Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deep Peace

"And All Shall Be Well"
- an evening in autumn-

This morning when I woke up, before I could even get out of bed, an ancient “saying” from the 13th century English mystic, Julian of Norwich, suddenly flashed into my mind:

And all shall be well, and all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well.

I have heard this phrase quoted many times before but this morning it spoke a powerful and comforting wisdom to me – not because it was a promise that everything will always be wonderful, so “don’t worry and be happy;” but because it reminded me of the deep peace that “grounds” our common humanity.

Many times people engage in various sorts of soul-searching journeys and spiritual quests in order to find some degree of peace and happiness in life; but in our culture the word “happiness” often refers to a surface and fleeting feeling of wellbeing and peace is translated as the absence of trouble. People are happy when they get a job or buy new clothes.

I think the kind of peace and happiness available on a spiritual quest is much more of  what the ancient ancestors called a “deep peace”- a peace that flows underneath the surface of everyday living.

In the Christian tradition, deep peace is defined as a peace that passes all understanding.

In my own life I experience this sense of deep peace whenever I am able to recognize that “I” am more than a separated individual ego inside a tiny human body – “I” am a relationship with the cosmos. A Holy Presence of abiding Love and Universal Energy “sparks” within my being and in all other beings connecting us all in an amazingly beautiful, mysterious and mystical web of dynamic interrelationship.

And so, I can wake up in the morning and know that all shall be well because love flows in and through it all and love is stronger than hate and love won’t let me go - I have a sense of a deep peace.

I find it very interesting that in most “wisdom” traditions of the major world religions, the practice of equanimity is touted as a primary virtue on the spiritual journey.

Equanimity is the stability of mind that allows us to be present with an open heart
to everything that comes our way,
no matter how wonderful or how difficult.

I think we are able to practice this “stability of mind” when we abide in a deep peace - when we rejoice at the birth of our child, when we are diagnosed with cancer or lie sick in a bed, when we buy a house or lose a job, if we have a sense of deep peace we can rest assured that all manner of things shall be well.

I am reminded of a blessing from another ancient source, the pre-Christian Celtic Druids. I offer this blessing to any who may happen to read my post today:

Deep peace of the Running Wave to you.
Deep peace of the Flowing Air to you.
Deep peace of the Quiet Earth to you.
Deep peace of the Shining Stars to you.
Deep peace!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Paul. I discovered this truth—deep peace—in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I am amazed at how easily I can let this profound experience be buried by the worries of the day. Thank you for calling me to remember. You are a blessing to me.

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    1. Dan, thanks for your gracious comment. You also are a blessing to me.

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