3 Powerful Tips To Avoid Spiritual Bypassing

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“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

spiritual bypassingAs 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.


300157_10100438892922350_91274015_nVanessa 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

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More From 'Consciousness'

CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Nana

    Beautiful! Just Beautiful, thank you so much!

  2. Matthew Nappo Sr.

    A very intriguing, truthful insight to life and wellness…. I am wanting to learn more !

  3. Pardon

    i have never read such a meaningless assembly of words. This drivel doesn’t mean anything. Just because you can write words like transmutation and duality doesn’t mean you have included them in a sentence that makes any sense. Too much writing about self help and spirituality is clouded by language that has no self awareness. ie you have no idea how stupid the stuff you write sounds to the everyman. I want to get into it. to find some solace or use for this knowledge, but its presentation has no place in the reality of the 21st century.

    • David

      A helpful question to ask yourself before stating your opinion is “Is it true?”.

    • Park Adams

      Pardon, your on the right path man I too came out of anger, you’ve already been searching for change otherwise you would of never read this posting to begin with. these things anger you because they challenge the belief system you have been raised within. The tone you put behind your words clearly shows that your spirit screaming out for attention in an arena where you might feel very unaware to how it works. Everyone has their own starting points to self awareness, if you are finding your self curious about these subjects but are finding frustration and anger to them you may be very well guarding so tightly the very keys to your first real spiritual epiphany. hat starts with what your already doing….the need/want to know more>to the challenges of your rationalities and personal beliefs of what life is to you.>to coming to a point where something that has upset you so much comes to a point of making so much sense that everything you thought before no longer works (AT ALL)> to realizing all of a sudden a feeling of great nakedness and of being at the beginning again. ( this is a point where many turn back if there is too much fear) but hopefully when you reach that point there will be someone who is stronger in the workings of spirit to help you grow. Its just like going from jr high to high school my friend….its just on the road inside yourself…you just cant know it till you find the door into it through you. Its an exiting time to be alive….your post although negative in wording and intent showed me you are a man with an enormous amount of love that is overly guarded to the point of lashing out, that your inner self ( the spirit of you) is stirring…..share more of your love, and keep on questioning anything and everything that dosent help you let more of what your guarding most out. You are no more or less a part of everything that is then everything that is and you are definitely not alone in all of this.

    • Sorry Pardon, but kim is generally right. I’m not sure how long it took you to write that, but it seems over-thought and actually much less intelligent than all other text on this page. Denial, confusion, and a misguided call for help is what I read from your tasteless rant. Next time try something more like, “I would like to better understand how your methods work” or maybe, “how can I use your methods to benefit my personality and temperament?” Be careful, you might accidentally learn something that could help in your dilemma. Oh, and it also sounds like you have one or two bad/confused influences in your life. Not trying to rag on you, hopefully this helps.

  4. kim

    As a person that has been on this path for 26 years I think you hit the nail on the head and articulated the evolution of this souls journey quit well. People that don’t understand it simply can’t assimilate the curriculum because they are maybe emotionally 13 and are having an angry fit, while trying to cloak it with intelligence and sophistication, as with the above comment. Good job.

    As for the person above…get into it by dealing with your anger. That’s a good beginning. Under that you will find deep heartbreaking sadness and terror, then acceptance and hopefully peace…. All the best.

  5. Pjotr

    Thank you!
    Exactly the information needed. Starting to experience I have to do this ‘bringing it home’ work too! And I am happy to realize the necessity of this work and hope everybody eventually starts doing it.

  6. donP

    So just how do we get at the root of our problem/s ?

    • by going within. we heal the world thru ourselves

  7. What a great reminder of what growth really means and really takes to accomplish! Thank you!

  8. Nothing will mean anything to a person with a closed mind. Closed mind = overactive, defensive ego. fear prevents letting go and acceptance.

    • David

      It sounds to me like you are talking to yourself. Do you realize you are the one with the closed mind?

  9. Kelly

    I read somewhere that “Insight is not the primary agent of change, it is the result.” What you have written here brings to my mind that if I were ever to achieve some static, lasting bliss that my growth would stop. In my experience, I have found that Life is movement, vibration if you like. I am reminded of all of the times when pain and defeat got me out of patterns that were not working so that I could move forward and do something different, better.

    Thank you for the article, Vanessa.

    • (if I were ever to achieve some static, lasting bliss that my growth would stop.) says who ??? assumption is always the reflection of the assumer. pain serves a purpose but if we hang on to it we are acting out the victim. “Insight is not the primary agent of change, it is the result.” this is like saying the cart pulls the horse…

  10. why do humans feel the need to have problems?

    everything is in its right place at all times. the past is the past, forget it. the present is the only time we exist, so it can be the only thing to stay conscious of, and if reality is consciousness manifesting its own self, then believe this moment is perfect and it is perfect.

    obviously we have to mention the future which is not real. each moment is not guaranteed.

    We also need to shift the perception of time as cyclical, not linear. if you find your moments not blissful, then remove whatever element is causing that, break the cycle.

    just live in this moment. thats my advice.

  11. Cheryl

    Thank you so much for a wonderful post, especially the third and fourth paragraphs.

  12. Joe Dirt

    Nice job, Vanessa 😉

  13. I loved this. Thanks so much Vanessa.

  14. what a lad of bollocks using words the likes of me doesent understand i my self am a psychic medium and i didnt want it .it switched on itself on my 40th birthday totaly unexpected and unwanted and believe me i shit my self hearing voices in my head try explainig that to people you can read as many self help books as you want and as many authors as you want and each and every 1 off them will tell you a different way of doing things or working with spirit or psychicly you and our own spirit guide or guides will work you the way you are supposed to be doing it and no books are going to change that or big posh words for that matter . i have gained enough experience over the last 14 years doing pubs clubs and other venues and watched hundreds of mediums and so called spiritual people trying to tell me to do it this way or that way or im doing it wrong and what a load of bollocks that turned out to be now i dont listen to any body any more and do you know what im a hundred times more relaxed and just get on with it and do my own shows and i have learned most of the people with or who use all of these big words dont have a clue the best way is work through your own stuff and if you think you really need help then go looking for it when you think you cant learn any more from your own spirit guides or your confused but that is still only going to lead you back to confusion cope or try to cope with what you have before you seek any help if you need help go to some 1 who is working regular in front of an audience for at least 5 years or more because they are working spiritualists who should know there trade please dont bother with books youll just end up with a shelf full and still be none the wiser been there bought the t shirt and still not a hundred per cent sure but at least im a working medium doing shows around the north east and other parts of the country with great results simply because i follow my spirit guides knowledge of how they want me to work and not listening to other idiots who just want your money for teaching you nothing but words that dont mean any thing but shit.

  15. alex b

    Yes, beautiful. Thank you

  16. you might be interested in the writing of Marcus T. Anthony. he is saying something similar

  17. Powerful wise words Vanessa, thank you for taking the time to write them.

  18. Spiritual bypassing is when we use spirituality to distract us from feelings we’re going to have to come back to. Bypassing makes our practice less effective, and slows our spiritual growth even though it can feel good in the short term. Make sure you are centered and grounded in your body when you practice. Connect to your emotions and allow your practice to include them, not avoid them.


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