The eminent psychotherapist John Welwood coined the phrase “spiritual bypassing” to describe a common behavior he witnessed in Buddhist communities, a kind of “premature transcendence: trying to rise above the raw and messy side of our humanness before we have fully faced and made peace with it.”
Spiritual bypassing is a byproduct of trying to separate the spiritual from the human experience. Elevating the “spiritual” above the “human” can hinder our path toward both personal awakening and unity with others.
In this October service at Channing Memorial Church (Unitarian Universalist), I unpack the term and explore some ways that compassionate presence in the face of uncomfortable feelings and situations can help us avoid spiritual bypassing in ourselves and in community.
The service begins at 1 minute 45 seconds.
My homily begins at 12 minutes.