Peace as an Under-appreciated Value

Reflections on the biblical statement “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the bringing down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” What does it mean to say that our weapons are not carnal but mighty through God? Aren’t all weapons material, i.e. carnal? And what does it mean that we are “at war?”

It means that we are engaged, moment by moment, in the clamor for our attention, by all sorts of thoughts, ideas, impressions, feelings, and suggestions, by auditory, olfactory, tangible, sapid and visual stimuli, and by all kinds of imagined and unimaginable influences. Hence, what we select to direct our attention towards is the result of a process in which a numberless variety of forces are competing to claim the focus of our consciousness. This is our life, even though we may only become fully alert to it in the practice of meditation.

Ordinarily, we do not look at our lives this way. We are oriented toward routine that restricts attention to specific daily activities. And yet we must admit that the spirit that is brought to such functions varies with the motives of the individuals. We are moved by our motives.

And our motives, as we have been so well informed by Metapsychiatry, are determined by our values. So the warfare, or struggle, spoken of occurs over what we choose to value in life, and it is, whether we recognize it or not, an unceasing challenge for our life and well-being. It is only when we become wholly aware of the impact of what we value on the quality of our lives that we become cognizant of the fact and the nature of the battle in which we must be engaged.

In that encounter, we are advised to employ weapons that are mighty through God as opposed to carnal weapons. Now it becomes clear that carnal weapons are those sensory, intellectual or interpersonal activities and techniques that are designed to make us feel good by essentially affirming our carnality. The problem with them is that they delude us into accepting a false sense of comfort based on an invalid identity that is ever vulnerable to annihilation by the vicissitudes of life.

Whereas, those weapons available from God bring us closer to an awareness of reality that is the only genuine protection from harm. But, exactly what are those weapons?

Foremost among them is humility, without which there is little receptivity to inspiration. It may seem strange to identify humility, the acknowledgement of our own individual powerlessness, as a weapon. Yet from the spiritual vantage point, it is the sine qua non for the openness and candor needed to recognize and assess those strongly held beliefs and desires that constitute the ignorance and denial of God’s creation, and to receive and appreciate God’s blessings as both our birthright and sole sustenance.

Equally necessary to ultimately realizing the truth of being and quality of consciousness exemplified by the Christ is the awareness and esteeming of spiritual values. And it is here that the world appears to consistently fail to appreciate the importance of peace. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of those individuals who have been recognized as exhibiting enlightened understanding is the consistent peacefulness of their presence.

But, as the world can readily attest, it is one thing to aspire for peace, and quite another to attain it. Working against its realization is the fear of non-being that sparks those self-confirmatory and interactive mental activities and hunger for excitement that fuels our entertainment-obsessed culture, which together obliterate it from view.

Peace needs to be understood and valued; it must be differentiated from mere contentment or complacency or even a sense of passivity. It is clear that a peaceful state of consciousness, that serene equanimity of being, is only possible if we know, as Dr. Hora has taught, that “everything everywhere is already alright.” Although this idea may not be immediately apprehensible, flying as it does in the face of the appearance world, nevertheless it is worthy of sincere contemplation. For, like all spiritual values, its availability depends upon our receptivity.

In the acronym PAGL, peace is the first word, the most significant evidence of blessedness. And although the world acknowledges its value primarily in death by the memorial phrase “rest in peace,” the quotation from Corinthians implies that peace is attainable in life when we are God-centered. In Isaiah, it says: “Thou wilt keep him in PERFECT PEACE, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”