On the importance of inner work and attending to one’s shadow.

Most of us are generally aware that there are both conscious and unconscious aspects to our minds, but most of us know very little about what constitutes either one.

Consciousness as a phenomenon itself is difficult to explain as it is, but most of us understand what we mean when we talk about conscious awareness. It is the unconscious mind where the mysterious depths lie.

We have a vague notion that our unconscious mind plays a role in the unfolding of our lives, but it often remains too abstract to really do anything with. …

On patting your dragon, feeding the dark wolf, and finding harmony within.

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Shadows can be ominous. They play tricks on our eyes. We think we are seeing something that we are not. They may trigger our fight or flight mechanism and increase our heart rate, so it’s no wonder that the notion of a shadow self can sound intimidating at first.

Yet what we find with these ominous shadows is that as soon as we turn a light on them, their true form is revealed. The tall elongated figure that stared down upon us with a persistent gaze was only the bedpost. The craggy arm that reached into our room threatening to…

Looking at the deeper layers of desire for hidden truths.

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Many of us are driven by the proverbial carrot on a string. For every step we take toward the object dangling in front of us, the object makes an equivalent advancement. We think we can hustle, hack, or maximize our efforts in just the right way to obtain the carrot but the separation remains. Maybe our frenetic bursts allow the carrot to swing toward us for a moment giving us the illusion of progress, but eventually, it finds its equilibrium and we find that the object of our desire is the same distance away it has always been.

If only…

On choosing the thoughts that serve you.

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I recognize that I have limiting beliefs and patterns of thinking that hold me back. It is one thing to identify and become aware of those beliefs. It is another thing to be able to move beyond them.

I’ve made improvements in some areas but still struggle in others. While there is certainly no one answer, I have noticed a pattern in the areas where I’ve seen improvements versus the areas I have not. The areas I’ve grown the most are the areas where I’ve been able to create a new vision for myself.

In other words, I started focusing…

On avoiding the pitfalls of our well-intentioned pursuits.

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I enjoy feeling productive and being able to measure my progress toward certain ends. Setting goals has been an important part of my personal growth and development over the years. However, I’ve become more and more aware of how goals can lead us astray if we don’t pay close enough attention.

Two of the more common approaches to long-term goal setting could be overly simplified as:

  1. Envision your future self, who you want to be, and what you want to accomplish. Then, orient your daily tasks and activities toward realizing that future self.
  2. Go deep within yourself to get in…

On protecting your mental and emotional vitality.

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We are dealing with a major energy problem in our current age — one of internal origination. Each of us has our own fluctuating supply of emotional and mental vitality. And the innumerable forces vying for a portion of that vitality are overwhelmingly neutralizing.

What that means is that we can feel our vitality being drained from us through the things we consume, think, and engage with; but the net result of that vast energy expenditure is largely intangible and unseen. Our vitality is neutralized.

What has anyone manifested through arguing with strangers on the internet? What has anyone gained…

Finding equilibrium and buoyancy in a turbulent world.

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It is hard to escape the compounding effects of worry and concern. I suppose this is always the case, but the cumulative impact of the past year, months, weeks — sometimes even hours —can have a profound impact on our psyche.

On top of all the circumstantial issues and current events, it seems there has been an exponential shift in the way that we relate to one another. We are continually pushed to judge and segment those around us into categories based on the tenor of their social media posts, who they follow, what they like, or what types of…

You are the one who hears it.

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There are so many different ways to grapple with the complexities of your mind and sense of self. I’ve written previously about the unconscious mind, the shadow self, and the psychology of dreams primarily from a Jungian perspective. But there is no one way of articulating the mysteries of the mind.

Every system resonates differently depending on where you are in life. If I tried to explore Jungian psychology at any other time in my life, I don’t think I would connect with it as I do now. …

A four-step process for doing your own dream work.

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Dreams are wild and mysterious. They can feel profound especially in the first few minutes of coming out of them. However, attempts to derive meaning from them are often met with puzzlement. The dreams that felt so vivid and profound end up too slippery and abstract to really gain anything from them. Many of those dreams just end up forever forgotten.

There are dream dictionaries and such resources that attempt to explain what certain themes and symbols mean but these are not reliable. While there may be some archetypal patterns that can be objectively interpreted, dreams are unequivocally subjective. The…

A story about presence.

Photo by Adrien Ledoux on Unsplash

There was once a man who did not want to be where he was. Not knowing exactly where he wanted to be, he headed to the local train station intent on going somewhere.

“Ticket please,” said the man with a deliberate tone.

“Where to sir?” replied the clerk.

“Anywhere but here,” said the man with a nod.

“Well those tickets are very expensive!” replied the clerk. He quickly clarified, “Due to the fact that the trips can be so long.”

The man looked at the clerk perplexed, but he was dead set on being anywhere except where he was, so…

Lance Baker

A fellow observer on the journey through life. Trying to cultivate a deeper way of being in the world.

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