Years ago as I stumbled along on my path of learning, personal growth and healing the phrase “the path of being fully human” popped into my mind. I had been exposed, as many others were in the late sixties, to spiritual philosophy and for a time felt that my very real human emotions were something to be “gotten over” or at least wiped clean or transcended.
As I became more and more immersed in learning about energy it began to slowly dawn on me that perhaps there was a broader view to be had. And I was fortunate enough to learn of people who were addressing this perspective. It made a lot more sense to me that we were to find the means to integrate our human and spiritual capacities.
It has been a long journey of understanding exactly what that meant AND to be able to engage the process! Working with the chakra system for me was of enormous help in understanding and applying the process. Years later some teachers began to speak about the concept of spiritual bypassing. This gave a name to some of the struggle that I and others were having on our developmental journey.
What is Spiritual Bypassing?
Spiritual bypassing is a phrase first used by psychologist John Weldwood to describe the practice of using spiritual principles and practices to avoid dealing with our evolving human development, unresolved issues, and painful feelings.
The advent of eastern spiritual theories and practices both broadened our perspective regarding our human and spiritual nature, as well as provided us with an abundance of new ways to avoid coming to grips with our complex natures. Of course this was not the intent of this more expansive worldview which in fact is an opportunity to integrate all facets of ourselves if used properly. The issue that created a bit of a speed bump actually is our very human desire to avoid pain and seek pleasure.
Our journey to real happiness, healing, peace and abundance however requires an honest integration of our human and spiritual natures and that requires “working” with our less than attractive features or difficulties and integrating all of our “parts”. So we can settle for fabricated spiritual lite or we can settle into the healing and wholeness that comes with honest appraisal, compassionate self- confrontation and the emergence of our authenticity where true healing, deep inner connectivity and freedom reside.
What are the signs of spiritual bypassing?
Emotional numbing/suppression/repression masquerading as detachment
This includes all attempts to side step emotions with employment of spiritual concepts espoused in snappy epithets and phrases.
Over stressed focus on being positive
With the advent of literature/research on positivity there has been the rise of an almost obsessive/addictive attempt to remain positive with a resultant undertow of both control and avoidance. There is a lot to be said for a truly positive state or approach, but not when it is used as an escape hatch to fully owning, healing and living our complex psycho-spiritual selves. Through developing emotional intelligence and a true capacity for real emotion we open to the possibility of authentic spiritual embodiment that cannot occur with a bypass.
This area involves many hazards for us, but specifically in spiritual bypassing it appears often as ill-informed or overly tolerant compassion. True compassion it turns out is the result of a process of occupying our authentic selves more fully. It is not simply a get out of jail free card that allows misbehavior and trampling of another’s being.
Incapacitating assessment about our negative side or traits
We are human and emotions are part and parcel of who we are! Learning how to manage, express and release what does not serve us in terms of negativity is more the goal than erasing our feelings. There are times that emotions are a signal to us, contain valuable information that helps us to grow both within ourselves and within relationships.
Judging our humanness to be less valuable that our soul or spirit
Our human vehicle is a container for our spirit. It is different but no less valuable.
Delusions of being on a “higher plane”
Truth is the way to our authentic selves, not deception of any kind. It is the lies we tell ourselves without even knowing they are lies that may create our biggest blocks to embracing the fullness of our spiritual nature.