A Conversation on Bypassing

A Conversation on Bypassing

The Association for Spiritual Integrity (ASI) is holding a series of peer-to-peer discussions. In this conversation, Craig Holliday, a spiritual teacher and therapist, and I discuss how spiritual practices and concepts can be used to escape from the world or our unresolved trauma.

Neither of us was happy with the quality of the recorded video so we may have a second conversation.

I wrote about the ASI when they launched last fall. Other peer-to-peer discussions can be found on the ASI blog.

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    1. Thanks, Jana. I wouldn’t say I’m “back” yet. Was going to be doing a similar thing today with a different group but its been put forward 2 weeks. A few bits like that. But the process is still underway and writing has not come back online. In fact, I’m finding any required writing is a lot more work. 🙂

  1. Deborah

    This is spooky as I was just talking about spiritual bypassing with a friend. I look forward to being enlightened.. you are the third person to mention this….it must be my next learning.

    1. Hi Deborah
      It’s part of the zeitgeist now. But it can be very subtle, distorting spiritual practices and the way we are in our life. We may find layers of avoidance.
      I will note that you will never become enlightened. (laughs) Awakening is post-personal, waking up from being a person and realizing our deeper nature. Semantics perhaps, but theres a big difference. 🙂

      1. Deborah

        Too funny….I used the word ‘enlightened’, with someone who is awake! I was using it in a more mundane manner….’looking forward to listening and learning kind of way. ‘! I no longer strive for the other….

        Rather , I seem to be just simply being…..

  2. Rob McCue

    Thank you for sharing such a sincere conversation and exploration on this. I’m particularly grateful for the attention given to the role of the shadow, personal global, ancestral and look forward to future conversations.

    1. Thanks, Rob. Interesting article. Our unresolved baggage is a load like that but it’s not really behind us but inside us. As it’s being repressed, it’s also in shadow so it’s not seen. But then it leaks out into our life in other ways.
      We do need to adapt to our family and culture norms, at least to some degree. The issue is more in how we do that energetically. Too often the energetic modeling we feel in those around us teaches us to repress, hence what he describes. It’s valuable to learn new ways of being so that can be healed and we stop adding to the load.

  3. Aliyah McCarroll

    Nice to see your blog in my email this morning I listened to the conversation between Craig and yourself. Bypassing is a hot topic these days. Seems more and more spiritual teachers are advocating we do the inner work. Craig, as an awakened therapist with a huge heart, is a fantastic resource. I had a private session with him that was most beneficial. His Wednesday meditations are powerful. Much love, dear man. Aliyah

    1. Hi Neighbour

      It’s something many eastern spiritual teachers never quite figured out. They didn’t have those kinds of repression in the east. But western teachers are figuring it out and gradually, more and more are learning about it.
      Yes, Craig is an amazing guy, so open and honest.

    1. Thanks Amaryllis.
      Yes, that’s why they formed the ASI – to offer education and ethical guidelines. As a spiritual therapist, Craig sees a lot of the fallout from bypassing and unhealed baggage. Rick Archer has had to take down some interviews for similar. I’ve seen some of that myself, socially and through the blog.
      It takes time to mature into an opening and education and support to be a good teacher.

  4. Robert

    Thanks for this, David. It addresses many of my curiosities about spiritual teaching and the need for discernment on how our “stuff”, or the teacher’s “stuff”, intrudes on the “Light”.

    1. You’re welcome, Robert. It can create a lot of messiness. Because it’s usually a blind spot, we may be oblivious to it. Then it becomes critical we have the humility to accept feedback and heal.
      Otherwise, we can entrench and create suffering around us.
      For some, it may be more obvious in personal relationships. We may blame others but if the same patterns are repeating, it points to ourselves as the common denominator.

      1. Robert

        Personal relationships bringing up shadow issues has been the experience here. Recognizing the pattern and figuring out how to “fix” the pattern can be two different things, though. (laughs)

        1. Agreed Robert, and one of the reasons we fall back into old habits even when something does arise.
          It’s much easier when we learn the basics, although some dynamics are very well hidden. The key is the feeling value. When we notice a trigger, it’s good to look to what the feeling value is and follow it back.
          Anger for example may resolve back into fear, and that into a contraction somewhere. Simple attention on the contraction can allow it to resolve.
          This isn’t a mental process of figuring it out, something most of us fall into when there’s a problem.
          The Healing section of Key Posts highlights articles that explore the topic in various ways.

  5. JD

    Thank you David. This is such a timely and important topic. It’s interesting that the teachers in the East didn’t have this problem in their culture. I am happy that teachers are incorporating spiritual bypassing in their teachings. Eckhart Tolle called it the “pain body” are you familiar with that term and have you found this method useful?
    This is also important for teachers. If they don’t address their own shadow they can pass it of their students in dangerous ways.

    1. Hi JD
      Thanks. In the East, the majority of teachers are in a lineage and have supervision of some kind. Broadly, the culture allows emotional expression too. But they have their own issues, like an even greater emphasis on renunciation.
      To be clear for all readers, Tolle’s pain body is the collection of repressions we’re trying to ignore. Bypassing is ways we adopt to do the ignoring.
      I use similar techniques described on this blog that culture energy and emotional awareness. This helps the repression become conscious so it can then be seen and complete. Most repression is simply experiences that have not been fully processed yet. Seeing it allows it to complete.
      I wouldn’t say teachers “pass on” shadows to students but they can model bad energy hygiene, engage in fear and shame, throw people off the path, and create other kinds of messes if they’re not conscious of their junk. This is the main topic of conversation in the second discussion with Craig.

    1. Sure. Here’s one article where I talk about my process and a more formal one. You can explore the Healing section of Key Posts or search Healing for much more.
      Note that when I say “see” it’s because I’m visual. This is more a feeling process as it’s about emotional repression and allowing those old emotions to complete. This is not about better concepts. The mind cannot help with this.

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