June 6, 2021

Spiritual Bypassing: Dealing with Your Reality

Spiritual Bypassing means you are wearing rose-colored glasses to see the world, the people, and situations without actually dealing with the current reality.  How you wish it to be instead of how it is.  Is that wrong?  Not necessarily as you get to live as you wish as you do create your reality but are you processing negative situations and releasing them so they do not come back later to cause body, mind, or soul illness.

Spiritual bypass or spiritual bypassing is a "tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks". The term was introduced in the early 1980s by John Welwood, a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist.  We are not taught how to deal with our pain and grief so we will stuff it down and then we look to ways to numb it through self-medication or other self-damaging ways.  In my case after a huge extended trauma, my nervous system numbed my legs making it impossible to walk.  I now have to release this stored grief to get up again.  I see the giant glass container wall filled with dark, rolling, boiling grief water.  It's terrifying to look at the size of it as if it releases at once it would surely drown me.

So a good friend went put on that energetic life vest, put the tap in the bottom, and turn it on slowly.  Easier said than done.  Putting the pain into the container was my way of assuring I could actually function and continue my day-to-day processes even though I was on autopilot due to the accompanying PTSD.  That is a blog for another time...PTSD to me came out of war and battle...but war and battle don't necessarily come from the traditional battlefield.  In my case, it was another type of battlefield that will be resolved in the Supreme Court.

Classically according to John Welwood and Robert Augustus Masters Ph.D. spiritual bypassing allows us to turn away from pain as a collective habit using it as an analgesic with minimal side effects.  It can manifest itself through exaggerated detachment, emotional or physical numbing, repression, over-emphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, overly tolerant compassion, weak or nonexistent boundaries, unbalanced development with your cognitive intelligence being farther ahead of your moral and emotional intelligence.  We have to be careful in our unity of Oneness that we do not fragment and reject what is painful and unhealed in our zeal to be in peace within.  True peace within requires us to reveal what is painful and hurtful, feel it and release it in ways that work for you the individual.

Unconditionally loving humanity with all of its flaws doesn't mean we have to like everyone or everything.  Being spiritual doesn't mean if something happens to you that you walk away or turn the other cheek without assuring appropriate consequences and accountability are applied to the situation although you could just walk away but then where is the resolution for your body, mind, and soul.  Spiritual bypassing creates a separation between our pain and problems keeping us from our authentic spirituality so we are in a metaphysical limbo of exaggerated niceness and superficiality.

You do not want your spirituality to become a trap that instead of leading you into Freedom and peace within creates the container of unsolved issues that will create inflammation and disease as we move forward in our chronological timeline.  There is no shame in spiritual bypassing as it is a coping method we employ to deal with difficult issues or problems when we do not have the techniques to face the pain and grief head-on trusting you can face it without going under and never coming back up.

Step 1:  Ask yourself if you are employing spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing in any significant way with our pain and development needs.

Step 2:  Stop being negative about our negativity.  This is a negative planet as it has been so low in consciousness forever.  We need to look at the negative, process it, release it, and reclaim the positive.  What is this negative situation bringing as a gift?  Then you can release the negative and instill the positive gifts it brought.

Step 3;  Blind Compassion is about believing that everyone is doing the best they can with their tool kit without acknowledging that boundaries have been stepped on.  Making excuses for someone's inappropriate behavior is the kindness of fear rather than the kindness of courage which is to say no and assuring one's boundaries are set and maintained.

Step 4:  Healthy vs Unhealthy transcendence.  Healthy transcendence is to embrace one's issues and pain to work to release it from our systems so it cannot cause illness and disease as we move along our chronological timeline.  Unhealthy transcendence is about avoiding and rising above the darkness without actually dealing with it.  Putting into the container for later, but if later doesn't come until like me you can't get out of a wheelchair.

Step 5:  Cutting through Spiritual Shorcuts:  We have the time to deal with our issues when we have the support of people that can teach us the techniques without taking the shortcut.  This is part of our hamster-wheel society that the COVID virus showed us existed when we had to all stop, shut down, and stay home.  What shortcuts do you use?

Step 6:  Bringing the Shadow work out of the Shadows.  How are you avoiding your shadow side.  This would be a good time  to work with a trusted practitioner of your choice.

Step 7:  Pain is what generates spiritual bypassing and this world is designed through the Patriarchal paradigm to deliver pain.  And how many of us have been taught successful pain releasing techniques.  True freedom comes from fully embracing our pain and releasing it in a healthy way without getting lost in its potential dramatics.

Step 8:  Recognizing that anger is pain turned inward.  PTSD rages is just that...overwhelming stored pain.  It is important to work with a trained therapist who can help you transform destructive anger into constructive anger.  

Step 9:  Healthy Boundaries make Freedom Available.  Boundaries are an essential part of life and are rarely set or written out.  Our growth is stunted without healthy boundaries as boundaries preserve the integrity of your psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual requirements. They make and honor space of appropriate compartmentalizing until we are sufficiently developed.  Have you a written statement of your healthy boundaries.  And if so have you explained and discussed with your family, friends, partner, workplace people?

Step 10:  Don't Take it Personally?  Seriously...If something happens to you even though we set up our life for lessons as a soul, it is very personal and needs to be addressed and not shoved into the container.

Step 11;  Releasing Sex from obligating us to feel better.  It isn't possible to have sexual maturity without corresponding, emotional, moral, mental, psychological, and spiritual maturity.  So to reach our sexual maturity we need to face and deeply examine the less than mature ways we have engaged our sexuality as a means of making ourselves feel better. Sex is profoundly spiritual when we have a deep shared trust, love, transparency, and complete commitment that absolutely serves us and our partner.

Step12:  Romancing the relationship rather than creating true intimacy.  Spiritual bypassing allows us to romance rather than live reality as we fear intimacy of who we really are.  Freedom comes through intimacy.  And that means we need to face and release our pain and issues so we can reveal our true selves.  We are magnificent beings.

Step 13;  Disembodied spirituality and the embodied being.  Spiritual bypassing has us being out of touch with our body, dissociated from it.  Embodiment is a relationship so that our body feels and is part of our environment and all.  We can shift from having a body to being a body and then simply Being.

Step 14:  Taking true Responsibility with heart, guts, and accountability.   Spiritual bypassing can manifest into confusing responsibility with blame becoming spiritual myopic righteousness.  Taking responsibility has a heart that empowers and strengthens us.  Genuine responsibility is the ability to recognize our part in the experience and respond appropriately, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and morally rather than just reacting or avoiding it.  This allows us to avoid self-reflection as self-deflection and living responsibility who we really are.  We are souls incarnated into our earthly bodies to learn lessons to move to whatever level we determined before entering our earthly birth portal.  So the joy in that is that we can re-create what we choose if we face our pain, our issues providing real answers and solutions.  Utilizing the best of science and spirituality to craft a life that is truly yours.

Step 15:  Spiritual Gullibility and cultism.  Remember you are your own guru.  It is fabulous to work with people that support you in that adventure of becoming you without creating co-dependency.  

Step 16:  Nondual teachings are real reminders of who we truly are without being separate from the Creator and the Oneness.  There is no dissociation from phenomena, no withdrawal from life, no bypassing or avoidance of manifesting as form.  There is no separate self but just freedom beyond imagining.  

Step 17:  Releasing Shame as it is the most neglected emotion in psychotherapy and spiritual practice.  It is a deeply programmed limiting belief brought to us through religious indoctrination.  Spiritual bypassing allows shame to hide away seeping into and poisoning so much of our joyful being.  So it is important to confront shame and release it.

Step 18:  Authentic spiritual life allows us to face our pain and consciously enter it and release it.  We can then end our disembodied living and spiritualize disassociation.  It brings an end to emotional illiteracy and relational immaturity.  When we commit to fully awaken without spiritual bypassing we can bring whatever we kept in the dark out of fear into the open light allowing new gifts to emerge so that we live our lives fully and authentically no matter what experiences show up.

Almost all of us have lapsed into Spiritual bypassing some of us more, some of us always in it, and some little bits here and there.  It is like an anti-spiritual practice as it distances and disconnects us from the issues we need to face so we can embody our true being.  It isn't about bypassing spiritual bypassing but recognizing it, face the fears and release them so we can live our purpose for being.  And all in the most appropriate way and time frame for you!

So where are you in your journey?  Can you recognize any spiritual bypassing? Do not be afraid to look deeply and get support for anything you feel is too scary to deal with by yourself.  That is a normal feeling and there are so many amazing people that will help you!

I love you and I am so grateful that you incarnated at this amazing time in human history!

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