IV) The Psychonaut Bypass
Many spiritual seekers explore the frontiers of the mind, the soul and reality through the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, DMT, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and other entheogens that expand the mind and perception of existence. While this is a fascinating way of exploring reality, entheogens, like any other drug, can sometimes be used as a way of escaping reality and avoiding committing to personal development and soulful refinement.
V) The Horoscope Bypass
When we frequently look outside of ourselves for help and guidance, as is with the case with Horoscopes and Psychics, we are failing to tap into our inner wellsprings of wisdom and strength and are allowing external predictions to control the outcome of our lives. The Horoscope Bypass is derived from fear and mistrust of ourselves, our inability to make decisions, and our inability to deal with anything tough that comes our way.
VI) The Saint Bypass
Since we were little we were taught that spiritual people were kind, compassionate and saintly. We continued to repeat this story to ourselves when we ripened into adulthood, and for some of us, it turned into our biggest nightmare. The Saint Bypass is a reflection of extreme “black or white” thinking, promoting the underlying belief that spiritual people can’t have dark sides because that would make them “unspiritual”. This type of bypassing is essentially an avoidance of one’s own Shadow Self by overcompensating with the guise of a sweet, heavenly, exterior. Self-sacrifice is a major symptom of this type of bypassing.
VII) The Spirit Guide Bypass
“I have an angel called Raphael who protects me.” In some spiritual traditions, it is a God who protects, in others an angel, an animal or an ascended being. No matter who the Spirit Guide is, the belief that they are there to “protect” us is pleasing to the mind but harmful to the soul. When we place our faith in another being’s power to ward off danger and keep us safe, we are committing a classic spiritual bypass: that being avoiding responsibility for ourselves and our lives, and sidestepping the tough development of courage and resilience. We are not children, but when we think of ourselves as being so we mold our lives in such a way that we fail to develop the strength of spiritual character. Spirit guides serve to teach us rather than to babysit us.
VIII) The Praying Bypass
Similar to the Spirit Guide Bypass, the Praying Bypass circumvents personal responsibility by putting faith in a higher being to solve all of our problems and issues. While praying can be a healthy practice, it can easily become limiting and destructive.
IX) The Guru Bypass
Often it is beneficial to latch onto a particular guru, shaman or spiritual teacher to learn and grow from, however, too much attachment can serve as another form of spiritual bypassing. While not everyone has the ability to independently follow the path of spirituality, when we begin to worship another living being, we fall in love with the rose-colored illusory image we have of the teacher rather than the essence of their teachings. Not thinking or discovering truth for ourselves by treating the words of a guru or master as scripture subtracts from our growth and our own mastery on our personal spiritual journeys.
X) The Finger-Pointing Bypass
On our spiritual quests, we begin to see through the lies, delusions and crazy behaviors committed by our fellow human beings and this can make us angry, downhearted and greatly frustrated. However, when we get caught up in “everything that is wrong” with the outside world and other people, dedicating our lives to the self-righteous quest of finger-pointing, this can be another form of spiritual bypassing. Finger-pointing instills us with a false sense of righteousness, taking away our responsibility of looking inside and working on ourselves. At its roots, the Finger-Pointing bypass is sourced from fear and avoidance and is a powerful form of procrastination.
Certainly, there are many other forms of spiritual bypassing, but here I present the most common ones that are easily observable in everyday life.
How to Stop Spiritual Bypassing
Without deep and honest self-acceptance, the spiritual life rests on a dangerous psychological foundation and is nothing more than escape into a world of illusion. Humble self-knowledge is the most basic condition for any true spirituality. – John Monbourquette
The spiritual bypass is slippery, conniving, and is often disguised in robes of light. It can take a lot of ruthless self-honesty to see through the lies we’ve been conditioned to believe or have told ourselves.
With that being said, here are some methods you might like to use:
1. Cultivate an open-minded attitude
Before uncovering any forms of spiritual bypassing that have wheedled their way into your life, you need to be open. You need to be willing to be wrong, misguided, or totally off the mark. Without that willingness, you’re fooling yourself. There’s no point in even trying to call yourself out because you’re shooting yourself in the feet before you even begin.
So cultivate an open-minded and willing attitude. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be imperfect (we all are!). Most spiritual seekers – in fact, I’d dare say ALL seekers – go wrong at some point. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Embrace your flawed humanity and take a step toward greater expansion.