The Art of Peace by David Cole
Breadth and depth, simply expressed - the author hopes through his writing the reader will transition from being someone interested in contemplation (the art of peace) to becoming a contemplative
The Art of Peace – life lessons from Christian mystics
By David Cole (Brother Cassian)
Reviewed by Sue Clements-Jewery
Do not be deceived by the slightness of this volume (pp144 including 12 short chapters and End notes) assuming it will be a quick and easy read. Here sub-titles and alternative names are significant. The author David Cole is the deputy Guardian for the dispersed Community of Aidan and Hilda where he is known as Brother Cassian. The book draws on his lived experience as well as the wisdom of Christian contemplatives and mystics from the past. The author’s stated aim is that through his writing the reader will be able to transition from being someone interested in, knowing about, or simply practising contemplation (the art of peace) to becoming a contemplative.
The book is divided into four sections all beginning with the letter ‘S’, each one containing three chapters.
These are Silence, Stillness, Solitude and Sanctuary, each one building on another.
Each of the 12 chapters has accessible notes helping the reader to link to sources both ancient and modern (from Meister Eckhart to TED talks) and considers an aspect of the Christian contemplative or mystic tradition and its relevance to prayer today.
If all that sounds rather heavy let me assure potential readers that there is a breadth and depth here - simply, attractively, succinctly expressed and easily digested.
Each chapter offers guidance in various forms to enable the reader to apply the learning. I was fortunate enough to begin reading it during a quiet day so was able to follow the instructions (at least in chapter 1!) to:
Stop reading, put the book down and go and be…
The elements of a ‘User’s Guide’ hopefully will encourage readers not just to whizz through it but to put it down and go and try out the recommendations.
Any reader who does that will be on the way to realising the author’s aim..
Sue Clements-Jewery, Pastoral Supervisor and Meditator