The Great Divide

I am interested in the divided life and the movement in becoming divided no more. Which something one becomes for all time. It is a decision we make a remake throughout our lives.

We are born with the seed of true self that contains the spiritual DNA of our uniqueness. An encoded both right knowledge of who we are. Why we are here? And, how we are related to others? As we travel the tricky terrain between infancy and young adulthood, still close enough to our origins to be in touch with our inner truth. But aware of the mountain pressures to play a more guarded role out there in the world. True self starts to feel threatened.

The idea of a divided life comes first from my own experience. I am aware in my life I have felt it necessary to build a wall of separation between what was going on inside of me and what I was expressing outside of me.

We live in a world where to let our own identity and integrity reveal itself. We build this wall partly for interior reasons. As we grow older, we work our way through a series of institutions. Especially, schools and the workplace. Where we are actively taught to keep that wall high, wide and thick.

As the outer world makes more demands on us, we stop doing the things that children do to keep close to their souls. Things like daydreaming and play acting. And, the closer we get to adulthood, The more we stifle the imagination of what these things require.


Because imagining other possibilities would remind us of the painful gap, between who we truly are and the role we play, in the so called “real world”. As Thomas Merton once said, “most of us live lives of self-impersonation”.

The problem with this, the self, the true self, not the little ego self, the little selfish self, the true self, as we were meant to be. Wants, itself made know in the world. Ultimately, it is the only gift we have to give.

The soul wants us to be grounded and true. To keep us connected to the community in which we find light. Wants us to tell the truth about ourselves and the world and the relation between the two. It wants to give us life and it wants us to pass that gift along to others.

I really believe that the gift we have to give to each other and to the world, is not first and foremost in the skills we went to school to learn. The trained capacities that we have developed. Those are valuable sure enough. But the selfhood that we can offer each other. The gift of identity and integrity. The gift of presence.

To live a life in which you are not offering that gift. I think somehow, we know intuitively that that kind of life falls short. Of why we are here, who we are meant to be and how we are meant to be.

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28 February 2021

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Parker Palmer

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Reflect and ponder what is your gift of presence?

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