Some of my fondest memories take place under a full moon.
Before no one other than my family and close friends knew who I was, I’ve been dreaming about the life I want to manifest. One particular moonlit midnight walk, I contemplated what to ask the universe for if I knew I would manifest it. I though for awhile, slowly articulating each thought out-loud; to feel if each phrase resonated with my body and felt right (I find I think best when I slowly speak out-loud to myself).
The truth that manifested between my tongue and the sky was:
“I want to create a psychological system that heals people without me having to be there, and will still heal people after I die.”
One of my favorite quotes of all time is an anonymous Greek proverb:
“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
This is how I see my work. This is why I happily wake up at 6am, why I’m reading and writing every Saturday and Sunday morning, and why none of this feels like work. I am playing. This is how I play, and because it is play, I will continue to do it every day.
This is my Why.
And this why then whispers, “What?”
What is it that I am trying to teach that I think will help people?
It may be ego, it may be my inner genius, but a part of me feels compelled to try and unify all the empirically effective parts of clinical psychology. I will read all the greats, learn their frameworks, and continuously try to synthesize them into a single, living model.
This task is a verbing, and the rest of this post is a noun, so it is where I am at currently, and it will be obsolete the moment I post it, and that is the dance we dance.
Below are the 5 steps of the system I’ve been playing with;
Connect to Your Inner Guiding Force
Use it to Envision Your Highest Potential
Begin the Journey (Via Behavior Change)
Face The Obstacles (Past, Present, and Future)
Repeat Steps 1-4
Trying to encapsulate someone’s healing journey in a 5 step program is like trying to convey the awe felt in the reverberating halls of the Cathedral as the organist and the choir channel the divine by showing someone the blueprints for the Cathedral.
It is woefully inept, but it is a starting point.
Below I will do my best to share a cursory overview of the psychological system I am cultivating, that I will explore more in graduate school, that I will teach in workshops, explore on podcasts, and hone through courses (and a part of me knows I will likely look back on this in 5 years and roll my eyes so hard at my naivety that my extra-ocular muscles snap).
But, to err is to learn.
Step 1) Connect to Your Inner Guiding Force
You are not alone in the house of your psyche. Inside of your psyche are all the gods and goddesses, angels and demons, and heroes and heroines of all religions, myths, and cultures. These characters are primordial symbols our psyche has used for eons to represent instinctual drives our being yearns for us to act out.
The part of you that you experience these words through is your conscious mind. This is 1% of your psyche. Below your conscious mind is your subconscious mind, which contains all the things you could call to mind right now (like memories or fantasies), but that aren’t currently conscious, and this makes up about 9% of your psyche. The other 90% of your psyche is the unconscious.
It is the unconscious mind that we will have to dance with in order to change our life.
The task of your life is to discover the contents of your subconscious and unconscious mind, and to integrate them into your conscious this. The surface of the moon and the floor of the ocean may have man’s footprint on them, but only you can explore the depths of your psyche.
There is an image I find helps people understand this situation.
Your conscious mind is like a throne room in the highest tower of a castle. Your subconscious mind is the castle, and your unconscious mind are all the lands, rivers, oceans, mountains, and forests that surround your castle.
The throne represents the place from which you make conscious choices. Your Awareness is the King or Queen who should be on the throne, but, there are other characters in the room, and most of us, live most of our lives, without having our King or Queen on the throne. Instead, we let Fear rule, or Anger, or Sadness, or Apathy.
Fear, Anger, Sadness, etc; these are primal evolutionary drives all humans have in them, and because of the nature of the conscious mind, our ancestors have turned these drives into characters and told stories about them. These drives heavily influence the stories of old we hear echo through time. And all of the stories whisper to the hero; “Be brave. Go on the adventure. Confront your enemies. Save the people needing saving. Bring home what you discovered that will heal others.”
These myths are an anthropomorphization of the spiritual path, and it is earnestly embarking on the spiritual path that we can heal ourselves of most of our psychological and physiological afflictions.
It begins with your first encounter of your inner guiding force.
The Call To Adventure
Anyone who has ‘began the work’ or ‘started down the path’ of spirituality has had a moment where they realized the situation of the throne room — that our awareness has almost never been on the throne, and we begin to see the unconscious habitual forces, represented as other characters in the throne room, that have been ruling the realm.
We each have had our “waking up” moment. Something happens, either a tragedy, a near-death experience, a psychedelic experience, or some kind of synchronicity jolts us out of our unconsciousness, and we taste, for the first time with our conscious mind, what the world looks like looking through the clear lens of awareness, and not the mist of conditioning.
My journey started one night when I smoked a little too much weed and began watching Joe Rogan’s first Netflix stand-up. I was finishing my freshman year of college, and my GPA was an 0.7. I had failed or stopped attending most of my classes. I was in such deep denial about the state of my life, and a joke Joe Rogan dropped cracked me so wide open I had one of the most intense experiences of my life.
I realized, for the first time in my young adult life, that I was deeply vulnerable due to my incompetence. Before this, I was so arrogant and ignorant. I hide behind snark and sarcasm and philosophical debating, but the truth was, I was letting this facade destroy my future. Because I believed I was the smartest kid in the room, once my grades started reflecting otherwise, I stopped going to the room.
That night, on a dingy couch, I had my first religious experience. I genuinely felt like I was rising out of my body, that some ‘Other’ was lifting me, and I felt something energetically shift in me.
That night was a catalyst. From that night one, I began to radically change the way I approached school and the world. Over the next three years, I’d maintain almost a 4.0, and I’d graduate with a 3.7 GPA.
This was my first encounter with my inner guiding force.
Our first encounter with this inner guiding force reminds me of the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It is new Years Eve and King Arthur’s court is celebrating a feast when a stranger rides in on a horse. He is a green knight and he issues a challenge to the court; anyone present may strike him with his axe, but they must come and meet him at his Green Chapel in a years time so he can return the blow.
Sir Gawain accepts this, and cuts off the head of the knight. To the court’s surprise, the knight’s headless body gathers his severed skull, and reminds Sir Gawain of the deal — to find him in a year so he may return the blow. This surprise is the call to adventure that transforms Sir Gawain from a naive adolescent into one of the wisest and most respected knights of the round table.
Our inner guiding force, if we listen to it, will challenge us, and will call us on an adventure.
This force will have us face our past traumas, it will ask us to dream daring dreams and to take action towards them. This force will wake the slumbering King or Queen inside you, will stir the warrior in you, enliven the lover in you, and will teach the magician in you.
Our first connection to this inner guiding force is the beginning of our hero’s journey.
I believe every human has within them an innate urge to grow, expand, ascend, and overcome. This primordial force beckons our cells to divide, our brains to learn, our hearts to beat, and our lungs to expand and contrast — and psychologically, it is experienced as a teacher, a guide, an angel, or God.
We each are born like something akin to a seed, and somewhere in us is the blueprint for the plant we are meant to become - and our inner God wants to help us manifest this potential. The first step of this framework focuses on helping people connect to that inner guiding force.
My primary techniques for connecting to this primordial force is reading, journaling, and meditating.
This force is already here, with you right now as you read this — but many of our behaviors and habits block this force in us. Our perpetual state of low-level distraction blocks this. Our resistance to be uncomfortable blocks this. Our obsession with other people’s path and the jewels they’ve found along the way block us. Fear blocks us.
I believe the paths to connect to this inner guiding force vary in style and flavor, but I believe there are two fundamental rivers all the tributaries feed into that connect us to this inner guiding force:
I will spend my life deepening my understanding of this force.
Step 1 Journaling Prompt:
What is the story of your ‘waking up’ moment. You wouldn’t be reading this now if you hadn’t had your moment. How old were you? Where were you? What were you doing? What happened? What did you feel? What did you think? What changed? What happened after? What did you learn?
Tell that story as completely as you can.
When will you begin that long journey into yourself? -Rumi
Step 2) Use it to Envision Your Highest Potential
That primary encounter with our inner guiding force is our call to adventure. Step 2 requires that we do the work of meeting our one true mentor - our potential.
Each of us has an innate feeling about the human we could become if we did all the things we know we should do, and we stopped doing all the things we know we shouldn’t do. These are not the ‘shoulds’ of your parents, or your culture, or of your internal critic. No, these are the ‘ah, I know in my heart this is a behavior my best self would do,’ or, ‘ah, I know this is a behavior my best self would not do.’
These are the shoulds I am referring to, they arise in you as a knowing.
The behaviors, the shoulds and the shoulds not, are the framework of your potential - the person you know you are capable of becoming. Like a 3D printed heart or liver, the foundation is there, but in order for this organ to come alive, it needs your psychological version of stem cells — your soul.
You need to use your conscious mind to articulate your potential to yourself, then you need to merge that intellectual concept with your soul.
How this is done is a part of this framework that will grow as I learn and experience more. For now, the technique I have for this is based in journaling, and you can find a free 5 day journaling course here.
However, I know, buried in the esoteric books of history, and the New Age books tucked in the back of Barns and Noble, there are reams of interesting techniques more powerful than the sanitized science I’ve read so far. It’ll be a lifelong passion to hone this part of the system. And I am happy to do so.
Below is a visualization of what I see this process is — connecting to your inner guiding force working with it to create your ideal future self (check out Sandra Sosa’s artwork because she helped me manifest this vision).
The first frame is our Call To Adventure moment where we realize there is a force in us that is akin to God, and it wants to help us become who we could be.
The second frame shows how with the help of this inner guiding force, we can begin to see our potential.
The third frame highlights the construction of the pyramid, which will be covered in the next section, which represents the voluntarily and self-imposed initiation ritual we choose to undertake to begin transforming from who we are into who we could be.
The fourth frame represents what happens when we begin sacrificing the parts of us that are in the way of us becoming who we could be — this calls down our potential from the ethereal and brings it into the physical.
The last panel is my favorite. It is the state we can get to where we are in communion with our potential. This connection has the potential to guide us through every obstacle of our life, can be our council for every choice we make, and will be with us at our last moments.
It is as if your internal guiding system is a manifestation of electromagnetism, and consciously constructing your ideal self is like creating a physical compass. With the two combined, you now have a clear sense of direction and purpose in your life.
With purpose, it is now time to take action.
Coming Next Week
Step 3) Begin the Journey (Via Behavior Change)
Step 4) Face The Obstacles (Past, Present, and Future)
Step 5) Repeat Steps 1-4
If You Enjoyed This
The goal is to grow the website and podcast to a point that I can pay my bills and eventually raise a family on it. We’re in the pupil stage of this thang, and there are a few things you can do to help this manifest.
Share this with someone you think it could help.
Do one thing today that your future self would be proud you did.
I aim to continue to be of service to all of you, and sincerely, thank you for your time and attention.