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Spiritual Bypass

Spiritual Bypass is a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984. It is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.

Ways in which people create spiritual bypass are:

  • Holding the value of spirituality above all else.
  • Premature or insincere forgiveness of self and others.
  • Intellectualizing spirituality. Learning the lingo but not walking the talk.
  • Being spiritually obsessed and blindly submitting to spiritual authorities.
  • Using spiritual practices to keep one from fully expressing one’s true self.
  • Hiding superficiality, judgment, or hypocrisy behind a façade of spirituality.
  • Use of spiritual beliefs to repress emotions, detach, numb, and avoid anger.
  • Advocating unconditional love but not being able to express it on a personal level.
  • Using judgment and comparison to express spiritual narcissism and self-delusion.
  • Rejecting “negative” emotions because such an expression is against one’s spiritual belief.
  • Use of spiritual beliefs to avoid personal responsibility, sexual desires, or being prosperous.
  • Use of spiritual beliefs to create faux bliss, over-emphasize the positive, create blind compassion, or exaggerate kindness.

By avoiding true authenticity and personal growth, which most times is very painful, we perpetuate blocks and barriers to true spiritual transformation.

However, in almost all of the spiritual motivational material we read (and today we are reading it on a daily basis on social media sites, such as Facebook) we get the message that “negative” emotions are unhealthy for ourselves and the planet. However, it’s important to realize that turning them off, repressing them, or negating them is not the solution. Experiencing them, clearing them, and healing them is the answer. Doing personal work is how we raise our vibration. Every feeling that we experience is legitimate and has purpose and therefore should be honored. This is how we remain holistic and human.

True spirituality isn’t reading about it in books or attending services once a week. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week attitude and awareness.

Suggestions for insuring you are not in spiritual bypass:

  1. To your own self, be true! My mantra is: Know Yourself. Love Yourself. Be Yourself. Share Yourself. Those are the steps that will give you full self-empowerment.
  2. Getting professional help. There are many different sources from which you can choose someone who you resonate with. Examples are: life coach, spiritual adviser or mentor, counselor, healer, shaman, or therapist. Being able to share your authentic self with someone else in a safe and sacred space will greatly assist you in identifying and clearing your shadow side.

Want to read more? Try Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters by Robert Augustus Masters.

Copyright © 2014 Drake Bear Stephen. Except where acknowledged. http://www.DrakeInnerprizes.com