Convinced that people lack inner guidance and wishing to “help” them, we feel obliged to tell others what we think they need to know and how we think they ought to live. Countless disasters originate here[.] ~ Parker J. Palmer. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life (p. 52). Kindle Edition.
“A circle of trust…has no agenda except to help people listen to their own souls and discern their own truth.” ~ ibid, p. 53.
The author of this book, Parker Palmer, is (among other things) the founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage and Renewal. He is also a member of the Religious Society of Friends, and his Quaker respect for the importance of silence, and a preference for listening and not talking, are clear in most of his writings. In A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, Palmer examines the causes of the widespread feeling of isolation and fragmentation that seems endemic in modern life (at least, in Western cultures), and suggests a way to overcome it.
In case my Jewish/Buddhist/Islamic (or passionately secular) friends think I’ve completely gone over to the Dark Side, I just finished Chapter IV, and the book has not been relentlessly Christian so far. While Palmer does use the word “soul” occasionally, he is as likely to use other terms (inner teacher, true self, etc.) to describe what I’ve always called my “inner compass,” the part of my being that lets me know whether I’m going in the right direction with my life.
I’m interested to see where he’s going in this book, and how he’ll get there. I’ve also put a couple of his other books on my To Read list.