Isolated in the freezing night, [Icelanders] used to chant their poems huddled around fired in precarious hurts, while outside the winds of the interminable arctic winters howled. If the Icelanders had spent all those nights in silence listening to the mocking wind, their minds would have filled with dread and despair. By mastering the orderly cadence of metre and rhyme, and encasing the events of their own lives in verbal images, they succeeded instead in taking control of their experiences.*
When Jesus left his peace with his followers I have to wonder whether he knew that the best things would come from a place of peace that we each find, rather than the rush and push, the hotheadedness and bloodymindedness for achievement, we can fall into valuing.
It may work in the short-term but the Icelandic winter reminds us that life is about the long-term and we have to find the kind of peace that makes it possible to turn up with the best solutions again and again.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is exploring the flow of thought, and it is in the different things we value and enjoy thinking about that we will find peace. Warren Berger reminds us that peace is very practical, very practical indeed:
‘Part of being able to tackle complex and difficult questions is accepting there is nothing wrong with not knowing. People who are good at questioning are comfortable with uncertainty.’**