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Going Forth

"Corbett," A Going Forth exercise

Going Forth

Sit together in groups of four.

During a couple minutes of silence, each person allows something to come to mind that they want to do for the Great Turning. If several possibilities arise, choose just one.

Decide who will be Person A. The first round begins as Person A shares what they desire to contribute to the Great Turning. (2 minutes) The other participants listen attentively without comment.

The others in each group now have opportunities to respond, one by one, to A’s offering, while everyone else listens without comment. First, the person on A’s left speaks as the voice of Doubt, stating reasons why A may not accomplish their intention. (2 minutes).

Next, the person across the circle responds as an Ancestor, sharing the feelings and thoughts that arise upon hearing what Person A will be offering to the Great Turning. (2 minutes)

Now, the person on A’s right responds as a Future Being, sharing the feelings and thoughts that arise upon hearing how person A will be participating in the Great Turning. (2 minutes)

Finally, person A has an opportunity to reflect aloud on what they’ve heard, inviting verbal response from others in the group if they wish. (2 minutes)

The role of Person A moves around the circle, with the same sequence of responses.

Upon completion of the 4th round, allow a few minutes for circle members to share with each other.

- Paula Hendrick


Bowing to our Adversaries

Going Forth

Touching the Earth for Our Adversaries

As we go forth in the Great Turning, there are systems and institutions that we will and must challenge. The men and women who serve these structures may appear as our opponents, but they are likely in bondage to our true opponents: organized forms of greed, hatred, and delusion.  Here is a practice that helps to free us from fear and ill will toward such people.

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh encourages his students to express their respect, gratitude, and goodwill by the act of bowing– to their elders and teachers, the Buddha Dharma and the spiritual community, their original faith traditions, their ancestors, their home place on the planet. Because some Westerners are uncomfortable with notion of bowing, he calls it “Touching the Earth.  This particular practice for honoring our adversaries was composed by an ordained senior member of his Order of Interbeing, Caitriona Reed.


Everyone stands with enough room in front of them to kneel and touch the ground with hands and forehead. Or if they prefer, people can simply bow from the waist.  If there is an altar or emblem, like an Earth flag, they can be facing it. The guide reads the text aloud, pausing after each paragraph, at which point everyone (guide included) “touches the Earth.” Let each bow be marked by a bell or gong.  Maintain a slow, unhurried pace throughout.

We begin by bowing to the Earth, in gratitude for life itself.  Then we bow to the ancestors and teachers we revere, and, after that, to all our companions in the Great Turning.  Now the bows to our adversaries begin.

You, who destroy the natural world for profit, you show me how much I respect and honor our planet home and fellow beings. So I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

You bring forth in me the love I feel for this life-bearing land—its soil, air and waters—and for the community that rises in its defense.  Because of the strength with which I resist your actions, I learn how strong my love really is. I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

Because the pain I feel when I witness the pain of the world is no less than your pain–you, who perpetuate destruction and cut yourselves off from the web of life—I bow to you in compassion and touch the Earth.

Because the pain of greed, alienation and fear is no less than the pain of sorrow for what is lost, I bow to you in compassion and touch the Earth.

For the power of my anger, arising from love for the beauty and integrity of all life-forms, and for the bright energy of my passion for justice, I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

Because we all want to be happy, to feel intact and part of a single whole, for that shared longing, I bow to you in compassion and touch the Earth.

Because your actions challenge me to see the limits to my own understanding, they help me detach from my view as the only correct one.  I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

You who teach me that the mind is a miracle, capable of manifesting as love, as greed, as fear, as clarity or delusion—you who show me what I myself am capable of when I am governed by fear and greed—O great awesome teachers, I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

With the understanding of our mutual belonging in the web of life, and with love in my heart, I bow to you and touch the Earth.


The Clearness Committee

Going Forth
Traditional Quaker Method

The Clearness Committee was developed by Quakers for the purpose of seeking clarity in important decision-making, as when considering marriage. This method of discernment is based on a two-fold conviction: (1) that each of us has access to inner wisdom; and (2) that this inner wisdom can become clear when a group gives its caring, undivided attention, and offers questions instead of advice.

Traditionally, the seeker or focus person invites five or six trusted individuals (with as much diversity among them as possible) and provides them beforehand a written description of the situation or choices he is facing. The Clearness Committee then meets for about three hours, with the possibility of continuing in a second or third meeting in subsequent weeks. One member agrees to serve as clerk (or facilitator), another as recorder, and everyone serves as prayerful listener and channel for clarifying questions.

The essential and defining feature of the Clearness Committee is this: that after the focus person summarizes the issue, members of the committee assist her by asking questions rather than engaging in problem solving or giving advice. Honest, caring queries, arising out of prayerful silence, help the focus person to see herself and her situation in a new light and unblock her inner wisdom and authority.

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