The dangers of peace

Image: Martin Kníže

Let me just say right here that the enneagram has been the most powerful self-awareness evaluation I’ve taken. It beats the strength finder, the Myers-Briggs, and the ‘Which Harry Potter Character Are You?” quiz from Buzzfeed — hands down.

I happen to be a 9 on the enneagram. Titled, ‘The Peacemaker,’ my type is, in short, all about keeping harmony in our environment.

Maybe you’re not an absolute 9 like I am, but everyone has a little of every number in them, so you can probably relate in some fashion.

Here’s what The Enneagram Institute says about the 9:

Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.

In short, my weakness is that I avoid conflict in the name of peace. Sometimes, this can be good. It means I won’t likely try to fistfight the waiter for putting cheese on my hamburger. But it also means I tend to back down and retreat into my happy place when the going gets tough and the stress hits.

Well, this morning, as I was reading, I was slapped in the craw with this passage (love it when this happens):

Peace is the foundation of your being. Not a peace that implies an absence but a peace that implies a fullness. Wholeness is peaceful. Only separation creates conflict.
— A Course of Love


This is still setting in for me… A peace that implies a fullness. Yes.

Looking back, many of my setbacks have come from sabotaging my growth through apathy and avoidance. I saw this as ‘keeping the peace’ and thought I was doing the right thing.

But now I see that I was working with a peace that separates.

This is the type of peace that walks away from someone who loves us and calls us out on our bullshit. A peace that guilts and suppresses.

This is aggression in the sheep’s clothing of peace, not true peace.

What I’m learning is that true peace comes from fearless love. Fearless love enraptures. It can be violent and frightening. It can cast out the money lenders and tip over tables.

This is particularly true in relationships. Relationships are about growth, not peace.

In our relationship with ourselves and others, we must see the moments of friction as blessed opportunities to grow. This means we have to go through them, not shy away from them.

So how do we do this? How can we void the dangers of false peace while finding true peace?

Well, here’s another thing about the type-9 from The Enneagram Institute that you might be able to relate to:

Ironically, for a type so oriented to the spiritual world, Nine is the center of the Instinctive Center, and is the type that is potentially most grounded in the physical world and in their own bodies. The contradiction is resolved when we realize that Nines are either in touch with their instinctive qualities and have tremendous elemental power and personal magnetism, or they are cut off from their instinctual strengths and can be disengaged and remote, even lightweight.

If you’ve reading this blog much, you’re probably at least a little spiritually motivated. If you’re like me, you can probably easily stay in your head all day.

After all, it’s peaceful there, right?

Retreating into our private headspace for lengthy amounts of time never leads to good things.

Nothing anchors yourself in the present moment like body awareness.

I have to get out and mix it up with the physical world (something I’m working on a lot lately). I have to force myself to go skiing, lift heavy things, or move my body in some other exerting fashion (no, don’t ask me to get on the dance floor unless you want security to get involved). When I do, I LOVE it.

Being grounded in the body is huge when dealing with these growth-promoting life-moments of friction.

Stay with your breath. 
Feel your fingers and toes and the hum of life surging through them.
Be. There.

So, friend, my prayer to you today is this:

May you stay with yourself in these moments of friction in your life.

May you not retreat into your head when life calls you to more.

May you see that your old version of peace may just be a ploy of your ego to keep you small and safe.

And like a broken bone that grows back stronger than ever, may you open up to the tearing down of your spirit that comes from the conflicts that are given you.

For these are the gifts of the holy relationships in our lives. Not comfortable in the least.

But growth-spurring nonetheless.

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Jonas writes short daily stories and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.