Our spiritual journey has never been a straight line. The nature of life in this ephemeral world consists of frequent swings between unexpected extremes, even in the most enlightened vistas of experience.
The rising vibration of human consciousness follows a distinct pattern, translating our collective progress into the movement of ‘two steps forward, one step back’; this principle is ever-present when it comes to our growth- and spiritual growth is no exception.
This ‘back-step’ can often take the form of an unconscious habit, a blind spot obscuring our view and clouding our judgement, leading us to the unconscious choices we once would seek to avoid.
Our lives can be complicated and challenging regardless of how “enlightened” we’ve become. This is our natural rhythm; a spiral expansion that continually reintegrates the full spectrum of the human condition.
Practicing spirituality has the capacity to remedy the growing pains of this process with a sense of assurance, a feeling of harmony with the bigger picture and a refuge from the mundane.
But sometimes we unconsciously turn this refuge into a prison that limits our growth and perception, enclosing us in a subtle, pervasive mental trap born from a desire to protect ourselves.
It can isolate us from society, from real connection with our loved ones, and from our authentic selves. This self-made subterfuge is called Spiritual Bypassing, and it is an exceedingly common, under-diagnosed issue in the spiritual community that needs to be illuminated.
- Have you ever noticed the immense suffering of the world flooding your social media feed and found yourself scrolling past it to maintain the vibration of love and light?
- Have you ever dismissed or judged the opinions of others because you considered them to be egoic, unawakened sheeple stuck in the matrix?
- Have you ever meditated to clear your mind of unwanted thoughts without inquiring into the source of those thoughts?
Its okay, we’ve all been there.
Spiritual bypassing is when we use a spiritual belief or practice to justify the denial, avoidance and suppression of our unwanted feelings, negative thoughts, fundamental needs and personal truths.
There is a reason that we all face this challenge at one point or another in our evolution. It’s because it’s an integral step in our evolution, one we cant skip over- which is ironically the theme of this lesson.
The challenge we are being presented with when we bypass is understanding and integrating what it means to be truly spiritual.
We think this means we have to be the opposite of physical, and that this involves doing, thinking, feeling, saying or believing something other than what comes naturally to us. Our inaccurate approach encourages us to skip over our physical experience to identify with the spiritual experience.
Here’s the catch: Nothing you do, think, or say can make you less spiritual, spirit is the essence of your being. This includes your physical being, your ego, your emotions and all your shadows.
The lesson must then be graduated through authenticity. This involves the holistic application of self love, integrity, honesty and acceptance of all that you are.
How to Practice Authenticity
When we as soul-driven aspirants meet at the horizon between our highest self and our deepest shadows, we tend to want to disown the unwanted aspects of our being to capitalize on spiritual reward.
By doing this, we create a spiritual ego, conditioning it to only identify itself with the universe until there is nothing left resembling a personal identity.
What we don’t realize is that by discarding any part of ourselves, even the undesirable aspects, we are suppressing and denying our spiritual expression; polarizing our wholeness, and thereby acting from a place of fragmentation, of separation- of ego.
We are here to learn about the true nature of reality. The material world is an aspect of reality, just like your shadows and ego are an aspect of you. They do not show the whole picture, but they are an essential part of it. Authenticity is embracing and expressing all aspects of yourself.
A great way we can begin to successfully practice authenticity is by observing ourselves, understanding ourselves, and unconditionally embodying ourselves. Let’s explore how we can go about realizing this in our daily lives.
To be mindful is to be able to observe your thoughts, feelings, and reactions without judgement, attachment or explanation. No matter what level of awareness you have reached, this can be challenging and essential to further clarity. Do not underestimate this state, and do not overestimate yourself.
An effective way to practice mindfulness is to meditate on your breath.
Back to basics! When you have found a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and begin to breathe in through your nose, then out through your mouth. If any thoughts arise, let them flow through and out of your mind like a cloud in a clear sky with each passing breath.
Do not focus in on the contents of any particular cloud, simply take notice of them as they float unencumbered through your mental landscape. Then bring your attention back to your breath. Continue to observe as thoughts arise, always bringing your attention back to your breath.
The frequency of thoughts is not important, what is important is that you let go of judging your thoughts so that you can be deeply engaged in mindfulness.
The habit you form from this practice is the mental discipline to observe your thoughts without bias. The more you do this simple exercise, the more you will begin to consciously observe your thoughts in every day life, giving you an opportunity to locate your bypassing in its natural habitat.
The next step takes a slightly different approach. Self Inquiry is all about revealing the underlying beliefs behind unconscious thought patterns after they’ve been discovered.
This process begins by bringing the thought or feeling you wish to explore to the forefront of your mind. Start by imagining this energy in your mind.
- Does this thought or feeling have a color or a shape?
- Does it have a texture?
- Where is it located in your body as a physical tension?
- Does it have a voice?
- What is it saying?
Use your mental observation to gain clarity in these areas; look, listen, and feel within yourself. When you begin to answer these questions, you are beginning to shed light on your unconscious pattern, making it accessible to your conscious mind and releasing the reactionary pressure that causes bypassing.
Once you’ve deciphered the message, ask the mental messenger a question that will lead to a deeper pattern, such as, “why is that so bad?”, “what is the worst outcome in that situation?” or “what would happen if that were true?”.
We are communicating with an unwanted aspect of ourselves, so naturally the patterns we can’t reach are the ones we want to avoid. Each new question will reveal a new layer, exposing the structure of your subliminal reasoning.
Continue to ask these questions until you reach a belief that you didn’t know you had within you. Congratulations, you just uncovered an unconscious pattern. You can apply this technique throughout the day as you notice your unconscious triggers arise. Be sure to write these patterns down.
To be present with all of yourself is to feel all the stuff you’ve been avoiding and suppressing. There’s no short cut here. After you’ve unveiled a core unconscious belief, you must first accept that this belief is currently yours.
One way to acknowledge these aspects is to imagine them as a version of yourself based around the belief. Imagine meeting this version of yourself in your mind. Have a conversation with them as if they were a person. Ultimately treat them like family that you want to support.
Imagine yourself telling this version of you that you hear what they are saying, that you acknowledge them, and you are beginning to understand them. Embrace this part of you, hold it in your arms and say that you want to know it more and accept it, that its challenging but you’re doing your best.
Be open to receive any reaction it may have and make sure not to bulldoze over its expression. Its important that this version of you feels safe to be itself, even if its something you don’t like.
Now would be a great time to write out what this aspect is communicating to you. Speaking these revelations aloud and owning them through your words is helpful. Another great step would be to share these patterns with supportive people that you love and trust. Make sure to clarify that you are not looking for advice, only acceptance of your self realization.
Finally, allow your body to communicate this unwanted aspect naturally, through your emotional expression. Feel free to bawl your eyes out, laugh uncontrollably, yell and scream (alone or with a trusted partner), or even curl up into a fetal position. Allow the physical release to be a channel through which your unconscious pressure is alleviated.
You’ve done great so far. It’s okay to still not like these previously hidden aspects right now. What’s important is that you have brought them out of the shadows, and that you are no longer hiding from yourself. Take your time learning to accept and embrace these essential parts of your spirit.
Your authenticity will guide you to a conscious lifestyle free of spiritual bypassing, and thus help you fully embrace your spiritual experience. The journey will surely provoke more unconscious patterns to arise, but now you can face them with a broader sense of identity, unburdened by the weight of self deception. Embrace this empowering freedom as you step forward (and step back) into your unaltered truth.