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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
Purpose and background

As we go forth for the healing of our world, there are forces and institutions which we will and must challenge. The men and women who serve these structures will appear as our opponents. Here is a formal group practice which helps to free us from fear and illwill toward such persons, and to ground us in an all-embracing compassion.

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh encourages his students to express their respect, gratitude, and goodwill by the act of bowing. Because some Westerners are uncomfortable with notion of bowing, he calls it "Touching the Earth"--for their elders and teachers, the Buddha Dharma and the spiritual community, their original faith traditions, their ancestors, their homeplace on the planet. 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. 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"--putting knees, hands, and then head to the floor. Ten paragraphs, ten bows. Some may prefer to do a full prostration; others may choose to abstain from the practice and just listen from the sidelines. Be sure they feel comfortable in doing so. Maintain a slow, unhurried pace throughout.

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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.

Workshop Adaptation

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