When it comes to forging your best self, inquiry and wisdom guidance are two key facilitators. Inquiry is sincere questioning that sparks awareness with simple suggestions of support and direction. Wisdom guidance involves giving yourself and others the space to think, act, and develop qualities that are most beneficial without carrying any judgment. It’s present inside us all—but can you access your wisdom?
Robert Strock takes listeners through what it means to communicate with wisdom guidance. It’s asking for help and offering support through clarity in your words, actions, and essential qualities. It’s taking time to practice becoming aware of and asking for what you need, over and over again. It’s also mastering your tone to express yourself clearly and with sensitivity. In moments where you’re stuck, wisdom guidance helps you embrace yourself, others, and the situation you’re engaged with, even if you cannot get beyond your feelings right away.
Transparency and honesty are critical to help you access your wisdom guidance and deepen your understanding of yourself and those around you. Tapping into your wisdom guidance isn’t going to be immediately natural but if you consistently review and learn from your experiences, you will expand your ability to be more caring and live a more fulfilling life.
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Awareness That Heals, Episode 37.
Robert Strock: (00:05)
So, one of the things about wisdom-guidance to understand, to help differentiate it from other thoughts in your mind is that wisdom-guidance is never ever judgmental.
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: (01:01)
Thank you again for joining us at “Awareness That Heals: Bringing Heart and Wisdom to Life’s Challenges.” We’re going to continue to focus on wisdom-guidance, and the great importance of inquiry and supporting us to come to those small, but huge guiding words or phrases that can change many generations of conditioning. The last episodes we’ve really been talking about, how this sincere questioning can be a turning point of our life and really break us free from things we’re not aware of, but has been referred to as being like a tidal wave of conditioning. That if we don’t really, out of an awareness that we’re not really deeply fulfilled in our life, if we don’t stay aware of that or become aware of that, we won’t have the motivation to do that. But if we do have that awareness, it’s not, oh, damn I feel that way.
Robert Strock: (02:11)
It’s more like, oh, good. I’m aware. I can see, you know, that, that maybe there is something more. And if so, I sure as hell want to go for it. And as we have emphasized, but I’m repeating for emphasis. This is not organically taught anywhere in our schools or at home. The idea of really using our inner resources to question how we can be our best self and to have that be potentially more significant than our feelings, maybe even more significant, or at least as significant as being able to succeed in life is sort of like a parallel where we’re talking about our heart being full versus our belly being full. And obviously we want to be able to have our belly full and maybe have a roof over our heads, or definitely would prefer to have a roof over our head. But if we don’t really go to the bottom line, which is our quality of life, if that isn’t really central, then our work, our daily life is not going to have the payoff. So the real focus for wisdom-guidance is that it’s there to suggest possibilities to improve our quality of life. So we’re going to go deeper into that today. And I’d like to introduce Dave my partner in the Golden Bridge Foundation and endlessly long, but not exhausting friendship, uh, for a long, long time.
Feels like it’s been overnight. Uh, thank you. And, uh, it’s, it’s great to be here. Great to participate. And as we have been, uh, looking at accessing our, our wisdom, which is so cool because it’s, it’s not outside, it’s inside and we carry it wherever we go. It’s just a question of, can we access it?
Robert Strock: (04:29)
I love, I love your use of the word. Cool. Because it’s so unacademic, it’s so visceral and that’s exactly it. It’s cool. It actually, it is fulfilling. It is a bonus episode. It’s like playing a video game and getting a free game. It’s like you just, you’re just in the bonus time. So, it is very cool. So, one of the things about wisdom-guidance to understand, to help differentiate it from other thoughts in your mind is that wisdom-guidance is never ever judgmental. That’s one of the foundational understandings of how we are defining wisdom-guidance that if you’re judging yourself or anyone else you are not in wisdom. So, wisdom actually wants to observe judgments. It’s not like we’re going to judge ourselves for judging ourselves. The whole idea is, ah, good I can see that I’m judging; not oh shit, there I am again. Or if you catch it, then it’s like, you’re judging. Then you see, oh, I’m judging again. And then I say, oh good, I’m seeing them both. So, whenever you catch it, it’s never too late. The idea is wisdom-guidance is always ready to start in the present and isn’t interested in making a court case out of your mistakes in life. So, there is a lot of upsides in wisdom-guidance relative to just thoughts in your mind,
Just want to say at, at, I think that’s a really important and difficult thing to pull off as a person that’s made significant mistakes. Yeah. It, for me, it intertwines with, especially as, as they kind of regurgitate them back up from time to time, uh, connecting to self-forgiveness and, uh, the will to see them in a certain light to, to be able to access the “whys” and the “wherefores” and the intentions of that time. And so, it’s important, I think, to recognize that judgment is just going to be at least for, for many of us that have made significant errors in our life very often and very frequent and very understandable.
Robert Strock: (07:11)
Yeah. I think that’s a very grounding reality that you’re pointing to. And so, I think the realistic thing is pretty well to expect if you’ve made major mistakes in your life or more accurately looking at the mistakes that we’ve all made in our life that we particularly regret that the first level is likely to be judgmental, but that’s just, that’s just part of the nature of our conditioning. It’s almost inconceivable that we’re going to go from reflecting on our biggest mistakes and then, oh, cool, I’m going to go right to right to wisdom. No problem. Snap my finger. What that points to though is what I was trying to emphasize that it’s never too late and you could be six levels into judgment, you know, five hours later and then you suddenly realize, you know what, I could, I really could nail this and I could keep going on and on and on and on, but it really is not going to create benefit.
Robert Strock: (08:13)
And the illusion is at least I, I realized that I’m a schmuck and therefore I’m not that bad a person, you know, which, which, which is sort of the perverse logic that most of us operate from till we die. And at one level, I think we all will operate from, until we die at, at hopefully at a very minuscule level, but being realistic helps us not stay with putting ourselves down forever and allows for the possibility that we might just come in and say, okay, 38 lashes is enough for the moment. Maybe I’ll let you beat me up later again, but, or I will actually beat me up later again. But right now I really want to look at how can I best look at this experience that I deeply regret and learn from it, admit it, do my best to open my heart to myself, which may be impossible, admit whatever level you can get to face the feelings, face the guilt, face the regrets, the remorse.
Robert Strock: (09:28)
See if there’s anything else you can do realistically to lessen the suffering that it caused. Is there any letter you could write? Are there any actions you can take again, as we’ve said, wisdom-guidance, isn’t cheap. It’s probably at one level, the most expensive thing there is because you have to give up yourself, you have to give up a part of yourself or let go of parts of yourself, maybe give up is to scream, but let go of parts of yourself that you’re very attached to. And by getting that and being realistic, it increases the chances by far that we can ultimately get the taste of wisdom-guidance,
What you said to me, and I mean to me, but also to the audience is so important. You cannot skip those steps, you cannot skip those steps and, and, uh, be free of whatever that pattern may have been that created what you regret in the first place. And I just think, again, want to emphasize how important that path you just set out is.
Robert Strock: (10:49)
Yeah. And I, I, I very much appreciate your expanding that, that piece because the deeper, the regret, the more inevitable that is. And so, something really profound indeed, there’s, I haven’t met anybody that can go straight to, uh, enlightened wisdom-guidance, uh, from the deepest regrets they have in life. It’s just not, it’s just not viable. What is possible is to be split. It’s possible to have a side of you that is ready to rip you a new one. And then you have another side of you that says, no, I don’t really want to be a negative to myself, but the one who wants to rip a new one’s stronger, so it has to play itself out. You can at least be in the awareness sometimes. Uh, but it just isn’t very effective until you, until you’ve drawn blood.
Robert Strock: (11:44)
So, I have a case example that was something that we shared together, and happened in India. And it was a really demonstrated wisdom-guidance, and one of the most important examples of the impact of it on a large group of people. And we were visiting the four largest microfinance organizations in India, and we met the head of the profit-making division, who was in a state of complete fury. I mean, real, real alienation at a time when they were negotiating a new contract. And he was basically saying that motherfucker I just want to rip them a new one. I’m going to tell I’m going to walk in there and just tell him I’m outta here. You haven’t fulfilled, you know, giving me help, I have to work a hundred hours a week. You told me that you’d have assistance. You told me I get raises.
Robert Strock: (12:51)
You haven’t given me raises and I’m just really off. So, I asked him, and again, some of this is happened over a few interactions. Is there any way that you can say what it is you need, rather than say what you hate? Because I know you’re a very powerful entity. There was a hundreds of millions of dollars of investing from a profit making side, but yet still a compassionate profit making side, what’s called a B corporation. Is there any way that you could reconcile this? Because the benefit it could create for people, if you didn’t just blow this off and you really took care of your needs and gave him another chance may reverse it. So, he was very clear that what he wanted was more pay. He wanted more assistance, more partners to do the work he was doing, and he wanted an apology.
Robert Strock: (13:52)
And so, we practiced him saying that at first with a lot of anger, he was, he would say, I finally want more help. You know, that something along that line. And it took several practices before he was able to get to, I really would like to have what I really understood to be the way it was going to be, where I, where I can have the support I need, because we’re doing some very important work. And I would like a raise in pay, et cetera. So he went to the meeting, uh, finally, where they were negotiating a new contract, as far as the nonprofit side was. And I want to point out the irony that the nonprofit side was the completely, um, unfair, uh, and lacking moral fiber, which unfortunately happens more often than one might think. And the, and the profit making side in this case really had integrity, was really doing good work and helped hundreds of thousands of lives.
Robert Strock: (14:59)
And he completely blew it in the meeting. He just lost it. You know, something was said, and he just let out a diatribe of being angry, came back to me and said, I blew it. I lost. It said, well, still not too late. You want to keep trying? Yep. Okay. I’ll keep trying. So, we spent another four or five days with rehearsals over and over and over again. And in the next meeting, he was really able to say, it’s very simple terms cause we simplified it to, I really wanna, I really want this to work. I really need more help. And right now to have a commitment in writing of the amount of hours of supervision, clarification of salaries, and a time period, and even an, even an hour, if it doesn’t come through, but he did it with a good vibe and it actually created a contract that lasted for several years after that.
Robert Strock: (15:58)
And it ended up affecting hundreds of thousands of third world people’s lives in India. You know, millions of people that were getting solar energy, all kinds of agricultural changes, ambulance, ambulance’s being created. There were, there were numbers of programs that were created as a result of him being able to straighten out his tone and get this together. So sometimes it’s going to make something very, very small, a difference and sometimes be quite grand. This is one of the more grand examples of somebody that really worked their ass off. Had never seen a therapist before, had never worked with himself at all. Just happened to be at the right place at the right time, you know, where they’re negotiating a contract and he was open enough and honest enough to face what he was really putting out. So I know that was an experience that, that, you know, you and I really share it together and, and how, how powerful and formative it was of how one can have an experience where you’re quite sure that it’s going to work out negative, but then you realize, you know what I might be part of that in my attitudes, either in the way that I have withdrawn, or the way that I’ve been angry.
Robert Strock: (17:25)
And when there’s enough honesty to examine that and enough humility to consider an alternative so much more as possible than we believe.
I also think it’s a good example. In fact, I think it’s a great example of even the best, most altruistic people are stuck in patterns of acting out conditioning that end up being self-destructive and just commonplace. Uh it’s, it’s just commonplace.
Robert Strock: (18:03)
Yeah. Sadly, as we’ll be covering in future episodes, it exists in the spiritual world, exists in the religious world, it exists in the philanthropic world, it exists in the political world. You know, all these key powerful areas where some of them you would think would be immune, the medical world, not the case. So, this applies to everyone, no matter what your profession is, no matter how elevated a position it might be. Uh, even our teachers who we certainly have the greatest appreciation for at this point in time, there are serious regrets and regrettable actions and attitudes that happen no matter where we find ourselves. And the same is true in reverse that you can be in a war zone or in a Nazi prison camp and have the absolute best attitudes be developed in ways that are seemingly inconceivable. So, It’s better not to judge a person by their situation, uh, and to, to really take a fresh look no matter where, where we’re starting from.
Robert Strock: (19:16)
So, one of the things that’s really evident in being a counselor for 50 years is how dangerous anger is when we think on an ongoing basis that we’re reacting to the other person’s shit. And that we’re more than convinced that our partner is so often this way or so often that way. And even when it’s three quarters true, it’s important that we recognize it’s only three quarters true. And it may even be influenced by our contribution to it and the way that we flee or fight. And so, it’s really important, wisdom-guidance and inquiry are two of the key facilities that can help us see in love relationship in particular, when we’re in a certain kind of, uh, let’s say power struggle that may not be experienced as a power struggle because one person might be dominating. It may, may be more accurately referred to sometimes as a domination, uh, that it’s possible when we asked the right questions that any relationship can change.
Robert Strock: (20:35)
Now, of course, that takes courage. It takes facing fears, which is why we haven’t very likely acted on it before now. But it’s so important to see that what we think of is fixed or what, what we think of is causative from the outside. And we’re a victim. We can oftentimes see that it’s only a half-truth or a three-quarter truth. And that’s a catalyst, uh, to be able to install or instill in a great incentive to bring inquiry and wisdom-guidance into our life. Now, that’s not meant to say that all these, all situations, this is not a black and white world, but it’s to say that quite a few are and ones that we, the ones that we write off are frequently the case. So, another situation that is common in the world, that all these examples, again, I’m going to repeat this over and over again.
Robert Strock: (21:40)
Please use your own examples. And don’t listen to my examples, listen to the process and apply it to yourself. This isn’t about just listening to the content on the show. It’s about instilling the desire, hopefully to utilize this and see your own life and utilize the strategies that could be of benefit to you. So, you’re in a work situation and you’ve been promised a promotion and you haven’t gotten it and you haven’t gotten any critical feedback. Uh, and yet, somehow it hasn’t happened. You’re off and, and you’re really alienated. And you’re thinking about quitting, but you’re not sure whether you want to quit. I find myself with clients and friends they’re in that situation a lot. So, it’s important to point that out. And how does inquiry and wisdom-guidance come in to that situation? Well, again, as is the case with all of inquiry and wisdom-guidance, it’s important to realize that sometimes the solution is gonna be outside and sometimes the solution’s going to be inside.
Robert Strock: (22:49)
So, you need to ask yourself, am I with somebody that’s my boss or my superior that there’s any chance of communicating or not? What’s my best understanding about that? Now, again, as we mentioned earlier, this may be a brand new endeavor for you. So, You might not really have a clue. So, you may want to get some consultation with a therapist or a skilled friend, somebody who’s more sophisticated in business. But again, as we’ve talked about, if it’s debatable, it’s probably worthwhile to make an approach with a sense of communication, as possible. So, you want to ask yourself, okay, I’ve decided I’m going to make some kind of effort. What would be the words? What would be the tone? What would be the timing? What would be the place that would give me the best chance of getting the raise that I’m seeking and taking your time, recognizing that you really want to optimize all those conditions.
Robert Strock: (24:05)
And it’s helpful if you do approach it in that way, that it’s like a chess game. You have your second move ready too, which is that if I get a “no,” I’m not going to be explosive. If I get a “no,” I don’t want to be fired. I want the option to be able to stay there long-term or to look for another job. So, you want to look at your independent internal option and set yourself up for well-being, as well as the preferred option of getting a raise. And so you go forward with some version, your words are better than mine, and please always use your words. I had believed that at the beginning that we were likely going to be set up for promotion. Maybe I misunderstood you. And if so, please correct me. Or I was under the understanding that if I was not doing my job well, that I would be getting some kind of critical feedback, probably in writing, but certainly in, in, in words.
Robert Strock: (25:18)
But I think I’ve been doing a good job. I know I’ve been working really hard in my own eyes. I’m wondering what you think about me receiving a promotion, something like that, where there’s enough humility, there’s enough acknowledging in tone. And in words that maybe you’ve misunderstood, even though you may very well be sure you didn’t misunderstand and you’re presenting that. And let’s, let’s say that they say now, you know, you’re, you’re still five years away or, you know, this is a tough time for the business or whatever reason you’re getting, then you want to be prepared. Again, these are some of the words that are not intuitively obvious to most people. Will you say to yourself, good for you, did a great job attempted to communicate, and that was courageous. You know, I, your wisdom-guidance am very proud of you. Can you hear me?
Robert Strock: (26:22)
Hello? Can you hear me? And you see now I can’t hear you emotionally. Can’t, I can hear the words, but I can’t hear most things cause I’m off still that I didn’t get my promotion. Okay. But can you hear the wisdom? Yeah. I can hear the wisdom that I did the best I could, you know, blah, blah, blah. Um, but at least, at least, I did that and maybe a little bit better than blah, blah, blah. And now the next question comes, am I better off to leave? Or am I better off to just keep a great attitude and look for jobs on the side? And that becomes an enduring question until you move forward. But you really see that you don’t want to reinforce staying fixated in a victim feeling you recognize if this is your best job opportunity and you’re staying in a victim feeling, then that’s something that you’re not being realistic about your best self, because if you don’t have a better alternative and you’re in a job, that’s paying you what you can receive.
Robert Strock: (27:24)
And if you don’t have another place to go, then all the places to go is downward. So, I need to come to a mature acceptance that this is where it is at this moment. Doesn’t mean tomorrow I won’t change. Doesn’t mean tomorrow I won’t be reaching out, or it doesn’t mean today I won’t be reaching out, but if I don’t feel confident that I can advance, then I need to embrace, I’m making my best efforts. This is where I am. I don’t want to compare myself with my neighbors or my friends. I want to only look at whether I’m making my own best efforts. So that’s a crucial thing. So one of the places to really gain momentum or inspiration or faith in yourself is to remember a time if it existed, where you actually helped a friend, a lover, a family member, and you came up with some questions or some wisdom-guidance for them, maybe they were in this job situation and you, you gave them these set of questions or guidance.
Robert Strock: (28:41)
Maybe someone was avoiding the doctor and you were worried for them and your guidance suggested, you know, I think it would really be a good idea or can I do it for you? You know, or, or maybe you approach your friend and you see that they’re in a destructive relationship with their father and their mother or somebody else. And you ask them, do you want to talk about it? And it ended up resulting in something. The importance of seeing where wisdom-guidance has made your life better has allowed you to have more of a quality of life, gives you the incentive again, to be excited about waking up in the morning, excited about increasing its role in your life. Even if you’re like Dave, where you’re much more likely to give that wisdom-guidance to someone else, than yourself, for you. It’s like you, you come back to it and you say, you know what?
Robert Strock: (29:43)
I really want to apply this to myself. And I’m excited about waking up in the morning to see how I can continue that evolution, to focus on whatever my issue is and have the courage, the wisdom, and the humility to really deepen this capacity inside myself. One of the greatest anti-aging tools that I know is to recognize that our capacity for wisdom grows as we get older, because we have more situations to review, more mistakes to review, more regrets to review, and more ways that we can review it in a way that is caring for ourselves. And if we get that, or if we can review situations where we really did care for someone else, it’s inspiring, we see that there is a purpose to life. And the purpose to life is to expand our quality of life. And at a certain point, it goes to expand our quality of life and the quality of if for more and more people.
Robert Strock: (30:54)
So, my prayer to myself, to all of us, is that we see that we all have this potential. We all have this opportunity to wake up in the morning and ask ourselves the question, what is wisdom-guidance? What is inquiry want to ask or say to me today? And with that we’re coming and waking up into a friend, into a best friend inside ourselves, instead of just our emotions. And that’s a very dear level to wake up into, or even to anticipate, because we know that life is not predictable. And we know that we’re giving ourselves the best chance through our best efforts, through our best inquiry and our best wisdom-guidance. Thanks so much for your attention.
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