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The Spiritual Bypass

If no other change can be made in your life at present, the thing you must do, starting today, is to incorporate a daily spiritual practice of some kind.

Your soul needs it to survive.

This chapter is probably the most important to my heart of this entire book. It’s essential that you grasp this deep sharing so that you do not become a blocked robot.

“A spiritual bypass or spiritual bypassing is a tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.” John Welwood

John Welwood was an American Buddhist. He was also a clinical psychologist and was the Director of the East/West Psychology Program in California. He coined the term, “spiritual bypass” after observing a trend of “spiritual patients” who used their religion and spirituality as a way to avoid facing major life issues.

Life ebbs and flows. We are born, we live, and our bodies die. Our planet has elements that, depending on where you live, change. Leaves bloom, leaves turn and fall away…forever. No human is ever just in one state of mind, one state of emotion, or one state of consciousness. While I talked about the fear response in the previous chapter, and getting it under control, I was by no means telling you to get rid of it. If your house is on fire, or your child is in danger, I want your fear response in high gear, directing your every move, because when there is real danger, your fear, in most cases, knows exactly how to guide you.

There are spiritual teachings that will tell you to kill your fear. Others will teach you to numb your sadness. There are even meditations online that guide you into states of “numbing your emotion.” While it’s not necessary to always come completely unglued in order to heal, feeling your feelings is a necessary part of the process. Also, sometimes, because healing is a journey and not a destination, we will “deal” with something, process it, really feel it, talk it out, maybe even do energy healing, and crystal healing only to have it rear its ugly head again. The first time around wasn’t a failure, it’s simply as we get deeper into self-awareness, we become more willing to dive deeper. So, while we may have dealt with our parents’ divorce already, or our first husband that was abusive, having it come back up again does not mean it’s not healed at all. It indicates that you have evolved and so too, has your perspective.

I am writing this chapter because I had three experiences happen to me as I was evolving into the “healing world” where I was almost raped, psychology fucked with, and emotionally nailed to the wall. I want to (hopefully) keep this from happening to you, especially if you are a new intuitive healer or if you are stepping into this world for the first time.

Some spiritualists only focus on happiness, ease, peace, contentment, good health, and “the feel-good energy.” While all of that is great, and should most definitely be a goal, there is another side of life. Shift happens, but shit happens, too. When it happens, it is absolutely natural to feel angry, frustrated, impatient, violated, etc. Remember Sarah? She was a spiritual by-passer. Before her epiphany, she admitted to me about shaming a lot of her clients who were expressing legitimate feelings.

Spiritual by-passers stand in their conviction that you are a carrier of negative energy should you feel anything less than “good.” If you have fallen prey to a spiritual by-passer in the role of a teacher, they will attempt to brainwash you into believing there is something wrong with you if you stand in your power and feel your feelings.

When I first started to do intuitive readings professionally, I thought it would help if I had certificates on my wall. In my visits around Atlanta to other healers, I saw all sorts of diplomas displayed from Reiki Healer to Seven Ray Healer. Not wanting to be left behind, I enrolled in a reiki certification. Upon arriving at my first class, I realized that the teacher was a man, not the woman I thought was teaching, and that the classroom was not a school, as advertised, but a man’s one-bedroom apartment. Upon entering, I saw several pillows on the floor and an assortment of teacups which would indicate that other students were joining us.

The teacher, who I will not even give a nickname in case he has changed his name once again, was dressed in all white, wearing beads, and chanting. I don’t have any issue with this except that I kept saying, “Excuse me, but I’m not staying if I’m the only student,” and he was ignoring me. I should point out that the door was locked with a deadbolt but it was also keyed so I couldn’t just leave.

After a few minutes, he opened his eyes, and my intuition was screaming, “Get out of here…NOW!” When I stood to leave, he came over and placed his hand on “my heart chakra” which was really my breast. I pushed his hand away, looked down, and noticed he had an erection. At this point, I began screaming at the top of my lungs, “Unlock the door! Let me out of here!” I’m loud and strong. When he went to touch me again, I kneed him as hard as I could in his crotch. He fell to the ground screaming in pain. I saw the key under his meditation pillow, and I grabbed it, unlocked the door, and took off like a bat out of hell.

After I drove a few blocks, I pulled into a Waffle House parking lot and sobbed. I felt violated, gross, confused, angry, and terrified. As I sat in my car, all I could think was that I needed to get home to my baby daughter and husband. Something wouldn’t allow me to drive, though. I started praying and I realized that I was blaming myself for what happened. I didn’t want to go home because I felt ashamed. I told myself that I had every right to feel what I felt and that this guy needed to be shut down. Gathering myself, I went home and told my husband. He, of course, was furious. He demanded that I call the newspaper that was advertising the “school” and let them know what happened. He also told me to call the police. While calling the police felt right, I was afraid to do it because I knew it would mean I would have to face my attacker all over again. To this day I regret not calling the police because I know he harmed other women after me, but what hurt most was the response from the lady who operated the newspaper.

During our conversation she literally said that she knew him very well, that he worked at psychic fairs all over town, and that while his spiritual practice may seem unconventional to some, my anger toward him was nothing more than negative energy coming out of me from a broken place. She went on to say she would pray for me. I was stunned. Years later, I learned that he moved to Wyoming, started a cultish type camp and was wanted in two states for rape but the authorities couldn’t find him. This was my first encounter with spiritual bypassing.

Needless to say, I made sure my reiki certifications were taught to me by a woman, and we had several deep conversations before I enrolled in her classes. Please know or get to know your teacher or get a strong referral before just handing your trust over blindly, simply because someone is “spiritual.” The second encounter was with a complete narcissist who just happened to be an extremely gifted psychic. She was teaching Seven Ray healing, which is healing energy working with the archangels in case you’re not familiar, and she was well-renowned for her gift. Leslie was beautiful and came with a lot of clout. At the time she was connected with Doreen Virtue, Louise Hay, and many other up and coming psychics speaking on their stages and appearing with them all over radio and television. Because of this I immediately trusted her. While she didn’t attempt to rape me, she kept telling me that I am not intuitive. That simply isn’t true. In the same breath, she constantly asked me for intuitive advice. When I would read for her, she would always use the information for her growth, but come back and try to convince me that what I told her wasn’t true. Additionally, anytime I showed any emotion about her mistreatment toward me, she would tell me I had major work to do with my “negativity” if I was going to make it in the industry.

It was then I decided if working with people like her was “making it,” I would rather just go my own way. That’s exactly what I did, too. I’m thankful for my gifts because when the spiritual bypassing became evident, my gut protected me.

I won’t go into the third incident because it’s similar to the first except the attempt to rape me wasn’t obvious until several months into sessions with him. I wasn’t taking formal classes, but I was learning a new energy technique from him. That time I did call the police, and other victims, as a result, came forward. I wasn’t raped, thankfully, but the other victims were. It broke my heart. It’s also the reason I stepped away from the industry for a few years altogether.

I’m sharing all of this with you for three reasons.

  1. I want you to be careful. Use your intuition and stay protected. If anyone is trying to convince you that you have negative energy, especially when what you are experiencing is legitimate emotion, please run!

  2. If you are new to spirituality, you may feel that you don’t have permission to get angry, stand up for yourself, and to be the powerful, magical person you were born to experience. That’s simply not true. Being spiritual is one of the most human experiences there is, and you can dive deep into it being YOU!

  3. Yes, spirituality most definitely has its “love and light” side AND it has its “fuck you” side, too. If someone is not respecting you, not honoring your boundaries, belittling you, or abusing you, you have permission to say, “fuck you!” and walk away.

I want to share one other nugget with you about spiritual bypass. Coming from an abusive home, I didn’t want to feel anything else “bad” after I moved away. I wanted unicorns and rainbows, yet, I created so much drama everywhere I went. The reason why is for the very fact that I didn’t want to feel bad. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but the human make-up is complex. My soul was craving healing, and since I consciously didn’t want to deal with it, subconsciously I created pain. Just know that you cannot escape your pain. The only way out is in.

If you are someone who fears crying because you’re honestly afraid that if you start you may not stop, well, you’re in the right place. Why? Because you are easy prey for a spiritual by-passer. Being told you don’t have to feel any pain, only good vibes and good energy, is going to sound amazing to you, if it hasn’t already.

I sincerely hope you are ready to find out exactly how brave you are, and that you want to dive deep into your courage. Remember, there is no courage without fear.

SHORT EXERCISE:--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • Did you experience spiritual bypassing in the past? Or do you know of someone? Share it with me in the comment section.

  • What are some of your biggest, most obvious fears? Can you think back to a childhood event that created this fear? How did you handle it? Does it still need healing today?

  • Is there something in your life that you really want to do, or a certain passion or dream you have, but aren’t doing because you’re scared? What is it and what are you afraid will happen? What would happen if you took a chance?

  • Have you avoided certain jobs, people, places, situations, conversations or experiences out of a fear of something? What was it and what was the fear?

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