How Life Works: The Law of Cause and Effect

The short answer is that how our lives unfold depends on our outlook, motivations, intentions, and how we treat others. The effect of these factors on the quality and prevailing course of a person’s life is governed by two interrelated natural or spiritual laws.

The Law of Cause and Effect

This law embodies the biblical saying “You reap what you sow.” It is also related to the popular concept of karma which says that we create our own futures (in this life or the next) by our actions and how we treat others. If we do not stop our wrongdoing and change how we live our lives for the better, then we can expect an ongoing chain of negative effects on us and those around us. However, cause and effect provides the opportunity to break free from past bad behaviors and attitudes, and change our future.

Even as our karma plays out, we can decide what direction our life will take. Will we choose a fulfilling and happy life of goodness, love, and compassion, or a life of bitterness, jealousy, selfishness, greed, and hate devoid of any redeeming factors? Will we surrender to the darkness we have brought upon ourselves, or will we refuse to give up and instead emerge from the muck and blaze a new path toward spiritual awareness?

The Law of Compensation and Retribution

The Law of Compensation and Retribution is inherent in, and a natural consequence of, the Law of Cause and Effect. You will be rewarded for striving to live a life of goodness, and for helping others any way you can. Unselfish acts of loving kindness can compensate for past wrongdoing and transgressions of spiritual laws. However, wrongdoing in the absence of compensatory acts will result in retribution that leads to a life of suffering, unhappiness, and regret.

Thus, through free will and cause and effect, each of us determines the course of our own lives. With few exceptions, the outcome cannot be attributed to anyone or anything other than ourselves.

This is a critical principle of spiritual law that once understood makes it possible for us to find true happiness and fulfillment. It means that we have the power to change our lives for the better, and through our love and compassion the lives of others. It provides the opportunity to progress spiritually and fulfill our purpose in this life on Earth.

The laws of cause and effect and compensation and retribution, like the Law of Gravity, once set into motion by our creator require no ongoing oversight. The spiritual laws operate automatically and assure accountability and justice concerning all of our thoughts and actions. I hope that everyone can appreciate what a simple and perfect plan this is. We get exactly what we deserve in terms of punishment or reward. It is the ultimate learning tool.

Author’s Note
The natural or spiritual laws discussed here can be found in various books in the Silver Birch series (e.g., The Teachings of Silver Birch).

You might also like to see the following related articles:

A Path From Darkness

How is My Divine Self Revealed

The Divine Virtues

Spiritual Lawlessness

Spiritual Wasteland Source:

Spiritual Wasteland

The state of much of the world today can be characterized as spiritual lawlessness. What this means in large part is that basic laws of human behavior such as honesty, integrity, morality, and ethics are being ignored—or worse—not being taught or modeled to our children. This type of lawlessness is a sure sign of a declining civilization. It is indicative of a society that has allowed itself to become lost in a spiritual wasteland.

Spiritual lawlessness is a failure to apply the basic principles that underlie living a life of goodness. It also represents a failure to be mindful of the Ten Commandments and spiritual laws such as the laws of cause and effect, and retribution and compensation. It seems that a great many people have lost touch with these time-honored guiding principles.

These natural laws have guided human behavior and interactions for millennia. Are the generations now living going to be the ones who allow the most basic of God’s laws to be ignored and perhaps eventually lost in history?

There are many comparatively trivial societal laws with which almost everyone complies. For example, we all know that a red light means stop. We stop automatically because, if we do not, we believe that we will either get a costly ticket or cause an accident that could be fatal.

Yet, it appears that many who were taught the Ten Commandments as a child have since “forgotten” them even though violating them will bring grievous harm to them spiritually. Some may willfully disregard them because compliance would deprive them of serving their own selfish desires. While others may have lost sight of them due to societal pressure to conform to widespread materialism and pursuit of self interests.

Many of us have fallen prey to sophisticated marketing campaigns and programming that loosened restrictions on the depiction of violence and sexual depravity. As a result, the psyche of people in developed countries around the world was taken down a dark path of spiritual deprivation and lawlessness.

It is my hope that those who are not happy about the state of society will take a few minutes to not only read the Ten Commandments, but reflect upon their application in the context of today’s society and the many situations in which we see violations. It is easy to quickly glance over them and assume that you “know” them. However, a more thoughtful and deeper reading would be most beneficial.

I have given a few examples below to help us begin thinking about their practical applications. As an example, let us look at the commandment “Thou shalt not steal.” This is not just about things like shop lifting or burglary. We see many kinds of theft in today’s society. For example, over charging for goods and services by setting very high profit margins, putting forth another person’s work as your own, theft of proprietary systems, processes, and recipes to name a few.

Another commandment is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” It is tempting to shirt past this one because superficially it sounds like something that applies to a courtroom. In the broadest terms, what it says to me is to not spread lies about others. We shouldn’t lie about what we may have seen or heard. We shouldn’t try to shift blame to someone else for something we did.

Thou shalt not covet things that others have is the gist of Commandment 10. I do not see any redeeming quality in being jealous of or longing for what others have. Doing so will likely lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. I believe we should be grateful for what we have and stay within our financial means.

I encourage everyone to do their own analysis of practical situations where each commandment applies to human behavior today. It is an exercise that may be valuable for bringing the Ten Commandments back to the forefront of our minds and automatically signal a red light when we get into situations where they apply. This will give us a chance to carefully consider how to proceed.

Spiritual lawlessness has cast a dark shadow over the world. Let us each do our part to make sure that we do not participate in it by always being mindful of God’s commandments and natural laws. He gives us so much while asking precious little in return.

You might like to see the following related articles:

What Natural or Spiritual Laws Govern Our Lives?
The Law of Cause and Effect
The Law of Retribution and Compensation

The Law of Retribution and Compensation



**For this Law’s relationship to the Law of Cause and Effect see How Life Works.

If we do not comply with God’s laws and neglect or hurt others, then there will be a price to pay. Punishment may be in the form of pain and suffering, through karmic experience, and/or other forms of which we are unaware. There must be consequences for our thoughts and actions or we would not learn and grow spiritually.

While the foregoing is easily understood, what is not clear is the extent to which we may be able to compensate or offset our wrongdoing with good deeds or by setting things right once again. There may be transgressions that are just too serious to be offset in some way. Further, compensation may only reduce the punishment, rather than totally avoid it.

Nevertheless, it is good to know that the opportunity for compensation exists, and we should always strive to do so. Based on the Law of Cause and Effect, good deeds done with purity of intent will always have a positive effect whether or not they provide compensation for our transgressions.

I hope that all readers will take seriously all of the natural and spiritual laws discussed in this series of short articles. Do not allow their simplicity or familiarity lead you to think them trivial or prevent you from using them as a guide for how you live your life. They have and will continue to govern what your life will be like now and in the future.

Try very hard to love your neighbor as yourself. Be honest and kind, and have compassion for others. Help those in need whenever you can. The extent to which you are able to do so will determine the degree to which you will progress spiritually and whether you will find true happiness in this life.


Author’s Note

Another spiritual law, the Law of Service, was discussed in a previous article (see below).

You might like the following related articles:

What is Salvation?

The Law of Service

What Natural or Spiritual Laws Govern Our Lives?

Matte Painting Appearing as Background in the Hollywood Movie The Ten Commandments Source:

Matte Painting Appearing as Background in the Hollywood Movie The Ten Commandments

This question will be covered in a short series of articles over the next few weeks. In my view, there are two types or classes of God’s laws. There are laws like the Ten Commandments and some of the teachings of Jesus that make clear what we should not do and others that direct how we should live our lives.

In addition, there are spiritual laws that determine how our lives will proceed in this world and the next based on how we live and behave now. Upcoming articles will focus on this group. The beauty and elegance of these laws is in their simplicity. There is no escape from their application as they operate automatically. Both sets of laws determine the degree to which we progress and evolve spiritually.

Below I have listed a summary of the Ten Commandments. How many of them can you recall before looking at the list? While perhaps the majority would say they know them, when was the last time they called them to mind and reflected upon them? How many people hold the commandments in constant memory to guide their actions on a daily basis?

The Ten Commandments

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not worship, bow down to, or serve idols.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

10. Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s.

There are two additional commandments put forth by Jesus that are said to be the greatest of all commandments and encompass the Ten.

• “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

• “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

I think many of us would agree that violations of many of these commandments run rampant in today’s society. With increasing numbers of people turning away from religion, perhaps they have forgotten them or chosen to ignore them.

To me, the Ten Commandments along with love thy neighbor represent, in large part, a set of fundamental principles to govern and assure the integrity of human relationships. In this regard, I believe love thy neighbor stands above and drives compliance with Commandments 5-10. If we strive to treat all people with whom we come in contact the way we would like to be treated, then we would not do any of the things listed in 5-10.

Sadly, it seems that honesty and integrity are attributes that too many members of society have put aside in order to satisfy their physical and material desires. Little do they know what they have lost in doing so.

The Bible says love is fulfillment of the law. To love is our divine nature. If we let love guide everything we do in all of our interactions with others, then we will have fulfilled our spiritual imperative.

For a discussion of the Law of Cause and Effect, and the Law of Compensation and Retribution please go to How Life Works.

The Law of Service

The material world presents us with many challenges, not the least of which is maintaining awareness of our spiritual divinity and seeing opportunities for its expression. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of work and family.

Although these things and more can provide fertile ground for learning, many of us may not realize that God has certain expectations of us—laws to govern and guide life in the material world and when we return to the world of spirit. An extremely important one is the Law of Service. It is through actuation of this law in our lives that we express our spirit and evolve. I believe it to be a requirement for progression to higher spiritual planes.

How many people do you know who engage regularly in some form of service to others? In this day and age, it seems like many of us are too engrossed in our personal lives and the quest for fame, fortune, love, or whatever else to even think about helping others. As a consequence, we miss out on one of the most rewarding things in life—helping others through service.

The Law of Service is inherent in the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus said this commandment of brotherly love is second only to “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” In fact, if you believe that each of us is a part of God, then to love others is to love God and vice versa. Consequently, it could be said that the two commandments are simply different expressions of the same spiritual law.

We have a spiritual kinship with all of humanity. Therefore, people locally and around the world are our neighbors. We are expected to love them all, and in so doing, to provide service and help to anyone who needs it. Unselfish service to others is the single most important thing we can do to change the world.