This post is about contemplation and peace – peace as lived experience, rather than as hope or idea. I am discovering the peace of Sophia.
In my practice I experience Sophia as a psychopomp or inner guru. Conventionally she is a guide of light. Actually she is a guide of dark as well. Either way she points beyond herself. Generally using a method of subtle prompts and suggestions, she opens my way to a deeper nature.
Just recently she has been showing me a way to peace as an inner space, like a well-spring at the core of being. This is not a new idea, nor yet a new experience. But there’s more clarity around it, more definition – also, in a felt sense, more weight.
It began with an intense vision of braided threads – black, white and red, the traditional goddess colours. I felt nudged to identify the colours with peace, joy and love. Peace had some primacy. Although this is a triadic image, I began to see it as a four: black, white, red and black. Here the peace of the Goddess is defining. It is linked both to origin and return, and to spaces within and between other forms of experience. It may seem like simple negation. But it is an active force, like the ‘emptiness’ in some Asian traditions.
The good news is that ‘peace’ does not depend on external conditions. It can be accessed and developed within, both individually and collectively. This is why, to a certain extent, practices like meditation can be a protective or resiliency factor in relation to bad outside conditions. The trick here is to avoid a descent into the wrong kind of magical thinking and expect too much. Challenges still have to be dealt with at their own level: it’s just that having a baseline of inner peace tends to make practitioners more resourceful in dealing with the busy apparent world.
Cultivating the peace of the Sophia is currently centre stage in my solo work. In his foreword to Contemplative Druidry Philip Carr-Gomm quoted the well-known line “Deep peace of the quiet Earth”. My extension of that thought, based my current experience, is to say ‘as without, so within’. I believe this double recognition is necessary. To the extent that I am a nature mystic, the aspect of nature with which I am most concerned is me, in particular a deeper nature behind the surface personality. Only by attending to both this nature within and nature around and beyond me can I refine the relationship between them and so identify any gift I might have for the world.