SPIRITUAL BYPASS

Definition of Spiritual bypass:
A mystical go past or round.

Synonyms of Spiritual bypass:

A mystical detour, diversion, circuitous way, etc

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.

Love in fellowship.

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John Welwood originated the term spiritual bypassing, defining it as ‘using spiritual
ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ or to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, developmental tasks, all in the name of enlightenment.’

Literal interpretations of literature, spiritual practices or principles, or another’s conception of recovery can lead to spiritual bypass. The ultimate truth is when someone investigates what truth means to himself that real meaning is cultivated.

The goal is to enable more consciousness about what you are doing and why you are doing it –Recovering Spirituality/Ingrid Mathieu Ph.D. p.125 | More…

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On the subject of conversion, or a spiritual awakening, Bill Wilson wondered if he was experiencing some sort of brain damage, but his physician Dr William Silkworth assured him his experience was not a delirium. William James wrote in ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience’, which Bill read cover to cover and enabled him to see three commonalities in experience written about by James; first a calamity and desperation, then an experience of true defeat, and finally an appeal to a Higher Power. Carl Jung wrote to Bill Wilson; Modern man has such hopelessly muddled ideas about anything mystical, or else a rationalistic fear of it, that, if ever a mystical experience should befall him, he is sure to misunderstand it’s true character and will deny or repress its numinosity…..

These experiences are overwhelming, and admission that goes not only against our pride, but against our deep-rooted fear that consciousness may perhaps lose its ascendancy. Humans don’t easily give up the feeling of control. For all the ways we fall short and live in an illusion of our own making, our way of being in the world is the only thing we know. Progress not perfection is an AA guideline. Alcoholism often masks underlying psychological issues.

The evolution that is recovery, reminds us the human condition includes the necessary experience of pain. In the long run everything evolves for the better, not because of pleasure, but because of pain. Father Dowling told Bill there would never, never, be true relief. He told Bill that ‘divine dissatisfaction’ would be the only thing that propelled him forward and that, as he continued to aim for unrealized goals, he would discover what God actually had in store for him. Father Dowling referred to this perpetual striving as a divine thirst. For all his shortcomings, Bill did not transcend the human condition, but he did stay sober. –Recovering Spirituality | More…

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