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  • Writer's pictureLeanne Psychic Medium

Exploring the Traps and Pitfalls of Spiritual Bypassing: A Guide to Authentic Growth and Healing

Spiritual Bypassing.  When a friend of mine introduced me to the term, Spiritual Bypassing, I had no idea what it was - but it definitely didn't sound good! I had to find out what it was and have spent quite a bit of time trying to research to find out:

What it is,

How it manifests in my life,

And how I can become more authentic, or how honest I am about my spiritual growth. 

What is it?  

In 1984, psychologist John Welwood, defined spiritual bypassing as “the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs”.  He believed that it's much more common than we think and so pervasive it's largely unnoticed, except in extreme cases.  In our fast food-driven lifestyle, it shows up as being impatient because change isn't happening as fast as we want, and manifests as black-and-white thinking. Additionally, we engage in numerous types of symptom-numbing behaviors such as taking pills, drugs, drinking alcohol, shopping, having sex, over-scheduling our lives, and feeling the need to be available to everyone and everything 24/7. It’s represented in our quick one-liners: 

"It's all an illusion." 

"Be positive.” 

"Anger isn't spiritual." 

“It’s all in God's hands.” 

“Money is the root of all evil”

And my favorite:

"Spiritual people don't... (Fill in the blank).  

When we seek too much outside assistance from our horoscopes, mediums, and intuitives, it's a clue that we are bypassing.  It is fine to get some guidance to see if we are on the right path, but getting readings all the time, "reader hopping," and checking our horoscopes anytime we have to make a decision, is an indication of our inability to make decisions or the unwillingness to look inside for guidance which is preventing us from trusting our own judgment. 

It can also manifest as the endless, self-deprecating, martyr thing, where we blame others for our suffering.  I've seen many empaths getting stuck in blaming others for their endless suffering (myself included) because they are trying to process or handle everyone’s stuff.  There are techniques they can use to sense the feelings of others without taking it all on.  We don't do anyone any favors by trying to process other people's baggage.  It only serves to tear us down, drain our energy, and prevent the recipient from learning from their mistakes. (And, not only that but takes longer for them to learn from their mistakes.)

The flip side of this is what I call the “superficial” or “plastic type”. (I stole this term from the movie Mean Girls.) It means what it sounds like…and is similar to the behavior of Stepford Wives: the fake smile and the nodding in all the right places. I just feel exasperated around this type of person. They complain that people are too negative when others mention a fault of theirs. Common quotes that you will hear from this group are: “If you love me, you will accept me as I am”, and “If you loved me, you could intuit what I want.” They won’t communicate what they want because they are conflict-avoidant. This group is also known for wearing malas (prayer beads), having stones, using essential oils, and burning sage thinking that these tools will do all the work.

Another common type of spiritual bypass is being excessively critical of ourselves. There is a belief that being hypercritical or shaming ourselves will make us shape up and be better, more spiritual people.  No amount of shame or hating ourselves will "whip us into shape." It only serves to tear us down further. This is not the same as taking a "moral inventory" and making amends to those you have harmed. This is the relentless self-criticism that only serves to tear you down. There's nothing spiritual about that.  A common question I ask myself when I'm not sure if I'm on the right track is, "Would I do or say this to a small child?"  If the answer is no, then I need to rethink what I've been doing or ask Spirit for guidance.

Marianne Williamson says it best:

"...There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

In my next blog, I will address the issue of “What you can do about Spiritual Bypassing.”

Anyone can do these things by themselves, but sometimes we like to practice with others like us. I am running a Awakening Your Intuition Through the Clairs Class 2 at AIMS on Wednesdays on the Loveland Campus from September 4th - October 9th on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30. I will also have an Intro into Mediumship class on running on Saturday, November 2nd and 9th from 9-11 AM. In Greeley, I am rerunning the Awakening Your Intuition Through the Clairs 1 from October 16th - November 20th. I will also be at the Belu Olisa Fair on September 28 & 29, 2024 from 10 am to 5 pm both days.

I would love it if you would share the things that have worked for you, being supportive of each other, and cheering each other on. Note: The comments section is at the bottom of this page.

Until next time,

Leanne Psychic Medium


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