Why We Have Goals

From a talk by Tim Jackins at the East Asia Pre-World Conference, March 2013

When we start out, when we are born, we are curious about everything and we want to try everything. We are interested in every single person we see, especially the ones who look back. And we stay interested for a long time. We also know when things are wrong and we want to change them. But every child is told, “No, you can’t change that. It has always been that way. That’s the proper way for it to be.”

We don’t understand when we are told that. We think the adults are “crazy.” We don’t understand that they were like us when they were our age. They also wanted to change everything. But the same thing happened to them that is happening to us.

We were all told “no,” over and over again, until we gave up hope. But it took a long time. We didn’t give up hope quickly.

Yesterday during the break some of us were playing with some young people who were not part of our group. We were throwing things around, and a couple of the young people were watching us. I threw one of the items toward them. They watched it and watched it, there on the ground, and didn’t move. They had been told “no” many times.

I had to throw it several times. They would look. Then they began to think, “This is different. What’s going on1?” Finally they tried throwing it. As soon as one tried, the others wanted to try. They could do something different as long as an adult was there who approved; they could try in ways that they didn’t dare try by themselves. By the end, we had eight or nine young people playing. Then the bell rang and they had to go in. They came by, handed over the toys, and said, “See ya.”2 Since then they have been waving at different ones of us. A little bit of their defeat and discouragement has been pushed back. They will try again.

Usually no one created that kind of opening for us. Maybe we were lucky and someone did, once or twice. If it happened, we remember it. If someone came after us3 and showed us that we were wanted in his or her life, we use it as a contradiction4 in our sessions. When that happens, we can try again. But without it, we give up; we simply go along with our societies. Then it’s hard for us to challenge the mistakes in our societies, and to think about all the distresses that have become a part of our societies.

Then we get into RC. We get into it because something feels bad and somebody says that can change. We start discharging and we feel something shift in our minds. We still don’t feel good, but it’s not as bad as it was. Life seems a little easier; we do better. But our minds are still focused mainly on what hurt us. We stay fascinated with the distresses. It’s still hard for us to think about bigger issues.

As we gradually clear away the distresses, we see a bigger picture. We see a bigger picture of our own life, a bigger picture of our society, a bigger picture of our entire world. We start to think more broadly about everything.

We start to regain what we had at the beginning. We want to try more things. We want big things to be correct, even if they’ve always been wrong. We start to think that maybe we can change the world, maybe we can figure out how to make things right—just like we wanted to as children. We had to give up then, because of distress. Now that we are removing the distress, maybe we get to try everything we wanted to try.

Still there are days when all we can think about is our distress. It hasn’t gone away. Things are getting better, but we can still get pulled into it. That will be a struggle until we discharge it all. In the meantime, we’ve learned to fight against the pull. We’ve learned that we can think in spite of our feelings. We know that we can set directions for ourselves against our distresses. We can feel like we are the worst thing that has ever lived and we can remember that our counselor said, “You’re not so bad.” We can set all sorts of directions to pull our minds out of distress.

Long ago we decided that we could do a version of this for our Communities. We could think about things we were all struggling with and set out something to remind us of the direction we were heading in. We could find ways to pull our attention out of the struggle of distress and put it on where we wanted to go. So we decided to have goals for the Community. We set them at each World Conference, every four years. The goals are big. And they don’t go away after four years. We are thinking of where we want to be far into the future.

The goals are our best thinking, and they are there to guide us forward, not be the final answer. You are not required to agree with them, but they really are something you shouldn’t ignore.

We need to think about them not only for ourselves and our Community, but also to have something to hold up for others outside the RC Community to see. Our policies, the ways we have thought about things, our goals, all have played a much wider role than simply within the Community. They appear to have set a tone in many different places that are not closely connected with our Community. Any time you take a position that leads minds forward, it has influence in many places.

1 “Going on” means happening.
2 “See ya” means I’ll see you later, or simply goodbye.
3 “Came after us” means pursued us, reached out to us.
4 Contradiction to distress


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00