We can begin to change the world.


“For me the shift is away from the idea of love as a feeling to the sense of love as an action, love as something that I have to do rather than something that I could get by with just feeling. I had to be transformed in my actions towards others and the world.”
- bell hooks

I thought I was going to sit down today to write about the dangers of granting autocratic power of endless war, and the implications of unannounced police invasion of people’s homes and what this means to me as a magical practitioner, citizen, and member of the cosmos…

But before I could get up on my high horse and ride, this message came through: “Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Call back your energy. Continue with prayer, with practice, with opening to knowledge.” It was one of those that I clearly needed to post, because someone out there needed to read it. So I did. Within seconds, the responses began on Facebook and the message was resent on Twitter. Right. What does this tell me?

This tells me that it is a good thing that, despite a head cold, I did some yoga, breath and energy practice, soul alignment and centering this morning, because this arranged a field of stillness and silence within me, despite the ongoing troubles in government and the world. It tells me that listening is the precursor to right speech. Always. Now, my rational brain wants me to strike out that “always” word because surely sometimes the right words come off the top of one’s head, in the heat of the moment, on the fly. Then I put the word back, and am reminded that when the right words come in those situations it is because listening is happening in an even deeper form: there is connection between you and the other person, there is a conduit from your God Soul to your mouth, something bypasses the need to carefully craft words because your energy field has been present, listening, and now you can simply speak.

While riding public transit Saturday, en route to an appointment after sitting zazen for two hours with my Buddhist brother and his cohort, I sat next to a man on his way to work. We began one of those random conversations that sometimes happen with strangers. At one point he said, “The world will be safer now that bin Laden is dead.” Fresh from three rounds on the cushion, I was able to immediately reply, “Until humans change ourselves, someone else will always arise.” Listening and presence. Presence and listening. The power of silence within me was able to speak. To connect.

So in a strange way, in these times in which so many of us are troubled – out of work, struggling, bereft, angry, heartsore, tired – the message that came through this morning was exactly the right response even to the things I wanted to write about. The topics of endless war on terror with the rights of a sovereign monarch to be given to an elected official, and the rights of police to enter your home with no cause but their own decision, all can be faced somehow. We face them first from forgiveness: we all know what it is like to feel impotent in the face of injustice, and we also know what it is like to feel fear. Next comes the calling back of our energy: as long as we give so much over to worry, to rage, to circular talking about world’s ills or governmental transgression, we don’t have the proper energy left to act when necessary, and to create the beauty needed by our souls. Then comes prayer, practice, and opening to knowledge. These help us to grow into our best selves. They offer us aid from our altars, our meditations, and our Gods. We will not simply think, awash in a sea of information, but we will deepen and come to know. We will connect to each other in ways that are just right, finding effective action and speech rising naturally from the core of our beings.

We can offer each other hope. Hope starts with stillness, then connection, and then moves to speech or action. I wish to remember that ordering of things which brings me back to a place where love can become like a radiant sun. We do not have to court disconnection, we can court that radiance instead. We can be of help to ourselves and to each other. We can begin to change the world.

5 Responses to “We can begin to change the world.”

  1. Kirsta

    I have been saying for years that I want to live my life as a manifestation of love. I sometimes forget that need to simply breathe, to be in the love that is the universe. Without that connection – without remembering that connection – it is all too easy to just react, to assume that a policy or a movement or an action is synonymous with the soul of the person we see. This reminder to live from compassion, from love, from forgiveness is something I think the world needs.

    Again – thank you.

  2. Thorn


    it can be difficult work, and takes strength! Being reactionary, is, as you say, easier. Let’s learn to act instead.

    blessings – T>

  3. Jesi

    Thorn, I have been feeling exactly “Out of work, struggling, bereft, angry, heartsore, tired” and have been overwhelmed with it all. Wondering how to go about making a difference just in my circumstances, let alone within the world, when I experience all of the above feelings. I was doing some reading for a Women’s Studies class and learned about this amazing woman, Wangari Maathai. Her words are truly an inspiration!
    Her simple message to “Do the best that you can” coupled with your message of forgiveness should go hand in hand. In order to do the best I can, I need to forgive myself for dwelling on the things that take my energy, and forgive the others who have allowed the spiral of the erosion of civil liberties, the nightmarish economy, and the degradation of other cultures and the Earth we live on, call that energy back from all of that, and to gather up and direct my energies to do the best I can. Blessings, Thorn, to you, to Wangari, and all those who show us how to create change and live our lives “The best that we can.”

  4. Rick Loftus, M.D.

    Hi Thorn. Inspirational post, thank you.

    In preparation for California Witchcamp, whose myth will be the story of Isis this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Eliphas Levi’s writings on the powers of the Sphinx, visited so often by Thelemic writers: To Know; To Will; To Dare; and To Keep Silent.

    The latter directive, “to keep silent,” often is interpreted as meaning the virtue of Prudence. (The third and oft-forgotten slogan at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, “Pledge and mischief is nigh,” is similarly interpreted, and the Taoist virtue Bugan wei tianxia xian touches on the same idea–basically, be careful about speaking up and making oaths, as it can get you into trouble. “Don’t be hasty.”)

    But I think the power in Keeping Silent is exactly as you lay it out: In Stillness we can hear the Sacred Dove. And I’ve come to the conclusion that although “To Keep Silent” is always the last power mentioned, it absolutely is the first power to master–only after we relax into Silence can we then Listen, and that’s where Knowing has its roots. All the other powers/virtues flow from that.

  5. Thorn

    Jesi, thanks for that link! And blessings on this time of transition – may energy open for you.

    Rick, I’ve been doing a lot of writing on the 4 Powers lately! They spiral one into the other, building upon each other, or so it seems to me. And thanks for pointing to Prudence… I’ll meditate on that.


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