Robert continues with the second installment of the Guided Meditation series where he emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of difficult emotions. This episode takes this awareness and clarifies how to integrate it with our heart and self-caring. Robert and Dave invite listeners to focus on practice. This immersive next step puts us in a position to start moving toward well-being and not getting sidetracked by suppressing, judging, misunderstanding, or misrepresenting our challenging feelings.
The personal application of these Guided Meditations is essential if we want to integrate the principles in the book Awareness That Heals—wisdom that all of us need to deal with life’s challenges—and suggestions from the prior podcasts to gain tangible results. Robert encourages you to get comfortable and allow yourself to go where his guidance leads you into your own unique experience. Become the observer of your inner world. Use the Introspective Guides list if needed. Repetition of these Guided Meditations is key until you feel real movement. It is not inherent in us to appreciate feelings we don’t like. Whether it’s anger, anxiety, grief, or emptiness—whatever this appreciation of awareness reveals—it is a major step toward personally evolving, which will allow us to learn to honor and guide what we feel inside and let that spread out into the world.
Resources related to this episode
• Robert Strock Website
• Guided Meditation Video (YouTube)
• Robert’s Book, “Awareness that Heals”
• The Introspective Guides (Free Download)
Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast. Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors. For an exact quote or comment, please contact us.
Awareness That Heals, Episode 91.
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 (00:46):
A hearty welcome again to Awareness That Heals where we focus on bringing our heart and our wisdom to life’s challenges. We start again and again with being aware of what is most difficult for us and see how these difficulties are universal for all of us, whether we recognize them or not, and how we can care for them and ourselves at these crucial times. Today we’re going to listen again to a Guided Meditation on the absolutely vital importance of being aware of what is difficult for us and deepening our realization that without it we can’t really move into a healing direction with our wisdom. This is by far the best way for you to practice putting yourself in the center and put the understanding into practice.
When we realize a challenging feeling is arising, we wanna move in this direction where we can say to ourselves, oh good, I can see it, rather than, oh shit, not that feeling again. This gives us by far the best chance to use our awareness to move in a direction, to be the beginning of starting us toward healing and well-being and not getting sidetracked by suppressing it, judging it, misunderstanding it, or misrepresenting it. I’d like to start off by introducing Dave, my partner, which I’m sure most of you know by now, if you’ve been listening, at The Global Bridge Foundation and my dearest friend for 50 years.
Robert, thank you, and, uh, as I hate to be repetitive, but I know this is the practical personal application that is so essential to integrating the book and the prior podcasts that reflects some of the same, in fact overlap some of the same and material, but in such a different way. And this will integrate it, I think if you really, really, as a listener, apply it to yourself and, and listen as deeply as you can allow yourself to listen.
Robert Strock (03:37):
What you’re saying. I wanna scream from the rooftops, I really do, because this putting you in the center cannot be replaced by reading or intellectually understanding. This gives you an existential experience that I believe if you really get it, you’ll wanna do it several times over and over again. And especially after this podcast, you could just go right to the Guided Meditation and just do it over and over again, until you really feel like you’re starting to move toward, oh good, oh good, I actually can embrace myself when I have a feeling I don’t like. Not, oh good, I feel shitty. It’s, oh good, I feel shitty and I have an option.
I wanna emphasize the importance of the Introspective Guides and starting in this episode on, it’s gonna give you the advantage of being able to identify the challenging feelings, if they’re at all hard for you, or give you more choices. And equally important, it’s gonna give you the many, many options of directions that you can guide yourself and suggest for yourself that are thoughts, qualities, and actions that you wanna bring, both to the feeling and to the life situation that the feeling came from to support you and others. It’s so important that you go beyond understanding. This has to do with an experiential response. Understandings in the head, an experiential response is in the body. The Guided Meditations highlight the body. You are really there and you are really having the potential to have an arising of something that will support you, rather than just understanding it, you’re actually the chance to existentially be it. Not only do it, but be it and rewire your brain, rewire a part of your heart. At first it can seem a little schizophrenic. How could I say, oh good, when I feel shitty and it doesn’t make sense unless you understand the second part, which is, I’m glad I have a chance not to end with this very challenging feeling. And of course that makes sense. And of course it doesn’t make sense because we haven’t been conditioned to even consider having a deeply caring response to our most challenging feelings.
So as you watch this Guided Meditation and more accurately as you experience this Guided Meditation, see if you can really put in the experience not only the right word, but locate an experience or a couple of experiences where you really felt that. And both reflect on what came next and what you want to try to have come next. Every challenge gives us a chance to at least find our wisdom in our awareness. We may take a lot longer to change our feelings about our feeling, but we can develop our ability to change our mind’s-thoughts about our feeling. So if we feel afraid, we may not be able to be courageous, but we may be able to say, I wanna do my best to find my courage. It’s a lot easier to change the mind at first than it is the emotions. So the aspiration as you’re experiencing this Guided Meditation is see if you can catch the thoughts and the feelings and start with trying to move toward thoughts that you know would benefit you.
As a person who for over embarrassingly 50 years has recognized a pattern and simply put, early in my life, it was just being a pleaser, a nice guy. And of course it’s morphed over the decades and it’s morphed even over the decades when this became a practice for me. And I want to encourage and have everyone listening understand, at least my experience, and I believe generally this is the experience. This is not a one-time I’m gonna have a view of something and that extinguishes a pattern. Patterns tend to reemerge, mine certainly did, and people around me, I noticed that they do. Hopefully, the peeling of the onion gets to deeper places and it’s not the same mistake repeated, although I’ve got a lot of experience repeating the same mistakes too. And persevere, persevere.
Robert Strock (09:34):
And as much as what Dave is saying is exactly what I wanna be said, I wanna multiply times a thousand. It’s like, as I view how long I’ve been aware of this, thousands and thousands of times have I needed to come back to this practice and it will be that way till I die. And I don’t think we ever automatically transform our challenging emotions, but we can get closer and closer and closer until we die. So take that with you as you participate in this Guided Meditation.
Guided Meditation is for so many people, the best way to truly gain benefit in your response to personal challenges. As you invest and bring your own experience to the Guided Meditations, you’ll give yourself the best chance to change longstanding patterns from suffering, toward a state of well-being, peace and healing. It’s important to put yourself in a comfortable body position, in a private space where you’re not disturbed. Turn off your phone and be ready to really be alert.
Just allow yourself to settle in a comfortable position just listening to the sounds and silence. And don’t just go through the motions, actually be in your ears and hear a sound or the absence of sound and see if you can maybe enjoy it. Just being present, letting yourself also be open to sensations in your body. And you might even be able to be aware of thoughts whereas they arise. You might be able to just pause and say, ah, thoughts, and then watch them disappear. Wherever your attention goes start by asking the question, what is my most challenging emotion during this time period or now? Let it be crisp, clear and simple and use the Introspective Guide list if needed. See if you can really identify what this challenging feeling is and befriend it, join it, breathe into it, recognizing that you’re in a safe place to feel. Ask yourself what is the feeling you least like to discover inside yourself? And see if you can notice also your normal reaction to it. You might have these compounding thoughts or feelings that lead you into a circle. And by seeing that clearly you have the possibility of pausing.
So let yourself feel the feeling, see the feeling and just pause and see if you can say to yourself and feel, oh good, I can see my feeling. I’m not just immersed in it. Rather than, oh shit, when you see the challenging feelings and have a disdain or a dislike for it that you’re highlighting, how can you suggest to yourself, ask yourself to greet it in the future? What do you want to suggest when you have this feeling that you least like in general, it might be something like, I’m glad I have the courage and a will to grow, to see it clearly and as stably as possible. I have an undesirable feeling at one level, but I’m still very glad I see it clearly. Stay with it. There’s a tendency, notice your tendency to say yuck or the equivalent and let yourself go, okay, I wanna see it, use it, so it doesn’t own me, because if I don’t pay attention to it, it will own me. Do you get that? Are you able to see that if you don’t have the ability to observe where you are, it runs the show. Whereas if you observe, the observer has a chance to run the show.
Recognize that being aware that you aren’t aware is the key to growing and being more humble. Does that make sense to you? Oh, I am unconscious, I am human. I maybe sometimes make myself believe I’m aware, but of course I’m unaware of a lot. None of us are totally aware. Can you smile at that? Notice that you may have some fleeting awareness or quick thoughts that say, oh yeah, I can see when I get angry. I can see when I withdraw from my wife or my husband. I can see when I’m a bit of an ass. And notice how that kind of zips in and zips out and recognize that without awareness you can’t grow. It is the essence and the provider of growth. And it requires humility, honesty, and courage. Now this might sound basic to you, but it’s not basic when you’re dealing with the parts of you that are aware of where you’re unaware, that’s not basic, that’s brand new. And we always have brand new stuff defined. Recognize that awareness is like a great pregnancy toward healing. It can even lead to a small prayer. May I stay aware of the challenging emotions for my benefit and everyone’s benefit?
It’s a major first step to appreciate your awareness. Recognize that we’ll be taking it further, but we can’t start ahead of ourselves and be helpful. And it’s enormous to appreciate the awareness of our challenges. See if you can, even, as you’re hearing this, appreciate your awareness of your challenges. And keep repeating this until you create some movement, because it’s not automatic when we see feelings we don’t like that we can appreciate. Maybe we start with barely being able to tolerate, then we tolerate, then we accept. And then maybe we can appreciate. Even at least in your awareness, think the thoughts that I want to appreciate my awareness of my challenges, whether it’s anger, anxiety, grief, emptiness, or whatever this appreciation of awareness shows. It’s a major step on which we grow when we stay aware of something or we become aware of something that we haven’t been able to stably be aware of before. See if you can thank yourself for the willingness to look for the awareness of where you’re unaware and the appreciation to encourage you to go further.
So take a look at how your experience affected you and be honest did you experiment with yourself? And can you even try to do it subliminally as I’m talking to you now? And that is, feel the challenging feeling and see if there’s a part of you that you can access that wants to care for yourself. Even if it’s just the mind that knows it. See if you can find that. And if you can’t, no shame, just admit it I can’t do it yet. Which I hope means to you I need a lot more practice I can’t even, I can’t even start to be afraid and not go, oh fuck. You know, if that’s the case, the honesty is what matters. And hopefully that spurs you on to wanna be more and more of a practitioner.
When I look at my body and my health, and I know this is common for a very high percentage of us, every time I have a symptom, it may be, oh, I, I’m, I’m having a pain when I pee. Or, or maybe I’m having, no, relatively more serious than normal headache, or my elbow is really hurting for a long time. My mind will have a tendency to jump to the future. I wonder if this is more serious. I haven’t had it hurt like this. So noticing the tendency to go from a challenging feeling to the future, and that is a specific thing that you wanna notice and teach yourself. I don’t want to go to the future cuz my experience is that 99% and more, way more, by the time that’s a fear reaction. And I don’t wanna dignify that fear reaction with more and more thoughts.
So there has been a training to say, fear, I see you. I’m not gonna let you rule my mind when I have this symptom. And whether it’s a body symptom, whether it’s a financial symptom, or whether it’s a divorce or relationship symptom, let yourself realize you want to simply recognize the feeling, pause and look for that part of you that wants to care. And hopefully as you go through these Guided Meditations, you’ll really get the knack of honoring whatever you feel inside yourself. Not try to change the feeling, allowing the feeling just to be there. But that doesn’t mean you don’t wanna care for it. And let that caring be deep enough, even if it’s in the mind only, to guide you warmly in thought, not necessarily in feeling right away, toward the feeling and whatever situation it came from. Allowing yourself to care and to find ways to be wise and wiser in your response. The whole point of being aware of our challenging feelings isn’t to be challenged. The whole point is to start with caring for ourselves and letting that spread out into the world. And I hope that you will join us through all the Guided Meditations and participate as if your life depends on it, because your quality of life does depend on it.
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Thanks for listening to Awareness That Heals. Please click subscribe, so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, the best way to help spread the word is to rate and review the show. This helps other listeners, like you, find this podcast. We’re deeply grateful you’re here and that we have found each other. We encourage you to download our Introspective Guides at awarenessthatheals.org; they will be helpful to you while listening to our podcast.
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