In Episode 2, we discuss accessing “Fleeting Awareness,” which allows us to glimpse into both our greatest challenges and our wisdom. As we work toward stabilizing this awareness, we have the chance to both face difficult challenges and access our own flashes of insight. This gives us the opportunity to bring a new consciousness to our responses and actions, opening us to greater healing, fulfillment, and inspiration. We invite you to tune into our ongoing series.
Resources related to this episode
Robert Strock Website
Robert’s Book, Awareness that Heals
Free Downloadable Introspective Guides
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Awareness That Heals episode two.
Robert Strock: (00:04)
What are my most important fleeting flashes that could improve my quality of life? If I was to really attend to us.
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: (00:54)
Thanks again for joining us today and really hope you found some inspiration and new perspectives in the episode, focusing on our awareness of our unawareness. You may want to go back to listen to the last episode, to have an easier continuity, and I’ll leave that up to you today. Again with me are my co-host Dave, my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and for 50 years has been my dearest closest friend and Shelley, my close friend from the moment I met her 12 years ago. Who’s also on the Global Bridge Foundation board and a psychotherapist. And we’re starting today to give the second of a series of episodes based on a book I published last year called Awareness That Heals, bringing heart and wisdom to life’s challenges.
Robert Strock: (02:01)
We’ll be adding a personal touch to it and current stories and events to update it, to hopefully allow it to touch you in places that matter. So starting with fleeting awareness. Fleeting awareness can either be something that is incredibly difficult in our lives that we can barely tolerate it and so it just zips into our awareness in the privacy of our own mind. And we might think about it for a second or two, but we don’t allow it to continue, not consciously, but unconsciously, because we might just have a glimpse, oh God, this is going to create such chaos in my life, I don’t want to deal with that. And those won’t be thoughts, but on a feeling level we intuitively know, oh, I don’t want to deal with that. That might break up my relationship. Or I don’t want to tell my boss that, or that might be something that’ll get me fired or on the exact opposite end of that fleeting awareness can be incredibly visionary, inspirational thoughts that are ones that could be connected to the purpose of our life, to the life. We really wish we were living and we don’t stay with that because we might be too afraid that it would require changing our whole life. We don’t have enough faith in ourselves.
Robert Strock: (03:39)
We might feel like if we really go for it, we feel too afraid of the unknown. And so it sits out and this kind of fleeting awareness is something that commonly can happen for many people daily, weekly, monthly, some cases yearly, but it’s an important feature to be aware of because if we can access that fleeting awareness, it allows us to have a chance to deal with the greatest challenges we face or on the flip side, it allows us the chance to really work on our opportunities, to be more fulfilled, inspired, and wholesome in some kind of way.
David Knapp: (04:33)
As you say, what you just said, what I’m reflecting on the relationships in my life, the love relationships in my life. And I can’t think of any exception to a relationship that eventually didn’t work out where bleeding awareness of the type you’re describing was not part of it where, oh, my thought of something saw something responded to something and then held it. Yeah, it was a beginning of what ultimately was the end in those cases. Uh, sometimes irreconcilably, sometimes just agreeing to disagree, but it was always an element of it coming in and coming out, so common, so common. In fact, I don’t know how it can’t be. Uh, you know, it’s almost like the opposite of love at first sight, it’s like a glimpse and then it just sticks. This is like a, oh my God moment. And then boom, that’s too much.
Robert Strock: (05:42)
And I think the reason why that’s so important is because it’s so universal that as you’re listening to this and you’re imagining the … and hopefully you are imagining the relationships that you’ve into or frankly, even the relationships you’re in and you have this glimpse, oh, I can’t stand the way he touches me or I wish he touched me more like this, because all of those represent conflicts that could unravel the relationship. Now I want to differentiate at this point a little bit that sometimes fleeting awareness, when you look at it has a third category, which is, you’ll look at it and you’ll say, you know what I don’t like this, but my wholesome perspective says you’re kind of smart to keep this contained because it really will create too much disruption. So there’s really three categories that fleeting awareness can let you know, oh, I have to watch out for this and puts you on alert, but can validate the fact that some degree of containment, in some circumstances, is actually going to be beneficial.
Robert Strock: (07:02)
And that the fleeting awareness might be an impulsive side of you. That is a relationship breaker or creating unnecessary injuries. So, as you let in more fleeting awareness, it’s very important to inquire, is this something that’s really going to benefit me by facing a challenge, is this something that’s going to benefit me by pursuing an opportunity, even in fantasy for a while or is this something that is guiding me to live a balanced life? And just to keep this as one of the few things that privately is appropriate. Now as I even say that I want to highlight that there are some people who keep so much private, not to mention any names, that that’s important to look at that as a rationalization. And there might be another fleeting awareness that would follow that one that would say, yeah, you, you want to keep this private, but you keep almost everything private.
Robert Strock: (08:08)
That’s not a good idea. Now, on the other hand, it might say, you know, I’ve got to express this because I’ve got to express everything and then you see that you’ve destroyed your relationships. So it’s very important to have a deep relationship with your fleeting awareness and not come to a quick conclusion as to whether it’s beneficial or hurtful, or maybe needs to be contained.
Shelley Pearce: (08:36)
I have a question before you get to the six level of fleeting awareness, how do we know which one of those is, let’s say capital “A” awareness, like really coming from a witnessing place that is truth.
Robert Strock: (08:51)
It’s a great question. And I’d give a different answer to everyone that was asking it depending upon their own familiarity with their own inner life. And for most people, if it’s a repeating fleeting awareness and they’re not sure it is a clear sign that it’s important to seek help, especially if it’s an important area. And that help could be from a wiser friend or a therapist or a minister, somebody that you most trust, the not knowing about the fleeting awareness is a very, very key part of it. And I’d be more worried that we know too quickly, then we not know too long, especially if, when we’re not knowing too long, we ultimately do pursue some help.
David Knapp: (09:49)
Just to go back one step with what you said a little earlier. I think I’m taking part of what you said is that fleeting awareness contains kernels of wisdom sometimes. And so it’s, uh, that the ability, and again, what Shelley, you just said, you know, the capital “A” awareness or whatever, whatever respect you want to give these fleeting awarenesses, they come in different varieties, different, uh, weight should be given to them. And it is hard to tell because they are fleeting. They’re there, they’re gone, they tend for me at least to recur. In fact, almost universally for me, they tend to recur until they become, become something more.
Robert Strock: (10:36)
Yeah. I think one of the keys when you reference wisdom is that most people think of the unconscious as a bad thing. And the unconscious contains, this is the good and the bad news, the unconscious contains the dominant part of our wisdom.
Robert Strock: (10:54)
That is so unlike ordinary world, where there are so many dangers and conflicts, and it actually has the capacity to reflect, wanting to love and be loved, wanting to love the greater world, all of these great intuitions that could not only change our world, but change the world. And so being able to respect fleeting awareness leads to a deep and profound curiosity, I wonder what fleeting awareness I had today. And I wonder whether there was some wisdom in there that I really want to try to bring out more out in the open, so I can foster that. And/or I wonder if the revelation is one that is something that I want to bring out in the open, because it’s really going to hold me back if I don’t.
Robert Strock: (11:55)
So in a sense, in a sense, I’m saying fleeting awareness is a great thing one way or the other, especially if we keep a positive attitude and we develop a relationship to it.
David Knapp: (12:06)
As you describe it. And I’m now personally for me, one of the places in my life, um, is my son, that I see things, and I know if I would express them conflict would happen. And so I put them back into a certain category inside me and they don’t really get fully developed all the time. Eventually I hope to, but they’re difficult places. They’re places where, and of course my son’s an adult, he’s entitled, as am I, to a view of my adult son. And so where to share where that fleeting awareness is, is invasive. And it kind of gets tucked away because do I want to have that dynamic, that conflict with this important person in my life? It’s a big deal.
Robert Strock: (13:02)
Yeah. And it sounds like you’ve succeeded at moving fleeting awareness into the next one we’re going to talk about, which is a more stable intellectual awareness where you’re actually already strategizing about it. You’re already deciding, should I contain this? Should I not contain this? And so you’re, you’re on the edge of fleeting awareness, becoming stable intellectual awareness and actually even moving into the fourth one, which we’ll cover down the line, which is how do I, how do I make this healing? How do I, how do I create benefit out of this? Cause I don’t want to just create harm.
David Knapp: (13:35)
It’s, it’s true. But it’s also, I wish I could give myself more credit for being in the next stages of awareness, but they really are glimpses that I have to turn away from sometimes and say they don’t go away because the patterns in people, in my experience, don’t easily go away. And so, uh, eventually, yeah. Um, we’ll get to those things. And maybe even in this conversation today, but fleeting awareness is something for me to, If, when I glimpse it, I like to hold it if I can, but it’s really hard to hold sometimes, it really is hard because it feels often to me it feels painful.
Robert Strock: (14:27)
Yeah. And I think that, and especially knowing you, but also most people, it’s one thing to be painful and it’s another thing to be potentially devastating. And I think devastating it is, is one of the reasons why it stays fleeting. It’s like, this is so painful to think about, as even it’s devastating. And I don’t even want to come close to the devastation because maybe at some deep primitive level, you know, you’re not going to be able to figure out how to do it. So not even, not even gonna think about it again, you, you might not be thinking that, but your subconscious is aware. If I say this thing, I’m going to put myself so on the edge, I don’t even want to think about it because I’m not even ready to put it on the edge.
Shelley Pearce: (15:17)
I absolutely feel your pain, Dave, and probably everyone’s, but being a sandwich generation, I feel it with both my parents, my son, stepson and sister, all of whom are adults and have their own lives. And there are many times that I have an awareness of why I’d really like to be able to say something here. And don’t deliberate with myself all that much because I just … so
Robert Strock: (15:47)
I have a phenomenal relationship with my son and his wife and two kids. And there are areas of conflict that I leave at fleeting awareness and okay, I’ll check it out a little bit. Okay. Go back, go, go, go back into the unconscious. Cause I don’t, I don’t think there’s anything I can do because I’m left with not only a feeling of helplessness, but I’m left with the reality of believing I’m helpless and/or I’m left with a message that you’ve already said enough, don’t say anymore.
Robert Strock: (16:31)
And so again, that falls a little bit in that third category of at times fleeting awareness is an indication that you’re not ready to do anything with it. And in a sense, that’s the most healthy one that it keeps revisiting you and you keep reevaluating. Can I find a way?
David Knapp: (16:48)
And I don’t know if this is a tweener, um, or is different, but there are times when I’ll blurt it out to my son, I’ll have a moment, comes out, it’s not well received and whoops, back down to that didn’t work out and it’s gone again for a while. And so it’s the response to it. It could have evolved, but sometimes the response squashes it.
Robert Strock: (17:22)
Yeah. And that’s part of the motivation to either bring it back into that tweener one in between where you are debating, you know, where you’re debating healthfully and whoops all the way back to the unconscious, because I don’t want to deal with that again I just got burnt. You know, when you get burned, you have a tendency to want to push it deeper into the subconscious. So the key is that you see that as you just said when I’m really spontaneous, probably not a good area to trust, probably need to give it more contemplation and be a little bit more careful about the timing of when I enter and receptive activity is there, maybe even asking if the receptivity is there and then being very careful with tone of voice and the word choices, et cetera, et cetera.
David Knapp: (18:10)
It’s so hard. All those things you mentioned in themselves take a lot of, a lot of attention, a lot of awareness, a lot of sensitivity. And in this life, with certain people, who are not focused in that direction and important people to me, to approach it in, even with a sensitivity to my tone, even with a momentary thing. And of course, if I’m aware of my tone, probably it’s more than a fleeting thing. It’s probably something that’s beginning to get to another level, but even so if I can’t contain it or don’t feel I want to contain it, um, there’s a lot of unhappy endings to that.
Robert Strock: (18:59)
Yup. And that, and that’s, again, learning from experience and the highlighting that you made is really important, which is this whole emphasis on looking at different levels of awareness is for people that it’s not a hobby, this is a full time, I don’t even want to say worker job, it’s a full-time inspiration, inspiration, or caring or wanting to evolve. And for those people, this is good ingredients for people that really are, are really quite comfortable, not evolving more than they are. This is not very interesting. So, as you are looking at how this applies to you it’s so important that you look at your relationships, how you relate to money, how you relate to your health, your self-image, things that you’ve maybe kept private to yourself, ways that you have a tone of voice, conversations that are unfinished and really looking at, oh, are these part of my fleeting awareness?
Robert Strock: (20:28)
Because unless you make this personal, like a potential pregnancy where you could give birth to a new way of being in relationship to what’s difficult or what’s potentially transformational.
David Knapp: (20:40)
I’m so glad you mentioned health. Uh, so glad, because I think in my life and with so many people, I know the awareness of something that may be a problem, or even visiting a doctor or some practitioner that could discover a problem comes and goes, it’s like, no, it’s a very vulnerable moment. Maybe frightening, uh, depends on, or maybe people I’ve known, uh, people that just feel cavalier. No, I don’t need to do that. I don’t, I don’t believe no, I don’t need doctors. Uh, and there’s so much there. Um, and I think it’s particularly the men I’ve known, especially, but that’s true for, and, um, I happen to be personally on the opposite end of that spectrum, which has its own issues, but so many times, because I’m on the opposite end that heightens my awareness of friendships, relationships, past clients that have just gone the other way. And, um, something small can become something big.
Robert Strock: (21:53)
Yeah. And I’m glad you’re really highlighting it because the average person in my experience, at least in the country has a tendency to avoid frightening health issues. And as you listened to this, really doing a scan as to part of the pun, as you scan this, and as to whether you need a scan is very important and notice how quickly you might want to go. Oh, no, I don’t want to look at that. That one’s too scary and pull it back out. See if you can have the courage to pull it back out the wisdom, to pull it back out and see, are you threatening your life? Are you threatening your quality of life by not looking at that? And this is true across the board, seeing it from very ordinary people to the most evolved spiritual teachers that have such a distrust of doctors, or have such a fear of finding out that they may have a serious illness that it’s like cooties. It’s like, no, no don’t want, don’t want to touch that. That’s that’s, uh, that needs to be buried.
Robert Strock: (23:28)
So continuing to scan, if we look at our relationship to mortality, which is taking health to another level, and why is that important? Because it’s possible that if we aware of our impermanence, we may live a different quality of life. We may realize that time is precious. Every moment matters. It’s not just living our days, living our days, living our days. No, I’m only here in this body for a limited period of time. And it gives us a chance to look at quality of life issues. What would it take for my quality of life to expand on its own my activities in my relationships, my family, issues or possibilities. So the key is responding and inquiring asking yourself, what am I most important fleeting flashes that could improve my quality of life.
Robert Strock: (24:43)
And I’m going to ask that again, as I do ask you to really ask it, what are my most important fleeting flashes that could improve my quality of life. If I was to really attend to us and bring it out more, you may find that you think that you expressing sadness. And somehow that always comes up with a conflict and you’re sure, oh, no, I was vulnerable, but it leads to conflict on an ongoing basis. And you might find that actually you were more angry or defensive and sabotaging your ability to have your sadness heard. Or you may see that you’re someone that avoids conflict on a regular basis, and it ultimately ends up to bite you in the butt later on. And if you’re able to see this clearly you can give yourself the message next time I have that flash, or while I’m thinking about it now, because I’m seeing it, have the courage to face this conflict avoidance.
Robert Strock: (25:56)
So hopefully you can identify with the importance of putting an amplifier next to your fleeting awareness. And you can also look at your communication or non-communication patterns. You may be somebody that’s so addicted to communication that you’re going to be impossible because you take over or you think that’s the only way of being close. It was the case you need to see that. Or you might find that you have somebody that doesn’t communicate at all and just thinks, well, therapy’s a bunch of crap and I don’t want to, I don’t want to be self-indulgent or talk about myself, who cares. I can take care of my problems myself and taking a closer look at that. And you may also find that you’re suppressing the exact opposite side, which is your love and your gratitude for being in a situation that you recognize is sort of a blessed, better than most living situation or in a relationship that you under express love.
Robert Strock: (27:14)
And of course you want to express that more. So it’s also lastly and winding up here important to see that there’s a connection oftentimes with seeing our fleeting awareness, where we can see our challenges and that can lead to not only seeing our challenges, but it can also evoke a wise response or a caring response that could profoundly change our quality of life, which is largely why, again fleeting awareness is so important to develop a deeper relationship to, so increasing our awareness of our fleeting awareness we’re joining our conscious awareness with our unconscious and that’s enough to feel and fulfill a quality of life. So I thank you very much for your attention and look forward to continuing with you on these themes.
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