Where passion is, peace is not; where peace is, passion is not. To know this is to master the first letter in the divine language of perfect deeds. To know that passion and peace cannot dwell together is to be well prepared to renounce the lesser and embrace the greater.
Men pray for peace, yet cling to passion. They foster strife, yet pray for heavenly rest. This is ignorance, profound spiritual ignorance. It is not to know the first letter in the alphabet of things divine.
Hatred and love, strife and peace, cannot dwell together in the same heart. Where one is admitted as a welcome guest, the other will be turned away as an unwelcome stranger. He who despises another will be despised by others. He who opposes his fellow man will himself be resisted. He should not be surprised, and mourn, that men are divided. He should know that he is propagating strife. He should understand his lack of peace.
He is brave who conquers another; but he who conquers himself is supremely noble. He who is victorious over another may, in turn, be defeated; but he who overcomes himself will never be subdued.
By the way of self-conquest is Perfect Peace achieved. Man cannot understand it, cannot approach it, until he sees the supreme necessity of turning away from the fierce fighting of things without, and entering the noble warfare against evils within. He who has realized that the enemy of the world is within, and not without; that his own ungoverned thoughts are the source of confusion and strife; that his own unchastened desires are the violators of his peace, and of the peace of the world; such a man is already on the Saintly Way.
If a man has conquered lust and anger, hatred and pride, selfishness and greed, he has conquered the world. He has slain the enemies of peace, and peace remains with him.
Peace does not fight; is not partisan; has no blatant voice. The triumph of peace is an unassailable silence.
He who is overcome by force is not thereby overcome in his heart; he may be a greater enemy than before. But he who is overcome by the spirit of peace is thereby changed at heart. He that was an enemy has become a friend. Force and strife work upon the passions and fears, but love and peace reach and reform the heart.
The pure-hearted and wise have peace in their hearts. It enters into their actions; they apply it in their lives. It is more powerful than strife; it conquers where force would fail. Its wings shield the righteous. Under its protection, the harmless are not harmed. It affords a secure shelter from the heat of selfish struggle. It is a refuge for the defeated, a tent for the lost, and a temple for the pure.
Where peace is practiced, and possessed, and known, then sin and remorse, grasping and disappointment, craving and temptation, desiring and grieving—all the turbulence and torment of the mind—are left behind in the dark sphere of the self to which they belong, and beyond which they cannot go.
Beyond where these dark shadows move, the radiant Plains of Divine Beatitude bask in Eternal Light, and to these, the traveler on the High and Holy Way comes in due time. From the blinding swamps of passion, through the thorny forests of many vanities, across the arid deserts of doubt and despair, he travels on, not turning back nor straying his course. He ever moves toward his sublime destination, until at last he comes, a humble and lowly, yet strong and radiant conqueror, to the beautiful City of Peace.
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More Articles by This Author James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.