Host Robert Strock continues to explore how we can see ourselves as part of an interconnected global community through internal inquiry that looks for and develops the best self. Using self-inquiry and the free Introspective Guides on AwarenessthatHeals.org, listeners can learn to guide themselves to a place where they can use their time, energy, and resources for the survival and betterment of self, others, and the world. As he states, “We are repeatedly creating wars outside of ourselves by not facing and resolving the war within ourselves.” The discussed process helps resolve the conflict within so that we can develop a sustainable way of living at all levels—private, community, state, national, global.
Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation
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The Missing Conversation, Episode 20.
Robert Strock: (00:04)
We are repeatedly creating wars outside of ourselves by not facing and resolving the war within ourselves.
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: (00:52)
Welcome again to The Missing Conversation where we’re addressing the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today. And we’re also looking for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet. Yes, I am saying survival on our planet and finding a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that both we and the world needs, and it needs all of us. And I’d like to introduce my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and 50-year closest friend, Dave. Dave, thanks again for being with us.
And of course, thank you for the opportunity. These, this in particular, this series on Psycho-Politics is just crucial and I am so happy to participate.
Robert Strock: (01:46)
So, this last episode, we were really talking about the interconnection between the individual facing their challenging emotions. Dave was talking about feeling hopeless or helpless or insignificant like a piece of sand on a beach, waking up, big deal. And that feeling, as I shared in the last episode, is a crucial feeling to be aware of. And if you have that feeling, that’s a good sign. That’s a sign that you care. Otherwise you wouldn’t feel helpless. The reason why you feel helpless is because you want to be helpful and you can’t find a way reliably to click into that. So, being aware of that and congratulating yourself in some non-egoic way is crucial because you don’t want to let that own you and have that move you away. For that reason, I have a book called, Awareness That Heals that has guides called Introspective Guides, where it shows the 75 most challenging feelings and the 75 most healing responses, attitudes, qualities, and actions that we can be do, act on, and puts them together.
Robert Strock: (03:11)
And it’s immensely helpful to be more literate in this area because most of us just have feelings and needs. And they’re kind of vague in order for us to be able to have a chance or a better chance to apply the challenges we’re feeling inside ourselves and the challenges the world is facing. And the poor are facing. We need to be able to see these feelings more clearly, and we need to not just dwell in those feelings. We need to then let them catalyze and help us pivot toward the healing responses that we individually are capable of. And again, it’s crucial that we can see our potential healing responses more clearly because we’re all going to see we’re capable of both, but it does require a dedication to be aware of ourselves. And to be honest with ourselves, these guides on awarenessthatheals.org are free.
Robert Strock: (04:18)
And I really encourage you, the listener, to go to these guys. So, one of the important things here, so you don’t suppress the message because you hear it as something way too extreme, Oh, he’s asking me to have a lobotomy and change and become a humanitarian. Wow. Where does he get off? No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is each of us needs to question it ourselves with our own awareness and our own integrity and ask ourselves what is our best self? And this is not black and white. This is very gray. And the question is, can we tilt a percentage of caring more for the other and by the other, I’m speaking now mainly of the poor and the planet. And so please don’t exaggerate the message that’s being said here and use that as a reason, or please don’t get caught in a feeling of helplessness or uselessness or overwhelm and let that stop you and go back to the traditional conditioning that we’ve all had. Recognize that it’s the healthiest of us that have feelings of helplessness, of despair, of fear, anxiety. But the even healthier of us have those feelings, are aware of those feelings and then are motivated and maybe even inspired to see how we can make the little changes in our individual lives and realize that this is a collective civil war, in the world going on right now.
Robert Strock: (06:14)
There’s a civil war going on between those that realized that were endangered in all the multiple ways we’ve been talking about and that we can have a real good chance of pulling it off. If collectively we see our old identity and our old dreams don’t work when we’re in this civil division, it’s being played out in our country, being played out in our world, being played out in our politics. And that if we individually catalyze this to our friends, our family, everyone we know and utilize our best capacities. It will be a movement, brick by brick, step by step, day by day, hour by hour, and each moment counts. And the beauty of it is it’s not a demand. It’s not an imposition. The beauty of this is if you’re aware of having some feelings and if you’ve gotten it this far on this podcast, the odds are pretty overwhelming, unless you’re a masochist, that you’re, that you really are one of those people that cares.
Robert Strock: (07:25)
And you really want to find a way. And very likely you will have a part of you that’s like what Dave shared in the last episode of being caught in feelings of incapacity or helplessness, uselessness. And if that’s true, please get those Introspective Guides. Please guide yourself to, how can I be useful? How can I find a way to utilize my time, energy, resources, to either work on my survival or to help others work on their survival or both. One of my favorite expressions that I’m going to repeat for emphasis, and please see if you can relate to it, we are repeatedly creating wars outside of ourselves by not facing and resolving the war within ourselves. We are repeatedly creating wars outside of ourselves by not facing and resolving the war within ourselves. Now that might seem like some glib overstatement, but if we look closely, yes, we each have feelings that overwhelm us at times and make us not operate from our best selves.
Robert Strock: (08:51)
We are in a reality where our world is endangered. And if we’re caught in our own power struggle with someone, fears, anxieties, and we don’t open a door to realize as human beings that we need to expand our sense of self to include more and more of others. Not because we should, but because we’re blessed to be able to be in a position, if we are to have that capacity and to use that capacity is its own reward. It does give to us individually, if we don’t face our own challenges individually, it builds up in our subconscious and we start to either feel depressed or anxious, and it starts to come out. In other ways, maybe we’re anxious about relationships or we’re depressed just in general or we’re just withdrawn. And what we don’t see is we’re missing this sense of deeper purpose and we’ve disassociated to another level of life.
Robert Strock: (10:16)
That’s more mundane and there’s nothing wrong with mundane. We’re all mundane at one level. The question is, do we have another level? It’s like being stuck in first gear. We, we can’t go to second. Well, I guess we can, but it makes sense to go to first gear before we go to second gear to go third gear to go to fourth gear. So, there’s nothing wrong. There’s everything right about loving ourselves and about loving those that we love. That’s a gift when we have that, and we have that extra capacity. If we let it go to our subconscious and we don’t use it, it will, we will become symptomatic. And I’m not necessarily saying physically, although it might be physically as well, but I am definitely saying emotionally, there’s a cap on how happy we can be. My clients are largely those that are experiencing that cap and are dedicated to wanting to address the feeling of emptiness, the feeling of selfishness, the feeling of not knowing how to give the feeling of seeing where they’re not caring.
Robert Strock: (11:32)
And that’s where we all need to be questioning ourselves on a day-to-day basis. It’s all too easy to blame our politicians. And I am one of the first ones that blame our politicians. But again, is that at one level and yes, it is at one level. I can’t tell you how much I hate many of our politicians, but I see that it’s my role to do everything I can to catalyze facing my own challenges and hopefully being a part of a catalytic movement that’s happening throughout the planet with a minority of people that see our interconnectedness as being the key to our very survival, that reflection of inner self and seeing how we inflate the importance of ourself and those close to us is gold. And seeing those feelings and then letting them inspire us is the real, real, super gold. Another expression that I like very much because it says very succinctly:
Robert Strock: (12:50)
:What I wanted to say is our pervasive lack of psychological and emotional awareness in our political and personal discourse is the elephant in the room for us not to see that we’re not staying personally aware of our challenging emotions and resolving them to move in a direction toward our best self. And that best self has so many levels. If we go there, but it’s not going to happen unless we’re a questioner, unless we’re asking, am I being my best self today? Am I saying hello to the person behind the counter? Am I giving a real hug to those that are safe from COVID? Am I giving an energetic hug to those that are not safe? Am I containing my angry emotions and trying to find the needs underneath? Are we going for what we want rather than being angry at what we don’t have or what we don’t want?
Robert Strock: (14:00)
And we’ll be going more into that later. This lack of what might be considered worldly knowledge, meaning awareness of what’s happening in the world and contrasting that to being worldly and the ordinary definition of worldly, where I’m worldly, I’ve traveled a lot of countries. Maybe I have a second home somewhere. That sense of worldliness needs to have a new definition where I’m worldly, because I care about the world. And again, don’t take this to an extreme, take this to your day and see how it may apply. It may be a smile. It may be a small action. It may be a contemplation. It may be a meditation, may be a prayer. It may be a walking at the park or the beach where you’re asking, how can I contribute? How can I help in the near future? And looking for that, not to be abstract, the long-term cumulative effects of not facing our challenges and not asking our politicians to face our challenge, imperils our democracy.
Robert Strock: (15:23)
It imperils our relationship to each other. It imperils our relationship to ourselves and humanity’s efforts to stem global deterioration and destruction.
Can you please clarify imperils it is a very intense word. What meaning do you give to it in those contexts?
Robert Strock: (15:50)
I believe imperils implies that if we’re aware, we’re going to be deeply, deeply anxious. We’re going to be deeply, deeply, helpless. Not, not, we’re going to be that way, but we’re going to feel that way. And it’s so honorable to be anxious about the world and to feel helpless about the world. And that’s another version of imperils. And then to let that catalyze the movement that we can make. So, the whole point of imperils is to shake us up, not as an outside thing, to shake us up, it’s happening. Our world is in great danger. And if we live our life, we teach our kids to live their lives and our grandkids to live their lives as if it’s the same.
Robert Strock: (16:49)
That was 20 years ago, 50 years ago where, oh, it’s just a matter of how well off we can be. And we can protect which our family will be fine. If we don’t see that protecting our kids and grandkids by living the same old life, dooms them to a virtually inevitable early death, they might be, they might be fine with money in the bank, but money in the bank is worthless when we’re flooded, when we don’t have food to eat, when the farms are overwhelmed. And my hope, my prayer is we don’t have to wait till a billion people die or a hundred million people die. And my sense is we’re not too far off from some, either major, major catastrophe, or just a continuous series of catastrophes that have happened. And start to prepare because we feel imperiled with alternatives like small communities with rapid housing that can be deployed as needed because we love life.
Robert Strock: (18:00)
And we want to love the planet that we’re on. And it’s coming from the exact opposite of being imperiled. It’s coming from being inspired. It’s coming from being fulfilled in wanting to be fulfilled. It’s coming because we want to be helpful. Even if we aren’t able to turn it around, we’d rather die knowing we did our best. So each of us starts with a very different situation, a different degree of wealth, a different degree of health, a different country, or in a different degree of being, having almost no chance of survival, having a decent chance of survival, having, uh, having a pretty certain chance of survival, but that’s all that’s possible. But wherever we are, we want to be asking ourselves what is our best self and how much does it include the other, if at all. And when I say self I’m talking about self and, and very likely family, or a member of family, or a friend, how much do we want to expand, that definition, if at all?
Robert Strock: (19:18)
Now we need to understand that this pervasive rumor, this fairy tale of the poorest of the poor being lazy is a complete delusion. The poorest of the poor need our help to help themselves. There are as many gifted people that are in the poorest of the poor, as there are at the, at the forefront of our society. And to believe otherwise is to be naive, to not realize that we don’t know how we got here versus being in the middle of Syria during the war, or even now, or the middle of any war zone or any tyrannical country. We don’t know how that happened. So, everyone, if we role reverse, everyone that is really struggling with feeling like they don’t have a chance to survive. They’re not asking for a handout. They’re asking for, teach me how to farm, teach me how to do something that will create benefits so I can feed my family.
Robert Strock: (20:35)
And they would be, in general, very happy to do work that would help others. And the duty today is that there are plenty of options that for a very small amount of money, we can give to everyone on the planet, but there has to be the collective and individual will, that wants that to happen badly. So, if we look very closely, we’re going to see a level of course, different than everybody for all of these of personal strife and in the world, violence, economic inequality, prejudice, black lives matter, pointing out those prejudices corruption in government, beyond government. And we’re going to also see that we have our own personal challenges. And the question really isn’t whether all those challenges exist, that’s a certainty. The real question is, are we going to look inside ourselves for what are rightfully called universal needs? And that chart that I referred to in awarenessthatheals.org and the Introspective Guides, those 75 qualities and actions and thoughts are universal needs that we all have.
Robert Strock: (22:05)
But what, there’s a tendency to do, is to identify with where we were born and feel entitled that we’ve earned it or crippled by where we’re born and terrified that we’re not going to survive. So, these very challenges require us to find the wisdom to pivot from those feelings one way or the other to these universal needs. And I’m in no way saying that this, these charts are the charts. There could be plenty of charts with 75, both challenging feelings and universal needs, but these are a good example that you can use to become more articulate. My experience is that right now, almost everybody I’m meeting, which is not a random sample, can see everything that I’m talking about in these podcasts. But relatively few of them are deeply motivated to ask the questions on a daily basis. They’re too busy with their lives. They’re too busy with the conditioning to stay secure, to keep their family secure, to be hyper attentive to the family.
Robert Strock: (23:31)
And that was once really about as good as it gets. And in a different point in time, I wouldn’t be saying what I’m saying, but can you see that you’re likely aware of everything that’s being said about the challenges in the world, but you individually have a lot of questioning to do as to what would be a next step, even the next small step and the way I’ve been thinking about things. I’ve, well, I need at least this to survive before I can give, can you see that those are based on prior conditioned fears and goals and status symbols that are no longer the wisest ones, or maybe you’ll tell me you think they are, or maybe you’ll just think it to yourself. My view is, is it’s very, very existentially obvious that those conditionings are no longer healthy. The whole field of psychology from my vantage point needs to change to not be an adjustment to the world, but to be seen that mental health needs to involve a deep interconnectedness with the world to really be deeply mentally healthy.
Robert Strock: (24:53)
And I’m not talking about for people that are severely depressed or severely anxious and have character disorders, they do need the help of, of traditional psychology. I’m talking about us normal, healthy neurotics ya know that, that have a sense of strong preference for ourselves, but we also realize that this is a world we need to attend to. So, do you see how much, do you see that we’re living, that you’re living in a very different world than any other time in history that all the values that we’ve learned up until now have to have an amendment, a big amendment?
Robert Strock: (25:37)
It’s, it’s almost like it’s a question is, is it an amendment or is it a whole new constitution? You know, it, it’s a question of where you are, but the constitution was still include the old constitution, but it would be a brand new, a bridge version that was very dynamic, very inspiring, very fulfilling. And it’s a whole new way of parenting, of educating, of politicizing, of even religions. Acknowledging, you know, we’ve said, we’re chosen, we’ve said we’re the only way. But the reality is the whole earth is God’s people. Whether they believe in God or not. And we need to have an inclusive reality that transcends old traditions. And we ended to think about this for ourselves. How much ask yourself, how much are you motivated now to really think about your own situation? And what’s balanced personally, economically, for the survival of those you love and those in the world. Is your plan, a sustainable plan? You know, say that one more time in closing is your plan is sustainable plan for the next hundred years? Do you really believe it is? And if you don’t, be happy that you see it and see if you can pivot to, you know what, I think my best self wants to work on a sustainable plan. Thank you very much for listening.
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