News flash



Climate Change & Climate Science
Diane Shisk &
Janet Kabue
January 20 & 21

Community Building

From a talk by Tim Jackins at the Western European Pre-World Conference, 2009

The RC Communities were organized simply to get the ideas of RC out to other people and to do it in a way that some individual or individuals could take responsibility for it. We wanted to keep RC from getting confused with or mixed with other ideas. The Communities still have this as an important purpose. But it turns out that1 the Communities have additional important reasons to exist. When you have the ideas of RC, you have a powerful tool. When you have a Co-Counselor you have an even more powerful tool. Then, as you build more people around you and have three or four Co-Counselors, it works better. When you have a weekly class to go to, it’s even better. And when you have a Community with support groups and classes, it’s even better than that. You can make progress in any of these situations. You can use Co-Counseling to move yourself ahead no matter how meager the resources seem. You are never helpless to make things happen. But the more resource you have around you continually, the more likely it is that you will make steady, fast, sustained progress.

Nothing creates the conditions for you to make progress more reliably than having others around you doing the same thing. The other morning when I kept you here in this room together for your Co-Counseling sessions, I did it so that you could not ignore this resource. We are used to2 going off and doing things on our own, even when there is resource around. What you dare to do when you have this resource around you is different. It isn’t that you can’t do it, or don’t do it, off and away with a single Co-Counselor; it’s that it’s much harder to do it consistently.


Our Communities provide the best contradiction to a whole collection of distresses, including feelings that if we dare to fight for ourselves (and we will have to, because no one else will) that ours will be a lonely struggle, that no one else will be headed in the same direction, and that no one will understand our struggle or be willing to be our ally in it. None of these things are true anymore. Although we were born into situations in which they were all too true, we have done the work to change the conditions so that they are no longer true. We often still unthinkingly have the perspective that capitalism pushes on us that we have to fight for ourselves because it doesn’t matter to anyone else, but that’s not true.

We are here for our benefit, and for the benefit of all humans. That is the reason we’re here. We are here for each of us as a part of that, but not as a separate special interest. We are trying to figure out how to consistently function in this way, and that affects all of our relationships. It affects how we reach and don’t reach for new people. It affects the growth of our Communities. We can understand a number of ideas in Co-Counseling from this perspective.


What do we want? We want each other. Humans are the most important resource that exists. We want every mind. We have a project of getting RC tools to everybody. Why? Because we feel guilty? Because things are unjust? Both are true, but it’s really because we want each other’s minds. We want all humans to have the chance to have their own minds and other minds. In our struggle against confusion, we take limited steps, but we have a picture of this goal.

We have Communities in order to teach an accurate version of RC, but that is not the entire goal of the Communities. The goal includes trying to have people’s minds with us. Re-evaluation Counseling is a large project, with a theory and techniques, but the relationships involve real people and are personal relationships. This is where we struggle now. We struggle to make our relationships close enough and personal enough that we can contradict what we grew up with. This is why I held us here yesterday together in the same room. You could hear the difference. We could have those heavy sessions because of all the people around us. What if you had this crowd back home as your Community? Why settle for less than that? How fast will we move when we get to that position?


So where are we in figuring this out? And where are we in discharging the things that are in the way of our connecting well with each other? I think we’re doing well, and I think we have a lot of early distress that we need to recognize and go after. I think that all of us recognize that we want more from each other. We can’t yet tell3 that others also want this, we often don’t know what to do about it, and we get discouraged easily, but we have managed to bring ourselves close enough together that the question keeps coming up.

So let me state the obvious: Everyone here wants more of you. Every single person here would love to have more of your mind accessible to him or her. Every single person would love to watch you, listen to you, and do things with you. Every single person would love to be your ally in every distress you have and would love to throw his or her entire force behind you in your battles. It is only the confusion from distress that keeps this from happening. At this point, it’s the confusion that’s the problem. The confusion keeps us from trying, so we don’t learn anything. It’s like the book we don’t open: “I’ve had this book for years, and I still don’t know anything.” Some action is necessary. We have to face these difficulties in front of each other. You may have to take my word for it4 for a while—that you can do this. I promise it will not kill you. That is often the first worry—that one little step will be too much.


It feels like we have to face unbearable things, and, in a sense, we do. When we were very young, we gave up5 when it became unbearable. We did not give up before then. Every mind goes right to the edge of where it feels like it cannot try again. We have recordings from these times that are frozen on us: “I have tried over and over, and nothing has happened. I cannot, I will not, try again.” “I will make life work this way; I will stop looking in that direction because there is never a good answer.” “This is the way my life will be.” Such recordings are common among us. Now we can challenge them and face the “unbearable feelings,” the ones we chose to never face again. The world is different now. It is objectively different. I’m not asking you to feel different. You can’t, since the distresses are there, but because of the work we’ve done, the world is objectively different now. We can fight for that reality against all of the recordings that say, “It is still too much,” “There is no point in trying,” “There is no one else out there,” “It’s better that I go my own way.”

It is not better that you go your own way. It was fine that you did. It got you here; we can applaud that. But you are here now, you are not back there, and this is different. This will always be different; it will never be like it was. You will never again be without people who are trying to understand. You will never again be without people remembering you. You are never going to be alone again. That is over. It is actually over, though you might not be able to tell. You can decide I’m right about this—that’s one way to challenge this material.6 You exist in other minds, and you will always exist in other minds. You are not alone, you cannot be alone, and, to be honest about it, you haven’t been alone for years.

If we face this, we can understand reality clearly enough to function together, here and now. We’re trying to do it, though in some ways our efforts are still individual efforts—efforts made on the basis of the early distresses. This is not a criticism of what we had to do. It worked well enough. We are here, and we have the chance to choose again now. We can choose to go ahead and challenge the hopelessness and isolation in order to understand that we have enough allies and can face anything now.

In our Communities, what people see as attractive about us, before they see anything else, is that we appear to like each other. What if they saw how much we care about each other? What if we could provide that massive a contradiction to what happened to them? What if we do not give up on relationships because of our distresses? How well could we communicate what we want to? In the early years of RC, when talking about communicating RC, my father said that nobody would be able to hear you unless they thought that you liked them. For years I told people who were becoming RC teachers that a big part of their job was to like the people in their class until they learned to like each other—no matter what it took.7 People leave Co-Counseling because they run into distresses that confuse them and they haven’t got a good enough connection to seek assistance.


Is there anyone you couldn’t teach Co-Counseling to? Probably not. There are choices to be made, how much effort in which directions, but I think it’s mostly our discouragement about connection that interferes with our communicating about Co-Counseling. Teaching Co-Counseling well is connected to not accepting the discouragement and feelings of defeat from past relationships. This is why there was the goal in 2005.8 We wanted to face the difficulty we have had in reaching for the people we care most about. There is this collection of people with whom we have committed relationships, and we haven’t known how to give them the power of RC. We feel like it would be risking the relationships to make that goal important, that we couldn’t handle their restimulations, that our relationship would not survive or would be badly damaged. So if they don’t immediately jump when we invite them to RC, we get uneasy and say, “Well, when you want to. I don’t want to force this on you.” We are, in effect, acting like it’s not important enough for us to dare to face difficulties.

It is important that they get these tools. It’s not as important that they become a part of the Community, though that’s to their long-term benefit. Mainly they need to be able to discharge again. Their lives will be shorter and smaller if they don’t, and they are the people we love most. Because of our fears, we’re letting them have shorter and smaller lives. We’re confused, and scared that our connection isn’t strong enough. We feel scared from all the defeats in past relationships, and we allow that to limit our relationships now.

I am sure this is one place that our confusions are slowing us down. They are interfering with our individual struggles, with our connections and relationships with each other, with the solidifying of our Communities, and with our reaching out to more people with things they desperately need.

The rate of change in the world is accelerating. It would be nice if we accelerated, too. It would be fun to try to get ahead. We are coming from behind, and we have gained the crucial momentum that guarantees we will continue. However, it would be lovely, and it is my goal, to look forward to the next crisis, when things are in flux and can be changed massively, and to recognize it as an opportunity, rather than being scared and hoping it doesn’t happen just yet.


There are many more things to say, but I just want to add two things. First, in our Co-Counseling relationships we have chosen a particular way to build connection and to love someone. The depth we can obtain in these relationships is unlimited. We can love and care about anyone here as much as we do in any other relationship. In a way we get to learn how to do it here and then take it out to our other relationships. Here the effort is more clearly defined. Here we have better agreement about what we are doing and don’t have to be as scared or worried, or allow the pull of distress to interfere as much.

The “blue pages”9 are not just about frozen longings; they’re about the confusion surrounding what we do when we love someone. “I love my Co-Counselor; I’d better do something,” and we fall back on10 the society’s patterns about what one does if one cares about someone. You love your Co-Counselor, or you will, and that is exactly what you need to do. You need to sit there and get more and more uncomfortable as you love him or her more and more. You can face and discharge all the awkwardness and the other things you feel so that you can more and more simply love him or her and delight in his or her existence, and use that in your relationship with him or her. That’s what we want to do.


Secondly, I don’t think we will lose many of you, but we have lost people from RC. We sometimes lose very experienced people to their restimulations. They wander off. It could be you. You have some very grumpy distress material. There have been times in your life when you have held in your breath and stomped off —just to show people you were upset with them. You could do that here, too. But let me state it clearly: THAT WOULD BE STUPID. It would be very understandable, and stupid. If you ever stand against your distress anywhere, do it there. Do not lose this chance. We want you, and we need you, and you need this. No matter if you are mad at me, or everyone, you don’t have a better chance if you leave. You just don’t, and it would be sad to be that confused.

It would also be stupid to let someone you care about simply walk away—no matter how mad at you that person is, and no matter how scared his or her being mad makes you feel. People are vulnerable to being confused, and they shouldn’t be left alone to handle it. That doesn’t mean that you dedicate your life to grumpy people. It does mean that you don’t forget to make efforts in their direction, and that you always leave a door open to people who don’t respond quickly.

Reprinted from the January 2010 issue of Present Time

1 It turns out means in fact.
2 In this context, used to means accustomed to.
3 In this context, tell means perceive.
4 Take my word for it means just believe me.
5 Gave up means became too discouraged to keep trying.
6 Material means distress.
7 In this context, took means required.
8 The new goal for the RC Communities adopted by the 2005 World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities and reaffirmed by the 2009 World Conference: That the RC Community and its members put increased attention and effort into reaching a large and diverse population with the ideas and practices of RC, and into assisting them in becoming members of the RC Community.

That in order to intelligently pursue this goal, Co-Counselors have ongoing sessions on the distresses that interfere with their thoughts and actions in this area and that classes, Areas, and Regions organize gather-ins, support groups, workshops, and other events to assist Co-Counselors in this effort.

That as part of this goal, Co-Counselors target the distresses that hold them back from making a thoughtful and sustained effort to reach those with whom they already have caring and committed relationships.

9 “The blue pages” refers to the policy in the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities that Co-Counselors not set up any relationship, other than Co-Counseling, with other Co-Counselors or with people whom they first meet in a Co-Counseling context.
10 Fall back on means resort to.

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