Today’s guided meditation is centered around discovering your innate wisdom and offering invaluable support during periods of deep suffering. Many of us were not taught that being aware of our challenges could lead us to access our specific needs. Embracing awareness is a precious gift and marks the beginning of a journey toward self-care. Within you exists an inner companion yearning to care for you—a true best friend.
Unearthing what challenges you can lead you toward healing and well-being, will enrich your life, making you wiser, more caring, and at peace. By repeatedly practicing these themes, you can go beyond intellectual understanding and deeply embrace compassion within your heart, nurturing a profound sense of well-being. With time, this process becomes natural and virtually effortless. Let the discovery of your wisdom act as a healing balm to ease the challenges you encounter in life. The very fact that you face challenges can inspire you to embrace them as an essential part of your life.
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Awareness That Heals, Episode 101.
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 (00:47):
Very warm welcome again to Awareness That Heals where we focus on bringing our heart and our wisdom to our life’s challenges. And by now, I’m sure you’re familiar that we start again and again with being aware of what is most difficult for us and recognizing that these challenges are really universal. And we also are focusing on how we can care for ourselves at these crucial times. It’s so important to emphasize that to be able to identify our challenges and be resourceful as to how we can move to care for ourselves is truly an evolution in who we are. And it’s, it’s so helpful to even get deep glimpses that we can simultaneously be in a difficult feeling or situation and we click into, how am I gonna support myself at the same time, the moment that happens, we become less afraid of whatever kind of challenge that we’re in cuz we’re not gonna abandon ourselves and we have resources.
And today we’re going to look for and find the easiest way for you to discover your own wisdom when you most need it and also by doing a guided meditation that gives you a great chance to discover and support whatever would most help you at the time of greatest suffering. It highlights the importance of being aware of what’s difficult for you and deepening your realization that without it you can’t really move in a healing direction. Now I wanna highlight even further that your awareness is a part of you that is your guide. And that most of us haven’t been taught that our awareness itself might be the best definition of who we are in our essential nature. And I don’t mean this in an esoteric way, I mean it in a very practical way. But when you are aware and you recognize that you are this awareness that can see your challenge, it can lead you to not only recognize it, but to care for yourself.
But remembering again and again that awareness is my greatest gift when I use it to serve my life. When you can remember, and I’m asking that you really plant a seed to remember that it’s a major victory every time you can observe what you feel when you’re challenged, without distancing from yourself, without judging yourself and recognize that we have not been taught this and that by being able to identify these two features again, what’s challenging and what will move us toward healing and well-being, that we have set ourselves up for the rest of our lives to be wiser and wiser and more and more resourceful as to how to deal with our heart. So, let’s start off with you identifying your challenging feelings specifically, even if it’s the same one you’ve used in the past. And whether it’s fear or anger, anxiety, self-rejection, feelings of abandonment or loneliness.
Only you know the one that you’re staying with but don’t be distracted by the words that I’m speaking. Stay very aware of your own feeling. And hopefully, there’s a slightly different sense that your awareness is almost like holding you. It’s a holding awareness of, “ahh, I’m experiencing anxiety.” And the very holding awareness is the beginning of caring for yourself. And as you’re starting there, let’s not assume that you’re wanting to care for yourself cuz our unconscious doesn’t even know that it wants to care for you. So the conscious mind, your thoughts, as you’re thinking right now, needs to remind you that I wanna find a place inside me that wants to care for myself. And as you’re doing right now, do you feel it? Can you feel, yes, I do want to care for myself? And equally important, can you remember that you forget that a lot of times when you’re in these challenging feelings, you forget that you want to care for yourself.
And that’s such an important ingredient that yes, I wanna remember when I’m challenged, I wanna care for myself. Realize that the reason why these themes are being repeated so often is because we’re trying to move it from an intellectual understanding to something that penetrates so deeply into your heart, into your being, that it becomes almost automatic or maybe even it becomes automatic that you want to care for yourself. And so as you feel the challenge, the desire to care for yourself is right there, which makes you a lot less frightened. It also helps you recognize that you have a companion. It’s like a companion inside yourself that wants to care for you. You couldn’t ask more from a best friend. So today the meditation is going to be focused on finding your wisdom. And it’s important to understand that wisdom is always harmless, it’s always beneficial. We mustn’t ever confuse it with being a negative critical judgment toward ourselves. So as you prepare for the meditation, stay with your own challenging feeling and start off warming yourself up with feeling your own desire to care.
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 long-standing 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. So just start off by noticing the rhythm of your breathing and whether it’s a comfortable rhythm. And recognize that you have the capacity to have your breathing be a source of ease, of peace, and that you, when you’re aware of it, are very likely to want to have that be supported throughout the rest of your life. Normally we don’t see breathing as being a source of potential peace. See if you notice it. And as you look at it now, just breathe exactly the way you want to breathe. Also, notice your attitude even as you’re looking at how you breathe, are you thinking, am I doing it right? Am I doing it wrong? Or are you just enjoying it? Cuz breathing has the potential to be one of the greatest assistance to our life and enhancing peace. And then ask yourself a question, what is my most challenging emotion? And let that challenging emotion stay luminous in your brain where you can really identify what it is.
Let it be as crisp and clear and simple as possible. Not a story, just one word at the most two. And start off by identifying this challenging emotion, even if it’s the same one you’ve used in the prior meditations, whether it’s fear, anger, anxiety, rejection, abandonment, loneliness—whatever is your most impactful, challenging emotion is the potential for suffering, to turn into a fulfillment of what you need. Let your attention dwell on it and be reassured, the point is not to reinforce it, the point is to be able to see it, to accept it; maybe even respect it. And then to be able to move in a direction where you can guide yourself, feel your level of sincerity and devotion, and do your best not to judge it. How much do I sincerely want to be in a state of well-being? How much am I ready to dedicate my awareness to support that? And when you’re aware of that, recognize that you’re pursuing this to gain a chunk of well-being that you’re looking for a new wisdom for you as to how to best be and how to respond in your thoughts and actions. By looking at your challenges, you’re looking for your inspiration.
You’re looking for your fulfillment, you’re looking for your needs. And while you’re doing this, look for the part of you that knows it wants to care about you. And for some of us, we’re asleep there. We’re just living our life and we’ve forgotten, of course, we want to care about ourself, but it’s not, of course. Remind yourself not only now, but plant a seed, a deep seed, a fertile seed. I wanna care about me and this is not narcissism. This kind of caring gives itself away automatically. If you feel more sincere, you’re gonna give it to others. If you feel more generous, of course you’re gonna give it to others. If you feel more love, you’re gonna give it to others, this is the exact opposite of being self-centered or narcissistic cuz the kind of qualities that you’re looking for with wisdom are qualities that everyone needs, they’re universal needs. So, as you look for the part of you that wants to care about you, can you feel it in your guts? Can you feel it in your chest? Just notice where it’s happening Inside your body. There may be specific thoughts or qualities or actions that you’re thinking about that I want to care for my sex life.
I want to care for my economic life. I want to care for my love life. I want to care for the world. But all of that would be if it serves something deep inside you, this is what I want for my life. So just pause as you see what your wisdom might be telling you now, what matters the most to you? What does your wisdom tell you? Ah, this matters the most to me. Can you find it, caring heart and wisdom embody me and help me relax my body and breathe rhythmically to find you? See if you can send that prayer to yourself. See if you can feel that desire to bring wisdom and heart into your life. Some of the ways to find heart and wisdom qualities that are clear are when you practice being harmless, being kind, taking a gentle breath, having the courage to speak your truth about your needs, recognizing that you’re human and that the person next to you is human, and that you want to take care of yourself and them at whatever level is realistic and possible. Maybe your wisdom is telling you to be kind when you feel challenged.
And as much as you can speak with conviction, be sensitive and direct. So now let yourself ask a question, how can I best care for myself and be as specific as possible? So that might mean I’m gonna breathe a little more gently. It might mean, you know, when I usually get in a fight with my partner, I’m gonna remind myself I’d rather have another option. Or it might mean I’m going to eat a little bit more healthfully or I’m going to exercise. Or it might mean I’m gonna give myself more pleasure because I’ve, I’m working too hard. Everyone’s different. But your wisdom knows in an unqualified way that it always wants to move toward well-being. Hear that again. Your wisdom knows, it always wants to move you toward well-being to care for yourself. And just looking again, can you sense that? Then of course I want to care for myself, and it needs to be for most of us, one small step at a time at the most. And that’s a major evolution to make a small step at a time in caring. And as you tune into your caring, notice that the most significant caring relates to the present or to the very near future.
Caring that’s about thinking about when you’re a grandfather when you’re 26 years old, isn’t gonna help very much or caring for somebody on the other side of the earth. It’s better than nothing. Fostering the intention to care, it enters your body in a different way. For many of us, it’s gonna take time to soften our tone, to make more gentle eye contact, to relax our muscles, to walk in a way that supports our body. And when you’re not sure how you’re gonna care, notice how much you can tolerate this not knowing, it might be a complete blank slate, I have no idea how I’m gonna care more. Notice if you can have a response that it’s okay that I don’t know, it’s all right. And we don’t put a period at the end of it. I don’t know, as one of the greatest inquiries. I don’t know how to care for myself and I want to keep persevering and asking. You may be in a state of fear or betrayal, anxiety, loneliness, feeling inadequate, angry, guilty. Maybe you’re driven or withdrawn, we’re empty and you’re not sure how to care for yourself.
That’s when you need to use these questions from the heart. How can I care for myself so you can find your wisdom? Your wisdom is waiting for your questions from the heart. We all have wisdom but haven’t necessarily trained ourselves how to ask the kind of questions that will foster the wisdom. And again, wisdom is never negative, it’s never critical. It’s going to encourage us to look at the truth more carefully. It’s going to be accepting of all that we’ve missed or at least tolerating it. And recognizing the I can do is keep asking. And when I don’t know that is the sign of a depth individual. That means you’re deep. When you don’t know, that means it matters and you don’t know. For most people, they think not knowing is a failure. Not knowing is a sign of maturity. It’s a sign that you’re a deep-sea diver. You’re going under the water and you’re looking at a place where you can’t see. And you have the courage and the humility to ask, what would wisdom be telling me here when I have no idea how to move forward? For most of us, when we don’t know, we’re ready to move on to the next subject.
So guide yourself right now to say, when I don’t know, that means I wanna give it more attention, not less. My wisdom is waiting for me and I can’t find it. And I want to devote myself to keep asking these questions from my heart so I can have the best chance of finding my wisdom. Wisdom is always waiting for the asking. As one very wise person on our planet said, ask and you will receive. We need to be asking ourselves, how do I move from here to there when I don’t know how to move? How do I stay with it when I’m confused? It’s so easy to forget that we have this capacity. We need to start with a question from the heart that’s always in our best interest to have a chance to discover this wisdom. Every challenging feeling is inviting us to find our most astute response that will serve our lives and those around us. Let yourself keep joining whatever is your most challenging feeling and now recognizing why it’s so important. And the same for challenging situations. Let your observer see that you’re challenged and there’s dignity in being challenged. We’re not challenged, we’re unaware.
There’s immense dignity. And see if you can remind yourself right now. I wanna remember to ask the question, what will serve my well-being when I’m in my most challenging feeling, really for the rest of my life and as often as possible? And to escalate it as much as my heart and life will allow? What would be the way I could care for myself and others? Please give me the guiding thoughts that will bring peace to myself and those around me. And then you just remain in silence and you wait. You don’t have to figure it out. Silence, when you ask a question, will start to respond. We just can’t give up on the question. And remember, the answer to these questions from the heart will give you multiple options of wisdom at times. And your wisdom will say, ah, multiple options. Not sure which one to go with. Then it will say, okay, don’t know. I’m gonna take my time. Say, which one seems like it’s the wisest? And you can fall in love with asking the question, what is wisdom telling me? And not expecting an instant answer. Recognizing it may take 20 minutes,
Might take a half an hour, you might revisit it for two weeks. But anything that leaves you confused that you’re addressing with this question is so worthy of your time. And as you have explored this depth of wanting to find your wisdom, see if you can appreciate that this is a big part of why you’re alive. This is a big part of learning how to age gracefully. This is a big part of love and self-love. Plant a seed, may I remember that I want to seek wisdom as much as possible for the rest of my life. And perhaps either put your hands on your heart, put your palms together and let it be a prayer for your own well-being and for it to spill over to those that are around you.
So again, like the other guided meditations, it’s so important for you to notice where does this leave you in your heart? How does it leave you feeling? Is it leading you to be more optimistic, more trusting in yourself? Is it leading you to have feelings of doubt somewhere in between? Wherever it is, let it be okay that that’s where you are. But use your awareness to notice it and let the uncertainty about whether you can apply this in your life when you’re challenged, be a motivation to develop this more and more as a practice. So let yourself make a suggestion if you’re up for it. I wanna remember to ask for my own wisdom so it can deepen further and further and know that we’re going to be going further into wisdom in the next couple of podcasts. And that finding your wisdom is the salve, is the healing ointment to all the challenges that we face in life. So, I wish for all of us that we see this as one of the benefits of aging, that we can keep developing the questions that will guide us to the wisdom and practice the wisdom in our own lives for not only our own fulfillment for a world also that badly needs it. Thanks so much for your dear attention.
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