Learning How to Live is a Form of Inner Alchemy
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
Beneath the often troublesome appearance of things, everything flows in peace in our planet and the universe.
No citizen needs to take practical measures for the Sun to hurry up and rise on time next morning. There is also no need to make personal efforts to harvest the fruits of one’s altruistic action. Every good work, done with moderation in the right direction, enables us to have confidence in the future.
Peace comes from within, and on some occasions it descends upon the hearts of people as a higher state of mind that lasts for quite some time. It surrounds one’s lower-self and puts it in a sort of “blissful suspended animation”. The blessing typically occurs after the conclusion of a long, strenuous task.
During a contemplative rest, it is correct to do small useful things as long as they do not demand concentration. The outer mind will be capable of easy actions in superficial aspects of reality. Mental life must be slow and effortless. Our inner nature will be partially away, renewing its strength on meditative planes.
Deep reposes of the soul cannot be artificially sought. If the pilgrim makes the right kind of effort while aiming at no personal reward, the higher forms of rest will be gradually deserved by him. In due time, they will take place.
In other words, proper rest is that which comes after proper work. The quality of the repose depends on the quality of the effort. This is one of the reasons why we must use discernment in managing our vital energies both in working time and during leisure. A knowledge of the law of cycles can tell us when to make special efforts, when to take rest, and how to use the principle of moderation in effective ways.
In every circumstance, the relation of a pilgrim with the small practical things of life must be managed so as to preserve his relation with the big things. The magnetism of trifling issues seems to be semi-intelligent, and will try to attract undue attention from him. If he yields to the pressure exerted by trivial matters, he loses contact with the world of significant questions. The magnetism of meaningless factors is part of the Karma he must face.
Gradually his willpower becomes strong and his bonds to trivial issues get attenuated. His consciousness expands as he learns to manage with detachment the external facts of life. Human pilgrimage is made of rhythm: it is about habits. As we create a healthy energy-pattern, progress becomes easier. If we do the right thing once, it gets less difficult to do it a second time. Later on, it may become a part of our nature.
Taking the above into consideration, it is extremely beneficial to focus our consciousness in the silence of the heart several times a day. The task is easy and can be done without stopping work. With a small amount of willpower, we get out of mental routine to invoke that which is sacred.
It is enough to reduce the rhythm of efforts for half a minute, proceeding with the same activity in slow motion, while the meditational “void” is evoked and experienced once more in one’s heart. Following the pause, peace expands and efficiency increases.
The universe evolves in series of events. Human existence is made of cycles that flow within cycles, and these are part of larger cycles, up to infinity.
In everyone’s microcosm, to know how to take rest is as important as knowing how to act. By keeping in mind the law of the periodical growth and decrease of all things, we start to understand the eternal pulsation of the universe and get in harmony with the One Law.
Along the path to wisdom, meditation and prayer are central factors for the pilgrim to stay relaxed. In the right kind of prayer the individual asks no favor from an external divinity: he makes instead an independent vow and states a responsible decision.
A prayer of Jewish origin celebrates the conclusion of the cycles of human work. It examines the end of each new day, and announces at the same time the peace that comes at the end of an entire lifetime if lived with honesty. 
A Prayer to the Sunset
“The sun goes down, the shadows rise,
The day of the Universal Law is near its close;
The glowing orb now homeward flies,
A gentle breeze foretells repose.
May the Law crown our work before the night:
In the eve let there be light.
While still in clouds the sun delays,
Let us soar up, soar up to heaven;
That love may shed its peaceful rays,
New hope unto our souls be given.
O may the parting hour be bright:
In the eve let there be light.
And when our sun of life retreats,
When evening shadows ’round us hover,
Our restless heart no longer beats,
And grave-ward sinks our earthly cover,
We shall behold a glorious sight:
In the eve there shall be light.” 
Through the right kind of contemplation the pilgrim organizes his own will to tread the sacred path. Effective praying makes his lower-self realize its essential unity with all beings.
On Opening the End of the Week
With the help of a spiritual practice that is deep enough to preserve his individual independence, the pilgrim transforms his consciousness into an active temple. The following meditation, for example, focuses the moment of starting a new weekend:
“We pray to the Universal Law, and thank It for all the blessings of the week that is gone;
For life, health and strength; for home, love and friendship; for the discipline of our trials and temptations; for the happiness of our success and prosperity.
The Law has commanded us: Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Law of the Universe.
The Law has ennobled us by the blessings of work, and in love and grace sanctified us by the blessings of rest.” 
In every aspect of the world, the science of right action includes the habit of consulting our conscience. If we listen to the voice of the silence, our existence changes for the better – amidst significant challenges – and we are able to work longer, getting less tired.
Learning how to live is a form of inner alchemy.
According to esoteric philosophy, we must make sure our soul is happy with the work we do, and with our choice of the actions that we decide not to perform. When every level of individual consciousness is identified with the tasks we develop, much of the vital energy is saved and the way to wisdom can be trodden in a more stable way.
 In the two prayers of the present article, we abstain from personalizing divinities or reducing them to the human condition. Therefore we use the words “Universal Law” instead of the word “G-d”, and “Law” instead of “Lord”. In the Jewish esotericism, as in theosophy, “G-d” is an impersonal collectivity of divine intelligences, whose action expresses the One Law.
 From the book “The Union Prayerbook for Jewish Worship”, The Central Conference of American Rabbis, Volume II, New York, 1962, 350 pp., see p. 325.
 “The Union Prayerbook for Jewish Worship”, The Central Conference of American Rabbis, Volume II, 1962, see p. 36.
The above article was first published on 11 March 2017 in our blog at “The Times of Israel”.
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.