How do you react to misfortunes or sad phases in your life? Do you deal with the pain or remain with unresolved wounds for fear of becoming vulnerable? Well, chances are, you are spiritually bypassing.
Spiritual bypassing is an old term coined by John Welwood, a Buddhist teacher, author, and psychotherapist, in 1984. It refers to the tendency for persons to avoid, sidestep, or escape uncomfortable issues facing them. Welwood noted that persons resorted to this behavior to rise above their shaky emotional or personal foundation, hence, obtaining enlightenment.
What of Today?
Spiritual bypassing is quite common in the 21st century. Here, we see people covering up their low self-esteem, loneliness, or anger with spiritual practice. The only difference is it is a short-term cover-up. Spiritual bypassing facilitates a buildup of negative emotions into full-blown unrest and uncertainty.
Is Spiritual Bypassing Negative?
Often, we associate spirituality with positive aspects of our lives. You know, feelings of inner peace, contentment, or fulfillment. But, spiritual bypassing confirms that there are dark and painful areas in spirituality. Yes, it creates a false feeling of security and satisfaction, blocking any efforts for emotional healing.
Types of Spiritual Bypassing
Do you often resort to spirituality to bypass the unpleasant phases of your life? Here are the ten possible ways: –
#1: Optimistic Bypass
An optimistic bypass will insist on seeing life as a glass half full. This person is always focusing on the sunny side of life, ignoring the other half that is not so pleasant. In turn, these persons never engage their anger, inner conflict, or aggression. For, they fail to see that life isn’t always a happy fairytale.
#2: Aggrandizement Bypass
Do you know of a spiritual leader or seeker who seems overly enlightened and superior? Chances are these individuals struggle with personal insecurities and deficiencies. For, aggrandizement bypass is a self-delusion that convinces the self-proclaimed spiritual gurus that they have achieved a level of enlightenment or higher being.
#3: Victim Bypass
Are you a victim of your gifts? If these gifts hinder you from living a healthy or happy life, you could be a victim bypass. For example, a victim bypass may identify as an empath and use their gift of compassion to others to the extent of neglecting their happiness. Likewise, a victim bypass may disguise as an indigo child, a gifted healer, or a Starseed.
#4: Psychonaut Bypass
A psychonaut bypass exploits psychedelic drugs to escape their painful reality. In turn, they get into a psycho-spiritual crisis that hinders them from pursuing personal development.
#5: Horoscope Bypass
Do you love astrology, or are you dependent on it? Well, if you struggle with fear or self-doubt to the point of living an indecisive life, you could be relying on others to predict the outcome of your life. For this, a horoscope bypass trusts the predictions of a psychic or an astrologer. It becomes destructive when this trust supersedes their inner feelings to make significant decisions in their lives. In turn, their obsession with astrology makes them incapable of coping with traumas.
#6: Saint Bypass
When growing up, kids learn that spiritual leaders are saintly, kind, and compassionate. Only, these leaders have weaknesses and dark sides like any ordinary human being. However, a saint bypass holds on to this holier-than-thou notion from their childhood, even when they are now adults. In turn, a saint bypass will sacrifice themselves to appear sweet, approachable, heavenly persons.
#7: Spirit Guide Bypass
A spirit guide, whether an angelic or godly being, serves to protect humanity, right? Well, this belief is quite soothing to the mind but constricts the soul. That is, we forgo the need to be resilient, courageous, or take charge of our safety. We become like children under the protection of the parent. Living this way deprives us of the ability to grow our spiritual character. Instead, we should look to the spirit guide to learn more about our spirituality, not babysit us.
#8: Guru Bypass
A guru bypass is overly attached to a spiritual teacher or guru, to the extent of worshipping them. They accept all the teachings from their spiritual guru as absolute truths. Eventually, the guru bypass never grows spiritually. Further, they fall prey to manipulation or any ill-intentions of their spiritual leaders.
#9: Finger-Pointing Bypass
When on a spiritual journey, we develop clarity of mind. Here, we intuitively determine when someone is lying, honest, or trying to manipulate us. More so, we can tell reality from delusions and make rational decisions. A finger-pointing bypass uses this ability to declare them as self-righteous. In turn, they are quick to finger-point anyone who has a contrary opinion or acts differently from them. In essence, a finger-pointing bypass is procrastinating. They find fault in others instead of working to correct and improve themselves.
#10: Prayer Bypass
Finally, a prayer bypass ignores their responsibility. Instead, this person entrusts a higher being to deal with their problems. For example, this person will pray about a sickness they have without taking any steps to seek medical attention.
Does any of the above types of spiritual bypassing resonate with you? Here are some tips you can use to stop this negative tendency: –
#1: Be Open Minded
Know that all spiritual seekers are human beings, hence, bound to make mistakes at some point. Then, be willing to learn and receive correction from others.
#2: Deal with Any Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance arises when our beliefs are challenged or misaligned with reality. You will experience cognitive dissonance as your change your attitudes and beliefs from spiritual bypassing. That is, you may feel guilty, anxious, or ashamed for letting go of your thoughts that do not align with what you now know to be true.
When this happens, you should examine your life for areas that do not add up. For example, you should question a narcissistic leader who preaches compassion but uses physical abuse against you.
#3: Seek Honest Feedback from Others
Discuss spiritual bypassing with your friends and loved ones. Let them tell you what they see in you that suggests that you could be a spiritual bypass. View the feedback as positive criticism, and use it to grow spiritually.
The Bottom Line
Spiritual bypassing is not easy to detect. It disguises itself as a caring, compassionate person. Take time to evaluate yourself. Acknowledge the tendency and start your healing process.