April 2, 2021
We are happy to provide this biweekly update on our work with the 3HO, Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma communities. For background about the Compassionate Reconciliation Project, please feel free to visit the project website here. Thank you for your time and interest in reading this update.
A Word About Trust
One of the opportunities of Compassionate Reconciliation is to build (or re-build) relationships of trust. In this update we would like to explore the issue of trust, which can be simply defined as a belief in the reliability and integrity of others.
The surfacing of varied experiences of harm within your community has brought about deeply painful questions about trust for a great many people. For some this is a crisis of trust in Yogi Bhajan/Siri Singh Sahib as a spiritual teacher. For others it is about trust in organizational leadership, or in the foundational norms of the community. Some have experienced a crisis of trust at an interpersonal level: among Sangat members, co-workers, friends, and within families. Many are sitting with inner conflict and unsure about what to trust within themselves.
For some, the crisis of trust occurred long before this current moment. They have long awaited signals and actions from the community and its organizations that could signify a recognition of, and reckoning with, harms that occurred in the community. Others have left the community on their own accord or have experienced being compelled to leave.
In this context there are naturally many questions about the trustworthiness of the Compassionate Reconciliation process itself. Whose interests is it meant to advance? Is it really intended for authentic dialogue and change? Will it privilege harmony over meaningful justice? Will I/we be silenced or have a voice?
Near the outset of our work, Just Outcomes distributed an initial survey to gather input on perceptions of and interest in Compassionate Reconciliation. With thanks to the 395 people who responded, a summary of the survey results can be viewed below (for privacy, the written responses in Q6 are omitted).
As a part of this survey, we asked about perceived barriers to participation in Compassionate Reconciliation. Notably, nearly 50% of those responding indicated “Mistrust of the process” as a potential barrier to community participation (see Q5).
Trust is a quality that is earned through relationship. It cannot be coerced, demanded, or expected. Decisions about trust are usually based on observable actions, not simply words or intentions. At this stage of our work, we expect that many community members – especially those whose trust in institutions or leadership has been previously violated – would have little reason to confer trust in our team or the processes we are supporting.
Our last update contained a link to a web form, inviting you to register your name for ongoing updates about the Compassionate Reconciliation Project. The webpage contained a template disclaimer stating that listserv registrants would consent to receiving SSSC marketing materials. This statement was concerning and even triggering for some community members. We received feedback that for some, this created serious doubts about Just Outcomes’ independence and impartiality.
The inclusion of this marketing language was an error that we should have caught and remedied before making the site live. The reality is that registrants will only receive Compassionate Reconciliation-related updates and nothing more. We sincerely apologize for this oversight and the uncertainty it caused for some community members. We have worked with the SSSC staff to remedy this error (see ‘Stay Connected’ below for more info). Understanding the impact this had for some individuals was an important learning for us.
We also would like to take this opportunity to provide some information that was requested of us through questions raised following our previous update, so that each of you can be as informed as possible when making decisions about your participation or connection to the Compassionate Reconciliation Project.
To receive regular updates from Just Outcomes about the Compassionate Reconciliation Project, please visit the project website and scroll to the bottom of the homepage to enter your information. Again, by signing up you will receive updates about Compassionate Reconciliation only. If you already signed up using the previous form, your information has been transferred to the new system and you do not need sign up again. You can also share your thoughts and perspectives on the Compassionate Reconciliation Project here.
We look forward to providing you with further updates on the progress of this work during our next update, on April 16.
Yours in kindness, compassion and gratitude,
Catherine Bargen, Matthew Harman, Cara Walsh, Aaron Lyons, and our extended team
The Compassionate Reconciliation Project (CRP) is of importance to many people within the 3HO, Sikh Dharma and Kundalini Yoga communities. As this work begins to build momentum in the community, we at Just Outcomes have heard requests for more frequent updates. In response to your feedback and in the spirit of transparency, we will now be providing a brief communication to the community every two weeks. Please note, this will be the last broadly distributed update directly from us (Just Outcomes); if you would like to continue receiving Just Outcomes’ direct communications about the CRP, please opt in by clicking on the link at the bottom of this letter. Thank you for your interest in this process and dedication to your community. This communication – and all such updates to follow – comes directly from Just Outcomes. We continue to remain in close contact and engaged with the SSSC Board and other affiliated organizations-- they will continue to distribute their own targeted communications when/as needed.
Just Outcomes and the Compassionate Reconciliation Project
Just Outcomes is working with your community to develop a just and compassionate response to the harms and needs currently surfacing within the community. The work is guided by principles of inclusion, repair and transformation. We are building this process in partnership with your community.
The immediate focus of the CRP is to:
We hope this finds each of you in good health as we begin the new year.
Hopefully you have received our previous communication in mid-November, introducing our role in the Compassionate Reconciliation process that your community is embarking upon (if you did not, you can view the letter here). Our work has continued to progress over the past number of weeks since then, and we are happy to provide you with this update on what has been happening and where we are headed next.
At this early stage of our work, we have been focusing on the following areas:
The Compassionate Reconciliation Commission
As mentioned above, one of our main tasks has been to assist in the development of a sustained and diverse Compassionate Reconciliation Commission (CRC). This commission will serve to lead the Compassionate Reconciliation Project (CRP). We have worked closely with the ICRC over the last many weeks to help understand the broader composition of the community and its interest groups, and to build a structure for the CRC which can give voice to all aspects of the community. Through this process, we have proposed to create a structure consisting of series of Advisory Teams working alongside the core CRC, as follows:
As you may be aware, Just Outcomes has been invited to provide our support and guidance to the Compassionate Reconciliation Project. We appreciate that this is a difficult and painful time for many people within your community, and we are humbled and honored to support you in taking these courageous steps forward.
During this difficult time, our goal is to support you in working together to strengthen and rebuild the fabric of relationships within this community. We hope that our accompaniment in this time may be in service of the strength and resilience already deeply present among you.
To those who have experienced recent or historical harm within this community, we honor your voices and hope that the work ahead may provide you with meaningful options and pathways toward recovery and healing.
To those experiencing the pain of disconnection and loss of trust with others in your community, we hope that this will be a process of discovering clarity, understanding and growth within relationships. We respect the journey of each person in making sense of this time. Each one of you holds an important place within this work and must be included in writing the next chapter in the life of this community.