First and foremost shalom is about relationships. The four core relationships that form shalom are: our relationship with God, with and within ourselves, with other people and with wild nature (living and inert). When shalom is truly present, each of these is held in perfect balance, like a spiritual gyroscope, or the points of a compass to guide us.
Noel Moules, “Fingerprints of Fire…Footprints of Peace,” p. 30
I have heard a similar thing expressed as “directions” of our personality–inward, toward ourselves; outward, toward others; upward toward the divine; and downward, toward nature.
However it is put, the key, here, is that shalom emerges in our connections, those points of contact what make us what we are. Without our relationships in these four directions we would not be human beings, in general, or the particular persons we are, in particular.
And since shalom has this relational quality two further things seem to be the case. First, shalom is dynamic process, a reality that arises in the midst of interactions. Whatever state, or static condition, that manifests shalom does so as a sort of snapshot of an unfolding film, a momentary pause in an ongoing series of events. And this means that, while shalom is always, to some degree present, a given to be enjoyed, it is also, at the same time, a calling into the future, a task to be extended. Both enjoyed as a gift and extended as a task.
A second thing that flows from the relational quality of shalom is that the enjoyment and enhancement of shalom will usually take place in a back-and-forth, ebb-and-flow, in-and-out of each relationship. Since all the relationships and their directional energy are intertwined and overlapping, there is no necessary sequence or separation for engaging or enhancing shalom in life. We can begin in any relationship, knowing it will naturally flow into the others. We might focus on one of those relationships, for a time, knowing that it will open into the others.