifestations but hold to the mystery.”

We see here again the power of polarity and understanding that for everything there is an opposite, that at any time we can allow our minds to occupy one pole or another and thus understand the whole spectrum, to change as needed, to adapt our thoughts to the moment.

  Fill yourself with utmost emptiness. Embrace internal tranquility. The ten thousand things, see how they arise and flow around you—each one coming into being, growing, adapting, changing, fulfilling, then returning to the source—as you sit in stillness in the center, watching.

In our last episode we discussed the grip of Moloch on the world, the problems of multipolar traps and the tragedy of the commons, how everyone in the world is acting as if at any moment the rest of the world will turn on them, so they put themselves first, and in a sense, they are not wrong.

There is an old saying in the new age world that if a small percentage of humans, say even 10 percent, were able to organize their mind and hearts and live in true peace, that it would be a critical mass enough to shift the global balance. 

You can see it in your minds eye, can’t you. Eight hundred million people in meditation, or perhaps just communing in the parks of their cities, not working, not buying anything, refusing to participate in the madness until something changed. Suddenly the leaders of our nation recognize that progress and regression are natural cycles of existence, and that infinite growth is not. They learn to anticipate these cycles, much like a Gardner knows when to harvest, and when to let the Earth rest. Eventually economic policies are designed not to exploit resources to the brink, but to allow for regeneration. Conservation efforts are aligned with the natural rhythms of the ecosystems they protect. A respect of the law of rhythm avoids the extremes of boom and bust, creating a more stable and sustainable society not hellbent on out-competing the rest of the world.

Soon we all look upon the world not in terms of rigid opposites but as a spectrum of interconnected forces. Conflicts are approached with an understanding that opposing views are often different expressions of the same underlying truths. The great law of polarity governs diplomacy and transforms negotiations and international treaties. Instead of nations going to war over resources, they collaborate, recognizing how all solutions are on a spectrum and that it’s in fact, easy to honor the diversity needs and strengths of each nation. Within communities, dialogues replace debates. People listen, realizing that each viewpoint, no matter how different, contributes to a greater understanding.

And yet this coordination of mind state seems somehow impossible at times. Laughable. Mighty Moloch and his grip on our psyche. What does a world look like where we don’t have to worry about someone else taking advantage of us? Where we can lawfully work for what is ours, and that we all have a fair shot at a life worth living?

We still live in a world of exploitation and advantage. 

Are we getting a fair price?

Is the person on the phone real or just trying to scam me?

Are these taxes fair?

Is this politician telling the truth?

Governments also act as if at any moment other countries will exploit them, and try to act first in the best interest of their people. And so on…

We are not guided by a greater law or greater sense of reciprocity, we are guided by the laws of men who do not trust each other.

Humans don’t trust each other.

Consider that for a moment. Where in your life do you act as if you can’t trust others? Where in your life are you untrustworthy? 

The Harmonic principles teach us how to live within the limitations of our universe in a good way. To adhere to the law is to be liberated from constantly having to decide one’s actions. We have spoke in the past on the ideas of freedom vs. limitation. For all of our freedoms as humans, we seem to have chosen to use that freedom to move against our brothers and sisters, to cheat them, to find a way to come out on top. We are free to drown in the vast amount of choices until we are paralyzed. We are free to be lost without direction or hope, or free to use our unchecked power to dominate. Is all this freedom also not a limitation?

And conversely, the limitations of natural law grant us the freedom to not be so overwhelmed with the burden of how to act moment to moment. To be guided by principles, as we do here in the church, is to be free to turn our creativity to something far more rewarding. 

Consider the magic that is music. The frets of a guitar, or the keys of a piano are a limitation in the sense that they confine us to one note as opposed to a spectrum of frequency. But the limitation of only having a keyboard of perfectly tuned notes gives us the freedom to find harmony through all ten fingers. By adhering to the laws of music, we experience the freedom of expression. 

Remember all that talk about vibration and depression and doing all this mental work? Consider for a moment that our freedoms have let to a complexity of living that is currently beyond the capacity of the human brain to deal with. That the limitations of culture and even religions allowed us to rest in having some choices made for us, some ways of living just taken for granted, as opposed to figuring everything out for the first time, again and again and again…  

An engine is a limiting mechanism for the explosive power that occurs within the pistons and requires pin-point precision. There is no room in an engine for improvisation. The limits of compression, timing and pressure are essential. Because of that we experience the freedom of movement, arms hanging out the windows of our cars, wind blowing through our hair… the open road.

So are there principles that should govern our actions? These are the harmonic principles of the church. As we’ve discussed in the past, they are not perfect in their expression, and may be refined over time. The cosmic law is as ineffable as the tao, and words will always fail to capture the true essence, but being the humans we are, we shall inevitably try, as the refinement of these expressions is part of our creative legacy.

We are surrounded by potential scenarios where we self-destruct. I have faith that in the 11th hour we will find a way, but we have no way of knowing when that 11th our is. In the meantime, notice how the world around you is guided by greater laws than our own. How balance is achieved in nature. How polarity is everywhere and essential to existence. How the rhythms of time guide the movements of all the little beings walking the earth, swimming in the sea, and flying above us. 

Recently I spent four days in the mountains, on a vision quest of sorts. I left behind everything that was familiar. No books, no instruments, nothing that would allow me keep busy in any way. It was a water fast, so no food to cook either. I confined myself to a small circle as not to wander or busy myself with vistas and changes in scenery. One place, with nothing to do but sit. 

Quickly I learned that my perception of time is exactly that, just perception. That 24 hours, when one is not occupied with, well, anything, is a remarkably long time. Just try doing nothing for 20 minutes. And when I say nothing I mean nothing, don’t even follow your breath. Just sit, look around, and be. Time will expand, right before your eyes. 

The rhythm will change. 

In a world fueled by caffeine and horsepower, it’s no wonder we can’t seem to grasp why everything is out of our control. Somewhere along the road we have forgotten the laws of the land, the principles that guide the the flowers to bloom, the oceans to swell. What principle guides the sun to beat upon the ocean surface, urging the water to evaporate into the air, gathering in clouds, as the wind spiral it into the harrowing gales of a hurricane? 

What principle governs the humble caterpillar to weave its silken cocoon, a delicate tomb and womb, to succumb to the alchemy of metamorphosis, where form dissolves into formlessness, and life pauses to breathe the breath of creation. What principle guides the cells to dance in this silent chrysalis, a symphony of change that orchestrates the rebirth, an ancient, unfathomable wisdom that knows that the sun’s tender caress always brings a new day, that the cocoon will split, and the butterfly, a living poem of transformation, a testament to the eternal cycle of death and rebirth, will radiate with the  resplendent light of newfound flight.

Polarity, Rhythm, Change. We say their names, but are reminded that it is all a Great Mystery. Somehow our silent and still observation will allow us to witness the coherence of all that is, and like the butterfly, the emergence of something greater appears as if prophecised by law. As above so below. As within so without.

The Great. The Great. The Great.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoyed today’s contemplations and I look forward to hearing from you. As always, feel free to ask questions or offer feedback in our forum at , which will include the transcripts of each episode for quotes and references.

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