Spiritual Bypass

by Winter on January 14, 2018

When I was nine years old, plus or minus a year or so, I read Edgar Cayce’s book, There is a River. I was so taken with it I began to tell everyone that I was psychic. That lasted until I fell in love with Nancy Drew and began to announce that I was going to be a detective when I grew up.

One of my on-going fears as an only child was that my Daddy would die and leave me. This was an uncomfortable feeling and did not sit well with me (being the psychic that I said I was.) Some things I simply did not want to know, even if they were potentially true.

At sixteen, my 56 year old father died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.

For the three days surrounding my father’s death his Spirit was with me, planning his funeral and telling me things⏤specific things I needed to know. The night after his funeral he said goodbye, telling me that he had to go on, he had things to do.

(I know what you are thinking, the same thing I often think. Why didn’t I ask him where he was going? Why did he have to leave? How could he leave a 16 year old daughter and her 49 year old mother? Because I didn’t think of questions  like that.)

Shortly thereafter, I returned to my life at school.  Away from home. Away from reminders that my Daddy was no longer there.

Emotionally numb, for six months I never shed a tear. One day, I started crying and I could not stop.  The pain, the ache was too great. How could I have known my Daddy would leave me and there was nothing I could do about it?  I wasn’t even with him when he died.

It was twenty years before I realized that his death had blown open a portal to other dimensions. I remembered that I had a grandmother who just “knew” things⏤who saw fairies dancing in the rain and angels hanging over the graveyard. A grandmother who conversed frequently with the “long dead” and (or so it was rumored) never, ever set foot in a church.

The next time this portal opened I was so excited I became lost in the magical New Age movement of the 80’s. It felt good. I knew there was more, I had been there and experienced the “something more.” Even so, every now and then I would slip and feel the pain of my fathers death. Part of me wondered, since I had experienced his Spirit, why I was sad that he was no longer with me in physical form?

Almost daily, I questioned the idea that if everything is “illusion,” why can’t we just imagine a new way of being and fix problems we see in the world? Why can’t we think, as Einstein suggested,  in a way different from the thinking that caused the problems? If we are “one with everything” why are we so mean to each other?

That question is connected to another question Michael frequently asks, “How can we, as humans, not feel the destruction we are causing to the planet and to ourselves? How can we not feel, or sense, our behavior is killing the bees, polluting the rivers and our oceans, destroying the soil: the very things we need for survival?”

Why won’t, or can’t we wake up? Could it be that culturally we are using our spirituality, our spiritual-bypass systems to avoid Truth, the very thing we are seeking? Has our Ego hi-jacked the true essence of what we are (living, breathing, feeling, emotional human beings) by suggesting that if we are on our spiritual path everything is just as it should be? Don’t worry about climate change, Fukushima, politicians (to put it mildly), Monsanto or the bees.

Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretence. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true. (Adyshanti)

The term spiritual bypassing fits perfectly with our culture which normalizes the need to always be happy, to feel good, to turn away from what is painful. This is who we are.  If we are depressed we find something to deaden our senses: a pill, a drink, some type of entertainment. All that bad stuff is happening somewhere else, not to us. And we are leading ourselves down the path to extinction.

Several years ago I was flying between Boston and Dayton, Ohio. The plane was full, except for two empty, middle seats, one next to me. At the last minute, two very well-dressed gentlemen boarded the plane and asked if anyone would be willing to exchange their seat so they might sit together. My thought was not “I will,” but, “I wonder which one will sit by me?”

During the flight the gentleman who took the seat next to me looked over at what I was reading and said, “That is a very interesting book.” (Really? You have read Clan of the Cave Bear? )

He proceeded to tell me that he was a banker and that a few years ago he realized that he wasn’t feeling anything. Someone could tell him a horrific story and he had no emotions. Wanting to change this, he decided to start literally feeling what he touched. He ended by saying, “Now I feel life, I feel the emotions of anyone I meet.”

In Spiritual Bypassing, Robert Masters reminds us that in our efforts to bypass our earthly challenges, we have disconnected from Mother Earth, the Ground of our very being. It doesn’t appeal to the part of us that wants the path to be easy, but it certainly speaks loudly to the part that longs for Truth.

An astrologer once told me I was searching for Truth with a capitol T. Until recently, I didn’t realize my search for Truth began with the ground under my feet.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Schickel January 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Beautifully written. Death is such a glorious release for those who are leaving and awful for us survivors. This brought up many memories for me. Brilliant! Well done.


Winter January 14, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Thank you, Richard. Your post is timely because I struggled with writing this post.


Elizabeth January 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Hi Winter, what a nice note you write. I , too, lost my father early, although not quite as young as you. I was 21, but still immature. I did not cry either. About 10 yrs later I grieved. I am still grieving 43 yrs later. My Dad was a great man & now, as an adult, I see him with so much more insight. Thank you for sharing this , including your thoughts about enlightenment


Winter January 15, 2018 at 5:53 pm

Thank you, Elizabeth. I lost my mother when I was 21 and, you are right, 21 is young. i always appreciate hearing from readers.


Emilie January 19, 2018 at 7:49 pm

Winter, as a hospice nurse who walked through the last days with families and patients as young as 18 and as old as 103, and after my own father died, I wonder if others have had the sense that the loss happened in advance of the death?

My father’s body died in 2013, and my sense was that his will to live vibrantly died when his last family-of-origin member died in 2005. He kind of limped through life after that, though he had his faculties and complete mobility until near the end. This was SO much more than depression; it was as if he had one foot continually elsewhere after his last sister died–at least so far as I witnessed. His last two years were about keeping him comfortable.

I raise this question if others have had that experience out of curiosity (and endless curiosity about what it all means), but also for a second reason. Twice in my hospice work, I entered a patient’s room and had zero sense of presence of a being there; startlingly so; this lack of sense matched when patients died (very often some hours or minutes before their bodies stopped). Both of those patients were physically very much alive; both turned out to be schizophrenic. And I understand that some cultures believe schizophrenics to be spiritually powerful instead of our cultures diminishment into (unsuccessfully) controlling mental illness. Do you suppose they have one foot elsewhere and one foot here? (I looked up their medication history and neither impressed me as deadening.)

Lastly, as for your comment on discovering how essential grounding to the earth and senses actually is, you reminded me of Nancy Wood, the Taos Native American poet from ~ 1980s. She wrote: Emergence

Before we came out of the lake,
we did not know illness.
Before we came out of the lake,
we did not know death.
Before we came out of the lake,
we did not know evil.
We needed our emergence to accept them.

and this one: Ten Million Stars

Inside each raindrop swims the sun.
Inside each flower breathes the moon.
Inside me dwell ten million stars,
One for each of my ancestors:
The elk, the raven, the mouse, the man,
The flower, the coyote, the lion, the fish.
Ten million different stars am I,
But only one spirit, connecting all.

So of course the Earth is common ground. The other side of the veil is here. (And probably a “there,” too.) If you want, google “Of Mountains and Women.”

As always, I loved your message. Thanks for sharing it on this sunny, frosty day. I adore your honesty of the set-up for the synchronicity of the fellow seatmate on a plane: awareness -toward-enlightenment seems to dawn on individuals at many varied times in life; such a relief to spend time with people who are awake to integrated experience of life. …Personally, I continue to work on this and as you point out, still tend toward the misnomer of thinking when life for me eases up that THEN I am finally succeeding, rather than fully embracing pain that preceded as a learning tool. An old world Italian shrug: can we know something before we learn it?! Peace!


Winter January 19, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Thank you, Emilie. Well put and very heart-felt. Like you, I have often wondered when I didn’t feel the presence of someone…why not? My father-in-law is in long term care and frequently I will sense him here, and then??? Where? Why, at times, is he so present and other times not present?
And thank you for the poems…they are perfect.



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