As I said in last weeks blog one of the biggest issues many of my clients face is the feeling that they are failing because they can't keep themselves high vibe, calm, positive and hopeful when things feel hard.
My friends, let me reiterate, this feeling of failure is not a result of you not being able to do something, it's the result of the toxic spiritual/ wellness industry. (Toxic meaning poisonous/ harmful and unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way)
Denial, the 2nd D in the culture of the 3 D's.
Last week we talked about dismissal or unbalanced positivity. This week I want to talk about no 2- Denial, more commonly known as spiritual bypassing.
The aim of these 3 blogs is to help you to better understand the 3 D's and enable you to recognise more quickly when you are being pulled in, so you can get back to stable and able more easily and with less damaging side effects!
To recap the 3 D's are:
Dismissal AKA Unbalanced positivity
Denial AKA Spiritual bypassing
Deceit AKA Spiritual manipulation
Okay, let's dive in with spiritual bypassing AKA Denial
Spiritual bypassing is the more subtle nuanced sibling of unbalanced positivity. Where unbalanced positivity seeks to dismiss feelings and experiences, spiritual bypassing seeks to deny they are even happening, using spiritual explanations or practices to create an alternate reality that isn't based in the real raw experiences actually happening.
It's a defensive action used to sidestep the ick and paper over that ick with sunshine and rainbows and it comes from an unbalanced understanding or belief of what spirituality is and what it 'should' look like.
For example; If you strongly believe that being your best spiritual self means never getting angry, jealous, upset, sad, ill or feeling grief, you are going to really struggle to accept these are completely normal human emotions and reactions to life.
If you believe that being spiritual is to get to a place of peace with everything and everyone, with feelings that you are above all the lower frequencies of humanness, you are probably going to really struggle with the very normal connections that make up daily life.
In these examples, your search for the perfect spirituality is going to see you need to avoid, suppress or deny experiences that push against these ideals.
This is where bypassing comes in. This search for perfect spirituality or practice, builds walls of illusion around yourself, becoming a prison in which you cannot see what is actually happening in the world, in your relationships and in yourself.
This prison then stops you from being able to actually grow in your resilience, your understanding of yourself and your seeking of higher understanding! Wild right?!
Life is not all love, light and unicorn farts and in the bypassing denial of this fact, we can harm ourselves and others around us.
The definition of the word bypass definitely helps in this space before we move on so here it is, keep it in mind as we move onwards!
To bypass is to go around, ignore or avoid something, especially if it gets a thing done quicker.
In the case of spiritual bypassing the thing we want to be done quicker is spiritual enlightenment, ascending this difficult humanness, to be healed/not in pain.
Spiritual bypassing is another one that shows up everywhere but it is much more subtle! It often sounds like good spiritual practice and usually sounds like it's based on sound theories...because to an extent it can be.
The key, therefore, is noticing the effect of the thing and whether it helps you get closer to yourself, to how things really are and the beautifully imperfect human you are, or not.
Spiritual bypassing will explain away issues, ask you to ignore the issue, tell you to move away from the people creating the issues and allow you to create an illusion that you feel more comfortable with, as a reflection of what you believe being a good spiritual person is all about.
So, how can we recognise when we're stuck on the spiritual bypass from hell with no exit in sight? and what can we do?
I'm going to go through some symptoms that you've got stuck on the whirlygig of spiritual bypassing, via 3 main issues I see a lot. (and have been sucked into myself!)
Denial of your fundamental needs in search of transcending attachment.
There is a misunderstanding of non-attachment that is pervasive in spiritual bypassing. It's the idea that non-attachment means to have no attachment to ANYTHING and to be a good spiritual person means not needing anything or anyone. As human beings, we need healthy attachments to the means of survival and to thrive. A home, food, relationships, connection. The theory of non-attachment is to understand the place of these things and not place unbalanced attachment on them which leads to suffering more.
How does this show up?
Being a bystander in your own life
Not making decisions
Denying that an experience is painful
Denying you are affected by connections breaking down
Avoiding difficult situations
Going with the flow to your detriment
Shaming others for being too attached