So I’ve only recently heard about this concept called Spiritual Bypassing.
I know, I know. I’m a late bloomer.
I heard it once about a month or two ago.
And then I heard it again. And again.
Suddenly I was hearing entire podcasts and webinars about it, so I took it as the proverbial cuff upside the head from the Universe and decided I better pay attention.
According to Robert Augustus Masters, who wrote a book on the subject in 2010, Spiritual Bypassing is a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984. Welwood described Spiritual Bypassing as “the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.”
So basically, there are people who believe that if you are spiritual, you “should” be feeling love and light all the time and if you aren’t, then you aren’t truly spiritual.
But Spiritual Bypassing is about using that “love and light” as a way of avoiding the hard stuff.
The tough stuff.
The really, really ugly stuff that none of us WANTS to feel.
I’m not going to go any more in-depth on it because I am so obviously a beginner on this concept. But in addition to his book on the subject, Masters wrote an informative blog post about it that was a quick read and hilariously subtitled, “Avoidance in Holy Drag”.
But it did get me to thinking…am I too quick to move past pain? To quick to forgive?
Even if I have the utmost compassion for that person and everything they’ve been through and every single thing that led them to treat me the way they treated me…did I just use that understanding and compassion to skip right over the pain and hurt they caused me?
I thought I was pretty good at feeling the feels.
But when another tragic world event happens and it cuts me to the quick -- AGAIN -- am I too quick to turn off the images and sniff back the tears?
And what about the anger that stems from pain? Am I avoiding confrontation by stuffing down those feelings?
And THEN I started thinking, what if I’m not even necessarily “spiritually” bypassing?
What if I’m just...bypassing?
Is that a thing?
I’m pretty sure it is, if I find myself indulging in nachos and wine – and then suddenly feel like everything is okay. Like, “See?! Things can’t be too sucky if you’re out having nachos and wine, right?!”
Yeah…I would say that the Universe was right to hit me upside the head with this little lesson.
I’m thinking it deserves a little – or a lot – more attention.
Although there are some days where I truly can’t believe I can possibly feel any MORE feels than I am already feeling!
I mean, how could that even be possible?!
Fantastic. Something ELSE to work on.
Because I didn’t have enough already.
What about you? Have you ever heard of Spiritual Bypassing? Or do you do a little more straight-up Bypassing like I do? And if so, what form does it take for you?