Planet Soul

If we don’t, we won’t create a more harmonious world

Imagine that you are looking to heal spiritually, only to have someone you trust abuse you with unwanted contact. Imagine you belong to a spiritual community, only to have the teacher you revere speak in a language that alienates you. Imagine you are hoping to connect with others on a similar path, only to find that spaces of healing are closed to you.

Spiritual communities have shadows, just as individuals do.

The shadow is the side of ourselves that we reject, loathe, and suppress: Nasty things we’ve done and are often ashamed of; the people we’ve betrayed or abandoned, mocked…

They are easily co-opted by the ego

A call to abandon words? Perhaps I’m being melodramatic. But 5 words have become so commonplace in spiritual writing that I think we ought to pause and look at them with a discerning eye.

Why? They can unwittingly lead their speakers to reinforce their negative egos. Used without care, they operate like trojan horses, carrying within them the seeds of judgment and separation that spirituality is meant to heal.

I don’t mean to cast aspersions at writers who use them; I’ve used some of them myself. Consider this article a call for us all to be a bit more rigorous…

When these happen, you are opening to a deeper undercurrent to life.

You’ve heard the word “awakening” many times, and you may be wondering, Am I experiencing one? Is this a spiritual awakening?

Spiritual awakenings come in many forms. Some are subtle, like the gentle rising as the light grows in intensity outside, chasing away the darkness. Others are dramatic, like a thunderclap, jolting you out of a deep slumber. (I’ve experienced both.)

These are the ways that your soul is trying to pry open your mind so that you can shed certain ways of seeing the world and expand your consciousness. The universe conspires to bring you experiences so that you…

The more you integrate them, the deeper your connection to God.

No list of spiritual principles can, on its own, help you to feel a deeper connection to God. But without spiritual principles, life on the spiritual path can feel like a journey where you’re stumbling around without even so much as a compass, much less a map or a guidebook.

Each of us must make the journey to the divine inside on our own. These are not, then, a fixed set of practices for connecting with your higher self or a higher power. Nor do they provide a normative template for how to behave.

Bereft of prohibition or command, they…

Let’s honor the parts of us for which there are no words.

How often have I stood there, wondering if I am actually seen? By “seen,” I do not mean whether your eyes register that I stand before you or next to you, as a fellow human being. I mean, Do you really see who I am? Even there, the word see fails me.

That is, indeed, what language does all the time — it fails. It does not fully capture what we are trying to express. It misses the mark.

This failure happens most frequently when we use words to say who we are and what our identity is. We use…

Black History Month

We are on the cusp of a historical and political shift.

The morning after the Senate run-off in Georgia, when it was clear that the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff had won their respective races, a thought flashed through my mind: Now is the time for reparations.

Perhaps for the first time, with the public’s consciousness around race galvanized by the Black Lives Matter movement, a government led by Democrats could conceivably pass H.R. 40, the bill advanced for decades to commission a study on reparations for African Americans. …

It offers a deeper path to wholeness

I was on Kauai, the Garden Island, on retreat with my teacher. We were working on my heart chakra, to release an intense fear of persecution from a past life in which I had been betrayed by my community. Suddenly, a massive swelling of fear erupted between my second and third chakras and plopped out. The relief was instantaneous.

Some months later, just outside Sedona, surrounded by miles of desert, I screamed at God at the top of my lungs, “Why do you keep sending me back?” The day before, a shamanic practitioner had performed a soul journeying ceremony with…

It’s the spiritually mature approach to the problems we face as a society.

One of the most common responses to many of the world’s problems is to say that it’s not yours to solve.

That response might take the form of “my ancestors didn’t own slaves, I didn’t participate in slavery, I’m not racist, etc.” and therefore, “this isn’t my problem to solve, I’m not part of the problem, so no I don’t have white privilege and shouldn’t pay for reparations with my tax dollars.”

Another version goes something like, “I am not responsible for all the plastic in the ocean, and I didn’t produce all the methane that’s heating the planet, and…

My body and Mother Nature said it was time for balance.

For a long stretch of time, when people asked me about my diet, I said that I was vegan. It was shorthand so that I could avoid a lengthy explanation of my views on food, animal welfare, labeling, etc.

It was more accurate to say that I was vegan-ish. I went so far as to eliminate all animal products except eggs, which I would eat fairly regularly, although for stretches of time I would eat a completely vegan diet. The only eggs I ate, though, were eggs labeled Animal Welfare Approved or Certified Humane; your average cage-free egg was off-limits.

The answer might make you uncomfortable, and that’s the point.

What if I told you that there was a single quality that would improve your life immensely?

What if I told you that the quality was learnable?

What if I told you that this quality applied to almost every facet of your life?

Before I go further, here are two episodes that demonstrate the power of this quality:

It was 1992, and I sat in my Women’s Studies class at Washington University many years ago, in a small group exercise. We were discussing a text that talked about feminism and lesbianism. One member of our 4-person group said to the…

Patrick Paul Garlinger

Former professor-lawyer turned channel for divine wisdom. On a short break from Medium to finish a book. Check out my other books here:

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