Most people are part of the program. The equation is: success + sex + power + moving toward wealth + being popular + having a family = Fulfillment. This is the dominant western narrative of how to arrive at happiness. In this week’s episode, Robert challenges this assumption. He suggests we ask essential questions of ourselves, listen carefully to our guidance, then follow through with new thoughts and actions. This sincere questioning will help develop qualities in our character and heart. Fulfillment is something that really requires thinking for yourself outside the box. As you consider a shift, it may help to imagine yourself from the end of your life. Can I visualize going for this? Would I really have higher esteem, a higher sense of purpose if I went for it versus not?
It takes tremendous courage to move outside the collective consciousness. If you do take that leap, you may fear that not many people are going to support you. Join us for some steps you can take to start visualizing this potential in your own life. Robert offers grounded ways to move contemplatively toward fulfillment, inspiration, compassion, or creativity. You are not being careless but careful in living an inspired life.
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 58.
Robert Strock : (00:04)
And it always starts with authentically facing what is difficult and naturally leading us to inquire how do we best take care of ourselves and those around 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 : (01:02)
I wanna thank you again for joining us at Awareness That Heals where we focus on bringing heart and wisdom to our life challenges. We start again and again, with honorably being aware of what is most difficult for us. And I use the word honorably aware to really highlight that with this awareness of what’s challenging that we’re learning to respect this awareness to really appreciate this awareness and that it’s really like learning how to begin to start ourselves on a path and that we can’t afford to bury what is a very real part of us. And we see where these difficulties are universal for all of us in the world, whether we recognize them or not. And we’re learning how we can care for ourselves at these crucial times. Now, this is very important that we see both sides of this because we can be left with the illusion that we’re really highlighting challenges and difficulties. And it could sound morbid, but it’s actually the exact opposite. It’s the most optimistic we can be, because not even optimistic, I would say grounded and realistic and moving ourselves in a positive direction because we’re not denying or suppressing any real parts of ourselves.
Robert Strock : (02:49)
And this sets us up to the ideal conditions to be fulfilled in our individual lives and to contribute to the world by finding and living from our best selves. And again, today, we’re going to delve really deeply into the key practice, without exaggeration that has helped thousands of people make a simple link between the most challenging feelings that they’re experiencing and situations that are faced each day and how to move toward healing and well-being. This is a grounded, inspirational way to live. And I say grounded, inspirational way to live because it’s not based on beliefs of something esoteric. It’s based on facing all of ourselves and to be resourceful inside ourselves, to move in a direction that’s the best possible direction that we can find by developing that capacity.
Robert Strock : (04:11)
And it always starts with authentically facing what is difficult and naturally leading us to inquire how do we best take care of ourselves and those around us. And when I say naturally, I have an internal stumble because I realize it’s not natural, consciously. What’s natural for most of us is either to feel the feelings of challenge or to ignore them. And we have to be taught because we weren’t taught how to pivot. So, it’s in our nature, but it’s not in our conditioning. And that’s why it’s so important that we honorably respect seeing these challenges and how, how we can best embrace the ways to care for them.
Robert Strock : (05:10)
I so dearly wish that this was the conditioning throughout the centuries, throughout the millennia. And my dearest hope is that this time period is a turning point when we’re facing all global issues that are going on, that we realize that we’re all human beings, that we all have challenges that we need to band together and individually do our own work. And that we move toward healing because we’re at a time that if we don’t band together, if we don’t individually face our own human emotions and move in a direction toward healing that the consequences are much more than individual, they’re collective as well.
Robert Strock : (06:01)
So, I’d like to start off again with a very brief summary with the assumption that I can do it briefly, that you’ll be able to track what I’m saying, because you’ve heard the prior podcast. And if you haven’t, I highly encourage you to go, go back and at least listen to the last couple. So, the first principle or step is being aware, honorably of whatever it is that’s most challenging and difficult for you in your life. Presently, anticipatorily, or especially patterns that are running through your life that you know you’re gonna have to be dealing with in your future. And then we have the key, pivotal point where while that’s going on, and again, I say, while that’s going on, or as soon after as possible, we find an intention to care for ourselves, attention to heal and attention to move toward well-being. This is a miracle, a mini-miracle.
Robert Strock : (07:08)
When we remember to do this, no matter how much we’ve thought it, when we actually implement it, lives, in our inner lives, that will be the teaching in itself that will say, oh my gosh, I wish I would’ve learned this when I was younger. And then we move into a place. Well, well, how do I care for myself? We need to ask ourselves a question. So, we have what we’ve called inquiry, where we ask the question, how can I best take care of myself, or if we’re working with, or we’re trying to help a friend, how can we help you take care of yourself? And then from there as we listen, and we learn to listen to the question that’s so dear and important, we spend a little time in silence, waiting for guidance, waiting for the suggestions that we have for ourselves. And we come up with what we’ve called, wisdom-guidance. And as we’ve emphasized throughout the other episodes, we’re not attached to these words. Use your words, if you have better words, if you like them better.
Robert Strock : (08:24)
And the fifth principle is really implementing this wisdom in real life. And if that means we just speak to our ourselves in a different way that is supportive and that’s the best we can do because it’s severe. We develop what we’ve called friendly mind, or if we have actions we need to take, or communications we need to move into, and we realize how we need to communicate, we move into the implementation of the wisdom. So hopefully at this point, you have a deep understanding of that direction in life and have a deeper appreciation for how relatively easy it is to understand it, but how much real wisdom, devotion, and dedication it takes to practice when you’re really facing what is most difficult for you? So, I’d like to start by introducing my dearest friend, Dave, and partner at the Global Bridge Foundation. Dave, thanks for joining us.
Thank you. Thank you. And I, I appreciate you’re just running through the, the key elements and principles. I think it, it, one flows to the next to the next. And I also wanna ask, uh, a question. I know that the primary challenging things in my life have been difficult things. Uh, they relate to, especially later in life, which I am now in very much later in life, uh, health-related issues, things like that. But I remember times in my, and this is what I’d like to ask where the challenge related to moving and having, or having the courage to move towards something that was the most fulfilling to me that I might have been afraid to move towards for whatever reason, whatever self-limiting reason, whatever ideas I had about myself, uh, self-image, whatever it may be. And so, it wasn’t simply a, a suffering, it was also a holding back from fulfillment. And can you respond to that and how these principles apply in that set of circumstances, which I think most people face now and then for sure.
Robert Strock : (11:02)
Well, I, that’s a, a bit optimistic, um, in terms of most people or even now, and then I think that most people really are part of the program, uh, and the pro, by the program. I mean, success, sex, power, moving toward wealth, being popular, having a family, having a good family, and then I’ve arrived. And fulfillment is something that really requires thinking outside the box. I don’t really believe that those drives are gonna lead to fulfillment with the possible exception of really having an intimate family, where it’s, where it’s quite extraordinary, where you’re, where you’re developing your family in a way where you’re teaching some of the principles we’re talking about. But when someone really is in that duality of having an awareness of something like, is that all there is, or I, I like my life, I’m pretty content in my life, or maybe even I’m not content in my life.
Robert Strock : (12:22)
But somewhere in there and then has an image of gee, I think I will, uh, be more generous in my life and join an organization, or maybe I’ll pursue a, a different religious or spiritual path, or maybe I’ll pursue a deeper creativity that I’ve always wanted to go for, but I’m afraid that I won’t be able to financially make it, or I’m afraid that I’ll fall flat in my face or I’m that it’s just a fantasy, just a dream that requires a depth of contemplation where you’re really asking yourself the question, first of all, can I still likely survive? Do I have any fallback position, or might I go off the cliff for, for real, or am I in a situation where I could come back to where I was anyway, or this is so important to me that even if I fail, I’ve succeeded because I will feel like I’ve failed if I haven’t gone for it.
Robert Strock : (13:33)
I think that those kind of questions need to be asked. And there, there needs to be like a, uh, way of measuring that I, I frequently put in percentages or I put in arithmetic formulas, not formulas, but simple arithmetic where I say, how important could this fulfillment be to me, relative to the life I’m living and when you have a, a fantasy or a potential fulfillment, and you realize, especially, which is very, very helpful that you are gonna die. Now, I say that and remembering a client that, that recently said to me, gee, before I met you, I didn’t think I was gonna die. But when we remember that we are gonna die. And are we really here just to be potentially satisfied or just to follow a program? Does that make sense? Or do we have a dream? Do we have a potential inspiration, a potential fulfillment?
Robert Strock : (14:42)
And I would say, especially at these times when we have the whole planet endangered, where we have such a division where our democracy is threatened, where we have such an obvious amount of corruption, that the potential for the question you’re asking is greater than any time in human history, because our fear of death, our fear of death, of a large part of the planet, or a large part of humanity makes the question you’re asking even more important. So, I think it is a time where we wanna keep highlighting two things at once. Here’s my potential in fulfillment, and here’s my existing life of surviving. And maybe just surviving, or maybe just surviving, or maybe it’s really actually being quite successful and threatening, looking like a fool, or why would you give up moving from X degree of wealth and power to moving completely outta that spectrum?
Robert Strock : (15:55)
So I think the first thing is the, the courage that it takes to move outside the box and the recognition of how powerful the collective unconscious is to be normal and to stay with normal values and to recognize that very likely, if you take that leap, you’re gonna have more people that are not gonna support you, at least at the beginning than support you. And so, it’s very important that you, A recognize that, and that you have some kind of a friendly mind that’s saying good for you even to contemplate this. And so, to me, the most grounded way of doing this is to hold the two ideas of keeping going on as is, and going for fulfillment and the pluses and minuses of both, and really looking at, looking at it in the context of a mortal life. Am I actually going to, as I look back from my deathbed, wanting myself as best I can visualize to go for this, or will this feel like complete stupid, stupidity or significant stupidity?
Robert Strock : (17:16)
What do I really believe is more likely? And when you make big decisions like that, I very rarely encourage it to be impulsive. It needs to be deeply contemplative. And if you spend enough time contemplating that, then from my vantage point, barring someone that’s very impulsive or, uh, simply not looking at both perspectives, it’s almost invariably gonna be a good move to go for fulfillment or inspiration or compassion or something that’s outside the box because you’re not being careless you’re being careful. And I think that’s the key thing, not being impulsive, looking at it, closely, looking at it through our mortality, looking at it from, best we can from our death bed on backwards and, and asking ourselves, does it make sense for me to go for this? That’s outside the box. That’s a deeper potential fulfillment and also a deeper potential loss. And would I really have a higher esteem, a higher sense of purpose if I went for it versus not?
Robert Strock : (18:37)
So, I hope that clarifies the importance of looking at this with great respect. And frankly, my hope is most people that are listening to this podcast are already going for fulfillment are already either there or are clearly in that direction. Even if it’s dominantly starting off with the inner life. It invariably is going to move you in directions that are out of the norm because just being aware of your challenges and other people’s challenges and wanting to have conversations about that is a deeper sense of purpose is moving out of the norm, is going for a type of fulfillment that you’re talking about. So, I’d like to elaborate, um, by really giving some examples of what we’ve been talking about. So, we’re starting with one that is all too frequent, especially with lovers where I would say the dominant percentage of lovers that I’ve seen in my life either professionally or personally, or even than anecdotally through friends or clients experience this where you’re hurt by the others’ tone of voice.
Robert Strock : (20:03)
And it really might be something where they’re impatient, they’re annoyed, they’re irritated, they’re angry, they’re withdrawn, they’re distant, they’re far away. And that’s really injurious. That leads you to feel not honored, not loved, not respected. And you have seen your own prior reactions to that, which may be you. What you’re seeing is maybe you act out, maybe you’re just part of a scuffle and you’re just fighting it out with them, or maybe you withdraw and you just take it and you just let them do what they do. And you live in a withdrawn state. And if you do, you’re probably a bit passive-aggressive in certain ways, cuz not too many people are able to just take it and not in some way withdraw sex or withdraw from being considerate. And a lot of people of course are both, where they, where they both withdraw and they act out and you realize, you know what?
Robert Strock : (21:13)
I wanna respond in a way that is gonna have a likely better outcome. So, I’d like to really ask myself, how can I, now when you realize, I wanna highlight that you want a better outcome. That, that is what we’ve been talking about as the intention to heal or care or to move toward a sense of greater well-being. How can I best care for myself while I’m absorbing this negative tone of voice and how can I communicate in a way that is going to be having a tone of voice and words that are best going to convey what I’m asking for? So, if someone is conveying intolerance, you’re gonna have a need for tolerance. If someone’s treating you with anger, you’re gonna be asking them, could you be a bit more peaceful when you’re conveying that to me. If someone’s hypercritical in their tone, you’re gonna ask them to be more supportive.
Robert Strock : (22:24)
And so, one of the ways to think about tones of voice that is most accurate is largely the need is the opposite of the wounding tone that you’re receiving. And this requires a lot of contemplativeness. Now, as I’m speaking, I wanna remind you again, please, don’t just listen to me. Please look at the tones of voice in your life that you’ve found most painful, most alienating and look at how you’ve responded. Have you just responded in kind or have you withdrawn or both and what would be the tone? So, for example, when you’re asking for more patience or asking for more tolerance or asking for more kindness, are you being kind while you’re asking for it, cuz most commonly what happens is if you have the insight that you want to be helpful, you might be expressing your needs. But guess what that sneaky little tone of impatience and intolerance might very well be back there while you’re asking for it.
Robert Strock : (23:40)
And it requires a really deep contemplation to not only recognize your needs, but recognize you need to be exemplifying the quality that you’re most asking for in the other. Now, if you’re not one of those that has had this happen in your love life, I’m relatively sure it will involve your family life in the past or the present or involve your relationship to a boss. So, I would say there’s virtually no one where this doesn’t apply. So, please let yourself go now to visualizing that tone that you don’t like and visualizing the words that you would wanna say, the needs that you’d wanna express and see if you can hear the musical tone that would give you the best chance of caring for the other. But in a certain way, by using that tone, you’re gonna be experiencing a quality of life that’s gonna be beneficial to you no matter what happens, because you’re not going to be, unwitingly lighting a, a, a, a certain kind of, uh, bomb while you’re thinking that you’re trying to do something beneficial.
Robert Strock : (25:10)
So, take a look at what your best example is. What is that tone or what are those two or three tones that are most frequent in your life and see, do a gut check. Do you have the motivation and the courage to change the patterning and be able to access through your intention to heal, not only the expression of what you need, but finding the quality in your own heart that would dignify your need. So, take a few seconds and see where you are. Oh, I can see my need or I can’t see my need and I can see or I can hear more accurately the tone that I would like to express, or I can’t hear the tone or I can hear the tone, but I can’t imagine when I say those words that it’s not gonna sneak in and just allow yourself to be honest and honoring wherever you are.
Robert Strock : (26:20)
Now you may find, and I find with clients at first, what happens is, yeah, I can see that would be better, but I’m not sure if it’s not gonna still get me in trouble. I’m not sure if it’s still gonna be safe or I’m not sure it’s worth a hassle or so much work. I’m not sure I want to do it. And that then requires more inner practice, more inner contemplation, more it’s, it’s like you’re playing a sport and you’ve gotta do more practices to before you’re ready to actually implement. So, I would highly encourage you to do a lot of inner practice before you go through this sequence. And I’m gonna end again with the sequence to try to more deeply have you apply it as you’re looking at your example, that you have your awareness of your own feeling reaction to this coming toward you, whatever it is that’s alienating.
Robert Strock : (27:26)
And then you, you somewhat miraculously realize I don’t wanna just be a reactor. I actually wanna find the intention to make this situation better. Even though I’m angry, even though I’m stirred up, I don’t want that to be the only way I can react in life. And so, it’s going to lead me to the inquiry, to the question of, even though I have my own reactions, what would be the best way to make a move? Whether it’s an action, whether it’s a communication, you know, whether it’s an attitude, what would be the best way that I can move forward to reverse this most egregious example of something that hurts my life and what would that be? And then visualize yourself, as best you can, or see that you can’t visualize yourself yet, but know that this is an, hopefully an inspiration to do more inner practice, to implement the wisdom that you’ve come up with and keep encouraging yourself.
Robert Strock : (28:34)
And as you’re doing this, see if you have any peers, see if you have a counselor, see if you have a guide to support you to be this best self, because I’m sure you’d agree with me that unfortunately most friends consider a good friendship to support you, to be having a right to have feelings. Well, he or she really treats you badly. So yeah, I can understand why, why you’re alienated. I can understand why you’re angry versus teaching them. If you have to. But know what I don’t wanna just be reacting anymore. I actually wanna stay with my needs. And while you’re helping them help you recognize that you’re also helping them help themselves and hopefully further do, doing that with people around you. So again, I wanna share with you that this is a real thinking and being outside the box, this is developing a practice that can be as important to any other aspect of your life. And it is my dearest wish that you take this to heart. You take this home, you take this when you’re driving in your car, you take this to your business. This is you. You take this wherever you are, when you’re at the beach, when you’re at the park and that you really allow yourself to see the rewards and the benefits, not only to yourself, but those you love and hopefully to the greater world. Thanks so much.
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