Tikkun Magazine, Winter 2011

Nineteen Ways to Heal and Transform the World

by Matthew Fox

1. Fall in love with creation. This is possible even if you're not in love with what humans do with creation. Keep practicing this love. Study nature and its evolutionary unfolding, and reflect on humans' place in the sacred story of creation's development. Make yourself vulnerable to animals and plants, stones and mountains, trees, waters, and sky.

2. Let this love affair dictate your responses to human history, which is shaped by the choices we make as communities, nations, tribes, religions, professions, and citizens. In other words, speak out and act out when what you cherish -- namely creation and its rules of justice and love -- is in jeopardy.

3. Do whatever spiritual practices develop your heart-strength so that fear never penetrates your heart or your ultimate decision-making. These practices may range from chanting to dancing, from drumming to studying, from reading scriptures to reading the mystics, from silence and solitude to group rituals that are alive, challenging, and joyful.

4. Be suspect of all institutions and those who wage power in their name. Question and learn the truth and speak that truth to power in whatever forms it needs to hear and listen. Be creative and imaginative like the prophets were (and are)!

5. Learn from those who suffer differently from you or who are different from you -- and go out of your way to meet them.

6. Live your life with as much integrity as possible given that we live, as a rule in this time in history, in toxic economic, political, media, educational, and religious environments.

7. Dare to love. Dare to fail. Dare to experiment. Dare to be happy. Dare to pray. Admire those who live lives of daring and show us the way.

8. Let love and justice be the bottom line in all your decision-making.

9. Question greed and other dangerous addictions. Question how they spill out into policies and laws and relationships that entrap the human spirit.

10. Don't criticize others without criticizing yourself.

11. Laugh a lot.

12. Seek out beauty wherever you can find it.

13. Prefer wisdom to knowledge and the truth to popularity. Study and develop critical thinking and an intellectual life. Love ideas and respect their power for good or ill.

14. Don't be afraid of solitude and silence, and question those who are.

15. Honor friendships but expect betrayals. Don't let a broken heart deter you from loving anew.

16. Reject boredom. Embrace awe and wonder.

17. Find ways to grieve and assist others to do so. Otherwise we carry a heavy burden of anger locked up inside of us, and our creativity cannot flow.

18. Dig deeply into your own soul to bring your creativity forward with all its uniqueness and bestow your deep gifts generously onto the community.

19. Above all, praise! ("Praise precedes faith," says Rabbi Abraham Heschel.) And drink in the wellsprings of gratitude and reverence that praise sets flowing.

Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian, the author of Original Blessing, A Spirituality Named Compassion, and The Hidden Spirituality of Men, and founder of YELLAWE, an alternative education experience for inner city youth.

His articles in Tikkun include "Michael Fox on Education," January/February 2009; "The Divinity of Christmas," November/December 2003; and "Hope, Yes; Optimism, No," January/February 2000.

Source Citation: Fox, Matthew. 2011. Nineteen Ways to Heal and Transform the World. Tikkun 26(1): 39

tags: Activism, Spirituality  
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