Devi wrote her last blog on the subject of calmness, saying, “When you feel a recurring karmic situation moving towards you, make the necessary mental or behavioral adjustments while you are still free to do so. The more you can self-adjust early in the process, the less power karma will have over you.” This is the proper way to fight our karmic battles. But there are times when the wiser decision is to sign a peace treaty, and withdraw from all activity.

At first glance, peace and calmness—two of the eight qualities of God—might seem similar, but they are actually quite different. Swami Kriyananda states it this way: “Peace is the soothing cessation of all agitation of feeling, whereas Calmness is dynamic, and is the silent, essential core of creativity, of impersonal love, and of divine wisdom.”

Each of these “attitudinal tools” is needed at different times, just as a carpenter’s tool belt needs both a hammer and a saw. Calmness is good during activity, but peace, like sleep at night, won’t come until we relax.

There is a wonderful true story that illustrates the peace that comes at the cessation of conflict. It is December 1914, five months into the First World War, and more than a million young men have died. The two sides have burrowed into opposing trenches, with a deadly no-man’s land in between. On Christmas Eve, the English hear hundreds of German voices singing “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.” The English respond by singing “The First Noel,” and “Silent Night.” Enthusiastically, joyfully, each side applauds the efforts of the other. Late into the night they trade carols, finally singing in unison. Then, opposing soldiers from each side come out of their trenches to exchange gifts, preciously hoarded food items, and photos of loved ones. They even worship together and say last rites for the dead of both sides. Alas, the next morning, obeying their leaders, they resume the bloody battle.

For a few short hours the unifying Christ consciousness had worked the miracle of peace. We, too, would do well to learn the art of declaring peace when we find our minds filled with projects and worries, strife and negativity. Does all that mental activity really bring us happiness?

How can we achieve inner peace? It is easiest to find in the stillness of deep meditation. If you calmly observe your thoughts and emotions, they will begin to diminish like mist under the morning sun. When you observe some whirlpool of thought or feeling, simply let it fade away. Those of you who practice the Hong-Sau technique of watching the breath will already have developed these skills.

how to achieve peace and the difference between peace and calmness, seen in these wildflowers outside of ananda assisi templeAs you continue to withdraw, you will see into more and more subtle areas of your mind. Let it all go! In inner stillness you understand that while your ego wants to stay restless, your soul wants to rest in the peace of God. Gradually, peace becomes supremely attractive, and you will no longer want to return to the “no-man’s land” of worldly pulls.

Our inner attitudes will magnetize outer changes also. If you have an aura of peace, the whole world will become peaceful in your presence. The former “enemies” that disturbed you will no longer feel the need to defend themselves. Then friendships will return, mutual laughter will replace old hurts, and the gentle beauty of peace will spread like wildflowers in spring.

In peace,

Nayaswami Jyotish

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18 Comments

  1. Dear Jyotish ji,

    Thank you for this article in which you have beautifully explained how to return to peace.
    With lots of gratitude and love,

    Neela.

  2. I had a particularly difficult day at work today. Yes I need to achieve that aura of peace

  3. It can be so powerful to have inner experiences expressed in words like you have here. The subtle layers of learning.
    Thank you so much for this writing! I love the suggestion of a peace treaty and the image of soldiers sharing in peace and joy for a moment during the war. Just to know that it’s possible!

  4. Such a beautiful story you share here, Jyotish! It is unfathomable that those men could resume killing each other after having opened their hearts to each other that night and yet, people do this all of the time in small ways.

    Devi’s advice to be aware enough to consider ahead of time is great advise and reminds me of one reason Yogananda wants us to be “Awake and Ready”.

    Your refining definitions of peace and calmness encourage us all to remind our cells (lifeforms, as Yogananda called them) that we are the Spirit of Christ Consciousness. From the Peace we experience in meditation, we can actively engage that peace calmly even in the turbulence of emotions or, as it was with the soldiers, act from the Peace in our hearts with calmness when we are gifted with the sweetness of the Holy Spirit as they were on that Holy Night.

    Our daily practice of Hong Sau reminds every cell within that “I Am Spirit” (Hong Sau).

    Blessings,
    Astara

  5. Valuable insights. It struck me when you mentioned the need to commit to an inner attitude of calmness before karma can come and grab us. I’ve noticed that lately – someone online made provocative statements that I was able to ponder calmly. But then I watched as my emotions tried to get involved and cloud the waters. I identify calmness with a state in meditation where I’m withdrawn and listening to the inner sounds. It’s a challenge – and a delight – to pull back during the normal daily routine and remember that this outward world doesn’t define me. I find that if I can turn my attention to the inner source of all, by prayer or listening or an effort of self-control, things always go much, much better. I find also that simply placing my attention at the spiritual eye can help me find a more mature and wise understanding. Thanks, Jyotish, for stimulating these thoughts! They are of great value to me at this time.

  6. Thank You for all you do . I really enjoy your insights

  7. Deeply touching and inspiring, Jyotish.
    Thank you.

  8. I love Ananda and would love peace and calm. Hopefully I can attend some retreats when COVID takes a breather -meanwhile know that I among many appreciate your good work.

  9. Humbly thankful for the guidance, I will keep it in mind and will read it more times

  10. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this inspiring letter. It gives such a peace reading it and Swamiji’s peace song is running in the background of my mind.

    If you have an aura of peace, the whole world will become peaceful in your presence. – Aspiring towards to it with Divine Grace.

    Joy,
    Prem

  11. Dear Jyotishji,

    Thank you for the inspiring story of the WW and wonderful article. How essential to have these 2 important tools in our kitty, and practice on inner peace and calmness on daily life. So wonderful, thank you!

    Love and gratitude,
    -ilango

  12. What a deep and subtle teaching you offer here.
    I found I needed to calm myself, then read, then find that calmness again and read it again until the full and truest meaning of your words could settle in, then the true wisdom of them was transforming.
    I am saving this one to read again and again and I feel sure it will carry me to the other side of inner conflict each time.
    Thank you and bless you.

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