Spiritual Bypassing and the Living Inquiries

Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Blog | 2 comments

Spiritual Bypassing and the Living Inquiries

Truth. Awareness. Consciousness. I AM. Oneness. Life Happening As It Is. Be Here Now. We all know the phrases. We’ve all used them, as though we actually understood what they meant, while underneath it all there was either a subtle or overt longing to actually experience what we pretended to understand. In desperation to feel better, we avoid actually being here, present to our thoughts that tell us we’re not good enough, a failure, will never measure up. Present to what we feel – the sadness, the grief, the longing, the anger, the fear, the judgment of ourselves and others. Present to trying to control, fix, change what we’re actually thinking and feeling and experiencing. Because it’s not spiritual – we shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts, we shouldn’t be feeling these feelings. If I were spiritual, or awake, I wouldn’t be sick, I wouldn’t worry, I wouldn’t be afraid, I wouldn’t have to feel this awful feeling that there’s something wrong with me. I would be happy, and peaceful, and be able to just witness everything as it comes up, and be completely unaffected by it. Or better yet, these wouldn’t even happen at all.

That’s what thought says.

But what if truth, awareness, consciousness, I am, oneness, life happening as it is, just here now…. What if these are all concepts, another place to land, and we want to hang out there because they make us feel better? What if these are just an idea too? What if we reach for those concepts to avoid being with and facing our moment to moment pain, as though we could, or should transcend feeling? What if we’re so conditioned to avoid feeling, that we’re not even aware we’re doing it? And what if we don’t settle for this, but instead keep looking? In the Living Inquiries, we invite you to look for these concepts, and to rest in your body, feeling everything that’s happening, as it’s happening.

Ask yourself this question – what would I have to feel in this moment if I couldn’t avoid or resist it? Now sit in that and feel the sensation of it in your body. And feel it some more. Notice the thoughts trying to pull you out of feeling. Let them be, and come back to feeling this in your body. Stay with it past the point where it’s so uncomfortable that you think you can’t take it anymore, and then feel it more.

Time and again, in Living Inquiries sessions, as someone is feeling some type of physical or emotional pain in their body, there is a fear and a resistance of actually feeling it, as though we will be lost in the pain forever, it will completely overtake us and we will never be able to get out of it. They might even leap to spiritual concepts – it’s all happening in awareness, or it’s perfect just as it is – to avoid directly feeling it. But what if the way out of pain, is into it? There usually comes a point in the session where they surrender INTO the pain, willing to feel it even if they think it will be unbearable. It’s often at this point that they start to laugh. They’re surprised that by allowing it, by feeling it fully, without following or believing all the mind chatter about what it might mean, or what might happen if we feel it, or jumping to spiritual concepts, the pain relaxes. Or maybe it’s just the story about it that relaxes. They might even say, there is only love here, and this time it’s their actual experience. Identification ceases. The self we’re looking for can’t be found.

If you find yourself even subtly avoiding feeling anything in your experience by saying things like, ‘it’s perfect as it is’, ‘it’s just happening’, ‘there’s no problem with it’, ‘it’s just here and I don’t need to do anything with it’, ‘it’s life living itself’, the invitation is always to drop into the feeling and let it be. Feel it fully – surrender to it. When we stop reaching for concepts and start being with and facing our moment to moment experience, it’s the difference between trying to hold onto a particular state (peace, love, bliss), and the natural peace, or Natural Rest (term stolen from Scott Kiloby’s new addiction recovery book) that comes from not identifying with any state.

This was inspired by two recent articles on spiritual bypassing: When We’re Spiritually Lulled and Dulled (And Don’t Even Know It), by Scott Kiloby and, Spiritual Bypassing, Avoidance in Holy Drag, by Robert Masters

Try this short, 13 minute guided body awareness meditation to help you relax into and feel body energies.

For information on Scott Kiloby and the Living Inquiries, visit www.kiloby.com

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  • Rick T

    I think it’s useful in this community to explore Spiritual Bypassing WITH the Living Inquiries. (As is more than a little obvious from this old moniker, I am an old time seeking junkie. Still am…)

    • julianne1000

      Yes, great point. All the ways we bypass can be looked at with the inquiries, as well as “spiritual bypassing” itself.