Spiritual Bypassing and Working with the “Light” #spiritualbypassing #lightworkers

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Once again, like many others, I am feeling deeply bothered by the state of the world in which we all live. Today I am thinking of the words of Louis Armstrong and his beautiful lyrical antidote to a troubled world. A world that, more than fifty years later, feels, well, no less-troubled.

Where have we gone wrong? How do we make right?

We still cling to our violence like an infant clings to his “blankie.” We are hesitant to let go. The lust for power and greed continually supersedes our common good. We are a broken beautiful world trying to exists in the extremes of violence (mankind) and beauty (nature).

I use the world “mankind,” because let us be clear that it is the driving force of masculinity, whether it exists in a so-called male of female body, that lends itself towards violent acts. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it often is in our world. The driving force is also the creative force, bringing forth life instead of death, in all its myriad forms.

It is working with the “light” that drives the life force that threads through all of us in its purest form. It is what Christ strived for, and Buddha. It is a quest for a balance and harmony. For the common good of all life.

And here we are stuck in the throes of our extremes. Many of us are struggling to incite change: signing petitions, calling senators, picketing our capital buildings, voting…while knowing it is simply not enough.

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. I don’t know what it is going to take for us to put aside our accumulated lust for power and find our common ground. I wish I did.

One thing that nags me continuously though, is those we keep silent. Those who pull the card of spirituality without actually doing the real work. The term spiritual bypassing was coined by a psychotherapist named John Welwood to define individuals who use spirituality and its practices as a way of bypassing the real work of healing and changing their lives. Now it is a term used to also include the lives of others.

We see it all the time. It has become a chronic problem. An excuse for either doing nothing, or worse, doing the wrong thing. I am stretching the limits of this term to define all of those who claim to be following the path of the “light,” but refusing to do the real work to support the balance and harmony of life, whether it be within or outside of them.

We see it everywhere, in all of its masked forms. Self-ascribed christians refusing to give up their weapons of death used to murder children. We see it in self-ascribed light-workers refusing to acknowledge their individual and our shared darkness in their need to hold onto the ideal of the “light” they think shines more brightly within them. Their need to feel special superseding the good they proclaim to spread in the world. Instead of digging into fact-based, real-world problems to work towards bringing light to our collective darkness, they add to the darkness by spreading falls theories created by bots and deranged individuals intent of perpetrating the chaos in the world. The irony is almost too much to bear, but bear it they do, with a perverse sense of delight. Otherwise they would not be “special.”

This chronic need to be special and have control over others negates the real work of the light and being a spiritual being, whether you are professed follower of Christ, Buddha, Allah…a pantheon of gods or one God.

A world filled with beings who are striving to be separate. To feel special. To be better. Beings that feast on individual greed and need…with always tip towards chaos.

Our beautiful world of “skies of blue,” and “fields of green,” is raging. Fires burn in lands turned arid by mankind’s greed. Fires burn from the bullets of guns, destroying life, over and over again, because of mankind’s lust for power and control. And the fires of denial burn in the hearts of those who bypass the real work of life and cling to their sense of otherness.

We cannot live in a wonderful world without doing the real work of nurturing life itself.

10 thoughts on “Spiritual Bypassing and Working with the “Light” #spiritualbypassing #lightworkers

  1. V. Thapsus

    I encountered your blog by chance while looking up the symbolism of the hummingbird moth. I enjoyed your writing on the magical interplay of garden beings and I am especially thankful for your articulation of joy arising not out of rest but of conscious and active creation. Women and beings of nature are systematically relegated into the passive by patriarchal power systems. Embracing the powerful creation of new moments of joy as a force is a very helpful tool for navigating these times.

    In regards to this blog entry which I found when going to your home page: Greed, violence, and want of the perpetuation of power are very much the drivers of these chaotic times-I concur with the opening part of your observations of the current crisis we are collectively experiencing. The degree of dysfunction at play and the absolute refusal of systems of power to acknowledge and support collective well-being is manifest to such a point that it is now more than ever so blatantly obvious. This dysfunction is then rehearsed and echoed out by members of society because that is how power acts and promotes actively. We are all witnessing and are horrified by the absolute absurd cruelty of these modern times. The volatility of these dysfunctions reaching and affecting so so many, especially the most marginalized, render power highly visible. However, with this there are now immediate spaces of liberation possible, in that it the volatility and high visibility create the necessity for new movements and spaces to open and collectivize to problem-solve. It never should have been like this in the first place: this cruelty and destruction present, but it must be met and remediated. Essential questions which arise when creating or thinking of social movements are: what sort of solutions need to occur? How can active problem-solving happen without perpetuating the same mistakes? How can the most be helped? What are the most pressing issues, etc? How does a movement deal with disinformation and/or conspiracy theories? This is where my thinking has begun to go within the last few years.

    With holding the main drivers of power at the forefront of analysis, I must say I take some issue with the utilization of spiritual bypassing as a disorder. Spirituality is a never-ending development. There is no one type of enlightenment and there are limitless paths. Focusing blame, or at best a critique that may cut or wound, on those who are at least trying to understand themselves and work within the spirit seems to be misplaced, in my intellectual opinion. Nietzsche wrote of a phenomena called “ressentiment” in which the oppressed under systems of power will bring to blame one another (other oppressed people under a system of power) or even worse bring it upon themselves in order to create meaning of their oppression, amongst other reasons. This ressentiment is not just a “divide and conquer” tactic, it manifests in the psyche/spirit. It systematically fragments the psyche. And we are seeing it play out en masse. Arguably it’s seriously ratcheting up to some very dangerous levels. Therefore, a proliferation of solutions do arise in the analysis of power mechanisms, the big ones. For everything else is effected by them, sort of like an umbrella I suppose. In this analysis one begins to see the figurative “strings” that pull people’s behavior and how these “strings” or societal expectations direct them. Directing mindful spirituality within this space has been very meaningful and actually very expansive for me personally. One may then sit and apply great compassion for those who are affected in all levels of society by greed, violence, and the want of perpetuation of power. I meditate upon this often. There are many paths to liberation and healing, and these are continuously opening, continuously. I think this is extremely important to hold very close and return to often: for all liberation springs from hope. One such path envisioned could be an open, expansive, peaceful, and immediate action-oriented commitment to new beginnings of communication. It is thus a goal that there will be hopeful new beginnings in the face of the world we live. Dialogues, dialectics, resynthesis, and the re-experiencing of collective communication/collaboration, and all that comes with these complex social dynamics, are a must in my opinion for truly foundational societal change to occur. While anguish and suffering continue we must hold strong to act, and first one does so with their mind (and spirit), it is a process. The time to act though is most definitely now. That is why I find great hope in the effectiveness of movements rooted in analysis of major power structures, restoration of empathy, and emphasis on reestablishing the concept and literal reality of the collective common well-being of society, the planet, and all of her beings. Essentially, it’s political, but I think we’ve all seen that politics are front seat along in the ride of reevaluation of power structures and liberative societal change.

    To conclude, and I mean no offense, I’ve thought deeply on all of this and was struck by your writing, “spiritual bypassing” as a lens in trying to understand, fix, or even have a dialectic with our current crises may actually work to perpetuate the very crises itself. To utilize such a differential analysis freely may create a splintering effect of the very nature it singles out as the key symptom and problem of “spiritual bypassing.” I am much more into the idea of silently working on myself and applying criticism and adjustment there, serving the wider public, and saving my deep analysis for the driving systems of power personally. Then speaking clearly, loudly, and acting in the face of directly oppressive systems is the follow-up. I guess I am speaking of strategic thinking that may also involve the spiritual. I hope this was clear.

    Your writing emotionally pulls at the need for collective viewing and understanding of what is unfolding around us, which is so refreshing to see. You write beautifully about it. It is a great hope that there will be manifested collective action at this point: linking of commonalities, pinpointing the most important pressing issues (women’s rights, the environment, assisting the ever-increasing poor and marginalized, and so so many more), sharing resources, and making plans of action. It is also important along the ride of this analysis to see who are already out there actively engaged in the fight. You may already be doing this to a great degree, I mean no offense if you are doing so.

    I’m going to post a link below to a review of George Monbiot’s new book on how food is grown around the world, the unsustainability of the current practices, and also features deep analysis on wonders of the Earth itself and her many systems.

    Forever Forward,
    -V. Thapsus

    Liked by 1 person

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