Jim Finley speaks of ‘a peace that can be found that does not depend on the conditions of peace.’ It is an interior condition which doesn’t require external circumstances to look like anything.
When we are searching for peace or interior freedom it is often relatively easy to find the source of our disquiet. Happily located outside of ourselves. And I am tempted to think one of two things. ‘I will not find peace until that changes’ or ‘If I can just change that then I will at peace’.
One aspect I love about Ignatius’ teaching on discernment is that it is clear that most things are in themselves are actually neutral. What is significant is what happens in me when I come into contact with that thing. Couple this with Jim’s idea that there is a peace that can be found which transcends my interaction with that thing, and I realise that the source of my disquiet may not be the thing, but my reaction to it.
The question then becomes why I am reacting to this thing which is not inherently harmful. What is it in me that is activated in an unhealthy way? What is my ‘hook’? When I can identify that the spectre of the thing loses much of its power. I may still need to be cautious, but I can be cautious and peaceful. I can be cautious and interiorly free.