Robert kicks off the episode with a guided meditation. Relax into his words as he grounds into the moment and melts defenses that may be blocking you from accessing your inner wisdom and heart space. Using the Introspective Guides, Robert delves into how we can face our challenging emotions with curiosity. Recognizing that part of us wants to care instead of rationalizing or blocking challenging emotions is a courageous step. Robert will talk you through the tools necessary to develop from the first step of awareness, an intention to care, and a growing self-acceptance toward bringing that heart guidance into the world.
Through his work as a psychotherapist, Robert has seen time and time again that deep down everyone can recognize that bringing their goodness out is fulfilling. Robert and Dave reminisce about their early days together when they ran a residential treatment center for teenage boys. The mantra that emerged was, we believe that beyond their defenses, all our boys have the intention to be and do good. This is a universal principle that has not been universally embraced, especially by the most powerful countries. Instead of may I be a force for good, it’s been more like, may I be a force for wealth. Being raised toward power and wealth has led to political parties and a world that has brought us where we are and has led us to feel discouraged. There is a danger here of finding yourself fighting against what you don’t like instead of focusing on the world you want to create. Developing a curiosity towards yourself and your inner world harkens back to the very beginning of the Awareness That Heals podcasts. Where am I unaware? What are the consequences of that? How can I best respond to these consequences? Continually asking these questions can change the quality of your life.
Resources related to this episode
Robert Strock Website
Robert’s Book, Awareness that Heals
Free Downloadable Introspective Guides
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 85.
Robert Strock (00:04):
Look squarely at your biggest feeling that hasn’t served you related to the country, related to the world, and see if you can access the part of you that wants good for the country or the world. Our country badly needs all of us. That’s going to give us a chance to become nonpartisan, nonviolent, a light for the rest of the world.
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 (01:14):
Very warm welcome again to Awareness That Heals where we do our very, very best to focus on bringing heart and wisdom to our life’s challenges. Now this is meant to be very personal. This is meant for you. So as you’re listening to this, I’m asking you to look at your one life challenge emotionally, like your most challenging emotion. Is it fear, rejection, insecurity, anxiety, anger, one or two emotions. Only start off by looking there, cause we start again and again with being aware of what is most difficult for us and recognizing that these difficulties are completely universal for all of us, whether we recognize ’em or not, and how we can also learn to care for ourselves at these crucial types. Now being able to have both sides of life, meaning the challenging side and the liberating side. Together this sets up the ideal conditions for us to be fulfilled in our individual lives and to contribute to the world by finding and living from our best and most integrated self.
And today we’re gonna continue to focus on the Introspective Guides as they are the simplest way to start the path toward integrating what challenges us individually. And that means you. So I’m hoping you’re staying with what you’ve chosen, what you’ve seen, and don’t feel like you have to stay with it if you find something that’s more you, that’s challenging for you. And we’re also going to keep our focus on the challenges we’re facing toward our country and the world. The emotional challenges that we’re facing is so easy to just run away or avoid. And today we’re gonna delve into how we can face the variety of feelings that we uniquely have and how we can best be aware of them, how we can best recognize that a part of us wants to care for them, and how we can develop from there our way of bringing our heart and wisdom toward the world and the country that we’re living in. So I’d like to start off with introducing Dave, my dearest friend for over 50 years and my partner at The Global Bridge Foundation.
Robert, thank you. Segueing from how we deal with the world in our last episode to moving a little closer to ourselves and how we relate to the people around us, which I think is where we’re headed here, it seems so similar in the application of the guides themselves, the Introspective Guides. And I hope that that message is getting through. The messages in the Introspective Guides are really applicable to all, as broad as it can get and as really focused and internal as it can get.
Robert Strock (04:13):
Exactly. If I had a ability to be inside you at this moment, it would be like one of those commercials where it’s the military where. This Means You, Uncle Sam Wants You, This Means You. So I’d like to start off with a brief guided meditation that I’d ask you to really listen and take it in. Apply to yourself. May I take this movement from being aware of my challenging emotions and finding a place that wants to care, really seriously, and recognize that there is a very strong tendency to be in denial of all the very difficult things for you and to ignore them. And that right now you’re zeroing in on what is yours, what is your most challenging emotion or at the most two. And realize as you’re speaking to yourself that this is you, your best part of you speaking to you.
May I have the courage to let this be a real part of my daily life and hopefully the rest of my life, may I be creative how I can network with those around me to bring my intention for goodness that was increased by my acceptance of my challenging emotion. May I bring this to even one person, this goodwill, this wish for our country to be whole, this channeling it in a positive way and start with my own thoughts and bring this to at least one person. May I not underestimate the power of you, of me, starting with looking at myself as a force for survival. May I not underestimate the power of me being a force for increasing the chances for our country survival, for my survival, for my kids’ survival, and for the world’s survival. Yes, I recognize I have a longing for a quality of life and for all of us to survive as much as possible.
May I start with a simple humble practice of recognizing my challenging emotions and finding that place inside me that wants to care, wants to find my heart, wants to find my wisdom. And may I recognize by doing this, I’m really living my life fully and meaningfully. May we all do our part as we face the potential death of our democracy. May I do my part as I face the potential death of our democracy and our world. May I face the potential death of our democracy in our world, as much as possible right now, the sadness, the grief, the loss, the senseless death. May I face that and look at my denial or ways in which I haven’t found my optimal response. And may I foster finding my wisdom, finding my heart, finding my intelligence, persevering, reaching for my integrity, reaching for my character. May we develop, may I develop this capacity and show myself why I am alive. I am alive to be able to bring the goodness inside me, the healing potential inside me, the caring inside me to myself and to those around me. And may I remember.
So the question is, as you have gone into this guided meditation, ask yourself, how much do you feel like you’ve really applied it to yourself? And how much does this feel like an outside philosophy? How much has this touched the longing inside you to care for our country to really develop yourself emotionally to accept in these difficult feelings? How much have you identified these difficult feelings? And how much have you been able to touch that place inside you? Have you been able to find it? Were you able to feel, oh, that’s right, I do forget. Or, I do do this sometimes or, I’ve never done this once in my life. And wherever you find yourself, ask yourself, is this something you wanna deepen?
And even further, what do you see as the downside here? What’s the downside of wanting to come from your needs and not suppress your emotions, but just have them be balanced enough so you can live in both places? What do you see as the downside? And as we talked about in the last episode, I think if you see things there, you’re gonna see rationalizations. Now you might say to me, screw you, who are you to judge me? I’m not judging you. I believe that everyone down deep recognizes that bringing the goodness out is fulfilling. It’s not a sacrifice. It reminds me of when Dave and I ran our boys home, 1974, 77, The Family Home. Our line was we believe that beyond the defenses, all of our boys have the intention to do good. And that that’s been with both Dave and I for all that time and beyond.
And this doesn’t mean we’re practicing it all the time. Doesn’t mean we don’t still need to do our work. Of course we do. But this is a universal principle that has not been universally embraced. That’s actually universally been rejected by especially powerful countries. Because instead of, may I be a force for good it’s, it’s more like may I be a force for wealth? It is so intimate to be able to have this discussion with you, to be able to have the conversation honestly that I want most in my life with everybody I’m close to. I always wanna know what’s difficult for you and how can we make it easier? How can we move toward caring? How can we have you be in less pain, emotional or physical? And I believe that a very large percentage of you see the sensibility in this. Now, maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think so.
I think it’s an issue of not being raised that way. Being raised toward power and wealth, which has led to political parties and a world that has brought us where we are and has led us to feel discouraged. But we have to go back to the roots of the best part of ourselves as human beings to have a chance of supporting the world. And there’s such a danger of being against MAGA Republicans, hating them, having our thoughts be just vile towards them. Versus I really want to create a world or support my part of supporting a world that everyone has a chance for survival. Everyone has a chance for eating. Everyone has a chance for medical care. Everyone has a chance to work. And those that are disabled, they have a community to live in that’s dignified that can maximize, if there’s any element where they could have fun, they could have fun.
I believe this intentionality is dominantly universal but just hasn’t been taught. But I will be very interested in your commentary, whether you believe that’s even inside people. My experience is as a therapist, that it requires some mining to get there. But when a person is asked the question, would you rather be helpful or hurtful towards yourself? Would you rather care or not care? Would you rather have your heart be open or closed? Would rather be wiser, or unwise? People look at me like I’m an idiot and it’s because it’s so obvious, but yet it’s not obvious.
The word that keeps coming up as you talk is curiosity. You’re always interested in what is the most challenging thing and the people around you. Of course as a therapist, helping people with that curiosity in a constructive way, not as a way to put oneself down, but as a way to get to what is going on. Without curiosity, without an interest, without a inquiry, if you will, a desire that arises to understand, it’s really hard to get there.
Robert Strock (14:46):
And what that hearkens back to and what is the source of curiosity, is the very beginning of Awareness That Heals, which is being aware that we’re unaware and being aware that that has consequences. And so you’re curious as to what’s the unconscious? And I wanna be conscious. And part of being conscious is asking the question, would I rather care or not care? And when you ask that question, I find it being like a different planet suddenly showing itself because it’s so obvious that we’re all of the same core. And when you simplify the language, this innate instinct to want to be good. Of course there are people that are so injured or abused or battered or abandoned or sick or in pain that don’t feel that there are all kinds of situations where what I’m saying is not true. But I’m saying for people that are not traumatized, that are not chemically imbalanced, that are not in situations that are really heartbreaking, this theme is something that can change the quality of your life, not by understanding it, but by implementing it.
And limiting your belief of your capacity of yourself is completely unrealistic. I haven’t met anybody in my practice ever that intellectual was not capable of doing this practice. It’s that simple. I can do this practice with someone that’s eight-years-old, nine-years-old, 10-years-old, and it’s easier for them because they’re more in touch with the intention to care. Cause it sounds childlike or really childish to be talking this way. But when we realize the consequences are our muscles tightening up, our heart closing, our sensuality doesn’t show the caring, when we’re touching our partner, our eye contact isn’t rewarding. The idea of putting our hand on our heart seems queer or odd rather than nurturing. We’re asking a question here that is the universal question that is intuitively obvious unless somebody’s truly suffering the horribles that I’ve suffered.
I went through 10 years where I couldn’t feel what we’re talking about at all. And the best I could do was come up with the thoughts and let the thoughts lead me to actions. And you are capable of that regarding the world you’re capable of not letting the feeling that you have that’s difficult, as you’re facing the world, not rule your thoughts and actions, but actually be reminded that you don’t want that feeling to rule you, you want the best of you, you want the good of you, you want the kindness in you to be what manifests. And our country badly needs all of us to see that it’s this movement, individually and collectively, that’s going to give us a chance to become nonpartisan in an extreme way, nonviolent, a light for the rest of the world. And I’m asking you to stay with us enough to inquire, but you have to be aware.
And maybe staying with Dave’s question, are you aware you’re unaware? I’m aware, I’m unaware. I’m I’m amazed by my unconsciousness on a regular basis. And, intrigued and at times grateful that I get to be conscious in a new way and at times frustrated. And that at times working with a frustration and it’s an endless process. So look squarely as we end this episode. Look squarely at your biggest feeling that hasn’t served you related to the country, related to the world. And see if you can access the part of you that wants good for the country or the world and just see how far you are and how far you aspire to be. And join in the aspiration to keep developing in this way and to appreciate that you’re honest enough to admit what’s difficult and you’re caring enough to want to care.
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