Spiritual Bypassing

robertHaving an enlightened ego, what Robert Augustus Masters calls “spiritual bypassing“, is the tendency of the ego to hide behind spirituality and enlightened actions and language to protect itself from being seen or eradicated.  In what ways has your ego played the enlightenment game of spiritual bypassing?  Do you avoid your pain to act enlightened and spiritual?  Why do you think you do this?

“What spiritual bypassing (the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs) would have us rise above is precisely what we need to enter, and enter deeply, with as little self-numbing as possible. To this end, it is crucial that we see through whatever practices we have, spiritual or otherwise, that tranquilize rather than illuminate and awaken us. Despite their undeniable calming and relaxing effects, meditative practices that sedate the mind can serve a detrimental purpose; feeling greater calm and relaxation is not necessarily always a good thing, particularly when it doesn’t coexist with discernment and insight.

Tranquilizers, meditative or otherwise, simply numb us, and if we have any investment in being numb, we may be drawn to meditative practices that keep us distant or “safely” removed from our pain. As long as we are consciously and skillfully turning toward our pain and difficulties, staying close enough to them to work with them effectively, we will be less easily seduced by the desire to sedate ourselves.

Spiritual bypassing is not something to eradicate, but it is something to outgrow. Let us treat it as such, recognizing that real spirituality is not an escape but rather an arrival.” ~Robert Augustus Masters

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