Have you seen people using spirituality or spiritual practices to compensate for challenging issues like social isolation, poor self-esteem, or other emotional issues?
In today’s digital life, we all must have observed many individuals hiding in spiritual retreats to run away from problems. Although when they come back, they must have encountered the problems because running away was not the solution. The famous American clinical psychologist and psychotherapist John Welwewood coined the term spiritual bypass for such behaviour where spirituality is used as a tool or defense mechanism to ward off demons. However, it becomes a hindrance in our way of refining our soul.
What is spiritual bypassing?
Spiritual bypassing is all about using spirituality as a tool to avoid unresolved emotional problems, psychological issues/wounds, and unaccomplished developmental tasks. We become dependent on spiritual ideas or practices to bypass the darker areas of our lives, skeletons in the closet and ward off the gremlins.
Remember, as many spiritual practitioners claim, there is nothing like all love and light in this universe. To attain a life of accomplishment and light, one has to set oneself on fire and live an enlightened life.
Ways to stop spiritual bypassing
Instead of taking refuge in the world of illusion, cultivate and practice self-acceptance. Self-acceptance will save you from falling prey to a slippery and conniving spiritual bypass that disguises itself into a robe of light. Honesty may seem ruthless, but eventually, it makes you face all challenges headstrong and live a life based on reality and acceptance.
These five tried and tested practices will help you favour the truth and live a fulfilled life in the long run.
1. Cultivate an optimistic attitude
To have open-mindedness, you must be willing to be deceived, misjudged, misguided or go off the track. When you are not open to challenges or not ready to come out of your comfort zone, you can not cultivate humility and open-mindedness.
Do not forget that nothing is perfect. Perfectionism is just an illusion, a myth. There is no harm in going wrong something. We all make mistakes. Embrace your flaws. It will help you take greater steps towards spiritual expansion.
2. Create hypothetical scenarios
Every coin has two sides, so evaluate the dark and positive sides of everything. Do not follow others. Even if it takes time to understand things, do not rush. Create a hypothetical situation to evaluate things. Ask yourself questions. Doubt your clear images to build a greater understanding. Blind faith will only make you a sheep. To become an intelligent wolf, you need to listen to your doubts.
3. Face the truth
The truth may hit hard. However, there is no better teacher than facing reality. Dare to face reality than create a false reality to satisfy yourself. It saves you from self-delusion and cultivates an honest and realistic attitude towards people, things, and issues in life.
4. Look for others’ honest opinion
Ask your loved ones to be true and honest with you about everything. Their honest opinions will help you shape a stronger personality. Brace your ego and talk to them about your spiritual journey, or even if you are finding any tendency of spiritual bypassing, discuss it with them. Their honest feedback will surely be invaluable.
5. Accept and feel your pain
Facing or feeling pain is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it shows your strength and propels you towards spiritual lightening. You can not get rid of your pain until you face it.
Use spiritual practices to recognize where you went wrong or things got misaligned. Spiritual discernment should be used to face the pain instead of running away from it.