Grant Us Thy Peace
The following essay was originally prepared as a commentary for the “Second Sunday After Epiphany” (January 2016).
The theme for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany is “Grant us Thy Peace” where in Mystical Meditations on the Collects Dion Fortune inquires, “To whom are we directing this request?” The answer of course is to the Lord. This can be 1) an anthropomorphic idea of God as a vast and all-powerful personality; 2) an idea of a God incarnate as savior or avatar; 3) our own Holy Guardian Angel; or 4) simply asked to our Self of Self, our realization of “I am”. Herein we must ask, what is this peace that is so often invoked in churches where attendees are told to great each other with the ‘kiss of peace’ or in various Rosicrucian and Martinist movements in which Brothers and Sisters part with the “wish for Peace Profound” or write it on their correspondence?
The idea of peace is not well understood, as it is often perceived not as an active state but as a passive one. Peace is thought of as the opposite of conflict, of war. Peace is static while war is active. To attain peace we are told to sit still, relax, breathe deep, clear our mind of thoughts and activities, and meditate. While all this is true, and is part of the Path of Return that leads us to realizing Peace Profound, it is by no means the entire truth. In fact, it is only the beginning.
The general teachings about peace that we hear in churches, yoga studios, ashrams, and schools belong to an exoteric domain – to that of the Church and State – and mean just as we have said, the absence of conflict between people. In the esoteric domain, specifically that of Religious Mysticism, this peace is not simply the absence of violence – either of the direct or indirect type such as passive aggressiveness – but an active state of generating goodwill and harmony between people and conditions. In the esoteric level of Initiation where the techniques of transformation such as alchemy, ritual magic, astrology and talismans or methods of visualization are used, peace means actually embracing the energies of conflict, pain, and suffering and using them to aid us on our path as well as to transform or liberate them into something useful for ourselves and others.
In his works The Invisible Temple and The Nature and Use of Ritual for Spiritual Attainment, author Peter Roche de Coppens attributes the various lines of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, and other key Christian documents that embody the fundamental blueprints of the Western Spiritual Tradition, to the Tree of Life. In the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus Christ delivers the Beatitudes we hear, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God”. This is assigned the Sphere of Netzach which is no surprise given that Netzach is the sphere of love and affection. While Netzach is generally more focused on eros, rather than philos or agape, it is eros that is the basis for our ability to experience fraternal love (philos) and mystical union (agape). It is also the excessive sensuality of eros and transforming it into a love of things, comforts, luxuries, and continual sensory stimulation that eros goes from being an emotional gift to a toxic state. It is critical to keep in mind that here the senses are not limited to the five physical senses but also include the mind, as the sixth sense of Oriental philosophies. Mind is a function of consciousness, not its summation, and mind can be over or under stimulated.
This is why it is critical that we learn to understand the nature of our own mind and undertake the two most basic forms of meditation practice to do so. Without this understanding of our own mind, we run the risk of extreme delusion, even – and I do not say this lightly – mental health issues ranging from minor neurosis to major psychosis, in the undertaking of various occult practices, simply because we do not understand what is going on and the role we play in the experiences we are having as a result of visualization practices and rituals.
This is why peace, true peace, real peace is so hard to find, not only in the world in general but also in religious and esoteric groups in particular. This desire for inner peace is too often projected onto the external world where, as a result, social activism and political causes become the focus of many movements whose original purpose was self-discipline for the purpose of Self-realization or Illumination. When this fails, moralizing and forced compliance (which is a perversion of discipline) become the norm, under whatever the politically correct ideology of the day happens to be, and through it dominating the group culture. External peace, which is a mockery and shadow of true peace, is achieved through intimidation and force – all in the name of harmony and goodness of course.
Dion Fortune states that the laws of God are the laws of Nature; they are one and the same. This fundamental truth is expressed in the Hermetic axiom, “As above, so below; as below, so above” or as more directly translated from the Emerald Tablet, “What is below is like that which is above, and what is above is similar to that which is below to accomplish the wonders of the one thing.” If we want peace, we must first clearly recognize what peace actually means and our role in manifesting it FIRST and FOREMOST in OURSELVES and then in the world around us. Anything else will be but a shadow of peace or, worse, a perversion and act of war in the name of peace.
Thus, it is imperative that if we are truly to have peace, we must first establish it within ourselves before trying to establish it socially or on a community level. Only when we have it in ourselves are we truly able to transform negative and destructive forces into forces of peace, love, and harmony. Among the easiest and most effective techniques to aid us in this transformation are those found in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness in “Chapter Seven, The Crucible of the Heart – Inner Alchemy and Kabbalah”. There are also several methods given in the paper, Wisdom’s Bliss – Developing Compassion in Western Esotericism. The key part of these is in recognizing our inter-relationship to others, doing our best to understand their perspective in the relationship, and actively desiring the best for all concerned without explicitly stating what the best may be leaving that up to God, Nature, or karma if you will. Finally, realizing that negative energies can be transformed, actively transforming them, and using difficult situations as an opportunity for Illumination rather than as something to fear or run from.
This leads us to the most important part about Peace Profound – it is PROFOUND; it is great, deep, wise, and powerful. It is by no means static, nor is it afraid as nothing can stand against it, only be absorbed and transformed back into its original state of peace itself. Peace is unity, calm, tranquility even in the midst of chaos for it is untouched. It is the center point, the axis around which everything else exists. Therefore, peace profound is not limited to our periods of prayer and meditation but is available to us in the midst of action and activity wherein we can understand, direct, and participate in the activities of daily life without being overwhelmed by them, but instead to use and express our Peace through them. Our body may be in motion, our mind in motion solving problems, but we, from the center of consciousness, are still and relaxed. We are neither dwelling on the past nor anticipating the future, but focused exclusively on the moment and what is unfolding around and within us and from the Illuminated center, the Light of Nature, of our own consciousness. We respond accordingly, creatively, spontaneously, and with confidence and courage. This ‘Peace Profound’ is our very nature.
Herein lies the great key, we have heard it many times, “Know thyself and you will know the gods”. You must understand your own mind. This Peace Profound is nothing other than your very Self, your own inherent nature, the fruit of the Path of Return that you carry with you always. It is inside of your own mind that you must look for it so that you may find and experience it. Then you will know the true meaning of the great words of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, first unanimous head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, when he said, “Enlightenment is the ultimate relaxation” or as the Scripture reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” This is the Non-Dual state of Ramada, of the Shaivite Yogis, of Bon and Nyingma Dzogchen practitioners, of the Tao, and many others.
In closing, let us ever remember to practice peace, knowing that it is that state from what the old Rosicrucians called, “Light, Life, and Love” emerged. It is in and from the state of Peace Profound that all things have their origin and their Return. It is Nature, and as such, is not something far off, but right here with us at all times. It is closer to us ‘than the space between our breaths’.
Pathology of the Sublime – Problems and Solutions on the Spiritual Journey
The Inner Way – The Power of Prayer and Belief in Spiritual Practice