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Next Steps

A talk by Tim Jackins at the World Conference

I want to remind you of a couple of things this morning. The first is to keep noticing the people around you. Notice how connected you’ve been at this conference. We’ve all put a large amount of time and work into getting connected with each other. These connections are something we’ve gained and will never lose. They are a significant factor in the work we’re undertaking. They will influence all the work we take on, because, in a very full way, we each have allies now.

REMEMBERING WE HAVE ALLIES

We have a room full of allies here. A good part of the time we’re going to be able to remember several of them. That’s different for most of us. Most of us have been able to remember that we should remember, and we’ve gone ahead with that much. That’s as much as we could grasp. But now we have each other more than we had before. We have to remember to use this against our chronic isolation. We’re going to have to stop and notice that we remember. (Don’t think the chronic distresses aren’t going to intrude again, once we leave here.) Every morning we need to remember someone from this group. We need to have somebody’s face in our minds before we start into our battles, simply because it gives us a fuller picture of reality.

Although most of us long for someone to help us in the midst of our distresses, what works well is to realize that we are remembered by someone. We look for the reassurance that some part of reality is aware of us. It’s like small children before they get too scared. They don’t want you to do it for them; they want you to watch. They want you to see and be aware of them and what they can do.

We have each other. We can try to remember that every morning. If you could remember every morning, before you started out, remember that you could look at the people in this group and ask, “Should I do this? Do I have your backing?” and could see them nod at you, those days would be different. It’s possible to remember that every morning.

REMEMBERING TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT OURSELVES

We can be pleased to be ourselves and to be alive. Anything that interferes with this is always distress, and we never need to believe it or even pay any attention to it. We can always put our minds somewhere else than in the midst of that confusion. A number of people have used this idea and done well. Some are still puzzled by it. They try to do it because I said to, which is okay, but it hasn’t yet let them think about it. You really need to think about the possibility of always feeling good about yourself.

We are figuring out even more effective ways to interrupt chronic distresses, and to get a clear enough picture of them that we can interrupt them ourselves without depending too much on outside assistance. We can decide in our own minds, anytime we need to, that we refuse to feel bad anymore in the old familiar ways. We can always think of that, even if it seems distant to us. Our distress recordings continue to affect us until they are completely discharged, but our unaware acceptance of their recorded feelings greatly magnifies their effect on us.

This, too, would be a good practice to establish every morning: taking two minutes to look at yourself in the mirror and see if you could be your best ally. You could talk to yourself in the way you’d like to talk to the people you love. You probably know how it needs to be expressed for you to hear it well. It could be softly and gently—that you are good without question. It could be, “I’ve seen worse.” Maybe it’s yelling at the top of your lungs, “No more of this feeling bad!” We need to remember to interrupt this distress systematically.

Our chronic patterns are ones we often forget that we need to work at interrupting. We forget to help each other, and we forget to push ourselves. That’s the nature of struggles against chronic patterns. Forgetting only indicates how tough the struggles are—it’s not a new excuse to feel bad about ourselves. This forgetting should be noted with amusement. Maybe you could set up a little scorecard on your wall and mark how many times you remember and how many times you don’t, and see how long you have to go before your remembering begins to pull ahead.

PEOPLE ARE EAGER FOR OUR ATTENTION AND OUR KNOWLEDGE

Co-Counseling has been going on for fifty years. Some of you have been doing it for thirty years. We’ve learned a lot, and we’ve reached a lot of people. Most of the people we’ve reached haven’t been able to stay with us. In some ways that’s unfortunate, but it couldn’t have been different. We didn’t know enough to keep everyone with us. We hadn’t developed the resources or the understanding to do it. We still haven’t. We won’t keep everyone with us, but this is shifting. Because of the ways we’ve grown, people are much more interested in us. Taking on activities like United to End Racism and the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, and going out and doing listening projects, have demonstrated that things have shifted far more than we usually notice.

Those of us who went to Durban prepared ourselves to handle attacks. We expected some people to be unhappy with us. What we were bringing was so different from what other groups were bringing; we expected to have to explain it to people and to counsel them until they understood. None of us had to do that. This means it’s we who were confused. We haven’t recognized the capabilities we’ve developed. We haven’t gotten a clear picture of how attractive we, and what we know, has become. People are eager for our attention and our knowledge. As we get rid of our confusion about this, RC ideas start to spread more quickly and widely. It’s already happening. There’s been an acceleration in the last couple of years in making these ideas accessible to people, and that will continue—forever. 

DOING OUR OWN THINKING

Accelerated growth worries me a little (but not very much), because my job is to try to keep track of everything. It’s been important that someone do this. A long time ago my father appointed many of you as Regional Reference Persons because he knew that the RC project was too much for one individual to look after, though he still tried to do it. He did it while we developed. Things got a little stuck here. We waited for his thinking far too often. His thinking was very good, but too often we waited instead of doing our own thinking.

In RC we know that all of us should and can be leaders. We know that we can take our ideas out to everyone around us and further develop those ideas. That’s the job we all have, but we were a little confused. We got used to waiting for someone else to think and didn’t push ourselves to think as fully as we’re capable of—and not just think, but take action, and make the tough decisions that are sure to restimulate many people.

As International Reference Person there are many things I haven’t done that my father used to do. Some people have been unhappy with this. I haven’t been reassuring in the same ways he was. Some of that reassuring I don’t know how to do yet, and some of it I just don’t do. Not doing some of it has had a good effect. It hasn’t been easy on everyone, but it’s had a good effect. People are thinking more actively. I’ve also done some things to push people toward each other, instead of having everyone come to the International Reference Person. So, I’m not very worried. Our growth and development are also your challenge.

We’re going to grow, though not uniformly. It will be different in each Community, and it won’t be steady. We’ll run into confusions, but we’ve understood enough and done enough work that something is shifting. We see ourselves as occupying a bigger place in the world than we used to.

TIMES OF CRISIS, AND GOING PUBLIC WITH RC

The other thing I want to talk about this morning is an old goal, of going public. It’s taken us a few years from when we first adopted this goal to think well about it. We’re at the point now where we have enough experience to consider it fully.

In addition to our understanding the goal well and having some experience carrying it out, events in the world are providing opportunities. As we’ve known and talked about for a long time, we’re in the midst of an oppressive form of society. It’s pushing itself into every corner of the world, and it’s spoiling the lives of everyone. Some people it simply destroys, with no thought or caring, with no consideration for the individual at all. With many people, it makes their lives dismal and grim. It leaves some people confused for their whole lives; they have plenty of material resources but no real human life.

This form of society is grinding forward to where it’s about to destroy itself. It’s taking more and more desperate actions. More and more of its unworkability is out in the open. This scares us. It scares everyone. Our fears about survival get attached to the pretense of security this form of society has offered. We all have these fears; they show in different ways. We all feel like we need something solid to depend on, something static. Of course, the only real possibility for living full lives lies in our being fully aware of and thinking about each other.

When our societies’ cracks are showing, as in the current period, it not only restimulates everyone, it also shows everyone the unworkablity of our societies. Along with the desperation that bubbles up, there’s a hunger to find new solutions. In times of crisis, people are willing to face their distresses in order to find new solutions. This creates all sorts of opportunities for us to communicate. We’re not good at this yet, but we’ve gotten better in the last few years. People who have gone out on listening projects don’t feel the same way about being RCers as they did before.

We can go out and offer our resource. We can go out and simply listen to people and give them a permissive counseling session. We can also go out and let people know that there’s a group that does this and that there’s a place for them in that group. And we can go out and offer our best thinking, which is good thinking, because we’ve had the chance to discharge. This last is what we’ve done the least of so far. A good number of us can go out and listen to others, and some of us can even invite people to learn what we know, but not too many of us have yet dared to put our thinking out to
others.

You think well. In spite of your fears and the negative ways you may feel about yourselves, you think well. On any given day, this group thinks better than any other group. Not every day, but we have the tools to keep improving our thinking. You’ve used these tools of RC for years, you’ve benefited from that, and you think well. You may not have discharged all your fears about your thinking, or your fears about saying your thoughts out loud, and we won’t all agree with each other, but you think well because of the work you’ve done.

Getting our thinking out where other people will hear it will not only help them in their thinking, it will challenge us in ours. Sometimes a thought makes sense to us until we hear it in our own voice. Then, although it’s still a good thought, we can see the hole in it. We see the part we hadn’t quite been able to think through, or a connection we thought was obvious didn’t seem obvious when we said it out loud.

ENCOURAGING THE THINKING OF OTHERS

This is where I want to push us—to where our thinking plays a leading role in encouraging the thoughts of others. That means us saying our thinking out loud, if only to one person. It means us writing down our thoughts and posting them, anonymously if necessary. That would make a difference—just putting one clear thought up where people would see it. There are many different ways to use our thinking to encourage others.

There’s a lot we have to figure out. We can start speaking out now, and look at all the fears in the way. We have fears that people will be unhappy with us, that they will turn away and never come back. We have certain friends we never talk with about particular topics. We need to figure out how to begin those conversations, or begin the conversation that will make those conversations possible. This isn’t desperate. No one needs to ram his or her ideas down another’s throat* next week. But we do want to head toward where we can communicate with everyone, about any important idea.

You do think well. You’ve done decades of work to have this ability, and to have it more reliably available than most people get the chance to. It matters that other people see you use this ability. It matters to them as individuals, because it will encourage them in their own thinking. And it matters in the large project we’re undertaking, in our attempt to find rational policies about everything, everywhere.

Most of us are afraid of someone being unhappy with us when we talk. We have to work on that and get over it. On the other hand, we’re in the midst of a collapsing society that doesn’t care about us at all, and if we’re too much of an irritant, it can take quite a slap at us. There are forces of repression in every country. They are different in each country. They are not an immediate danger to most of us, but we must understand that they are real and consider them in our actions.

COMMUNICATING CLEARLY AND WITHOUT UPSET

I’ve been trying to use the opportunity created by recent world events to experiment with putting out policy. I’ve tried to avoid using RC vocabulary and instead use more or less standard U.S. English. I’ve wanted the statements to be understood by anyone who understands that language. I’ve worded them carefully and thought about both what I wanted and didn’t want to communicate. They’ve been phrased to avoid obvious restimulation points. I’ve tried to talk about some of the basic issues without any tone of upset at anyone. I think we can learn to communicate policy without having distresses connected to it.

There’s a parallel in my mind between these kinds of policy statements and helping people work on oppressor distresses. What matters is: What is the current situation, and how do we make it move in a good direction? Anything that blames people automatically switches what was being discussed to something that restimulates and doesn’t communicate as much. There’s a point in understanding the causes and history of what’s happening. However, there’s also a point in simply looking ahead and talking about what must happen for us all to move forward. I’ve intended the statements I’ve written to be “clean,” to not bring in extraneous issues or restimulations.

I want you to think in this direction. I’d like you to challenge and discharge any distresses that try to stop you, and see what might be possible for you.


* Ram his or her ideas down another’s throat means urgently impose his or her ideas on another person without regard for that person’s feelings or the actual effectiveness of the communication.


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