What does it mean to be at peace?
It’s a common question when it comes to the highly-sought, yet ephemeral and subjective state of being. Like other fruits of the spirit, defining peace tends to be an “I’ll know it when I feel it” situation. So how do we actually KNOW when we’ve found it?
Yesterday, I was listening to a YouTube video of Bishop Dale Bronner (Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral) delivering a sermon. In the message entitled Divine Guidance, Bishop Bronner characterized peace as “the umpire of our souls.”
Whoa! Mind. Blown.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term as it refers to sports, Meriam-Webster.com defines an umpire as:
1: an official in a sport who rules on plays
2: one having authority to decide finally a controversy or question between parties: such as
a: one appointed to decide between arbitrators who have disagreed
That means that if peace is the umpire of our souls—and our day-to-day-lives—then peace is the ultimate arbiter. When we have peace in our lives, it gets to decide who stays and goes.
In our physical bodies, peace’s default is self-preservation. So feeling peaceful when you consider a possible course of action—relaxed breathing, calm mind and digestive system, a better night’s sleep—becomes the deciding factor in whether something in our lives is in bounds or out of bounds.
But what does peace REALLY feel like? After listening to Bishop Bronner, I did a little Googling to find out what two of my favorite holy books had to say about it.
Peace feels like you’re connected to Spirit.
In the Bible, Colossians 3:15 advises that we should “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule your heart.” Similarly, the Bhagavad Gita, 2:66 affirms that “One who is not connected with the Supreme can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?”
When we make decisions after connecting to Spirit, we’re able to strip away the questions and uncertainty that accompany emotional and mental distress. Peace dictates that we’ve gotten still and checked-in with the divine parts of ourselves to confirm that we’re in alignment.
Peace feels like you’re doing what you understand to be right.
“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” Isaiah 32:17
The tricky part of doing what’s right is that it requires us to check pride and comfort at the door. Even if an action doesn’t feel great in the moment, doing what we understand as right ensures the presence of peace (sooner than later.) Attributes that come to mind for me are self-discipline, fearlessness, and forgiveness. They don’t always make life easy, but they show up as lanterns that illuminate the path to peace.
Ultimately, peace is an inside job.
The biggest mistake we make when we consider peace is that we tend to involve other people’s actions and our external circumstances in the process of reaching it. Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda famously said that “when you make peace with yourself, you make peace with the world.” So if we’re to let peace be the umpire of our souls, we need to cultivate it within ourselves first, then grant it the proper authority to do its job.