The Down and Dirty of Spiritual Bypass
Spiritual bypass is about using spirituality to bypass the uncomfortable aspects of life, which whether we like it or not, are part of being here in 3D land. In my circles I hear a lot of talk about 5D (Fifth Dimension). However, I think it is important to understand that we are here to master 3D first. Somehow we think if we are just spiritual “enough” we will end all the discomfort. The problem is it doesn’t work that way. Life can be so challenging at times and those can also be the harbinger of spiritual growth, so it’s important not to bypass the discomfort that comes with it. Relationships in particular can be very uncomfortable and while it may be wise to leave the relationships that hurt us, sometimes working through differences can lead to more intimacy. In fact, many great rewards can come with feeling our emotions, listening to the guidance they offer and with bearing through the discomfort. Making it through the difficult times also brings the reward of knowing our mettle, which we can’t ever know without enduring discomfort. As a business owner, I’ve learned this is a huge part of the landscape of business resilience. The difficult emotions are uncomfortable for a reason. Fear would not work to save our life if it did not mobilize a response - the corresponding raised heart rate, flood of adrenaline and cortisol isn’t exactly what I would call a comfortable feeling, but it works. Of course I could also say plenty about the misuse of fear, but that is a different blog.
We are biological beings AND storytelling beings. We can bypass into story so fast it can make your head spin. Sometimes that story serves us and many times it does not. One story, the one that we can become so spiritually perfected that we will leave discomfort behind is pretty culturally entrenched and is ultimately one that does not serve us. It only makes us trade in one form of perfection for another and when it doesn’t work we conclude something must be wrong with us – maybe we’re cursed or evil or have bad karma. It gets worse if we compare ourselves to others on a spiritual path. I can tell you, many “spiritual” people NEVER let on what is going on behind the scenes. I am clairsentient and I’ve become pretty adept at sensing the discord between what is presented and the energy behind the appearance, even if I don’t know exactly what it’s about.
So what is it we are circumventing when we do the spiritual bypass? It is our bodies and more specifically the emotional body. Our story telling capacity takes us away from our experience and therefore we bypass our ability to listen to the body and learn. Our bodies are exquisite tools for awareness here in 3D land. That means we have to get down to the feeling at a preverbal visceral level. At that level, it’s all about the feeling and there are no words. Words can mask, bypass. At that level, it’s all about being with the feeling and moving from there. My analogy for this comes from watching animals. They don’t question their feelings, they respond. I watch my cats a lot and here’s what I observe. If they feel threatened, they move to safety or fight back depending on the circumstances. They can fight with each other in one moment and be laying on the couch together the next. They read each other’s bodies and know aggression or affection viscerally. My cat Avatar revels in pleasure. Her feelings lead her to be a very active pettee. She doesn’t hold back. She writhes and rubs purrs and stretches, and her face exhibits sheer pleasure. The feeling is pure, unadulterated by shame or story that she should not participate the way her feelings and body lead her to. We humans, on the other hand, have so many stories and structures, shame, dissociation or attachments around our feelings that we often don’t even know what we are feeling. We can be so dissociated and divorced from our bodies that we are literally walking zombies (is it any wonder we are so fascinated by them).
Don’t get me wrong. I think narrative is wonderful. It’s one of the beautiful unique joys of being human. But all gifts have their challenges and one of them is how we use narrative and language to bypass feeling. It’s also understandable. Feeling sometimes is completely unpleasant. In fact it can be excruciating ̶ gut wrenching, solar plexus burning, pressure behind the eyes, throat constricting excruciating. We think we can bypass, instead what we do is stuff and ignore. The feelings are still there and they will get buried deeper in our bodies as we learn ever accelerating tools for ignoring them until we completely dissociate from our bodies, creating complete dependence on the mind and a lack of real knowing. The longer this goes on, the more we fear the physically based feelings and create an internalized belief that our feelings will break us. And indeed, if we’ve been stuffing for years, it can feel like a mountain of rage, grief or shame which seems impossible to surmount. I thought that was true of grief before my father died, but then I chose to consciously feel what ever came up and learned I was capable of holding the grief of losing someone so dear to me. We ARE capable. We are made to be capable, and yet in a world where feelings are not OK, what we create is trauma. Trauma is THE core problem in our world. Healing it is the key to our survival and also to being the full spiritual BEINGS that we are. Then and only then we will be able to master the other dimensions.