In this book, psychiatrist Paul Fleischman writes poetically and poignantly about this lure which is a spiritual practice, a determined way of life, and a lifelong quest. "Starting from many different courtyards and doorsteps, it always converges on purity of heart, horizonless perspective and service to the common cause."
In order to delineate the multiple meanings of inner peace, the author looks at the lives of people who pursued it with dedication, creativity, imagination, discipline, and devotion. He finds hints of peace as a dynamic force in the simple lifestyle of the Shakers and in the organic gardening of Scott and Helen Nearing. Walt Whitman's ecstatic poetry and Mahatma Gandhi's inner cultivation of peace are two more examples. John Muir and Henry David Thoreau are heralded for their discoveries of peace in the natural world. Father Daniel Berrigan shows us the prophetic dimensions of peace as a way of life, and the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore demonstrates a life of peace in action. While many psychological tracts have cheapened the ideal of inner peace, Paul Fleischman enables us to see it afresh as "a natural phenomenon, a sweet memory, and a provocative force."