Inner Healing, Inner Peace: A Quaker Perspective

By John Lampen and Diana Lampen. Christian Alternative Books (Quaker Quicks), 2023. 96 pages. $10.95/paperback; $5.99/eBook.

Have you ever read a book and wished you could meet the author and get to know them better, because you had a few questions? That’s how I felt when reading John and Diana Lampen’s Inner Healing, Inner Peace. I wanted to hear more about their many years of experience working in the conflicts in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the former Yugoslavia. And I wanted to talk to them about how addressing violent conflict in those places led them to the practices that we might use in confronting conflict and distress in our emotional lives.

As this book interprets principles of Quaker faith for addressing conflict, its strength—and the reason you might want a copy to use for yourself—lies in offering clear practices or how-to exercises for managing anxiety, pain, trauma, and death. While the authors don’t promote the book as an alternative to therapy, it’s clear that the practices can be useful to anyone looking to cope with inner turmoil; interpersonal conflict; or the despair that so many of us may feel for the conditions of ecological destruction, violence, and injustice in our world.

Some of these practices will be well-known and are regularly practiced by Friends, such as focused and relaxed breathing while entering the stillness of worship, or directed exercises for imagining and visualizing healing outcomes. I was reminded in the time it took me to read this short book that using these practices on a regular basis helps return us to a sense of inner peace. Finding inner healing and inner peace is not a one-time or solitary effort.

The Lampens, who are British Friends, have added a concise handbook to the library of Quaker Quicks, a series from Christian Alternative Books of short, easy-to-read books that explain key elements of Quakerism. I was familiar with Marge and Carl Abbott’s contribution of Quakers in Politics to the series and found it edifying, and now, having read the Lampens’ book, I imagine that any of the included titles would be valuable for Quaker meeting libraries, home libraries, or even public libraries for explaining key aspects of Quakerism.

As lifelong peace workers in various settings, the Lampens have shown that practicing peace at both community and personal levels has Quaker elements as well as influence from other wise practitioners and writers, which they include in a list at the end of references and further reading suggestions.

Diane Randall is a sojourning member of Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.), where she serves on the Ministry and Worship Committee. Diane also serves on the Steering Committee of Quaker Call to Action, the board of Thee Quaker Project, and the advisory board of Earlham School of Religion.

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