In this second guided meditation focused on managing anxiety, we continue using the elevator metaphor. As we proceed to the next “floor,” we reach a place where you will learn to care for yourself and develop self-compassion. You can gently say to your anxiety that you wish to recognize and continue to increase your capacity to bring heart and wisdom into your life. It will be helpful to recall the moments when you’ve been anxious in the past and remember how tolerance and kindness have been absent during most of those moments. The key theme of this elevator floor is to remember to be more tolerant and kinder to yourself when you are anxious.
One way to develop greater tolerance and acceptance is to first recognize anxiety and then gradually learn how to dis-identify with it. This practice allows you to observe anxiety without being overwhelmed by it. Dis-identification helps increase the desire to care for yourself and become more tolerant and accepting of your anxiety. Try adopting an internal tone of voice that is kinder, sweeter, more tolerant, and more accepting. Create the space to breathe and view anxiety as a passing feeling. For more severe anxiety, it will be necessary to co-exist with the anxiety with continued tolerance and acceptance. You need to remember that being anxious and caring simultaneously is a depth of maturity that will support you to live your life with your heart and wisdom no matter how long it lasts.
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Awareness That Heals, episode 115.
Robert Strock (00:04):
A very warm welcome to season three of Awareness That Heals where we have progressed to be able to focus on one challenging emotion at a time. This will allow you to choose a specific emotion that you’ve had challenges with, and each one will have a progressive series of guided meditations that will allow you to go deeper and deeper into self-compassion. For me, it’s truly inspiring because each emotion has unique nuances for both self-care and responding to your environment at the same time. This is subtle and a rare skill as all too often we don’t stay aware of how we can care for ourselves as we are. I hope that you’ll not only find it helpful, but also give you deep resources that you can internalize when the emotion is most emerging.
The Awareness That Heals podcast helps its listeners learn to develop the capacity to have a more healing response to emotions and situations rather than becoming stuck. Your host, Robert Strock, has practiced psychotherapy for more than 45 years. He wrote the book “Awareness That Heals: Bringing Heart and Wisdom to Life’s Challenges,” to help develop self-caring and the capacity to respond in an effective way to life’s challenges, especially at times when we are most prone to be critical or to withdraw. Together, we will explore how to become aware of our challenging feelings and at the same time find alternative ways to live a more fulfilling and inspiring life.
Robert Strock (01:49):
We are now on the second progressive meditation, observing and caring for your anxiety in a series of several meditations. In case you haven’t seen the first one, and if you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to watch it. So continue to give yourself a reminder that developing your remembrance of the observer or the witness and finding a place that is actively wanting to care for your anxiety is the beginning key healing capacity when dealing with this anxiety and all emotions in every aspect of our lives. And not just observing, but when we see it accurately, we also want to develop our capacity for caring and responding. This sounds very simple, but I promise you from 50 years of experience, this is not a capacity that many of us have either practiced or been taught. And so be gentle with yourself as we’re going through these meditations because it’s very likely there will be a lot of new information, and your acceptance of yourself wherever you are is a key feature. So now please get ready for the guided meditation.
So let’s start by allowing yourself to recognize that you have an intention to care for yourself. When you feel anxious, just let that in. Visualize yourself being anxious. And ah I remember, I want to care for myself. Even if you can’t start caring for yourself, you know, want to. Gently say to yourself anxiety every time you are here, I want to recognize you and continue to increase my capacity to bring my heart and wisdom to you. Take a look and see how much can you appreciate this intention because the appreciation of your intention will feed the intention, and this is one of the most important intentions any of us could ever have. So in addition to seeing your anxiety clearly, let yourself also see how much you want to care for yourself and enter into what might be called a deep wish or a prayer to develop an expanded level of tolerance and kindness toward the anxiety. And recognize your ordinary reflex, go inside and remember moments when you have really been anxious and how absent most of those moments are from this tolerance and kindness. And give yourself a suggestion, I want to bring more and more tolerance and kindness when I’m anxious. This is the next floor of your elevator to care for yourself for developing self-compassion.
This increasing tolerance and acceptance is a major increase of caring. A way to help you develop a greater tolerance and acceptance is first, you need to identify the anxiety as anxiety, and then find your way to gradually learn how to dis-identify with it. Now, I’m going to say that again. First, you have to identify the anxiety as anxiety, but then gradually you want to learn how to not be so fully identified with it and return to become more of the observer, which gives you the freedom to not be dominated by the anxiety. Take a look and see if you can notice that by identifying first the anxiety, you can then learn to gradually not be so identified with it or you can gradually dis-identify from it by recognizing that you are also the observer and that you want to care. This can teach you to be naturally more tolerant and accepting. So again, see how much are you tolerant and accepting of your anxiety. For some of you, it will be a huge leap to be barely tolerant because the other alternative is to ignore it or to judge it. And so wherever you are, appreciate that’s where you are and see that you can see the potential of being able to be tolerant and accepting.
Do you really get the uncommon capacity to be able to be free increasing parts of yourself to gain this tolerance at those critical moments, especially not now, but the now is when the anxiety is really hitting you. And also if you’re criticizing yourself in any way, gradually learning or maybe quickly learning to let go of the criticism. Look for situations or people where you’re much more prone to suppress the anxiety and ignore it or perhaps become very critical. Make a mental note. Remember, remember who this is and that you want to be more aware and that you are the observer who wants that. Sometimes it is a huge victory to really just barely tolerate the anxiety and move toward greater tolerance and acceptance. Let yourself focus on a kind exhale to get to wherever point you have gotten to and to really let yourself have an informal prayer for more. Your tone of voice inside you, even as you’re thinking about this is crucial. So see if your internal tone of voice can be kinder and kinder, sweeter and sweeter, more and more tolerant and more and more accepting. When you see that you aren’t, treat this limited tolerance with respect as otherwise, it will at least partially own you even more. I’m glad I can see you at all.
Anxiety I aspire to be your friend and make space for you to breathe and to see you in perspective as a passing through feeling, even if it’s a lot of feeling. Continue dialoguing anxiety, I see you and I’m focusing on being caring, gentle, tolerant and accepting and bringing that to you as much as possible. Not just understanding this in the head, but deeply storing this as much as possible inside you enough to have it be awakened when you need it the most, when you’re anxious. How much do you get this? And whatever you come up with, being as tolerant as possible. And thanks so much for your quality attention.
So again, as you look back at the meditation, the key thing is where are you really? And that’s sacred. If you have one 10th, get it, half get it. Whatever it is, just allow yourself, as I said in the meditation, to be tolerant of your intolerance, to be accepting of your inability to accept and recognize that you want to keep deepening that. But most importantly, see where you are and develop this tolerance and this acceptance and that will help you so much on your journey. And thanks so much.
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