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#4167 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - Editor: Gloria Lee

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  • Gloria Lee
    #4167 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - Editor: Gloria Lee The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights If you must begin, then go all
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      #4167 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - Editor: Gloria Lee
      The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
       
       

      "If you must begin, then go all the way,
      because if you begin and quit,
      the unfinished business you have
      left behind begins to haunt
      you all the time."
       
      ~Trungpa Rinpoche 
       
      posted to Daily Dharma by Amrita Nadi
       

       
       
      by Alan Larus
       
       

       
      The following is excerpted from Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality
      Disconnects Us from What Really Matters, by Robert Augustus Masters,
      available from North Atlantic Books.
       
      Avoidance in Holy Drag: An Introduction to Spiritual Bypassing
       
      Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in
      1984, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our
      painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. It is much more
      common than we might think and, in fact, is so pervasive as to go largely
      unnoticed, except in its more obvious extremes.
       
      Part of the reason for this is that we tend not to have very much tolerance,
      either personally or collectively, for facing, entering, and working through our
      pain, strongly preferring pain-numbing "solutions," regardless of how much
      suffering such "remedies" may catalyze. Because this preference has so deeply
      and thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it has become all but normalized,
      spiritual bypassing fits almost seamlessly into our collective habit of turning
      away from what is painful, as a kind of higher analgesic with seemingly minimal
      side effects. It is a spiritualized strategy not only for avoiding pain but also
      for legitimizing such avoidance, in ways ranging from the blatantly obvious to
      the extremely subtle.
       
      Spiritual bypassing is a very persistent shadow of spirituality, manifesting in
      many forms, often without being acknowledged as such. Aspects of spiritual
      bypassing include exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression,
      overemphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, blind or overly tolerant compassion,
      weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development (cognitive intelligence
      often being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence), debilitating
      judgment about one's negativity or shadow side, devaluation of the personal
      relative to the spiritual, and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of
      being.
       
      The explosion of interest in spirituality since the mid-1960s, especially
      Eastern spirituality, has been accompanied by a corresponding interest and
      immersion in spiritual bypassing -- which has, however, not very often been
      named, let alone viewed, as such. It has been easier to frame spiritual
      bypassing as a religion -- transcending, spiritually advanced practice or
      perspective, especially in the fast-food spirituality epitomized by faddish
      phenomena like The Secret. Some of the more glaringly facile features, such as
      drive-through servings of reheated wisdom like "Don't take it personally" or
      "Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you" or "It's all
      just an illusion," are available for consumption and parroting by just about
      anyone.
      Happily, the honeymoon with false or superficial notions of spirituality is
      starting to wane. Enough bubbles have been burst; enough spiritual teachers,
      Eastern and Western, have been caught with pants or halo down; enough cults
      have come and gone; enough time has been spent with spiritual baubles,
      credentials, energy transmissions, and gurucentrism to sense deeper treasures.
      But valuable as the desire for a more authentic spirituality is, such change will
      not occur on any significant scale and really take root until spiritual bypassing
      is outgrown, and that is not as easy as it might sound, for it asks that we cease
      turning away from our pain, numbing ourselves, and expecting spirituality to
      make us feel better.
       
      True spirituality is not a high, not a rush, not an altered state. It has been fine
      to romance it for a while, but our times call for something far more real,
      grounded, and responsible; something radically alive and naturally integral;
      something that shakes us to our very core until we stop treating spiritual
      deepening as something to dabble in here and there. Authentic spirituality is
      not some little flicker or buzz of knowingness, not a psychedelic blast-through
      or a mellow hanging-out on some exalted plane of consciousness, not a bubble of
      immunity, but a vast fire of liberation, an exquisitely fitting crucible and
      sanctuary, providing both heat and light for the healing and awakening we need.
       
      Most of the time when we're immersed in spiritual bypassing, we like the light
      but not the heat. And when we're caught up in the grosser forms of spiritual
      bypassing, we'd usually much rather theorize about the frontiers of
      consciousness than actually go there, suppressing the fire rather than breathing
      it even more alive, espousing the ideal of unconditional love but not permitting
      love to show up in its more challenging, personal dimensions. To do so would be
      too hot, too scary, and too out-of-control, bringing things to the surface that
      we have long disowned or suppressed.
       
      But if we really want the light, we cannot afford to flee the heat. As Victor
      Frankl said, "What gives light must endure burning." And being with the fire's
      heat doesn't just mean sitting with the difficult stuff in meditation, but also
      going into it, trekking to its core, facing and entering and getting intimate with
      whatever is there, however scary or traumatic or sad or raw.
       
      We have had quite an affair with Eastern spiritual pathways, but now it is time
      to go deeper. We must do this not only to get more intimate with the essence of
      these wisdom traditions beyond ritual and belief and dogma but also to make
      room for the healthy evolution, not just the necessary Westernization, of these
      traditions so that their presentation ceases encouraging spiritual bypassing
      (however indirectly) and, in fact, consciously and actively ceases giving it soil
      to flower. These changes won't happen to any significant degree, however,
      unless we work in-depth and integratively with our physical, emotional,
      psychological, spiritual, and social dimensions to generate an everdeeper sense
      of wholeness, vitality, and basic sanity.
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