Spiritual Bypassing & How Open Compassion Can Close Down Healing

Two great articles.

This is why I do not trust any spiritual “leaders” who disparage psychotherapy, deny the psychological and introspective value of spiritual paths, and throw around like confetti,”you’re mentally ill” or “you need to get help” as insults:

“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.[…]

Any spiritual path, Eastern or Western, that does not deal in real depth with psychological issues, and deal with these in more than just spiritual contexts, is setting itself up for an abundance of spiritual bypassing. If there is not sufficient encouragement and support from spiritual teachers and teachings for practitioners to engage in significant depth in psychoemotional work, and if those students who really need such work don’t then do it, they’ll be left trying to work out their psychoemotional issues, traumatic and otherwise, only through the spiritual practices they have been given, as if doing so is somehow superior to — or a “higher” activity than — engaging in quality psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is often viewed as an inferior undertaking relative to spiritual practice, perhaps even something we shouldn’t have to do. When our spiritual bypassing is more subtle, the idea of psychotherapy may be considered more acceptable, but we will still shy away from a full-blooded investigation of our core wounds.”

Spiritual Bypassing

This makes a lot of sense to me because in my experiences among Thelemites, the implied consensus is that women should be compassionate and consoling towards men no matter what they do – because apparently they need them in order to progress – and that it’s okay to blame victims for whatever happens to them:

“The open compassion perspective postulates that either by making bad choices in this lifetime, or through some pre-determined metaphysical contract we signed back in another life (if you believe in that sort of thing), or by gambling in the karmic casinos of Loss Vegas (again, if you believe in that sort of thing), that we need to take the onus for our abuse; a spiritual adaptation of ‘blame the victim.’ We all asked for whatever comes our way, right? (Wrong!)

There is a more compassionate form of compassion however; a more integrative, grounded perspective – one that doesn’t undermine compassion but actually broadens its definition, and more importantly, its implications. The perspective is that sometimes there is nothing more compassionate than calling out injustice in a way that holds the perpetrator accountable and keeps them from propagating suffering. Because in doing so, you liberate not only the victims (many of them voiceless), but also the perpetrators from further victimizing themselves and other would-be victims. It’s a win, win, win – times infinity.”

‘Open Compassion’ Can Close Down Healing: Reframing Compassion to Include Accountability


About Cammy

Self-employed freelance writer
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3 Responses to Spiritual Bypassing & How Open Compassion Can Close Down Healing

  1. I think compassion is useful in any situation; but it has limits. One has to know when compassion becomes enabling. And yes, I distrust ANY so called spiritual leader/priest who speaks ill of psychology. There has been a recent trend in some areas of paganism to talk about “those damned Jungians” and such that completely boggles my mind — I guess they don’t want the ‘ook’ taken out of their ‘spookiness.’

    • Heretic says:

      Thanks! Yeah, the more I talk to other women in the neopagan and occult communities, the more I realize we know this harmful propaganda is out there and how many other people choose to listen to that instead.

      • What continues to just floor me is how one “follower” will blast me for “believing those Jungian nutjobs” while the spiritual “guru” they adore will give advice about “owing issues before they own you1” — PURE Jung! Those “Shadows”…. who knows them, eh?

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