“Peace is a spiritual experience which cannot be understood by the individual mind. It belongs to a different Plane of life, a different reality, the Eternal one.”
By Roberto Assagioli, Translation Gordon Symons,
Archivio Assagioli – Firenze, From the Italian Magazine of Psychosynthesis: http://www.psicosintesi.it/pubblicazioni/rivista-psicosintesi/eng/n-25-april-2016
Let us try to understand who the Spirit of Peace is and the Spiritual meaning of Peace.
Where Peace is concerned, there exist some particular mistakes and misunderstandings. There is a true and an untrue Peace.
There is a static, negative state, that shrinks from any trouble, avoiding struggles, efforts, disappointments, and looks like laziness (tamas: a purely private and illusionary peace, and therefore never to be fulfilled).
Adela Curtiss in her booklet The Way of Silence wrote: “The inspiration for inner peace means that we think Peace, we feel Peace, we talk Peace. But there is nothing sentimental about this divine whisper of Peace.
He who doesn’t live Peace will not be able to talk Peace .The craven fear of hardships will not generate Peace. True Peace means freedom, wisdom, truth. When we talk, inspired by the omniscient Peace, we will talk with freedom, without any fear. However, this kind of Peace will not always lead us to utter pleasing words, and it is good that this is so. Peace is wisdom, there is no peace in foolishness. Peace is Strength, there is no Peace in Weakness. Peace is Freedom, there is no Peace in slavery. Yet, the slave’s life can appear extremely peaceful and free from any worry. To be managed and directed by others, not possessing an individual will, never setting himself against anything nor refusing anything – can appear to be the way to Peace, but it is the Peace of Death”.
In these words, like in all this author’s meditations, there is an evident indissoluble connection between the different spiritual notes. That means that they can’t be disunited, they can only be considered synonyms, or little facets on a single prism. If we meditate profoundly on these, we can discover that they can meet, they melt one into the other, they all merge into the Spirit. We can therefore affirm that:
Peace is Will Peace is Harmony Peace is Efficiency
Peace is Truth Peace is Love Peace is Understanding
Peace is Wisdom Peace is Light Peace is Freedom
Peace is Delight Peace is Strength Peace is Confidence
I suggest meditating on the solidarity of spiritual qualities, taking one at a time as a starting point.
It is an introductory method in order to pass from multiplicity to unity, synthesis, from the little facets to the whole prism.
Christ clearly stated the difference between false and true Peace, saying:
I GIVE YOU MY OWN PEACE, NOT THE PEACE THE WORLD GIVES
Which is then the real Peace, and how can we pursue it?
In a beautiful invocation used in a school of spiritual development we can meet an enlightening sentence:
“There is a Peace that surpasses all understanding. It resides inside the hearts of those who live within Eternity”
By this sentence we can argue that Peace is a spiritual experience which cannot be understood by the individual mind. It belongs to a different Plane of life, a different reality, the Eternal one.
It is fruitless to look for Peace inside the usual world, in our personal life, where stability or security do not exist: it is an illusion to search breathlessly for it. We can attain Peace only when we rise to the spiritual world and we learn to live in it unwaveringly.
It is the conscious communion with the Supreme, the “Unitary Life” of all the mystics, “Peace that surpasses understanding”, it is “that sacred Peace that nothing can disturb. Here our Soul grows upwards like the sacred flower on a still lagoon”.
I wish to recall some well-known verses by Henri-Frédéric Amiel which we should repeat until we succeed in capturing their profound meaning:
Dans l’eternel azur de l’insondable espace
S’enveloppe de paix notre globe agité
Homme, enveloppe ainsi tes jours, rêve qui passe,
Du calme firmament de ton éternité.
Here again is the sense of the Universe, the manifest and the not manifest, the great cycles, the Eternal, which can help us to find the kind of Peace well described in the Imitation of Christ:
“A stable Peace, imperturbable and certain. An inner and exterior Peace. A very solid Peace, on every side”.
This kind of Peace, far from leading to indolence, a static appeasement or a passive endurance, gives us new energy. It is a dynamic and creative Peace. From that inner place of Peace we direct all our personal activities, we strengthen them, making them efficient and constructive as they become free of ambitions, fears, attachments, mistakes. In other words we live as free people and no longer as slaves. Peace means release from the chains of slavery.
Our daily life is the touchstone of this Peace, our way of reacting to our continuous struggles and adversities,
the pin-pricks, the many frictions connected with our daily life. Our Spiritual Peace must hold and persist in the daily external tumult: if it doesn’t, it’s not that Peace, not the realization of Peace, it is an illusion, a false peace.
True Peace has to remain steadfast before evil, in times of pain, during emotional reactions, in the midst of any kind of assault, in the face of any loss, defeat or separation. It coexists with the inner personal suffering, it is not a mood of joyfulness and delight; it produces a double life inside ourselves, till the moment when our personality appears completely regenerated, so that the inner Peace will become incarnated and the whole being permeated through PEACE, transformed into PEACE.
Real Peace is a peak to climb, an ideal to conquer, a point of arrival. We cannot find Peace at the beginning of the Path. Christ said: “I came to bring the sword, not Peace…”
Peace is therefore the purpose, but it is already good when there is established in us an unassailable Centre of Peace, which will hold out against any kind of phantasmagoria in our personal life, as it creates our inner stronghold from where we direct our entire external life.
This Peace is the Consciousness of the Witness inside ourselves. A Teacher said: “Learn to watch inside yourself with the quietness of a stranger”. (Giving a telling image a “follower” said: “imagine yourself as the clock over the fireplace, from that place it can keep a watch on all that happens in the room”).
In a first period preceding the regeneration of the personality the Inner Centre of Peace allows us to stand firm while personality’s struggles go on, while flames of purification burn, while sorrow carries out its works of purification and redemption; it offers the awareness of the value and the meaning of all the trials.
Inside ourselves, conscious and unconscious disappointments, grudges, rebellions, weariness all come alive. They take away our joy and serenity. Within the Peace of our Soul everything subsides, harmonizes, lightens. So the meaning, the value of Life, both unmanifest and manifest, springs up, pain itself is transfigured, transfused with joy.
That is the time when “the cross becomes brilliant”, the time when – as Tagore said in one of his beautiful lyric poems, all profound pages of real life – “Your Light shines on my tears”. That Light is an inextinguishable Peace. This same Peace made a young modern mystic, Consummata, exclaim: “La souffrance a perdu son aiguillon!”
“Suffering has lost its sting!”
Let us learn to live in peace and hence to give, to irradiate peace around us everywhere we go. We would all like to give Peace, but in order to do this, we have first to be in peace, to live in the great Peace, to become PEACE. We may look for the help of those who came before us, those who totally realized it, as they are Peace, they live in the Eternal, in a whole communion with the Supreme, and especially of the SPIRIT of PEACE willing to give liberally of ITS PEACE, whether or not we want to receive it.
This kind of peace produces a transformation not only in ourselves, but also in all human and social relationships, and only thus, from the heights to the depths, from the internal to the external, is it possible to create deep changes, to eliminate wars, to avoid dangers and threats which darken the path of humanity. Let us always remember that problems are not solved through agreements, ingenious arrangements and violent struggles on the same level. They have to be brought higher, where they can be resolved by themselves, or, even better, they disappear, they automatically vanish, they cease to exist.
And it is so with the issue of Peace, in a collective way, in order to eliminate war in the world of men. Let us move the problem to a higher level, towards other levels of life, or even, the same concept, to bring to bear a powerful Spiritual Strength: the SPIRIT of PEACE. That is the difference between the right and the wrong peace: the wrong peace is an apparent peace, the true peace realizes and expresses its spirit.
Let us welcome the Spirit of Peace, let us be pervaded and regenerated with it. Let us seek to become spreaders of PEACE!
Let us watch carefully within ourselves in our search for Peace, lest we allow our selfishness to hide there, as it can lead us into a channel of incomprehension, of hard-heartedness, of harm and insult to others: this is a false peace.
Let us look with true wisdom for the true peace.
Some people may be helped along by the image of a big Angel, with white wings, which emanates streams of peace, spreading waves of Peace throughout ourselves, our country, the whole Earth, the human race.
In the Peace of the Eternal I rest and am restored
Fruitful, dynamic, vital, constructive Peace
The Angel of Peace wraps the whole world in its big white wings.
The Great Harmony of celestial spheres lives in you too. Be silent, listen to it: you will hear it rising soft and powerful from the mysterious depths of your being.
We must believe in Peace. How can we attain it? On the moral and religious sphere we always believe in what we possess. In order to believe in Peace we must be enlivened by the Spirit of the Prince of Peace.