You’re an Undiagnosed Neurotic Waiting to Free Yourself

John Vincent Shrader
7 min readSep 12, 2022
Photo by Kat Sazonova on Unsplash

“The neurotic draws back from his life tasks not because of any real impossiblity but because of an artificial barrier invented by himself…” Carl Jung

I slide back into bed.

It’s 11:30 am.

I know I’m supposed to write, but, today, the wall feels like an impenetrable concrete wall hundreds of meters high with shining steel razor blade barbed wire spiraling around the top, glinting in the burning Afghanistan sunlight, sniper guards aiming their deadly assault rifles with laser beam mounted sights from a tower with extra high powered LED floodlights that would blind a deer from 8 miles away, a mote full of sharks with chainsaws for teeth, a trench full of venomous king cobras, and a wobbly 50-meter slack line as the only means to cross, all between me and the typewriter.

Certainly, this was just the type of ‘artificial barrier’ Jung had in mind.

The reality is, I’m staying at the Hilton and my iPad is four feet away.

The only obstacle between me and my life task is a 400-thread down comforter and, if we’re being honest, a raspberry-filled dark chocolate mouse cake and a double cappuccino.

We are masters of inventing artificial barriers.

On this particular day I was reeling inside. My emotions were twisting and turning. All of my energy felt like it was in this chaotic fog of self-doubt and some powerful force was glueing me to the bed.

The thing is, creating the artificial barrier above was fun and colourful. The ones in my head are even darker. Darker because there are no words for it. There is no logical reason. Yet our minds whip up a psycho-emotional state that is paralyzing.
And, when you’re paralyzed, any wall will do.

We Create Our Own Conflict

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Jung continues, “From this moment on he suffers from an internal conflict.”

We wage war inside ourselves when we’re not crystal clear on exactly what we want to do. Even if we’re clear, when fear is strong, it simply binds us, and when we are bound in chains of fear, we end up in a deep inner conflict.

The problem lies in not acting. When we hesitate, the energy supposed to flow in a certain direction gets hindered.

But, it’s still energy. And, of course, the bigger the task we’re destined to carry out, the more energy it takes. Fearing that, our inner conflict can spiral into entrenched neuroticism. It is like damming up a river. If it is a small stream and you build a dam, the flow is just marginally stopped. If it is a raging river and you have a big mission in life, and you’re hesitating, damning up your progress, that same energy can power an entire city.

Jung finishes this quote by describing the struggle, “Now the realization of his cowardice gets the upper hand, now defiance and pride. In either case his energy is engaged in a useless civil war and the man becomes incapable of any new enterprise… His efficiency is reduced, he is not fully adapted, he has become — in a word — neurotic.”

We All Have More To Give

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I wouldn’t personally consider myself neurotic, but I definitely notice neurotic tendencies. I would say that most of us have at least some of the same tendencies.

We are living through extremely daunting times, and the world is teeming with problems. There is suffering on every corner, and the very future of the earth is teetering in a precarious balance. More than likely, in some way, you, or the work you do, or don’t do, is part of the problem.

On the flip side, you also have something very real and precious to contribute to solving the problem. We would not have chosen to incarnate during these times if we didn’t have something profound and powerful to offer. We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t ready to take up arms during this significant period of profound transition.

If you’re anything like me, you care deeply. You can see and feel the suffering and just KNOW that something is wrong in the marrow of your bones. More importantly, you KNOW there is something you have to offer. But more honestly, you also KNOW you’re not all in. You’re holding back, and your energy is spinning. You’re not letting your power flow full force.

It’s my working theory that we have an infinite power inside, and it is yearning to flow through us, transform us, and use us as instruments; until we surrender to that, we will struggle and suffer. It might be mild, and the symptoms might only be lousy food and laziness and some procrastination and too much Netflix. Still, as long as the energy isn’t directed wholly towards our life tasks, we will experience some form of suffering.

Unused Energy Flows Backwards

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Just like the dam analogy above, Jung describes the unused potential,

“The energy stored up for the solution of the task flows back into the old riverbeds, the obsolete systems of the past, are filled up again.”

Can’t kick a habit? Stored up energy flowing into old riverbeds.

Feel like you can’t shake that mediocre mental state and old belief system that keeps you bound in frustration? Stored up energy flowing into obsolete systems.

On some level, we’re just stuck on repeat. Karmic patterns endlessly circle, keeping us bound in their webs. We try everything, from self-help to new habits and routines, to special diets, to changing our environments, to different partners, all in an attempt to ‘draw back from our life tasks.

We can even be successful in other fields of our life and still run from our main destiny. I have been teaching yoga full-time for many years. I love teaching. It is and will remain a deep passion for me, but something was also missing. The written word had spoken to me over and over for years, and I always pushed it away. After all, I was keeping busy. I was eating healthy, practising yoga six days a week, and teaching regularly. Students shared how my teaching and the practice were life-changing for them. Why did I feel something was missing? Why was I still spinning inside?

I don’t know if writing is the answer, but it feels really good. I feel like some energy is flowing, finally, in a direction, it has been yearning for years. There is a sense of fullness, understanding, and surrender to what may be a big part of my destiny.


Photo by Jonatan Lewczuk on Unsplash

You first have to understand what is your life task. Chances are, it’s not what you’re doing right now. It might be connected or related, but unless it comes from deep within your soul, lights you up, and feels like mountain-moving type of work, then it’s probably not it. You know, though, deep down, what’s really calling you.

Next, figure out just what your walls are made of. Steel barbed wire, machine guns and venomous snakes, or just a warm comforter and some glucose?

When we really lean into what lights us up and dig deeper into the barrier holding us back, we gain massive insight. There is always an impulse, a voice of wisdom deep inside, a prodding whisper that speaks to us beneath the noise o four daily minds. We hear it all the time but drown it out with our surface-level worries, our routines, or shoo it away with some clever argument in the name of procrastination.

The voice remains though. It only learns to become quiet when you aren’t listening, but it persists. Its persistence comes because it is deeper than all the surface stuff. It is a soul-level mission, meaning it exists before all the illusion of the world, all of the distractions of the world and the noise in our heads. Everything that is not in alignment with it causes some form of dissonance in us and aligning to it, aligns us to the pulsing heart of the universe itself.

When this happens, and we surrender to being the instrument of the universe, we feel aligned like never before, the river is freed from the artificial barriers and there is rejoicing and bliss in the smooth and effortless stream of the life force as it naturally flows back towards the ocean.

I trust that voice is with you now. If you’re honest with yourself, you recognize it. And more than likely, these words are touching it, influencing it, reminding it. Notice. And then notice the chronic reaction to denying this voice. A denial, an anxiety to shift focus, distract, rationalise, and put off until another day. Then notice the tenacity of the voice. Connect to its insistence and its durability. Think, “What if I started to act on the commands of this inner knowing?”. What would that look like? What action steps do you need to take? And then feel the promise of freedom when you do fully align.

The world is in so much chaos because most of us don’t listen to this voice. We listen to the voice in our heads, the voice of society, the voice of mainstream media, and the voice of fear. Because we do, we lack coherence within ourselves and the world around us. The more we start to listen to this deep voice and act on its injunctions, the more we will experience a deep alignment with ourselves, each other, and the cosmic principle that guides us all.

So, climb that wall.

See through the artificial barrier.

Find your calling.

Answer the call.

Flow with the intelligence of life.



John Vincent Shrader

John is a yogi, visionary and author residing in India. He has dedicated his life to the eternal search for truth .