How much have you wondered about the purpose of your life? What’s the reason for your existence in this world today, tomorrow and in both small and large ways? Perhaps, as Robert explores, everyone’s purpose can be fulfilled if we really understand and live with a greater sense of inclusiveness. Simply put, it’s a way of caring for people outside your circle of friends, your family, or your communities. It’s caring for our endangered planet; it’s caring for those in utter poverty and those who need our help the most. Our purpose in life can be simple, yet it requires a rewiring of what we have been taught — we must try to be more selfless, generous, and sensitive towards others.
Most of us who are religious by nature are often born into our religious choices. Our parents or communities dictated which religious teachings we’ll follow, what traditions will be a part of our lives, and so on. Religion has an overtly social aspect — it fosters a connection between those in the same faith.
But this connection isn’t as open towards those not within your religion or even those who don’t conform to any religion. We’ve been brought up to view them as ‘others’, people who are different from us in many ways. Unfortunately, rarely are today’s teachings inclusive and encouraged towards the whole world. This isn’t true to the root of many religions. The original teachings and our first teachers (Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Muhammed, etc.) all led lives of caring for others, no matter their religion.
We must strive for a greater realization and simultaneously focus on living in a way that values greater interdependence and interconnection while staying true to our original teachings and go back to the religion’s roots. We need to join with others in spirit and move toward our natural urges to love, be loved, care, and be cared for. We have normalized exclusivity, unwittingly, in most of our religious traditions, and we need to actively realize, understand, and move toward a path of inclusiveness.
If you’re wondering why? It’s because this desire to care for others, for the planet goes beyond a moral imperative. If we are fortunate enough to see those that are living that way, it’s clearly a path to be deeply joyous and grateful. Our unconscious does not care for our riches, but sharing our wealth, time, and effort to make a difference can help your unconscious feel deeply deserving. The key is balance — how much do you really need? How much can you live with, and what can you share — not spare — but share with others?
In the perils that we face today in the world, our very survival depends on this understanding, this oneness. Inclusive teaching and inclusiveness across religions, politics, and international agreements are a way for all of us to join our spirits, energies, and efforts to spread love and help our people and planet in need.
Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation
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The Missing Conversation, Episode 43.
Robert Strock: (00:05)
How could there be, and I’m really asking you to ask yourself, how could there be a purpose of life that is greater than inclusiveness.
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: (00:57)
Very warm welcome again, to The Missing Conversation where we address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today, or at least we do our best to and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs, innovative ideas, and people to support a greater chance of survival for our planet. And today we’re going to penetrate into, further, the dangers, the really serious dangers of exclusive teachings and the immense benefits of inclusiveness and unity. I’d like to really point out, because it may have gotten lost in the shuffle that all the messengers of the key religions that I’m aware of have an immense value and a unique angle from which they have something that is priceless to offer you. And that everything we’re saying is really valuing the original source of the teaching. And the more you go back to the original root teacher, the more secure I believe you are.
Robert Strock: (02:21)
And we all are to get the unitive value of compassion and love. And it’s important for all of us not to get caught up in the personality or the quirks or the limitations of the messenger, and that we wanna have the strength to take in the wisdom that we trust and to let go of what we don’t value. And once we really gain that independence, and we’re not just a blind believer of who’s in front of us and still really allow ourselves to go to the root teacher, the better off the world is. And I have an immense respect for all core traditions, not so much the traditions that follow, but the, the, at the inception, the life examples of compassion are beyond compare. So going again to the difference between the root teacher and what follows is a question that I love to ask Christians in particular.
Robert Strock: (03:49)
Uh, probably because they’re the largest group, uh, in America of largest religious tradition that really pinpoints the all too frequent exclusiveness and highlights the importance of inclusiveness. And the question is, would you rather remember Jesus as a savior and the only son of God and highlight his name, or be like Jesus, live a life like Jesus of greater compassion, loving your brother, being humble, being simple, living in the truth, recognizing the truth will set you free. And my experience is that I’ve gotten very mixed reviews about half the people I’ve approached would say, oh no, absolutely. The key thing is you need to remember who God really is and be loyal to God. And it’s suddenly bewildering. Cuz, when I first came up with that question, I thought I was brilliant. You know, I thought, I thought, oh man, I’ve really got a question that’s really gonna put them in a double bind.
Robert Strock: (05:08)
And boy was I naive. Uh, and, and so even some of the core ministers gave me bewildering answers, not only the students. Now, it seems utterly clear to me that Jesus, who I happen to love in the heart more than any other being that’s ever lived in the world. And, and Buddha’s wisdom I would say is the greatest wisdom for me that has spoken to me, but I believe Jesus would wanna be emulated. As he said, love your brother and sister as I have. And he would want you, he would want me to bring that aspiration to myself and to fellow seekers and beyond fellow seekers. So as you ask yourself that, is there any debate and is it not the key issue for you that you realize you live your life and you have a tendency to sort of space out sort of what I would call benign neglect, you know, that, that you’re just living in the conditioning that we’ve all been raised to, not we all have been raised into, but let’s say a lot of us have been raised into, which is let’s make a life for our family that’s as comfortable as possible and let’s enjoy the fruits of living and have fun and protect the family and be loyal.
Robert Strock: (06:39)
And so being able to see that the source of religion, the source of these great teachings have a very clear message. When you really go back to the source, can you imagine how different life would be? If you, as a father, as a mother, grandfather, grandmother, friend, student really received it from those people, or if you were in any of those roles, you either gave it or received it, as well. Is it clear to you that purpose of life, which is a buzz phrase, what’s the purpose of life? How could there be? And I’m really asking you to ask yourself, how could there be a purpose of life that is greater than an inclusiveness that’s greater than caring for our endangered planet that is greater than merging the polarizations in bigotry and prejudice. How could we have purpose of life and be insensitive or be selfish? Is that not obviously oxymoronic?
I, I wanna ask you, uh, this is Dave and, and, um, it’s clear to me I was born into the Jewish religion and it, like you, it was, it was more social than it was religious. Um, and I think the majority of people I know adopt, or at least, uh, early in their life, they adopt the religion they were born into. And to me, that’s the beginning point of what we’re talking about here, which is the exclusive aspect. Uh, and the, in some cases, the, I am better than aspect of what people experience because this is the people they are surrounded with. Their parents are the ones they are looking up to. And it’s, it’s a lock, it’s a lock on the psyche at a very, very early age. And it’s an indoctrination and it’s very hard to, um, to shake it or to introduce something new into a family system, if you get to an age where you, or you’re bold enough to do it. And I’d like to, I’d like to hear you speak to that.
Robert Strock: (09:22)
Yeah. I mean, what it really makes me think of is imagining that you’re raised on a sane planet. You know, when I imagine life in other planets, I don’t imagine religion. I, I imagine something like the song, imagine where everyone assumes, we’re all here to support each other. There, there, there, there is a interconnectedness just like we’re breathing and that we’re all so hypnotized. The key is to see that we’re hypnotized into what we view as normalcy and normalcy is exclusivity. Normalcy is exclusivity individually, as we’ve talked about briefly as of family as a community. And so the, the key is what one of my, uh, colleagues had a practice that he called De-hypnotherapy and De-hypnotherapy was how do we unhypnotize ourselves from believing that normal is normal? And that we realize that we’re, we’re raised into a world where without questioning it because we’re in separate bodies, it’s assumed that we’re not joined in spirit, that we’re not joined in the natural urge to love and be loved and to care.
Robert Strock: (11:08)
So, I think in order Dave, to, to really address your question, it needs to start off at a family level when we’re five years old. And to kind of look back at that, because if we don’t, if we’re not ready in that critical first five years to have a consideration of others and the word others is an utterly ironic word, maybe that word wouldn’t even be in the vocabulary. Maybe it would just be parts of us instead of others. Maybe, maybe we would be raised into a world where the only way to feel good at the optimal level was to join. And those of us that have joined energy in significant ways, whether it’s making love, whether it’s having a sense of deep commute, whether it’s being part of a foundation, whether it’s being part of a religion or a spiritual path, it’s obvious to many of us that the joining is the joy.
Robert Strock: (12:28)
And the separate way of thinking is to think, well, we have to be generous to want to give to others. And we don’t realize that we’re stiffing ourselves by being committed to dominantly ourselves. And it’s a radical notion. And it’s perhaps one of the key ways of really understanding and summarizing this whole last series of episodes. That right from the very beginning of life we’re scammed. We’re scammed into believing that we’re separate and that we could be fulfilled, staying dominantly separate in our motivation and our loyalties being so localized. And we’re seeing the utter decay of that separative thinking that, unfortunately, when we look at our creator as being in favor of us, it’s the classic projection of the five-year-old that would buy us. You know, our parents are, our parents are Mr. and Mrs. God, and, and our siblings may not be gods, but they’re, they’re people that were taught to be loyal to.
Robert Strock: (14:03)
And somebody that lives down the block, we don’t even care if we meet them ever. It doesn’t matter. Now there are, of course there are some blocks where that’s not true, but those would be the exception in the American country that I know. And so, I think the real key is to understand it “prereligion,” “prespirituality,” prebelieving in nothing, where the very way we raise our children is a sense of entitlement. It makes me think of a very dear friend of mine, who I may have mentioned in a prior episode, who asked me whether I felt entitled to have a separate bank account. And I looked at her like she was mad. This was about 40 years ago. It’s like, well, yeah, if I didn’t feel like entitled to have a separate bank account, I’d, I’d put your name on it, you know, or I’d put everybody’s name on it, have at it.
Robert Strock: (15:04)
But I wasn’t hearing at first, the real question, which is, do you not see that it’s to do with your connections it’s to do with where you were born it’s to do with the family you were raised in, and that it was to do with luck. You have no idea how you got here. And so, it’s easy to see how religions and spiritualities were seeded by the way we all been raised. Now, imagine for second Dave that, that we were both raised where we were taught, you know, in the dark ages, when the planet was threatened, we truly were raised that what mattered was your family? And what mattered was your political party? What mattered was what your nation was, what mattered was, you know, the community you were born.
Robert Strock: (16:05)
And imagine instead of that, that we’re three years old, we’re four years old, we’re five years old. And in the simplest of ways, we’re, we’re, we’re taught as somebody else walks in the sandbox. Oh, welcome them. Now, you wouldn’t use the word welcome. You just turn their body. And you’d, you’d naturally lead them to become joined in a way that was like a family member. We have a neighbor, we, we are meeting our neighbors. We see somebody we are taught right from the beginning. That generosity is not for the other more than it’s for the self.
I think that exact thing you just said is a good example with Christianity of the source and generosity and, uh, taking care of those in need. The poor is the source teaching and look what it’s become, look what it’s become today.
Robert Strock: (17:18)
Exactly. And, and, and it’s exactly as I envision it. And I think many people envision it, that Jesus would be like going through the temples when he had the stick, and he was smashing things. I really do believe he would smash the churches. I really do. I really do believe he would be horrified at the wealth of the Catholic church. I really do believe that he would be, he horrified by the, by the idea of chosen people, he would be horrified by any sources of separation that didn’t value the spirit of inclusiveness. And there’s something joyous, you know, we’re, we’re conditioned to believe that if we give something away, we lose. Now to me, it seemed natural that you want to still be self-sufficient if you’re fortunate enough to be in a place where you’re self-sufficient, but then it’s also natural that you want to share because it expands you.
Robert Strock: (18:28)
It’s not a moral imperative. It, it’s much deeper than a moral imperative. It’s the only way you can be deeply joyous. It’s the only way you can be deeply grateful. It’s the only way your unconscious can feel deeply deserving. And you notice how you change that to unconscious because a lot of people can feel deeply deserving, but nobody unconscious can feel that privileged. And the unconscious it’s very obvious that everyone is created equal. The unconscious has no idea. At least the best I Intuit my unconscious, of course, of course I might be unconscious of it, but I believe that the unconscious doesn’t believe that we are special and it has a realization that we’re interconnected. And now on the planet, we have very clear messages that it’s moving into our consciousness. Now it won’t be for the same right reasons. We we’ll be doing it so we can survive.
Robert Strock: (19:41)
Not so everybody can survive necessarily, but it may be. And I hope it is that because our own individual survival is finally. And I say finally, because I, I actually think it’s the only chance there really is, or ever could have been a motivation to see a oneness, to see this inclusiveness, that our very survival is dependent on it. That seeing that is a very spiritual phenomena, that if we act out and how we treat the earth, how we hoard money, how we feel superior, how even we as foundations stay separate, how we don’t all question ourselves, how do we support the greater need of the planet? How do we support the greater need of humanity? If we don’t start to fall in love with that, let’s say supported by the fact that we can see our grandchildren will die, or there’s a very good chance they will die.
Robert Strock: (21:00)
Maybe even our children, for those of us that are young, maybe even ourselves, that we will get killed in the massive amount of hurricanes or, or fires or disease or famine or disruptions or terrorism or nuclear war. And so, it seems actually at the risk of sounding absolutely callous, that it is divine justice, that our planet is endangered, that our self-centeredness, our lack of inclusiveness, our orientation towards the sacredness of family and the lack of sacredness of others is basically an ego of 6 or an ego of 8 or an ego of 10. And screw everybody else 98% of the way. Yeah. I’ll smile at them maybe, but no, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna liberate 20% of my money if I have a lot of money, or if you have billions of dollars, I, I’m not gonna liberate 80% of it, you know, for humanity, cuz I can’t spend the other 20%. I can’t even give it to my kids and they can’t spend it. And their kid it’s kids can’t spend it. And so, it does seem like the only way we can get there. Like if I was God, I would say, oh my God, look how, look how free world turned out, looks like people are gonna have to be threatened with their own death as a virtual certainty before there’s any chance that they’re gonna understand John Lennon’s song, Imagine
As I’m hearing this, especially what you’re saying now. And as I reflect back on some of the prior episodes and saying, okay, there’s a group of people we’re addressing, they have a religious view. There’s a group of people we’re addressing and they have a spiritual view and there’s another room that has a certain set of values. They may not have a deity or a, a religious view or a, a, a, a guru. Um, and when you, especially in earlier in this episode, boil it down and I’m thinking of that sandbox and, and the value of a child inviting another one in. And when you boil it down to the source teachings even, or the rest of it, I guess what I’m hearing is values are really at the root.
Robert Strock: (23:36)
Absolutely the values of inclusiveness, of caring, of generosity and reinterpreting those values. Because those words don’t even convey it. Interdependence would be closer. Interconnection would be closer. The idea of me being generous with you when I have a lot and you have a little seems almost like an oxymoron. It’s more like I get to join you and my energy expands. I get to consider more and more expansion outside of whatever orbit I’m in. So, I become bigger and the eye is not really an eye, it’s an energy that is joining, it’s, it’s kind of like you imagine yourself as being a, a ball of energy. That’s, that’s like a, what are those? What are those balls calls? You know, that, that are picking up other things as they roll along, you put them together and they stick together. Well, whatever, whatever they’re called, imagine yourself that we are a ball of energy and that your neighbor is another ball of energy all the way through the universe.
Robert Strock: (25:04)
And the ball of energy is only able to have a certain amount of conductivity of aliveness because it’s small. But then if it snuggles over to the ball next to him or her, it becomes, two becomes one. Now we don’t need to see it in black and white terms, just an overlapping. There’s an interconnectivity that the, the conduit of energy is greater. Now that might sound very philosophical. And the reason why it sounds philosophical is cuz we’re raised to think of ourselves as being separate and not interconnected. But if we imagine that words like generosity also ought to have another word right after it that would be expansion or self-giving self-reward. I get paid off. Even the idea of paying it forward. It’s like you pay it forward. You are the forward, you, you, you are also the one that’s receiving because you experience the quality of joy or happiness or gratitude. And the interconnectedness is the opposite of aloneness, emptiness. You know, if there’s anything I’ve learned from my years of counseling, it’s that the most successful people have a greater capacity to, to realize that being successful, doesn’t lead you to joy, to unity.
Robert Strock: (26:54)
And it only leads you to joy and unity, if you find a way of naturally expanding and many people I’ve had the privilege of that have discovered that are in a completely different wavelength. They are experiencing joy, they are experiencing gratitude, they aren’t proud of themselves. They realize it’s not traditionally generous. They realize in the bigger sense, it’s self-serving. And so, as we realize the root of religious and spiritual inclusiveness or exclusiveness, it’s all a projection of our individuality. So, as we appreciate that, we can have more compassion, hopefully–for the religions, for the nonreligions, for the spiritualities, and we can see that we’ve been taught that separation itself, individuation itself is a big part of the goal of life. And what we’re attempting to say here, as the moody blues said in their album, is a question of balance. So, it’s not a matter of giving up yourself.
Robert Strock: (28:21)
It’s not a matter of sacrifice. It’s a matter of asking yourself, what is balanced? How much do I really, really need? And maybe there’s five really’s because it keeps changing and we’ll keep changing until we die, but can we spend our life questioning? How can I be more unified in my spiritual and religious beliefs? How can I be more unified as an individual? How can I see that living in 2021 is a, is a lightning bolt straight to my brain trying to teach me, it’s about unity, it’s about togetherness. It’s not about exclusivity. It’s not about judging religions for being superior. It’s about encouraging religions and spiritualities and individuals to unite a greater percentage of the time. And so my prayer, my wish is that this is heard in compassion. This is heard in uniting the core root teachers. This is heard as an opportunity for all of us. This is heard as an invitation and not as a judgment. So please join me in a prayer that may I be awakened to keep questioning for the rest of my life, how I bring my beliefs about life, to be more and more caring without it being carrying–carrying a sense of separation. So, I thank you very much for your attention, your retention, and for really having this be something that you enjoy and not feel as a pressure.
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