Divided No More, Episode 157

When we allow our hearts to be completely colonised by the demands of the organisation, community, movement or family we’re part of, we lose a vital gift of our own individuality – our capacity to take a stand on our lives that includes us fully, and our capacity to speak up truthfully and with integrity about what we see both within and around us. And when we find ourselves more and more able to include and incorporate the many different parts of ourselves, we’re more able to turn towards the difference and the many parts of others. 

This episode of Turning Towards Life is a conversation about how the path of cultivating a ‘many-chambered heart’ can help us with bringing our actions into harmony with our inner lives, and with using whatever power we have in the world to help others do the same, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify. You can find videos of every episode, and more about the project on the Turning Towards Life website.

Our source this week is brought to us by Lizzie, and is from Parker Palmer’s extraordinarily wise and generous book ‘The Courage to Teach’:

Many of us know from personal experience how it feels to live a divided life. Inwardly, we experience one imperative for our lives, but outwardly we respond to quite another. This is the human condition of course – our inner and outer worlds are never in perfect harmony. But there are extremes of dividedness that become intolerable when one can no longer live without bringing ones’s actions into harmony with one’s inner life. When that happens inside of one person, then another, and another and another in relation to a significant social issue, a movement may be conceived.

The condition to be overcome by living divided no more has a specific etiology. We inhabit institutional settings, including school and work and civic society, because they harbour opportunities that we value. But the claims those institutions make on us are sometimes at odds with our hearts – for example the demand for loyalty to the corporation, right or wrong, versus the inward imperative to speak truth. That tension can be creative up to a point. It becomes pathological when the heart becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the organisation, when we internalise organisational logic and allow it to overwhelm the logic of our own lives.

To live divided no more is to find a new centre for one’s life, a centre external to the institution and its demands. This does not mean leaving the institution physically; one may stay at one’s post. But it does mean taking one’s spiritual leave. One finds solid ground on which to stand outside the institution – the ground of one’s own being – and from that ground is better able to resist the deformations that occur when organisational values become the landscape of one’s inner life.

Parker Palmer – The Courage to Teach

Photo by Anthony Intraversato on Unsplash