Transcending the Pendulumlike
Movement Between Pleasure and Pain
Movement Between Pleasure and Pain
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
An axis of symmetry is like the point of equilibrium at the centre of an old balance scales. Around it there are different factors which are mutually proportional and compensate one another.
Symmetry is the geometrical expression of equilibrium and justice. Everything is symmetrical in the universe and the spiritual path, and examples of the fact are innumerable. There is an axis of symmetry between the two brain hemispheres of a human being, and another symmetrical balance establishes an equilibrium between the material world and the subtle one.
On the physical plane, the third Law of Newton, the law of action and reaction, is the law of symmetry. On the moral plane, opposite virtues are complementary and need each other, like courage and prudence, or generosity and discernment. They find their point of equilibrium in the axis of symmetry that unites and distinguishes them.
There is a symmetry between similar factors in theosophical life. The greater the wisdom, the greater the serenity. The mutual equilibrium between all factors in life exists also in reverse order: the greater the wisdom, the smaller the ignorance. The greater the discernment, the smaller the imprudence. In one way or another, all the elements find a balance and compensate each other. Advanced phases of the theosophical path are no exception to the rule. There is an axis of symmetry in the relation between the Masters of the Wisdom and students of esoteric philosophy, and a Raja-Yogi of the Himalayas wrote:
“Every step made by one in our direction will force us to make one toward him.”
The concept of Pascal’s Sphere defines the universe as “a sphere whose circumference is nowhere, and whose center is everywhere”. Each “center” of the universe, one should add, is a point of symmetry which unites two rays, identical and opposite to one another.
Wherever life is, there is a need for equilibrium. Symmetry presides over the human body, from the head through the feet. There is a symmetry between the air we absorb and the air we expel, while breathing. The existence of axes of symmetry in the subtle dimensions of the world expresses the law of constant harmonization of all things, also known as the Law of Karma.
The Balance Between Sowing and Harvesting
As we say “what one plants, one harvests”, we are talking about a symmetrical process. There is an invisible symmetry between being born and dying, between childhood and old age, the sky and the earth, the spiritual and the material. The love between a man and a woman constitutes a symmetrical whole: this is why it can produce another life. In any given situation, we need to find the axis of symmetry in order to attain to plenitude and peace.
In the circle of the Zodiac, each sign has its symmetrical opposite. The virtues and lessons of every sign exist in proportion and in symmetry to the lessons and virtues of the sign directly opposite. Pisces teaches the perception of life as a whole, while Virgo develops our critical vision and perception of details. In Aries we learn about courage, struggle, and pioneer action; in Libra we seek for peace, justice, and equilibrium. Taurus transmits stability, and Scorpio inspires transmutation. Gemini teaches about mental flexibility, and Sagittarius gives us lessons about one-pointedness. Cancer gives us the love and sensibility of the Moon, while Capricorn transmits the rigour and discipline of Master Saturn. Leo shows us how to gather things together and how to gather strength; Aquarius teaches us about liberation, independence and self-reliance.
We need all of the lessons. This is why human soul makes a peregrination around the zodiac, successively inhabiting each Celestial House. It must learn from them all, until it knows the center of the wheel of universal life and dwells in a soul-dialogue with it.
Besides human body, the bodies of plants and animals also possess axes of symmetry. What is on the left side of a living body is proportional to what is on the right side, and each being is a summary of the planet and of the solar system.
The axis of the Earth is an axis of symmetry. The daily movement of the Earth around its axis constantly renews the contact of the planet with the moral and spiritual forces that govern the solar system.
The annual peregrination of the Earth around the Sun obeys to an axis of symmetry which is reflected, as we saw, in the opposite Houses of the Zodiac. Everything that exists in the universe develops creatively and in accordance with the Law of Equilibrium, whose popular name is law of karma. The emotional world of humans is far from being an exception.
The Magic Symmetry of Feelings
A lasting center of happiness can be found above life’s pendulumlike oscillation between pleasure and pain.
Each personal desire will likely provoke a corresponding undesired pain or frustration until the accumulated experience sums zero. Thus the point of equilibrium in the pendulumlike movement in life is attained in the center of one’s own consciousness.
The greater one’s responsibility - for having, say, evoked the Path-, the more exacting will be the satisfaction-frustration equation in one’s life.
Having adopted a noble goal, if you do not look for Tapah (austerity), Tapah will look for you. Apparent difficulties are but involuntary, or karmically generated, forms of Tapah.
We must thank the Law, then, for kindly helping us along the way to Tapah, which allows us to discover by ourselves the Equilibrium at the root of all pendulumlike movements.
Kahlil Gibran wrote about the symmetry of life regarding personal happiness. He said, in his book “The Prophet”:
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow’, and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater’. But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy and your sorrow rise or fall.” 
True bliss and well-being can be found above the outer paradox and contrast of personal joy and personal afflictions.
Theosophy teaches a transcendent form of Equilibrium. Absolute Justice and peace to all beings are two secret laws of nature.
 “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, Pasadena, CA, USA, 1992, 493 pp. See the last lines in Letter LXV, p. 366.
 See the text “The Center of Pascal’s Sphere”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline. The article is available at our associated websites.
 “The Prophet”, Kahlil Gibran, Senate, Singapore, 114 pp., 2004, see pp. 36-37.
An initial and shorter version of the present article was published in the January 2013 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, with no indication as to its author.
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
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