Host Robert Strock and guest ask the question—are we balanced in how we view ourselves and use our resources? To address the growing issues of global warming, homelessness, immigration reform, and other world and societal problems, there’s an overwhelming need for each individual to broaden their view. As we learn to see beyond our immediate needs and question ourselves and society, we better use the resources at our disposal as individuals and as a society. Currently, the planet is headed toward rock bottom. Consequently, building awareness is crucial to healing. Healing those in need, healing ourselves, and healing the planet.
Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation
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
The Missing Conversation, Episode 16.
Robert Strock: (00:03)
The new people that are being born and people that are in their teens right now, your world is in jeopardy. If you don’t know that you are asleep.
On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist author and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.
Robert Strock: (00:54)
I’d like to, again, warmly welcome you to The Missing Conversation, where we address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet. And especially finding a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that both we individually and the world needs. I’d like to first introduce Dave, who’s my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and a long, long friend in every dimension of my life. So Dave, thanks for joining us.
David Strock: (01:41)
And thanks for the invitation as always. And, uh, particularly on the subject that we began last time.
Robert Strock: (01:49)
So we’re going to continue on Psycho-Politics. And it does intersect with my other podcast, which is Awareness That Heals, which really asks us individually to identify our most challenging emotions and situations, and then follow strategies to heal and to support survival and well-being. Now, this is probably a good time to ask yourself how well can I do that? How well can I really identify my challenging emotions, especially with specificity and have a good sense of what are the qualities, what are the actions that I need to really take individually to move toward healing and a sense of well-being. Now, this sounds really simple, but my experience in 50 years as a therapist is it’s one in a hundred. That it’s really simple. So, I would highly encourage you to get a free copy of Awareness That Heals: Introspective Guides. And you can get that by going to all one word, awarenessthatheals.org.
Robert Strock: (03:25)
And then on the top line, there’s an Introspective Guides that gives a free download. And I would look at chart one and three, which identifies 75 challenging emotions, which it makes it very hard to find challenging emotions, challenging, if you pay attention. And then on the other side, it has the 75 qualities and actions that really will support you. And the idea there is to do your best, to not only identify the challenging emotions or identify the ways that you can guide yourself, but when you most need it, to do it at the same time. Now, I haven’t found anybody that’s told me when they faced their most challenging fears or hurts or angers, jealousy, and security inadequacy, A that it’s easy to identify it live and B that it’s easy to guide yourself with your wisdom or as I’ve called it, your friendly mind to say to yourself, I know you’re afraid, but we need to try to summon up courage, or we need to go to a person that’s going to help us to summon up courage, or we need to recognize that it’s natural to be afraid and not criticize ourselves for being afraid.
Robert Strock: (05:00)
Now that’s one extremely simple example of what Awareness That Heals covers and the podcast covers.
Robert Strock: (05:10)
And number one in Psycho-Politics, which is asking us all to really look at our relationship to our families and ourselves and how much we dominantly give and that’s the best of us usually to our families and to ourselves. And it’s a wonderful quality and nothing I’m saying is to discount that as a high value, but it is saying it’s incomplete. And as you use these 75 qualities and 75 challenges, it will help you in this new context of including the world and including poverty to be part of your inner dialogue. Now you might be just cruising along and feeling like, well, I’m not really suffering, while the chances are this is not going to be extremely meaningful to you. It’s only going to be meaningful to you if you’re aware of some emptiness, some incompleteness, some feeling like there’s gotta be more to life like that old song, Is That All There Is.
Robert Strock: (06:31)
If you’re not in touch with that at all, and you think you’re already in heaven and, uh, I don’t wish you harm, but I promise you, you’re either going to have a sudden death or you’re going to get in touch with another level of life. And when you start to look at being sick or somebody you love being sick, or somebody you love dying or facing dying yourself, that’s the place that really allows the greatest possibility of number one in Psycho-Politics to really deactivate it. Because if we’re living in a dream, a pleasant dream, it’s hard to interrupt it. And it probably would be guilt. But if you’re living in a dream where yeah, those things are going quite well, but it’s disturbing to me that the world is on the verge of global warming, creating enormous disaster. It’s already created a disaster in a way that it might affect me and certainly my kids.
Robert Strock: (07:40)
And we see that we’d go up to a stoplight and we have homeless people asking for a dollar or change, and we go through our own internal guilt. But yet we see that we’re amongst the majority. If we are, that doesn’t want “them” in our backyard or in our waiting lines while we’re in the stoplight. And what’s really sad, you’ll see it, especially if you’ve listened to our earlier episodes, this is a solvable problem. We can use tiny homes or trailers or modular homes and pay 1/10th of the cost. We can use programs where the people that are the poorest or are homeless can be trained in regenerative agriculture or any other clean energy source to where they can be a power for self-survival and to help the world at the same time. So we’re hoping that if you haven’t gone and listened to those episodes it’ll be a lot more meaningful and optimistic that there are these good potentials to add to our lives.
David Strock: (09:01)
So as you speak, I am one of those people who feels guilt. I am one of those people who feels I have means and, and could do more at the same time as I look around. And it’s not just the homeless, it’s, it’s the overwhelming majority of people just struggling to survive. Just making ends meet without a moment of time to consider the planet, are you kidding? I’ve got to just feed myself. I got to feed my family. It’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelming the masses of those people.
Robert Strock: (09:37)
Well, there are different levels of overwhelmed. You know, we can learn what life is about from our parents, from our culture, from our movies. And we can feel busy and overwhelmed, or we can recognize that there might just be a little something compulsive, little OCD about all that we have to do and all this underlying pressure that we’re not noticing versus trying to hear a voice that’s saying, I can see that you’re overwhelmed. And I’m wondering if you’re asking yourself the right questions, which would include, can you operate more in a flow? Can you operate more from a place of evenness and expand yourself to have some self-determined amount of focus on what is the source of suffering? Not only for me and my friends, but what’s the source of suffering for the planet in which I live. And can I see that there’s going to be a boomerang.
Robert Strock: (10:54)
The boomerang had already started, but can I see that there’s going to be a boomerang that if I don’t see that, okay, there’s a poor person on my left hand and there’s a person that’s well off on my right hand. If I can’t see, I could be either hand that the poor person could be the rich person. The rich person could be the poor person. If I can’t see that I could be either one, there’s a very strong chance that we’re going to stay in our own world. But when we start to see that, wow, if I was poor and I had money, I would be thinking, who in the hell do they think they are? Because they were born in a certain country. They were born in a certain family. They have connections. They have better schools. And I’m not sure I’m getting my next meal.
Robert Strock: (11:45)
Well, I would be inclined if I had to, if my best efforts weren’t enough to feed my family. I wouldn’t feel that bad about stealing from people who were wealthy. Now I’m not encouraging stealing. But what I am saying is I can empathize with the urge. And hopefully those that are in struggle for survival are focusing on what are my very best efforts and how can I maximize? Who can I connect with? And hopefully those that have some means that have some extra, are really asking that question, am I in balance, are going through those three points, both with my focus on family, friends, and myself versus these other two crucial parts of the world and how they really are going to affect me. This is not something that is selfless. This is what, what I would call wise, self-centeredness, where the self is actually, including everyone. And this, this narrowness of attention, this dream that we’ve been taught that we have to question. And unfortunately, being a therapist, I can see that most people don’t act until they’re riled up until they really believe they’re going to get hurt. And if they can stay in a bubble of contentment, usually they are. So this is an effort to penetrate the bubble and to open your heart, hopefully and ask the question, am I in balance?
David Knapp: (13:32)
In your pleas you mentioned the three points, uh, that were at the last podcast at the end. Can you just briefly go over those again and refresh us?
Robert Strock: (13:41)
Sure. So point one is the natural tendency to want to take care of yourself and your family. And for most people, a few friends, you may even want to take care of your nation. You know, you may even want to take care of a museum or school, and those are all good things. Those are all something that the advocacy for that is a very healthy thing it’s just that it may be, and this is where it gets impossible to generalize because for some people, it may only be 10% of their wealth or 2% of their wealth that they need. And for other people, it might be 97% of the wealth that they need cause they’re already giving in a way that’s balanced, but we all need to do number two. And number two is looking at how we use our resources, our money, our time, our energy, and how much in number two, we are doing the same thing on a personal level, as a number one we’re doing on a monetary energy work level with number two, for the benefit of the poor and for the benefit of the planet surviving.
Robert Strock: (15:02)
And then number three is recognizing that, questioning this am I in balance with taking care of myself, my family, and the world in these ways. And this is a delicious question. It’s a question that every time we ask it, especially if it’s not from guilt and it’s coming from a wiser part of our heart. And even more, especially if it’s tangible, it’s not an abstraction. I agree with you. No, I’m not looking for agreement in a conceptual way. I’m looking for, and, and the Psycho-Politics principles and number three. And really wanting to as well, how do I apply this today? It might be putting out a better vibe to the store clerk, or it might be obviously voting as a big thing, but how can I apply these one, two threes in very concrete ways, thinking about them today, this week, this month, this year.
David Knapp: (16:15)
We find the urgency. You mentioned your clients. They don’t move. They don’t change until they feel personally vulnerable. How do we find the urgency as we’re busy just living life?
Robert Strock: (16:27)
Well, first of all, I, I don’t want to focus on my clients, cause I think my clients generally are amongst the most aware that they actually do feel an urgency. And that’s why they’ve come to me because they realize they’re successful, which is the majority of my clients. But they also realize they’re empty. And many of them have already started to do work and foundations in the world, but they still feel half empty. So they’re looking for what can be more creative. But the answer to your question is that the eyes need to be opened up a little bit beyond what you’ve been taught. And you need to look at the news and stand form that no, our environment is not the same environment that we were raised in, when we were raised. Now I’m assuming, I’m 72 and that an older audience, for some people listening, you might be 13, but realizing that the new people that are being born and people that are in their teens right now, your world is in jeopardy.
Robert Strock: (17:36)
If you don’t know that you are asleep, you need to realize you are in personal jeopardy. You think you can protect yourself. The word protection needs to be redefined in 2021. You are not protecting yourself if you’re living the American dream, you know, the oceans are still going to come. The fires are going to come. The dangers of terrorism coming to your neighborhood are increasing. Now we have the dangers of terrorism from inside the United States. Increasing. Now we have insurrections being not enough on the Capitol to even warrant an investigation, bi-partisan. We’re living in a world where there is real danger. This is not an alarmist message. This is a fact. And so when any of us realize we’re living in a new world, the world has become small. It has become imperiled. And for those that are looking deeply, the trend line is already obvious for those that are starting to look, oh, this could happen.
Robert Strock: (18:49)
If we wait five or 10 years, I don’t think anyone’s going to have the luxury of denial. I really believe that more accurately. Let me say very, very few are going to have the luxury of denial. And so it is that personal imperilment that has to happen. And as happens with death, we, we have such a strong tendency to be in denial. So it’s really piercing the denial and feeling a personal fear or a personal vulnerability that, oh my God, I’m going to die. Oh my God, democracy might die. Oh my God, the world might die. Oh my God. Vulnerability is happening in so many directions. And not to the point where it’s just going to panic you. That’s not the point. The point is to arouse a healthy insecurity, a healthy fear, and then counteract that with a healthy questioning of how can I be most useful given the very uniqueness of where I’m starting from.
Robert Strock: (20:00)
So the point isn’t to create guilt, the point is to touch a spot where we recognize we want to do this for our greater sense of self. And we want to do this very ironically for our kids and grandkids, even though we might think, well, if we have a lot of money, that if we leave our money to our kids, well, they’ll be fine on their own. And that makes sense, like it always has. No it doesn’t. Yes. It makes sense to give them some sense of security, but it’s as if we’re out there on a boat and we’ve got food, we’ve got a chef and they’re feeding us, but we’re, we’re living on an ocean that is dying. And we were having a great meal. Maybe it’s a nice barbecue and some nice veggies. And suddenly the water, the plastic is all around us and we’re, we’re sinking. So if we can see that the planet is like a boat and we’re all in that boat and we’re all in the same boat and that we all need to look at our unique situations and see, how do we candidly move from here?
David Knapp: (21:23)
And that’s the question, tangibility, what do we do, right?
Robert Strock: (21:29)
And the reason why that’s such an impossible question is because every single person is unique, their wealth, their, their country, they’re, they’re living in their conditioning, their maturity, their wisdom level, every one of those leads to a different answer. But the generic answer, which is deeply inadequate is we see an arrow. That means we want to move in a direction and we want to move in a direction. If we’re struggling for survival, to struggle for survival, with dignity, with organization, with our family, that’s with us and give our very best efforts. And then be proud of that, because that has as much dignity as being wealthy and giving away half your wealth. And if we have some degree of wealth, then we need to stay in this questioning cycle politics. Number three, am I in balance emotionally and who I’m including as important in my family and myself. And am I using my resources in a way that’s consistent with a new sense of self that includes the other.
David Knapp: (22:55)
And how about politics? How about the investment in choosing leaders?
Robert Strock: (23:01)
Well, again, that’s a great question and we’re going to delve into it in maybe this episode or future episodes. But the short answer is if we, ourselves individually are caring a lot more about our families and ourselves, do we really believe our politicians are going to be better than that? No, they’re going to vote for us because we’re attached to having it the way we want it. If we want more money, we’re going to vote for more money. If we, if we want our state to have something we’re going to vote for those that will do it, are we going to care for the poor or more accurately are the politicians going to care for the poor? If we don’t, they’re going to reflect us. So a lot of what we’re going to go into is if we don’t change individually in our inspired motives or worldly motives or our conditioning, our politicians are not going to change so we can blame our politicians. And I am not saying they don’t deserve accountability, responsibility, but we need to see how they are largely a reflection of us individually, which is why this message has to go out to the individuals as well as the politicians.
Mark Spiro: (24:21)
I don’t know if I could jump in here, Mark the engineer, here. Can I say something? Um, you know, just like an alcoholic, an alcoholic doesn’t fix his problems until they hit bottom. And if we take our nation the same way, we don’t fix them until it really hits bottom. And that’s where I think you’re, you’re suggesting, but what is the answer to, to that addiction to wealth and to oppression? The answer is just like an alcoholic is to be in service of other people. And until we change the narrative, including the feelings of guilt, which is a bit of a disconnect, because what it is until we start to deal with our brothers and sisters that are, that are poor or disadvantaged, our, we’re suffering from a spiritual malady where it is a psychological, emotional, spiritual malady that we don’t, that we don’t encompass these people and pull them in as our neighbors.
Mark Spiro: (25:15)
And that’s why I, I also believe that one of the answers to this is community in getting to know who’s driving down the street, which homeless guy was behind that apartment. And how can I talk with neighbors and make this a first step effort to having what you might call it, proof of concept that this works. If you begin to join with other people, you know, and a lot of us believe that in, in terms of voting, what we’re really doing is, is just trying to decide how we like our cage decorated because nothing changes until this changes. I think that’s a lot what you’re saying.
Robert Strock: (25:50)
Yeah. I mean, what you’re saying about hitting bottom is a critical issue. A major motivation of doing this show is to support people. They hit bottom and a bottom that has real possibility of making individual and collective shifts. And yes, for those that are, are really experiencing bottom, that’s when the hope starts to lie, because that’s when they realize they’re doing it for themselves rather than really even believing strongly that the other is, the other rather than a part of ourselves. And so, and so we need to be careful and I’m very careful in my counseling, not to lay a trip on, on the people that I’m counseling and that they have to hit a level of bottom before we go to a connection with homelessness or a connection with the planet, because otherwise it’s going to be coming from their head. Now I’m not saying if you feel guilty and that you make moves, that that’s not a better move than nothing. So I would rather have people move with their guilt, but then to keep growing and seeing, wait a minute, the reason why I feel guilty is because I haven’t internalized it yet. And probably I have not hit, I would say, inevitably, I have not hit bottom
David Knapp: (27:25)
Distinguish between hitting that personal bottom and getting to the point where our, our world is hitting a bottom, that it cannot recover from.
Mark Spiro: (27:35)
That’s what I’m trying to say. Thanks, Dave. Yeah, exactly.
David Knapp: (27:39)
Hitting bottom personally is one thing allowing the globe, the planet to hit, for example, a global warming bottom that it can’t recover from is another, how do we connect to that bottom without it being right in front of us and literally threatening our very existence?
Robert Strock: (28:02)
It’s a great question. And there is an interconnection between hitting our personal bottom and our collective bottom, because if we don’t hit our personal bottom, we’re probably going to stay in that bubble. But the majority, I believe now for the first time in history, the majority of people have an awareness that global warming is a threat. Now that awareness is what I would call a small awareness, meaning the awareness is fleeting. It’s not stable and it doesn’t have a deep intention to heal. So what’s necessary is to have the news, school, parents, podcast be speaking about the global bottom and what we’re really facing. And especially what can you, what can we do? And unfortunately, it’s that old proverb of being able to learn from other’s mistakes is the wisest, rather than having to learn from your own mistakes. At this point, right now, we’re having to learn from the mistakes of prior human beings and present human beings, but not very often, are we the ones that are going to be cutting down for us or starting fires?
Robert Strock: (29:28)
So the key to seeing the global bottom is to keep our eyes open and to see the tendency to compartmentalize and to be in and instead be able to see, oh, I have this subtle feeling of uneasiness. Be able to interpret that. And again, I would say the Introspective Guides help you interpret what the subtle feelings are of just quiet, uneasiness, emptiness, depression. Many times those feelings are rooted in the awareness that we’re living in an insane world in terms of the traditions that are being followed, which includes religions or spiritual teachers that a) think that their religion is the right religion rather than the right, right religion being taking care of the whole planet, no matter what religion you are. Uh, so we need to insist on leaders of all sorts, uh, being able to see that a) they, they need to include more of the whole of humanity and the earth, and b) it’s very helpful if they, as leaders with admit that they are human and share some of the humanness, share some of the concerns. Be a leader of inner dialogue, don’t pretend to be.
Robert Strock: (31:04)
America is great, period. It’s America is great and do you have a few minutes? How can you, can you listen for a few minutes? And here we’ve made our share of mistakes. We made our share of mistakes with the Indians. We made our share of mistakes more than our share of mistakes with how we’ve integrated, integrated blacks and minorities in our culture. And so have other countries that have been in power. So we need to take a look honestly to see that what is normal is unhealthy when it comes to whites being superior, when it comes to religions being superior, when it comes to states being superior or our countries being superior. So that will help catalyze that awareness. And the more we can speak to everybody we know about it and add that to our conversations, the quicker it’ll happen.
Robert Strock: (32:05)
So again, I hope what you are most hearing is an invitation, an invitation to be aware tangibly that our conditioning is no longer valid. We need to add the poorest of the poor and how do we set up programs? How do we vote for people that will set up programs that will help the poor help themselves? How do we utilize the various technologies in regenerative agriculture, ecosystem, restoration, homelessness programs? How do we really care a greater percentage? Please don’t hear this as black and white, please hear this as an individual vital circumstance that you and only you can face, no lecturer can relate to your individual session situation. The only way that you can really take this in is to do number three in Psycho-Politics, which is to continuously question, am I in balance in my relationship to family, myself and the rest of the world’s needs? Am I balanced in the way that I deal with my energy, my money, my resources, and then question that for the rest of our lives. This is not a short-term question. This is going to outlive certainly anybody in my generation and don’t know about the generation underneath me, but please hear this as a plea or a prayer for all of us to take this personally.
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