The Universe in Balance: Compensation and Karma


 by Michael Corthell

Like a spinning top or a twisting gyroscope the universe always seeks to balance itself. 

The Law of Compensation states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction — cause and effect. If the pendulum swings one way, it will always swing back the other way. There is a rhythmic balance to all life, and in all things.

''The whole of what we know is a system of compensation. Every defect in one manner is made up in another. Every suffering is rewarded; every sacrifice is made up; every debt is paid.''
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson's essay Compensation inspires human beings to do good. When it is studied and taken to heart, even great things. I encourage you to read this summary of Compensation's key points.

The universe is a living, breathing organism. All things have morality.
This morality within us is a viewpoint. The morality outside us is the Law of God.
  • Justice is not postponed. A perfect equity adjusts its balance in all parts of life.
  • Everything comes back into balance in due time, things refuse to be mismanaged for very long.
  • Every secret is revealed, again, in due time. Every crime is eventually accounted for, and punished. 
  • Every good deed and virtue is duly rewarded.  Every wrong is set right again, either in silence or by broadcast.  What we call vengeance for a wrong is the universal necessity by which completeness appears wherever a fragment appears.
  • Every action carries with it its own reward. An act rewards itself, or in other words integrates itself, in two ways: first in the thing itself, or in real nature; and secondly in the circumstance, or in its apparent nature. We call the circumstance the 'payback'.
  • Fear is a teacher with great wisdom and foresight and the messenger of all revolution and change.
  • When we commit a crime, the world becomes transparent (in due time).
  • Every one of us during our lifetime needs to thank God for our imperfections, for they are tools of wisdom.
  • Our strengths grow out of our imperfections. Not until we are badgered, punched and kicked around in life do we wake to the indignation which then arms itself with a 'secret strong' force.

  • A great leader is always willing to be small.
  • There can be no upper limit to love, knowledge or beauty when these things are considered in the purest sense. Our soul and spirit refuses all boundaries and limits place on creativity. Our spirit affirms us with Optimism, and the purity of spirit rejects Pessimism.
  • The death of a spouse, a friend, a parent, a sibling, or a child, which seemed insurmountable obstacles filled with heartache and insecurity, later on with the passage of time, operate as revolution in our way of life. This change can terminate the age of infancy or of youth which was waiting to be ended, breaks up a habit filled life, or a certain style of living, and then allows the formation of new habits and living arrangements that are more friendly to the growth of character and these perceived tragedies can permit or restrain the formation of new friendships and/or new influences that prove to be very important over the coming years.
  • Everything has a double, one vs another: Tit for tat, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. A life for a life, measure for measure, love for love. Give and you get. He that waters will be watered himself. What do you want? Asks the God and the Universe.  Pay for it and take it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You will be paid exactly for what you have done, no more, no less.
  • Finally, BEWARE: Curses and negative spells always come back on the head of him who casts them, and if you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end attaches itself to YOU.
Binary Balance: The Fabric of the Universe 


The Wings of Time

The wings of Time are black and white,
Pied with morning and with night.
Mountain tall and ocean deep
Trembling balance duly keep.
In changing moon, in tidal wave,
Glows the feud of Want and Have.
Gauge of more and less through space
Electric star and pencil plays.
The lonely Earth amid the balls
That hurry through the eternal halls,
A makeweight flying to the void,
Supplemental asteroid,
Or compensatory spark,
Shoots across the neutral Dark...



''God hates false scales, but he loves perfect balance.''
—King Solomon, Proverbs 11:1


*Emerson's Essay: Compensation in its original form can be read HERE.

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Compensation, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Narrated by Joseph Voelbel

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