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The Uncovering of Reality

In a very useful sense, RC, the theory and practice of it, is an uncovering of reality. We have been looking at it from this viewpoint for a couple of years now and the approach has been valuable and productive.

There is a reality to the universe, a very complex, growing and changing reality. It is essentially a very good reality. There are downward trends in the universe but they are familiar and supportive, they are not evil or threatening. That this year’s annual flowers die and sometimes are composted and provide soil for next year’s flowers is not really bad or threatening although we tend to feel it is so because we identify it with certain distresses that creep in.

There is an upward trend in the universe, one of continual growth in complexity and integration, of which human intelligence is the leading edge. Human beings and, in particular, human intelligence, and undoubtedly, eventually some other intelligences that we will help to foster on this planet, and other intelligences that probably already exist and will be meeting us from other planets in other parts of the galaxy, are the finest levels of this upward trend.

Human intelligence is a function of certain entities, human beings, that become more and more independent, more and more in charge, more and more benign and able and aware. Because of the pressures of distress patterns on us, we tend to lose track of this. It helps to just stop every so often and take a look at how fortunate we are to be alive.

Each of us is a particular clump of matter, energy, space and time. Our clump was fortunate enough to get organized in such a way that it has some independence, it is mobile, and can move around and interact in the environment instead of being at the mercy of random forces.

We not only have had the chance to be alive, we have had the chance to be intelligent, the opportunity to think, to make free choices, to use our free will. We can determine our future to a great extent. We can decide what we do. We not only have had the chance to be intelligent, we have had the chance to be intelligent for a long time. I realized years ago that, “It is better to be alive, if only for one instant, and that instant spent in agony, than never to be alive at all.” That is really true although pain and painful emotion can obscure this for us at times.

We have had a chance to be alive and intelligent for a long time. We are one of the longest-lived creatures of all the living things that we have any knowledge of. We have the opportunity to acquire tremendous amounts of information that has been accumulated by other members of our (until now) mortal species, so that, in a sense, we have immortal memories. We have expectations, though we have not yet achieved them, of physical immortality. We are speculating that we will achieve this some day soon.

We have the opportunity to be aware which is even more delightful than just being intelligent. We are able to notice what is going on, to think about each situation with some awareness, to be, in a sense, outside of the process at the same time that we are conducting it.

We enjoy this marvelous boon as our natural inherent birthright. It is a result of the upward trend, this tremendous process in the universe, a process that has been operating over billions of years. We are finely tuned to the environment that gave us birth. We have spent three and a half billion years being modified through the processes of natural selection and random selection (there is a little argument currently about which operates most) finally becoming the inheritors of all the achievements of this tremendous process. We have been well-prepared to be the benign, aware custodians of this huge universe, and of this lovely planet which gave us birth.

Reality is so good, excellently suited to our nature and to our function.

But apparently inevitably—at least it certainly happened in our case, and we currently regard the past as inevitable—our finest functions have been vulnerable to the phenomenon of painful-emotion-and-pain distress patterns, crunching them and leaving them stuck in a rigid setback to a lower level of functioning which is uncomfortable, miserable, destructive, and confusing.

We have become even more vulnerable in our efforts to master the environment. We have organized societies which involve oppression. Maybe they were inevitable. We certainly plan on not reproducing them on any new planet that we colonize. We are smarter than that now, but we organized societies in which the great majority of people gave up their freedom and large parts of their humanness in order that a small minority could have the leisure to acquire enough information, could master the environment well enough that larger numbers of people could survive.

These societies have certainly done that. As bad as oppressive societies have been, they have allowed numbers of the population to grow past the critical point.

More people lived to maturity as slaves than did as free hunters and food gatherers, so in that sense the bargain with oppression perhaps was justified. There is no longer much danger of our species being wiped out except by our own foolishness.

In that sense a battle was won, however crudely, but in the process we became even more vulnerable to this phenomenon of distress patterns shoving us back, to the semi-deliberate imposition of distress by the societies to socialize people to fit their roles in the oppression. People have been hurt terribly in order to condition them to submit to slavery or serfdom or working-class conditions; or, in smaller numbers they were hurt terribly in order to condition them to be slave-owners and overseers and feudal barons and knights and deputy sheriffs, and foremen and superintendents and owners of conglomerate international corporations.

In each case, the oppressor as well as the oppressed, people were conditioned by the society, were hurt in order to carry out these rigid sub-human roles.

So we have this great spread of pseudo-reality covering and hiding reality for most of us most of the time. This false reality, these great, grey slabby sheets of gucky gluck obscure the real reality.

In a sense the development of Re-evaluation Counseling, both the theory and practice, has been the uncovering of the bright reality underneath this grey globby gluck that we were told was reality.

The first insight came when the pseudo-reality which I “knew and accepted,” that if someone was crying they must be stopped from crying in order to help them, somehow got pierced by the fortunate persistence of my first client, who insisted on going back to crying no matter what else he and I tried to have him do.

We got this first great glimpse of reality in this area, that it is better to allow people to cry when they cry, that that is more helpful than stopping them. That was all there was for a while. Then we got a little wider glimpse. We realized that it is possible to start them over and help them cry thoroughly instead of just sighing with relief when they quit.

For a long while we accepted as reality that people are strangely different from each other. We worked very hard on these first insights that we had, these beginning insights about crying, these little gleams of reality, but we accepted for a long time as reality that people are different from each other in peculiar ways. It took several years before we began to realize that this was pseudo-reality, that people are not different from each other in peculiar ways. They are different from each other only in interesting and creative ways. We began to see that the peculiar differences that we assumed were people were actually chronic patterns. They were not part of the person.

This reclaiming of reality continues. In essence, RC is the uncovering of this reality. In particular, not restricted to it, but in particular, it is the recovering of the reality of our own human natures and our own inherent relationships. The process that we call teaching RC can be well understood in terms of pulling the globby grey distorting covering off the beautiful art work of the universe.

There is an old story. Many of you have heard it. If it is not true, at least it pops up over and over.

There is a temple in Bangkok where a great plaster statue of Buddha was damaged by an earthquake so that there was a crack in it. Repair crews came to repair the plaster and repaint the statue. They had to dig deeply in the plaster in order to make the repairs. As they did so they struck a harder substance and investigated. Underneath the plaster was a statue of solid gold. It had been covered with plaster hundreds of years ago during an invasion to foil the invaders of that day from capturing it, and, forgotten, it had persisted all that time.

In a sense we are ripping the broken plaster off ourselves and each other to get down to the golden persons that we are underneath. We are also uncovering the golden reality of the universe.

Once we have gotten involved in this process, have participated in it, we become excited at the reality that we are discovering, because it accords with and matches our private intuitions. All of you have heard people in your classes and lectures tell you, over and over again, after they listen to some RC theory, “Well, that is what I always thought, but I never heard anyone say it before.” Our great strength in communicating these discoveries is that they accord to people’s own inner intuitive feelings of the way things ought to be and the way we thought they were when we were born.

We have been such effective RC teachers because we haven’t had to tell people anything new, really. We just told them that their secretly cherished beliefs about reality were right all the time. This is why they learned so rapidly under so many conditions.

Though our own anxiety sometimes leads us to feel that our growth is not rapid, it is very rapid. Imagine, this many RC teachers in the Southeast U.S. . . . imagine. Remember the first workshop down here? We are growing at tremendous speed and it is accelerating all the time. Nine years ago RC left the confines of Seattle. Those of you who were at the World Conference in July remember that we could hardly get down to business because it was so thrilling to see people from 38 nations and 100 cultures agree on one program.

What we are about is communicating and re-communicating this reality. We are reassuring each person that their cherished, though often occluded, concept of the world and what they are like, and what things between them and other people should be like, and the way things can be, is accurate.

We are still shouldering grave loads of distress still invisible to us. You all know this thrilling moment of insight when in the middle of discharge in a session your mental vision clears suddenly and before the chronic pattern can quite get back into camouflage you get a glimpse of the ugly monster. You realize that you have been packing that thing around like it belonged to you. That wonderful moment of insight!

We still carry around haystacks of distress that we tolerate and support. Essentially this is the only weapon of the pattern—to deceive us into tolerating and supporting it. If we personify this chronic pattern as a demon that inhabits us, as an “old man of the sea” that rides on our back, this parasite persists simply by deceiving us, by the addictive phenomenon of luring us toward a repetition of hurt. The pattern tells us that it is good to carry the burden, that it is familiar, that it is restful to “shut down,” that we need a vacation from intelligent effort, that we just have to rest (dramatize) a minute. This addictive message is the only hold the pattern has on us.

We have learned to set up directions and commitments for going against that, for starving the pattern to death, the way Hercules treated Antaeus. The mythical Greek demi-god Antaeus doubled his strength every time he touched his mother Earth. The pattern is reinforced every time it gets rehearsed. So we use Hercules’ method. We contradict the pattern and hold it up away from the source of its strength. We refuse to allow it to be dramatized and rehearsed and it fades and loses its strength. We hold directions against the lure of the pattern. One of our greatest difficulties is the timidity which has been installed on us. One of the great lies that has been told us is that “we can’t do anything about it.” That we must submit to intimidation is probably, in a sense, the greatest lie laid upon us, the lie that we don’t have any power. It took a great deal of mistreatment to make this stick. A child has to be whacked down thousands of times before he or she agrees to become a timid adult. The powerful child has to be terribly mistreated before he or she agrees to grow up into a powerless adult.

We are often timid about our communication of our insights about reality. Sometimes it makes sense to be cautious. There is no use asking a person to feel all her or his fear all at once without some theoretical understanding first. They will look at you like you are a threat and back off because at that point they can’t tell the feeling of the fear that is contradicted from actual danger. It feels to them like you are threatening their life now instead of pointing them in a direction that will allow them to feel and discharge all their old fears.

Over a long period of time such timidity works against us. There is a real point to the agreements not to be timid that we make with each other. This is part of our regaining our power, the agreements to remind each other of what we tend to forget alone, the agreement to remember that your fear is not my fear. I don’t have to identify with your fear, so that it is possible for me to stand outside your fear and scorn your fear and give you the encouraging impression that you can scorn it, too. That lights the fire and the discharge starts.

It is important in our relationships with each other that we intensely remind each other of reality, that we make commitments to act as if we were already sure that things are all right, that all is well, all is really well. It is true, of course; but it takes a little persistence to enunciate that confidently while the grey, gluggy pseudo-reality is still dripping down our faces and before we can clearly see the bright colors of reality through it. It takes a little persistence and it takes agreements between us to act as if we always remember that all is well. To remember that the universe is benign. That we are admirably fitted for our role of benevolent custodians of the universe. That within every hostile pattern is a friendly ally begging and yearning to be released by the right word. That there is no situation ever in which we don’t have allies available to us.

It is good to remind each other continually of our power; that one person alone reclaiming her power is quite sufficient to guarantee the future of the world. That everyone of us in this meeting, even if quite alone, is quite capable of seeing that everything works out all right. That the omnipresent feeling that “one person alone can’t do anything” is grey, blobby pseudo-reality. That the truth is that anything that ever happened in the world that made much difference, that is regarded as great or significant, all started with one person making up his or her mind that things were going to change.

Of course support is needed, but support is forthcoming, can be successfully asked for. In any situation one person alone is quite enough to determine how that situation will turn out. It is very hard to find evidence of this in the oppressive culture, but there are little glimpses of this. They appear mostly as jokes. The nine-and-a-half-foot lady grizzly bear riddle was one of the first cultural insights we could find into the reality of our power. Everybody who heard that riddle for the first time, for just a moment, remembered.

There is a story about a West Texas frontier town where there was a riot, and the sheriff barricaded himself in the office and wired to the Texas Rangers to send a company of Rangers. He managed to sneak out and meet the train and one small, meek-looking gentleman got off. The sheriff said, “Where is the company of Texas Rangers?” The man said, “I am a Texas Ranger.” “Good God, man! You mean they sent one man to deal with this riot?” And the Ranger said, “There is only one riot, isn’t there?”

We find little tiny glimpses of this reality in the culture, but mostly the loud speakers of oppression blare at us, “You are helpless,” “You can’t do anything,” It is no use,” “Give up, have another beer.” Yet the reality is always there waiting to be tapped.

This is what we communicate in teaching RC. How do we teach it? Thousands of ways. Any person, and this includes anyone in RC, whenever they are in contact with another human being, is teaching something. They are teaching by example if not by exhortation. Other people are continually getting some kind of message from you whenever you are in sight or earshot of them. Teaching RC essentially is teaching that we don’t have to live in and accept this pseudo-reality mess, that we can be ourselves and reclaim our superb, real functioning that we evolved to.

If we are not teaching RC, then what are we teaching?

If we are not teaching “RC” then we are undoubtedly teaching something quite negative, usually our chronic patterns. So the familiar song of the pattern that says you’ve got to take a rest from all this effort of teaching RC is the addiction. It sings that, “If you let down, you can be one of the girls, and it will be restful;” but if you agree and give in you shut down into fog.

We are teaching all the time and, in general, the more we face this responsibility, the more we try to act like our real selves all the time, the better our lives become and the more impressive we are.

What are people short on? They are short on confidence, aren’t they? Where are they going to learn confidence? Well, all of us came equipped with a full store of it but most of us, battered with distress when very young, have put it down in the third sub-basement where we decided to keep it out of sight until the situation is favorable. Since the appearance of confidence is what is needed to make the situation more favorable, we need to go against some of our fears, take out a few boxes of our confidence, spread it around in the open air.

If you act confident, is it necessary that you feel confident first? Is it necessary to feel confident in order to act confident? No. Not at all. Who said you have to feel confident in order to act confident? The pattern did. “But I can’t act like that. (whiny) ” Well, try it. Sure, it will feel “funny.” If you hold the direction for as long as five minutes, you will begin to shake. This fear that you’ve wished you could get at is leaving. At that moment, of course, you feel that you’d like to try to get away from it, but you don’t, because you promised to hold your direction.

I hear a number of people here say that they don’t know how to attract people or keep them in RC. I think I heard them say, almost every one of them, that they pursue these people and do everything they can think of to interest them but they don’t reach them. Anxious pursuit is not exactly the model people are looking for. If you are so insecure you’ve got to clutch at somebody else, how are they going to get started feeling confident? People will make first judgments about RC by watching to see how it’s working for you, its advocate, rather than by what you say.

To begin this discussion I would like to suggest that we make a commitment to ourselves and the Great Spirit of the Universe that we at all times act delighted with our situations, with ourselves, with the fact that there are always some problems still to be solved so we won’t get bored, and as if our lives were sublimely satisfying. Which, of course, they are. Now, all of us may have to peel off a little distress now and then. Blows do fall in, you know, but at this point I think everyone here is enough of a theoretician to remember that, underneath the blah pseudo-reality, things are sublimely pleasant.

Isn’t it great to be alive? If you are delighted with yourself, is this going to repel people and drive them away? First of all, is it good for you to act delighted with yourself? Well, it contradicts almost all of your distresses, doesn’t it? Every joke on television will seem three times as funny, you’ll laugh at it much longer. Sentimental stories or songs will bring more tears, and discharge will leak out in every possible way if you persist in acting delighted with yourself.

Is it good for attracting people? Sure. They don’t usually come up to you and say, “I am attracted to you.” Sometimes they do and those are rare, golden moments. We are all theoreticians enough, however, to know that the way a person generally is able to hold out his or her pattern for melting is to hit you over the head with it. So instead of saying, “Tell me how you can be so delighted with yourself?” they say, “What are you so goddamned smug about?” Is this any reason for you to become unconfident? They took your bait. They fell into your trap. That is exactly what it means. Of course, it was a benign trap and it was the one they wanted to fall into.

They will, in most cases, although not always, hold out and rehearse their pattern as an indication that, “I am ready to join the fellowship if you really have that much confidence.” Instead of saying, “Help me,” they say, “Here’s my distress. Here’s the way the pattern works.” BANG!! All you have to do is remain delighted with yourself and (you know what happens) they get more and more upset. As they work deeper into the trap you expand your functioning a little bit. You become delighted with them. (Of course, you know this. Many of you have people standing around you out there berating themselves, “I am not any good, I am evil!” You smile warmly at them. Sometimes they hit you and run away, but they are back the next day to restart the “fight.”)

If we get our heads outside the fog enough there is really no difficulty in extending the area of our safety by recruiting. You can have just as large a community as you want. Now, there is a general principle that if you have a rational goal, and I think we would have to agree that building an island of safety around yourself is a rational goal, then the application of your intelligence and confidence and effort is bound to succeed. If it doesn’t seem to be succeeding, there is a simple reason why it isn’t.

If you are pursuing a rational goal such as expanding an RC Community, or whatever your goal is, and you are not succeeding, you can be quite sure that your policy is not quite correct enough. It is just that simple. Just that simple. If, after some sustained effort, and checking to be sure you are not getting discouraged when things are really working (you have to analyze the situation), and it really isn’t working; if you have been by yourself and you have taught ten people RC and they have all left and you are alone again, then your policy isn’t quite correct enough. That is all there is to it. All you have to do is correct the policy a little bit.

How do you correct your policy? Well, you have a session, and if no one else will listen to you, call me collect and I will listen, and you talk out loud. A good listener is a good place to start. Then have a discussion group and then provoke a fierce argument, but in that order and not the other way. You have a session. Ask yourself, “What possible modification could I make in what I am doing?” Just ask this question over and over about 150 times and your policy will improve. It may not feel like anything has changed but things will get better. It is just that simple. If things aren’t working, your policy isn’t quite correct enough. You need to draw back, think about it and try again. It will work. That is all there is to it. It always has worked. There is no time in the history of the RC Communities when anyone remembered to do that that they didn’t succeed. Now, when things aren’t working we, of course, tend to say, “I am already doing everything I can.” Try to remember that you are within the clutch of a particular batch of grey, globby glug, the pseudo-reality that envelopes us. Remember that one of the familiar patterns is usually saying desperately, “It should work.” Yet reality is shining through the fog trying to tell us that it doesn’t work, that it isn’t working. I worked with a joiner many years ago who turned to me once and said, “I have cut it off six times and it is still too short!” When we find ourselves doing it over again the twentieth time and it still doesn’t work, we need to remember to improve our policy. Try to remember yourself and remind each other.

Keep an eye out for each other. It is part of reality that even where the patterns intrude and take over that word from the outside can be enormously helpful. Alone, individually, there is, in a sense, at least until we know theory well, not much we can do. It is very difficult for a person to individually change, alone, in the middle of distress.

We used to say that one person alone is helpless with their distress but it turns out that, having assimilated enough theory, that’s no longer true. It is possible to sit down alone with pencil and paper and ask, “What is wrong? What am I doing out of habit or pattern in this situation? What would be the exact opposite of what I have been doing in this situation? Aha! That is ridiculous but I will try it.” We can then jiggle the situation. It is possible to stand up and look into the mirror and do the complete appreciation of oneself until something shifts. Once we have assimilated a lot of theory, we are no longer completely helpless.


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00