Avoiding Reality? What ‘Spiritual Bypassing’ is, and How to Stay on Track
Spiritual growth and its journey can be life-changing. It can make you happier, healthier, more connected to source, fee safe and well taken care of, and finally give you the tools you need to live an authentic, fulfilling life. When the latter does not happen, you may be stuck in what is called spiritual bypassing.
Spiritual bypassing is using spiritual tools as almost a distraction from things that you actually need to address. It is reading self-help and spiritual books, meditating every day and chanting, writing in gratitude journals and meeting a lot of like-minded people, but practically doing nothing with any of the knowledge and growth you have gotten. When that happens, you may still feel amazing about your life, but when looking at it realistically, nothing has changed.
If you think you have done spiritual bypassing yourself or know anyone who has do not beat yourself (or others) up about it, it is a pitfall many fall into for at least a moment. Spirituality often feels great! That is why it is easy to get stuck on the positive side of it, but it also means that you are repressing and avoiding everything else. In the long run, that does not serve you. The good news is by realizing you may be spiritually bypassing the full experience of human life, you can progress to the next level where spirituality makes you feel good, makes you grow, and creates a launching pad for you to achieve everything else in life as well.
Signs Of Spiritual Bypassing
Many symptoms and signs point to spiritual bypassing (SB). There are however a few major indicators that you or someone you know is using SB as a defense mechanism against things that are hard to deal with.
Complete detachment: It is a common Buddhist philosophy to let go of all Earthly attachments, but taken too far it can create disconnect. Letting go of attachments means not holding on to people, opportunities, and especially materialistic goods with iron claws. If something exits your life peacefully and naturally, you should let it. Detachment, however, is avoiding the pain of loss by not connecting with anyone or anything in the first place. This creates a great disconnect that will not serve you and will most likely numb you to life’s greatest experiences.
Emotional repression: Another common sign of SB is believing that the spiritual journey is about enlightenment and therefore looking for bliss thus creating a self-defense system where you welcome only positive emotions. While negative emotions should not be dwelled upon, it is important especially with life-changing life events to feel the full spectrum of what you feel. Completely suppressing negative emotions not only stunts the spiritual growth, it also leads to addiction, from alcohol, to stimulants, to psychedelics, or perhaps even addiction to meditation.
Obsession with positivity: If your answer to absolutely everything is to just stay positive, you may be missing a bigger picture. As a general outlook for your life and the future, positivity is great and needed. Believing that everything will work out in the end is important and will make it true using the Law of Attraction. However, if what you are going through at this very moment is not very kind to your soul, yet you refuse to acknowledge that things may not be great right now, and you may experience painful emotions—you re not being honest about yourself thus preventing you from a real chance to heal and grow from the experience.
Inaction: Most spiritually-minded people carry strong beliefs about the after-life, reincarnation, past lives, and the true fabric of existence. This includes focusing on Earth being a hologram, the matrix, or that nothing is real, and it is all a dream or happening in our own heads. While there are truths to all of these statement and discussing what reality is a completely different topic, carrying any of the above beliefs can make a person become very passive about life. If all of this is an illusion or temporary, why bother doing anything at all? Or feeling like just existing is enough. While it is so understandable to think this way, inaction in life may be used as an excuse to not have goals over hidden fears such as failure. While everything is perfect, and life is meaningful no matter what you do, being in this 3D plane is a unique opportunity for growth and action.
Us versus Them mentality: This list can go on for a while, but to summarize the very key SB signs, the last one to discuss is feeling better, more awakened, or different from other people on this Earth. While many people may still be spiritually asleep, that does not make them any less a part of the human collective. Everyone is connected, even those you may not agree with. Separating yourself from the rest of the world does not accelerate personal growth, instead it takes away your light from those who may need it most. And to be truly spiritually awakened, that is what you are here to do—to spread your light to everyone.
I Think I Am Spiritually Bypassing. Now What?
So you find yourself spiritually bypassing. The first thing to remember is that we all do it! It is not about being perfect, rather it’s about progress. The more honest you are about your own behaviors, the more you can grow. It is as easy as that.
To not fall into or keep falling into spiritual bypassing, it is important to understand that all emotions serve you. There are no bad emotions, even when many feel ‘bad.’ Any emotions that come up in life need to be felt, acknowledged, thanked for their messages and released—not repressed by spiritually bypassing it.
The next step is being at peace with how long healing and growth take. You do not have to be a fully awakened spiritual master tomorrow, and even those who seem like they have reached that level are still going through their own process.
Finally, the remedy to spiritual bypassing is to work with your shadow—the darker corners of your personality and soul that carry negative thoughts or emotions. By working with them instead of ignoring that art of you, you will bring a balance to your spiritual journey and growth.