Someone once said that one test by which to judge advancement in the spiritual is whether more and more calmness is being maintained. I think what that actually means is that calmness for us really becomes a demeanor, a modus vivendi .
What I find in my own life is that I have to seek calmness, and when I find it, it is temporary. This tells me much needs to be done in my spiritual life. But we must consider the aspects of both interior and exterior calmness. Of the two, the one we’re talking about here is inner calmness, not the exterior façade of measured coolness which, to maintain, can itself be a source of inner anxiety. Calmness in the inner sense, in the spiritual sense, is pretty much synonymous with peace. To be inwardly calm and at peace denotes a trusting confidence in something other than ourselves – a reliance, a letting-go of the self we would otherwise enshrine and worry about. If we, with tiny steps, get nearer and nearer to this point, we grow spiritually. At its heart the greeting of “peace” or “peace be with you” is a wish for this inner calm.
I cannot help but think that a life of prayer is most conducive to this inner peace and calm. Thus when we wish “peace” to someone we are wishing that they discover in their own lives the means of finding peace which may, very plausibly, mean finding and embracing a prayer life. The more and better we pray and meditate the more and better we acquire inner calmness and peace that spreads over our inner being and, in the long term, may, in fact, affect our exterior demeanor as well.