This episode offers a detailed look into the benefits of asking questions from the heart. The benefits of heart-centered inquiry, and honest contemplation supported by guided meditation, can offer a pathway that deepens the understanding of what is most difficult for you. No matter what feelings are present, this awareness provides you with an opportunity to evolve toward healing using the power of your innate wisdom. Being able to ask questions from the heart and developing the capacity to observe the answers opens the door to the possibility of responding to challenging feelings in a healing manner—rather than being owned by them through suppression, absorption, or acting out unintentionally.
As you listen to the meditation and thoughts arise and pass by see if you can start to recognize if these questions are from the heart or if they are veiled judgments against yourself. Discerning questions from the heart, which will benefit you, also assist in seeing the many ways in which we often think we are asking helpful questions but are doing harm through unrecognized self-rejection. To further explore the topic of self-rejection please refer to episode 97 “How to Respond to Self-Rejection in a Healing Manner.” Understanding the types of questions that are beneficial versus those that are unproductive can help you gain valuable insight. Learning how to ask heartfelt questions that elicit meaningful responses is a skill that can help you in many aspects of 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 98.
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 very warm welcome again to Awareness That Heals where we do our very best to focus on bringing heart and wisdom to our life’s challenges. And we start again and again with being aware of what is most difficult for us. And we realize that these difficulties are universal for all of us, whether we recognize them or not, and being clear that we are doing this to guide us to how we can care for ourselves at these crucial times. And I wanna highlight that being able to identify our challenging emotions alone is a rare development that most of us don’t have. And to be able to do that, and at the same time or soon thereafter, being able to ask the question and explore how we can care for ourselves is a mini miracle. So don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the words in real life, to be able to identify your, your challenge and to be resourceful in moving toward your needs is a quality-of-life enhancement that perhaps is very, very hard to find any, any other way as directly.
So today will be supported by you doing a guided meditation that gives you a great chance to discover and support what you most need when you’re challenging feelings and situations arrive. And it highlights the importance of being aware of what is difficult for you and deepening your realization that without it, we really can’t move in a healing direction with our wisdom. Even when we realize a challenging feeling, we are being encouraged to say, no matter what we feel, oh good, I can see it and have a chance to evolve. Now, as I say that, do you really understand what I’m saying? You see a feeling like anxiety, instead of moving away from it, you realize you can say, oh, I can see it.
I am a witness, I am observer, and I am able to respond to it rather than having it own me. This is a, a humongous victory. Each time you can, or we can observe what we feel without any distancing or judging taking us over. So start off by being aware of whatever is most challenging for you now or during this time period. And hopefully at this point you realize how paradoxical this is, that if you can recognize what’s most challenging, you have the best chance to find what’s most beneficial. And again, I wanna repeat that by finding what’s most challenging, you have the best chance of finding what’s most beneficial. And today we’re going to be looking at asking questions from the heart. And that’s not just any kind of questions. Questions from the heart are aimed at looking out what’s of benefit to you, what’s really going to move you in a direction toward well-being. Like, how can I care for you? What actions do you need to feel best about yourself? Now, the other kind of questions which you really need to distinguish is questions that are not for your benefit, that are actually judgments, veiled judgments, like, what’s wrong with you? Why would you do that? You know, what’s your problem? And instead of those kind of questions, we’re aiming this, so you can see that questions from the heart can be like your best friend, your best ally, to keep you steered in a direction of your own fulfillment and peace.
The questions that are from your heart are aimed for benefit. The questions that are veiled judgments are going to create harm. So the whole focus is seeing how beneficial a practice it is to learn how to ask questions from your heart. Can you see this benefit? And if you can give yourself a suggestion, I wanna ask questions from the heart. And I wanna notice when I’m asking myself questions that are really veiled judgments. And when I see that, when I, through my awareness, can see that I wanna be able to stop myself, hopefully just when the impulse arises, or in the middle of putting myself down with saying, what’s wrong with you? Say upp, I see it. And there’s a bit of a celebration that I don’t have to keep torturing myself with these kind of questions and I can return to the questions that are gonna be beneficial for me. So as you let that in, let that guide you in this guided meditation and give it your all to ask your question from the heart that’s most gonna serve you.
Guided meditation is for so many people, the best way to truly gain benefit in your response to personal challenges. As you invest in 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 let yourself start off by just noticing what state are you in right now? Are you relaxed? Are you tense? Are you irritable? Are you peaceful?
Robert Strock (07:22):
Just see if you can sensitize yourself to ask, how’s my heart doing? And whatever you see, ask the question with gentleness and let your inner eyes that are looking at your emotional state, be as kind and gentle as possible. And notice if there’s any body sensations that go along with how you feel and move around to be as comfortable as possible. And finally, let yourself breathe in a way that’s most rhythmic to you, that supports you being relaxed and at peace. And then ask a question, what is my most difficult emotion during this time period or now? And be as clear as possible. Identify one challenging emotion that’s central for you right now, and recognize that by paying attention to what’s challenging, you’re fostering healing, not the challenge. This is not a masochistic exercise. This is a way of finding the deepest healing using the clues that your own emotional body gives you because it shows you what isn’t being satisfied. So you have a chance to care for yourself in that area. So we’re focusing on asking questions that will be strictly for guidance and direction. And that’s not just any kind of questions. We’re talking about questions from your heart that are aimed at looking for benefit and healing.
This questioning is another part of your heart. It’s a capacity that your heart and brain being united has. And we’re not talking about the kind of questions that are veiled judgments, like, what’s wrong with you? Why are you doing that again, I can’t believe that you’re there. What’s wrong with you? No. We’re talking about the kind of questions that have your best interest in mind, that are really looking for how can you be the best off. Now, just imagine as you’re staying aware of your challenging feeling, that you have another side of you that questions you in the most supportive way possible, in contrast to questioning you. No, it’s not that kind. It’s continuously questioning in a way that you can have a best chance to improve your quality of life.
One kind of questioning is unwittingly aimed at judging you, and the other kind of questioning is for your benefit. So relax into the reality that we’re reinforcing only questions that are gonna be for your best interest. And that, that could be another definition of you. I am the one that wants to ask questions that are for my benefit. Why would I wanna do anything else? Why wouldn’t that be a great way for me to live? Because not only am I caring, but I’m bringing the curiosity of my intelligence to be able to discover new things and new avenues, new ways to care for myself. So see if you can find a question or some questions that you would ask related to your challenging or difficult feeling. So just pause into that because that close to simultaneity of experiencing a challenging feeling and asking a question that could help you is one of the ways we could see life, your life as being endless growth, endless waking up, endless improvement of a quality of your life. An alliance inside you that you very likely have never profoundly fostered. And distinguish between the kinds of questions that support and the kinds that don’t.
Can you see, for example, the kinds of questions you’ve asked yourself in the past where they weren’t supportive, they bummed you out, they kept you frozen, they made you feel worse than where you were. And now let in that you see that and you see that does not create benefit for me. And I want to, for the rest of my life, make this pivot toward questions that are gonna serve my well-being and the well-being of those that are dear to me. You might ask yourself, what attitudes do I wanna develop? Do I wanna be more gentle? Do I want to be stronger? Do I want to set clearer boundaries? Do I want to be more self-compassionate? And just asking those questions, if you really do it from your heart is soothing. How much are you able, just ask yourself right now, how much are you able to feel a little bit encouraged, a little bit soothed, a little bit more optimistic that you have this capacity and you could use it. Can you see that this is actually an evolutionary step in your psychological or spiritual, your humane development? But these are questions that are gonna deepen your self-compassion, which will automatically deepen your capacity to share compassion with others.
So let yourself give whatever kind of encouraging reminder that you can to remember. And I’ll say it again, to remember, at these times of significant difficulty, you get to ask questions. It’s not that you should ask questions like it’s a slap on the hand. It’s an arising straight from your heart where you get to care for yourself by asking these questions. And that will open your heart and open your intelligence and open your curiosity. So see if you can appreciate your own best efforts, highlighting best efforts, not being perfect, but that I want to expand my capacity to ask questions that are gonna give me a better chance of being my best self. And I wanna summon up the honesty and the awareness, the humility, the courage and the resiliency to be able to ask these kinds of questions. You might say something like, I appreciate that I’m opening my heart doing everything that I can see to do with these questions. These questions are my friend. In fact, they emulate the very best qualities of a best friend. What more could be assisting you in your life to find peace, to find purpose, to find meaning and self-compassion?
Now that you’ve just done the guided meditation, just see where it leaves you. Are you more encouraged? Do you see the distinction between asking questions that are gonna support you versus questions that are really veiled judgments? Do you feel more optimistic? And can you see where your challenges are in being able to ask the questions that are gonna create benefit? Is it your memory, you might not remember, then plant a seed. I wanna remember. Is it that you don’t think you deserve to be asked questions that are gonna support you? Then see the absurdity of it and have the conversation about that and see what your motivation level is. How motivated are you to wanna ask questions that are gonna serve your life? And hopefully, you can see that everything else is a bit wacky. It just doesn’t make sense not to ask questions from the heart.
And my hope is that you’ll see that when you know you can ask questions, when you have a challenging feeling that are going to be ones that are designed to help you, you’re gonna be encouraged. And you know it’s gonna lead you toward your essential needs and qualities to help you in life. So may this really encourage you, calm you, and actually in a way, almost look forward to the challenging feelings because you know you can meet them with a question that’s gonna ask, how can I best deal with this challenging feeling? And your thoughts are gonna be supportive of your own life. And each of us needs to do this in a very unique way with our own words. So don’t worry about using the same words, but do be concerned about asking questions that are gonna serve you, serve your life, and see if you can let in that this is an ally for the rest of your life. And the more you remind yourself, the more you practice this, the more you’re gonna be on your own side. And as we said many times before, when you’re on your own side, in your heart, it’s very paradoxical. It’s the opposite of narcissism. It means that I’m supporting my heart, which will automatically support everyone. And while you just settle into that, recognize how much the whole world needs to be supported at this critical time.
Join The Conversation
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.
Visit our podcast archive page