Have you heard this term?
It has become a new buzzword in the personal and spiritual development worlds. First of all, I find it redundant. What I understand spiritual bypass to be is nothing more than regular old denial/distraction, with a spiritual flavor. No need to call it something else.
Secondly, its really convenient for those who wish to stay stuck to have a really special name to discount the next step of growth.
Spiritual bypass: just another name for denial/distraction
Denial is ignoring that a problem exists and when we are in denial we tend to distract ourselves from the work to alleviate the problem.
If you’ve been following me you’ve probably heard me say at some time that anything can be an addiction. Anything. ANY. THING.
When we think of addiction, we think of things like recreational drugs, alcohol, and prescription drugs. Then we might think of gambling, shopping and sex. Rarely will you think of work, exercise or even relationships. Anything is an addiction if you are using it to avoid processing something.
That said, spirituality can indeed become an addiction and used to usurp the current human experience you are facing and deny yourself the experience of feelings. This, from what I understand, is spiritual bypass. But its not just a bypass, its an addiction.
Spiritual bypass is when one avoids the icky sticky messy feelings of our experiences by explaining them away as ‘meant to be’ or ‘serving our highest good’. It isn’t the philosophy (‘meant to be’ or ‘serving our highest good’), its the using of it to dismiss the experience and not engage in it in the moment.
Every event in our lives needs to be processed. This is why repressed memories reap issues many years later. Like undigested food in our gut, these memories unprocessed by our mind and spirit will infect our body. Can you imagine what would happen if we had undigested food sitting in our intestines for years?
We can’t develop shortcuts to avoid the real work. Just like you can’t eat junk food, take diet pills but work out obsessively to be healthy.
More than a few times I’ve had the term ‘that’s spiritual bypass’ thrown at me while discussing changing perspectives to look at something in a new way to find healing. There’s no questioning, just a venomous application of the label and attempt to incite an argument.
How convenient. How nice to have a handy little term that relieves you of your obligation to improve. Don’t like what someone says when you want your victimization validated? Just accuse them of spiritual bypass. And wait until you see how many people are ready to jump in on that ambush! WOW!
It’s easy to understand how some could see it this way. In fact, there was a time when I also had that same response (without the label) to something the Dalai Lama said about attachment or suffering. I’m not sure, because now, no matter how many quotes I read, I can find nothing that resembles what I thought I read back then. What I remember clearly is this visceral reaction to someone taking away the justification I had for experiencing more suffering than is necessary.
I remember thinking, ‘that is usurping the human experience’. But as I continued to expand spiritually, I came to realize that honest emotion is not suffering – and not to what he was referring. Honest emotion are the normal human emotions we are meant to experience as part of this human being-ness.
That’s what we can’t shortcut our way through. The other stuff though. The stuff implanted into our brains by well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning individuals that creates premises that foster unnecessary suffering.
When we understand things as ‘meant to be’ or ‘serving our highest good’ after feeling the emotion of loss (for instance), we use the painful experience to expand. Pain is not equivalent to suffering. Suffering is the unnecessary struggle between your highest self and the conditioning of society. Pain is the wound, suffering is the infection.
The wound is grief after the loss of a loved one. Suffering is, after the initial period of grieving, delving into deep depression because of a belief that we only get one true love in life and you just lost yours. Suffering sets in at the time that healing should be beginning.
More recently the term spiritual bypass was tossed at me in response to an inspired post I made about a tough subject. I love important discussions and this one was/is super important. Not only did someone I consider a spiritual mentor suggest my thoughts were spiritual bypass, but another suggested it was ignorant.
I was taken aback, to say the least. Not about the the second one, but about my spiritual mentor. I was shocked and shock leads to shift. (Ever notice that?) I realized that the image I had created in my mind about this ‘mentor’ was entirely fabricated. It was based on ego – mine actually – my idea that this ‘mentor’ was something I wasn’t and had something I didn’t. So, I was totally shocked when she couldn’t see my point and mentioned spiritual bypass. I could see so clearly how this situation is just a further evolution of the spiritual laws and beliefs that she and I had discussed and that she teaches. Why couldn’t she?
It wasn’t until writing this that I realized being accused of spiritual bypass is a compliment if you’re living resonantly. If you are living resonantly, you can’t inadvertently slip into any addiction, let alone spiritual bypass. You can’t. You spend too much time analyzing, weighing and pondering the vibration of things to be in denial! Those vibrations don’t align! Someone telling you that you are ‘spiritual bypassing’ when you have given your idea much thought and reflection is a great compliment. It means you’ve vibrated past wherever they are and have been tasked with presenting them with an opportunity to expand! What a gift that is to both!
If you are one, quick to call ‘spiritual bypass’ make sure you aren’t the one on bypass…
I love you.
PS – The June 16th event is closed. July 14th is the next available Healing Rite of Passage Me-Treat and Workshop. Make sure you register before this one closes too! If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to feel pure joy, heal old traumas or do energy healing. We’ll be doing all that and more. If you’ve felt blocked or stifled on your journey then this is the perfect opportunity to explore alternative therapies and perspectives that will enhance your experience of life.