“Spiritual Bypassing: A term first coined by author John Welwood. The spiritual bypass is the tendency to jump to spirit prematurely, usually in an effort to avoid various aspects of earthly reality (practical challenges, unresolved emotions and memories). The bypass has many symptoms- the starry-eyed bliss trip, radical detachment from one’s self-identifications, premature forgiveness, ungrounded behaviors, wish-full thinking etc.” ~Jeff Brown
As a seeker and teacher who has been on the path of self-development and spiritual transformation for many years, I know first hand that this journey is not always full of bliss. There are times where you are curled up on the floor in tears, breakdowns happen at the most inconvenient moments and the pain can feel deep and almost insurmountable. It rocks your inner and outer world in ways that are only understood by those who are and have been on this journey. When you make the choice to begin doing your deep inner work and face everything you have held on to, there is no turning back. You can’t begin this work and ever revert to the same person you were before you started this process. The only way to get through and come out is to go through it fully; there is no, “easy,” way out to achieve true personal liberation.
There are many routes one can take on the path of self and spiritual transformation. Deep down everyone wants to achieve personal fulfillment, freedom, unconditional love and unlimited amounts of abundance, vitality and peace. But this transformation doesn’t just happen by chance, by good fortune, by reading a few self help books, going to seminars or taking a few yoga classes. This path of transformation and transmutation is a steady, ongoing process that doesn’t end once you simply achieve a couple of goals or feel good about your life. This isn’t enough and nor will it create heaven on earth for you and the collective.
I hear time and again people intellectualizing spiritual wisdom and personal growth rather than embodying and grounding their transformation. There can be judgment, avoidance and a desire to bypass the emotional and physical experience because many want to do anything and everything to protect themselves from feeling uncomfortable and dealing with their pain. It is by far much easier to stay in your own mind and be, “up in the clouds,” than to be in the body feeling everything that is moving in and through you. In that perpetual state of avoidance and protection we actually end up creating more masks, layers and barriers that get in the way of massive breakthroughs and true deep growth.
Our pain and feelings of discomfort hold many gifts and lessons and it is in the process of facing those emotions and tending to those wounds where our real transformation occurs. I have heard many spiritual people state that feeling or expressing sadness, grief, frustration, anger etc. is, “being in a low vibration,” or, “being in a, ‘dense,’ state.” If you engage in those emotions repeatedly and stay in a state of victim-hood and blame for long periods of time, than you are in fact lowering your vibrational energetic field and are in a denser state of being. If, however, you embrace and fully allow the emotions and/or pain to surface to its fullest without any judgment and with full expression, than deep awareness, release and learnings can be taken away quite efficiently from those experiences. To be human is to experience all feelings and emotions on every different level. To be human is to experience pain from time to time. To be human is to accept and acknowledge all aspects of this experience. We live in a duality and therefore cannot always be or feel positive and happy all of the time, especially if you are not authentically in that space and feeling that way.
Part of self and spiritual transformation is being able to confront and work through those parts of you that have been locked away, denied and disregarded. Anything that you resist to face or deal with will eventually show up and persist until you do. This is what true wholeness is. If you can love and accept all emotions, all experiences, all pain and pleasure in your life than you are truly creating a unified experience and being an example of what it really means to embark on a path of self and spiritual development.
Here are some other Tips to Avoid Spiritual Bypassing:
1) Spiritual and Self-Developmental information is abstract. Attending seminars, workshops, reading books, going to yoga and meditation classes, etc. are fantastic tools, however, the most important thing you need to ask yourself is if you are taking action and applying what you are learning from these modalities consistently, by integrating it into your life daily. If it remains abstract and is simply intellectualized it really isn’t going to help you to create long lasting and permanent change.
2) Many people believe that something must be terribly, “wrong,” or dysfunctional in their lives to see a Life Coach, Therapist, Counselor or Healer. This is absolutely FALSE. Everyone has personal, “stuff,” to work through. When you see a professional you move into a vulnerable state of expression and opening; something you cannot always do alone or with friends or family members. These professionals are objective and are invested in only seeing you thrive and grow beyond your limitations and boundaries in a safe setting. They can offer you a different perspective as to what is going on inside of you. They will also hold you accountable to be sure that you are doing the work and making progress in between sessions that create a lasting impact on your life.
3) Express and allow your emotions, wounds, traumas and pain to surface healthily and with love. Let go of the fear, judgment and suppressing of emotions. We often turn to things outside of ourselves to cope with our internal pain and suffering. Examples include addictions to food, drink, drugs, shopping, sex, work, focusing on others and diverting attention away from yourself etc. Make peace with being uncomfortable. If you are numbing yourself inside out this energy lingers and creates a breeding ground for other issues to arise and manifest. Get down to the root of your problems as they will not go away on their own.
Vanessa Petronelli B.A., W.W.H.P. & Certified Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher
From an early age Vanessa knew that her path in life would revolve around specializing in several areas of human growth and development including “deprogramming,” from limiting belief systems, detachment from ego and self-love. She is a life coach and healer, teaches yoga and meditation and facilitates workshops and retreats.
Her passion and purpose is to assist in humanity’s evolution in consciousness through the facilitation of coaching, providing healings, writing and teaching yoga/meditation.
You can read more about Vanessa’s services by viewing her website here: www.openheart-openmind.ca