For a Focus On Spiritual Purity
Ten Ways to Win the Battle for Purity
May 29, 2018
Flashy billboards, provocative dress and apparel, Hollywood fashions spread far and wide, suggestive innuendos, off-colored jokes, indecent movies, and the ever-present danger of the internet to visit the numerous and poisonous websites — all of these and a plethora of other temptations can trap even the best of us into falling into the sin against the virtue of purity.
In a certain sense, the world can be depicted as a moral land-mine, where at every turn and corner in the road there is an immoral spiritual bomb that can be stepped on and explode! Let us be honest and to the point — we live in a society of dangerous and often pernicious images. We live in a pornographic society!
Almost 100 years ago Our Lady appeared in Fatima to three innocent Shepherd children —Blessed Jacinta, Blessed Francisco, and their cousin Lucia de los Santos. Our Lady appeared to the children six times — from May 13th up to October 13th on which the great miracle of the sun occurred witnessed by close to 80,000 people.
One of the subsequent messages of Our Lady to the world at large referred to the salvation as well as perdition of humanity. Our Lady stated in the year 1917 that most souls were lost to the fires of hell principally due to the sins against the sixth and ninth commandments — that is to say the sins of impurity.
This being the present danger we would to offer a spiritual strategy that we can use; a plan applicable for parents, teens, and even children so that we can avoid the ever-present danger of the attacks against purity, and if we have fallen, to gently and confidently return to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, with all our hearts.
1. Weapons of Prayer
We are weak, very weak! Jesus reminded the Apostles as well as the whole world in the Garden of Gethsemane with these precise words: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Pray that you will not enter in the test.”(Mt 26:40-41) Instead of praying, the Apostles fell asleep and thereby failed the Lord.
The principal reason for falling into any sin, but especially that of impurity, is either lack of prayer or a very weak and anemic prayer.
The Israelites were able to defeat their enemies only after Moses perched on the top of the hill, overlooking the battle field, lifted his arms to heaven.(Exodus 17:8-13) To conquer the imperious demands of the flesh and the constant insinuations of the world and the temptations of the devil, we must ( Moses) lift up our arms constantly in prayer.
Jesus invites us with these words: “Ask and you will receive… “(Mt. 7:7). Let us beg the Lord for the gift and virtue of purity.
2. Don’t play with fire
A key reason why many fall into sins of impurity is a failure to avoid the near occasion of sin. Proverbs are not lacking: “He who plays with fire will get burnt”… and “He who walks on thin ice will fall in” … once again… “He who walks on a slippery slope will fall.”
We have to use common sense and prudence. A simple example: a boyfriend and girlfriend, after having a nice meal together, the boy-friend invites his girlfriend to his condo to pray the Rosary together. Mind you, they will both forget their Rosaries and fall prey to the temptations of the devil and demands of the flesh!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that modesty is the guardian of the virtue purity. (CCC # 2521-2524) All must practice modesty.
Through Baptism our bodies become temples of the Holy Spirit, still more, temples of the Blessed Trinity and after Holy Communion living Tabernacles of the Blessed Sacrament.
Women should never be a provocation or occasion of sin to men. And men are not to be excused by a wandering eye.
Contemplate any noble statue or painting of Our Lady—Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima—and you will be struck by heavenly beauty, but also the virtue of modesty. May Our Lady be our model and guide especially in the practice of purity.
Jesus stated: “Some devils can be expelled only through prayer and fasting.” On one occasion I was taking a walk and in my path was a big black bird—a Crow. As I drew closer the bird did not take flight.
Always having a strong devotion to St. Francis, I thought that maybe I had a latent special gifts with animals. This was not the case at all.The reason for the lack of flight was the simple reason that the poor bird had a broken wing! The scene brought me to a spiritual reflection.
We are the bird in our spiritual lives. We are called to be eagles to fly high into the lofty heights, but we need two spiritual wings to fly on high—Prayer and Pennance! To conquer the imperious demands of the flesh we must pray, pray and pray, but also learn the art of fasting and live a life of penance. All the saints have taught us this clear lesson!
5. Avoid Laziness
Another huge opening for the devil of impurity is the capital sin of sloth or call it laziness. Once again maxims are at our beck and call: “Idleness (laziness) is the workshop of the devil.”
The great saint and educator and patron of youth, Saint John Bosco experienced a mortal fear when vacations arrived for his young people. He called vacations the harvest ground of the devil. Why? The reason was clear—summer months free and nothing to do! In this state of affairs the devil enters in quickly to tempt in many ways and especially against the virtue of chastity.
One of the primary reasons why so many young people have serious problems with Internet porn and self-abuse is because of excessive free time, boredom and easy access to impure websites. Saint Bonaventure put it succinctly: “When one is working a devil might be there to tempt, but when you have nothing to do a multitude of devils are there to tempt.”
6. Improper Language
In all times and places and circumstances we should control our tongue. Saint James admonishes us: “We should be slow to speak and quick to listen,” (Read St. James 3—the sins of the tongue). But this is especially pertinent with respect to purity.
Never should it happen that issues from our lips dirty words, suggestive language and worse yet coarse, crude and impure jokes.
Later on in his life as an mature priest, Saint John Bosco lamented that he could not expunge or erase from his mind an impure thing that a man had uttered in front of him when he was a mere boy.
It was engraved in the memory back of the young Bosco and still there as an elderly priest.
Jesus warns us that we will be judged on all of the words that issue from our mouths. Never forget that we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus on our tongues; our tongues become the throne of Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let us speak with such nobility!
7. Constant Vigilance—especially of the eyes
Pope Francis in his messages is constantly reminding us that we must keep vigilance over our persons. The Ignatian daily examen is key. This superb practice invites us to rewind the film of our day and see where God has been present and give thanks, but also to see where our hearts have wandered from our loving God. This we can easily apply to the virtue of purity.
In prayer and reflection observe and humbly admit when our eyes, mind affections and heart start to wander from God and start to toy with what is not of God—that of impurity. A noteworthy Biblical passage that can be of enormous advantage to us is the temptation, allurement and fall of the Holy King David.
A holy man, a prayerful man, a gifted man, a man after the very heart of God—this was King David. However, he did not keep strict vigilance over his eyes, mind and heart and this resulted in a cataclysmic fall, a fall that cast him into the depths of lust and dishonesty.Giving in to lust terminated in adultery; then adultery led to murder and murder to the suppression of the conscience.
May the story of David be a warning to us! Jesus warns us: “Stay awake and pray; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
8. Confession & Renewed Hope
Human weakness does prevail over us and we can all fall. Worst of all, above and beyond the fall into any sin, is that of despair.
The gravest fault of Judas was not his betrayal of Jesus, but his despair and failing to trust in the infinite mercy of Jesus. This being the case, we should never despair due to our human inclinations prone to sin and our sin itself. On the contrary.
Saint Paul offers us these encouraging words: “Where weakness abounds the grace of God abounds all the more.”
The great Saint Augustine, who lived a life of slavery to lust and impurity into his early thirties, preaches the doctrine of “O happy fault”. God can allow an evil to bring even greater good it.
Therefore, if we have the misfortune of falling into a sin against purity then we should have a boundless trust in God and have immediate recourse to the Sacrament of His mercy, the Sacrament of Confession.
And let us relish words of the prophet Isaiah: “Though your sins be scarlet they will become as white as snow.”(Is. 1:18)
A good confession can transform our souls into the beauty of freshly fallen white snow on the virgin ground!
9. Frequent Holy Communion
Of the greatest importance in safeguarding the virtue of chastity is our relation to Jesus in the most Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is really, truly and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, the Son of the living God.
When we receive Jesus in Holy Communion we receive all of the following—His totality! We receive the mind of Jesus, with His memory that purifies our possibly dirty thoughts.
We receive Jesus’ Blood that circulates through our entire body, rushing through our veins and arteries.We receive the most Sacred Heart of Jesus with His most noble of sentiments; even more, we receive the absolute purity of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
If you , every Holy Communion well-received results in receiving a spiritual heart-transplant. As Saint Paul says, “Put on the mind of Christ; then, you have the mind of Christ.
” Then Paul abounds all the more in this most lofty expression: “It is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me.
” Frequent and fervent and a passionate reception of Holy Communion is by far the most efficacious means to live a life of purity—It is Jesus Himself that takes possession of our entire lives and being!
10. Our Lady: Our model and intercessor for all virtues
Of course it would be far from complete our treatise on the virtue of purity if we did not invite Our Lady, the Mother of holy and pure love to be with us, pray for us, and intercede on our behalf. Experience shows in the lives of countless saints that it is through their great love of God and filial trust and love for Mary that they can live holy lives and lives of great purity.
Saint Faustina Kowalska had an encounter with the Lord Jesus. He drew close to the saint and wrapped a golden sash around her waist.
This symbolized a gift that He generously bestowed upon the saint—the gift of perfect chastity. Her flesh would be totally submissive to her mind and spirit and no longer would she experience indecent thoughts.
Jesus would be the center of her life, her all and all. However, there is an additional very important note.
Saint Faustina said that she had been begging Our Lady for this gift for a long time! Therefore, it was through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that Saint Faustina acquired this marvelous gift of perfect chastity. Let us all turn to the most pure and Immaculate Heart of Mary and beg for purity of mind, heart, body, soul and even intention.
Let us beg Mary most Holy for the grace to live out this sublime Beatitude that Jesus taught us: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8) Let us live out purity in this life so as to contemplate the beauty of the Blessed Trinity—with Our Lady, the angels and saints—for all eternity! Amen
Self-development between Purity of Heart & Worldly Conduct
Even though spiritual purification is important seclusion and neglect of worldly responsibilities are not condoned by Islam.
Islam is a way of life that teaches Muslims to focus on bettering themselves by following the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, and the teachings of the final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Prophet Muhammad once said, “Truly I was sent as a Prophet for the purpose of perfecting human character.” (Ahmad) This prophetic tradition defines a very important aspect of Islam: self-improvement through spiritual and physical purity.
An old Arab proverb aptly states: “The one who lacks something cannot give it to others.” This saying establishes the fact that in order for one to spread “good” in terms of his or her character, manners, words or actions, he or she must first strive to possess it. One should not neglect to improve one’s own faults even as they attempt to assist others.
Of course, this does not mean that one has to be perfect in order to be of benefit to others; for instance, some people think that they cannot spread knowledge because they are not scholars. Instead, this adage goes hand in hand with the English saying, “Practice before you preach.” As Prophet Muhammad said, “Who are the learned? Those who practice what they know.”
In Islam, it is of utmost importance for Muslims to seek self-improvement in regards to every aspect of their lives. As a result, one’s good character will impact others and therefore improve society as a whole. This dynamic change all begins at the individual level. In this regard, God says:
Truly God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (Ar-Ra`d 13:11)Before an individual consciously embarks on this journey, he or she must define and cleanse their intention. A pivotal teaching of Islam is derived from the prophetic statement, “All actions are judged by their intentions, and each person will be rewarded according to his or her intention.”
Hence, a desire to genuinely improve oneself, please God, and provide benefit is paramount. On the other hand, having impure intentions such as seeking the admiration of other people or showing off is counterproductive. For these reasons, purifying one’s intentions is critical to the success of one’s pursuit of self-development.
Cleansing of the heart is also a large component of self-improvement because it directly impacts one’s actions. God says in the Qur’an:
God did confer a great favor on the believers when He sent among them an apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the signs of God, sanctifying them, and instructing them in scripture and wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error. (Aal `Imran 3:164)
This verse demonstrates the role of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the importance of self-improvement in Islam.
Prophet Muhammad taught the pagan Arabs of Makkah to believe in the One God and to live righteously; he implored them to renounce idolatry and their impulsive lifestyles.
Over the course of 23 years, his message uplifted the status of women, brought God-consciousness among people, and safeguarded the poor and needy.
In doing so, not only did he help individuals to attain self-improvement, he rehabilitated an entire society: racial discrimination was practically eliminated, tribal warfare was replaced with united ties of brotherhood, usury and alcohol were completely forbidden.
Self-development begins at the individual level and requires a vast amount of discipline.
Along with striving to become more physically pure by maintaining a healthy and clean body, it is equally important for an individual to maintain his or her spiritual health through righteous actions.
Purification of the soul allow an individual to become closer to God and exhibit more positive behavior which will translate into his or her deeds.
In order to purify and enhance oneself, Islam outlines several pragmatic steps:
Core worship, such as prayer, fasting, supplication, etc. Performing these allows Muslims to draw closer to God by increasing the individual’s awareness of God throughout the day.This will, in turn, decrease his or her lihood to commit acts that would displease God, enabling people to raise their moral and ethical standards.
Smiling, being kind, and staying positive when interacting with others. This leads to mercifulness and forgiveness, which are attributes which God loves in human beings.
Prophetic traditions mention that smiling is an act of charity and removing obstacles from the road is a sign of faith; others encourage people to spread good news and exchange gifts as a way of increasing love between people.
Having self-discipline and managing one’s time so that the person is more productive throughout the day:
By (the token of) time (through the ages), verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy. (Al-`Asr 103:1-3)
Lending a helping hand to those in need. Once Prophet Muhammad was asked: “What actions are most excellent?” He answered: “To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.”
Striving to increase one’s knowledge whether it be religious or academic. Working towards becoming an informed and proactive citizen.
According to Prophet Muhammad, “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” (Ibn Majah)
Maintaining good company and friends that will influence the individual in a positive manner.
Prophet Muhammad has stated, “It is better to sit alone than in company with the bad; and it is better still to sit with the good than alone. It is better to speak to a seeker of knowledge than to remain silent; but silence is better than idle words.”Performing sincere repentance for one’s sins and seeking the mercy and forgiveness of God. Feeling guilty for transgressions that one has made, and then making an active effort to learn from one’s mistakes and never repeat them again:
Your Lord has inscribed for Himself (the rule of) mercy: verily, if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented, and amend (his conduct), lo! He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Al-An`am 6:54)
As you may have noticed, many of these steps involve interacting with others. Even though spiritual purification is important, it is critical to note that seclusion and neglect of worldly responsibilities are not condoned by Islam.
Prolonged seclusion for the purpose of spiritual purification is in fact inconsistent with Islamic teachings. A large component of self enhancement involves treating others with compassion and respect, and helping the less fortunate. This is not possible if one leads the life of a recluse.
One of the prophetic traditions encourages people to look at those less privileged when making worldly comparisons with others: “When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those who have been given less.”
This advice is very important because it enables us to be grateful for the blessings we have and be less greedy or miserly. Such an attitude allows one to remain focused on the quest of attaining self-improvement and eternal success in the hereafter rather than the transient materials of this temporary life.
The Virtues of Selfishness!
Self-improvement plays a significant role in the lives of Muslims also due to another key Islamic concept: that every individual will be held accountable for only him/her self in the hereafter. On the Day of Judgment, God will question each soul on its actions, and how it spent time on earth. On that day, each person will solely be concerned about the magnitude of his or her deeds.
The importance of self-development cannot be overemphasized in Islam although it may seem a selfish endeavor on the surface. However, such “selfishness” may actually be considered a virtue rather than a vice. When one is constantly struggling for self-improvement, he or she becomes more willing to help others and disperse the good that he or she has gained to society at large.
As a result, one person’s efforts contribute towards collective development. Such commitment is not possible in the individual who is self-absorbed for the sake of self-gratification. Therefore, “selfishness” for the purpose of self-improvement and the greater good is the first step to selflessness.
Indeed, the essence of all good deeds stems from a pure and tranquil soul.
Practical tips to improve spiritual vibrations at home | SSRF English
Before reading this article, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the following articles:
- What is vastushastra?
- Sattva, Raja and Tama
In our earlier article on premises, we learnt how frequencies are created in empty premises and how physical properties as well as the residents of the premises determine the type of frequencies we experience there.
In this article we further study the remedies that can be applied to reduce distressing frequencies in a premises and increase pleasant ones. Many of us find for example, that we work better in a clean environment than in a dirty one. This is a direct consequence of the spiritual vibrations of a clean environment being more positive than those of a dirty one.
Here we present some practical points as advised by spiritual science and the science of premises (vastushastra) for increasing pleasant frequencies in the home.
2.1 Avoid Tama-predominant activities that attract negative vibrations
Several points to reduce negative vibrations in the home are listed below:
- It is best to avoid experimenting with rituals or games meant to attract ghosts. Please refer to our article on contacting ghosts or departed relatives through a medium or a Ouija board for more information.
- It is spiritually beneficial not to smoke or drink alcohol in the home. Smoking is often instigated by subtle-bodies of departed ancestors, so they can come to the home and spread black energy when one smokes there. In addition, the smoke is Raja-Tama predominant and spreads black energy throughout the home. Alcohol is also Raja-Tama predominant, and drinking it in the home similarly attracts subtle-bodies of departed ancestors and their black energy. In addition, the alcohol itself attracts negative energy that spiritually pollutes the space it is stored in. Hence, it would be advisable not to keep any alcohol in the home. Please see our article on the spiritual purity of various beverages.
- It is best to avoid leaving the television on for prolonged periods of time as this spreads negative energy throughout the home. When the television is off, its screen can be covered with a clean sāttvik cloth since the screen can emit negative vibrations even when the television is off.
- It is helpful to avoid listening to loud music in the premises. Loud music attracts and spreads negative energy throughout the environment. These vibrations can stay in the home for a long time.
- SSRF recommends refraining from the use of curse words or foul language in the home. This type of language attracts and spreads negative energy, and the reason people use it is often negative. Both the thoughts and intention of the person and the words themselves spiritually pollute the environment.
2.2 Imbibe positivity in the home
We can also implement the following points to imbibe more positivity in the home.
- Maintaining cleanliness and tidiness: There is a saying: “Where there is cleanliness, there is God” or “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Cleanliness and tidiness are Divine qualities and we should keep our homes clean because dirt invites Raja–Tama vibrations.
- Keeping doors and windows open: The five Cosmic Principles (Panchatattva) contain Divine consciousness (Chaitanya) and they are active in their tangible form through the earth, water, fire, air, and space we see all around us. Keeping doors and windows open allows the five cosmic principles to do spiritual healing through these elements, so it is best to keep doors and windows open whenever possible.
- Plants around the premises: Just as the plot of land and the premises emit spiritual vibrations, the plants around the premises also emit different spiritual vibrations. Some plants tend to emit more sattvik vibrations than others, so planting these sattvik plants makes the premises more spiritually pure. Some examples of sattvik plants are the Holy basil plant (tulsī), chrysanthemum, hibiscus, and the banana tree. Whenever possible, it helps to plant such sattvik plants around the premises or keep them indoors in the living room for example.
- Altar facing the east-west direction: If one keeps an altar at the home, it is best to let it face the east-west direction. Divine frequencies are released from the Sun as it passes through the sky each day, and these Divine frequencies are best attracted to an altar if it is oriented in the east-west direction.
3. Importance of spiritual practice
The following table gives the comparative importance of various remedies in improving spiritual vibrations at home.
From the above table we can draw the following conclusions:
- Efforts to improve the spiritual vibrations of a premises implemented through actions keeping the doors and windows open have their limitations. However it is important to implement these actions too.
- Residents of a premises need to have a pleasing personality. Wherever this is not the case, they can strive to improve themselves. Spiritual practice is helpful in this respect too.
- Our spiritual practice should be regular and consistent. Apart from giving us the experience of Bliss (Ānand), it affects the spiritual vibrations of our home too. There are immensely pleasant frequencies in places inhabited by Saints. This is due to the intensity of Their spiritual practice.
4. In summary – Vastushastra and spiritual science for the home
By implementing points advised by the science of vastushastra and Spirituality, we can avoid negative vibrations and ensure that our homes attract some positive spiritual vibrations too. The practical points presented in this article will be helpful not just for the home, but in any premises such as offices, shops etc.
Spiritual practice on the other hand, positively moulds our personality and significantly improves the spiritual vibrations of our home. In addition to this, spiritual practice helps us to actually recognise pleasant and unpleasant vibrations in a premises and to understand the spiritual reason for those experiences.
What Is Spiritual Bypassing? ⋆ LonerWolf
Spiritual bypassing is a very persistent shadow of spirituality, manifesting in many forms, often without being acknowledged. ~ R. Augustus
What comes to mind when you think of ‘spirituality’? You might picture beautiful temples, ethereal instruments, golden Buddha’s, gardens and forests of paradise, the faces of enlightened masters, angels, mountain ranges, sunsets, or any number of other dazzling images.
We tend to associate spirituality with transcendental, heightened states of being that are invariably associated with the feelings of happiness, joy, deep inner peace and contentment.
While all of this is true and wonderful, many of us become intoxicated, distracted and ensnared by these highly attractive images of spirituality, avoiding the darker, painful and more exhausting sides of such a path.
At its core, spiritual bypassing is any other form of avoidance that rewards us with a false feeling of security and happiness, while undermining our deeper path of self-growth and transformation.
Spiritual Bypassing: An Enticing Form of Escapism
What you resist, persists. ~ C. G. Jung
For a long time, I struggled with understanding what ‘true’ spirituality looked and felt .
I would look in the newspapers and find ads from kooky looking psychic women promoting their services, or browse the internet and find alluring pages dedicated to finding your ‘guardian angel’.
I would read books about “optimism” and articles about casting spells to attract love and prosperity. But amidst all of this searching, I just never felt a connection with any of these things.They felt somehow amiss, something, somehow, seemed intuitively off-center and “wrong” about them.
It was only in the past year that I discovered why I had always felt this way about certain spiritual practices. The answer I found was that many practices falling under the guise of spirituality are actually forms of spiritual bypassing.
The term ‘spiritual bypassing’ was originally coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984.
As he explained in an interview, “Spiritual bypassing is a term I coined to describe a process I saw happening in the Buddhist community I was in, and also in myself.
Although most of us were sincerely trying to work on ourselves, I noticed a widespread tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.”
As we can see, spiritual bypassing is largely about avoiding or escaping from difficult life tasks. Or, in other words:
To spiritually bypass is to use spirituality to avoid, suppress or escape from uncomfortable issues in life.
These issues could be the loss of a loved one, a relationship breakup, family problems, childhood abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem, self- sabotaging behaviors, fear, mental or emotional health issues, or any other problems life presents.To many people, spirituality becomes a sort of crutch used as a way of standing back up again in the face of life’s turmoil – and sometimes this is necessary. We all need support at some time or another in our lives – but the problem comes when spirituality is used as a drug for which we become dependent on in order to bypass the darker elements of our lives.
When spirituality is used as a defense mechanism to ward off the gremlins and dirty little devils of our existences, it actually becomes our greatest hindrance, preventing us from developing true courage, authenticity and wholeness; qualities that refine our souls. While the use of spirituality can provide us with a solid wall to hide behind, in doing so it traps us in an all-is-happy-and-perfect jail cell of illusions.
Types of Spiritual Bypassing
What gives light must endure burning. ~ V. Frankl (Man’s Search For Meaning)
The reality is that not everything in life is ‘love and light’ as is the slogan for many spiritual seekers. Pursuing the light and living enlightened, raw and deeply interconnected existences is also about setting yourself on fire.
It is about creating an inferno of your false beliefs, illusions and separating desires, ideals, and prejudices.
It is about surrendering to the destruction of every limiting thing you ever thought and felt about yourself, other people and the world.
Spirituality is not always pretty. In fact, often times it is the most shattering, tumultuous and testing experience we can go through in life. But only once we emerge from the embers of our destruction can we be reborn – phoenixes – into new lives of clarity and purity.
The truth is that there are many types of spiritual bypassing that we sometimes don’t recognize (or refuse to recognize) in life. I have listed a few examples below that you are free to add to in the comments.
I) The Optimistic Bypass
We’ve all come across people in life who love to laugh and smile, yet seem to be forcefully optimistic.
“Focus on the positive!” “See the glass as half full!” “Don’t let a frown get you down!” are some of the catchcries of these people who tend to use optimism as a way of avoiding the more somber and troublesome realities of life. The optimistic bypass is often a side product of anger-phobia, or the inability to deal with negative emotions.
II) The Aggrandizement Bypass
This is a type of self-delusion that some spiritual seekers use as a way of masking their perceived deficiencies and insecurities. The aggrandizement bypass is adopted by those who seek to feel enlightened, superior or having reached higher planes of existence. It is sometimes used by self-proclaimed masters, leaders, awakened souls, and gurus.
III) The Victim Bypass
When one becomes a victim of their gifts, or of other people, this takes away the pressure of responsibility for shaping a satisfying life and taking responsibility for one’s happiness – such is the case with the Victim Bypass.
This type of spiritual bypassing is often used by spiritual seekers who believe they have extrasensory gifts of some kind, but due to their gifts they are unable to feel happy or healthy.
Identifying as an Empath is sometimes a good example of this type of bypassing, as it can be interpreted as the fault of other people and their emotions for behaving in self-destructive and volatile ways.
IV) The Psychonaut Bypass
Many spiritual seekers explore the frontiers of the mind, the soul and reality through the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, DMT, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and other entheogens that expand the mind and perception of existence. While this is a fascinating way of exploring reality, entheogens, any other drug, can sometimes be used as a way of escaping reality and avoiding committing to personal development and soulful refinement.
V) The Horoscope Bypass
When we frequently look outside of ourselves for help and guidance, as is with the case with Horoscopes and Psychics, we are failing to tap into our inner wellsprings of wisdom and strength and are allowing external predictions to control the outcome of our lives. The Horoscope Bypass is derived from a fear and mistrust of ourselves, our inability to make decisions, and our inability to deal with anything tough that comes our way.
VI) The Saint Bypass
Since we were little we were taught that spiritual people were kind, compassionate and saintly. We continued to repeat this story to ourselves when we ripened into adulthood, and for some of us it turned into our biggest nightmare.
The Saint Bypass is a reflection of extreme “black or white” thinking, promoting the underlying belief that spiritual people can’t have dark sides because that would make them “unspiritual”.
This type of bypassing is essentially an avoidance of one’s own Shadow Self by overcompensating with the guise of a sweet, heavenly, exterior. Self-sacrifice is a major symptom of this type of bypassing.
VII) The Spirit Guide Bypass
“I have an angel called Raphael who protects me.” In some spiritual traditions it is a God who protects, in others an angel, an animal or an ascended being. No matter who the Spirit Guide is, the belief that they are there to “protect” us is pleasing to the mind, but harmful to the soul.
When we place our faith in another being’s power to ward off danger and keep us safe, we are committing a classic spiritual bypass: that being avoiding responsibility for ourselves and our lives, and sidestepping the tough development of courage and resilience.
We are not children, but when we think of ourselves as being so we mold our lives in such a way that we fail to develop strength of spiritual character. Spirit guides serve to teach us rather than to babysit us.
VIII) The Praying Bypass
Similar to the Spirit Guide Bypass, the Praying Bypass circumvents personal responsibility by putting faith in a higher being to solve all of our problems and issues. While praying can be a healthy practice, it can easily become limiting and destructive.
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IX) The Guru Bypass
Often it is beneficial to latch onto a particular guru, shaman or spiritual teacher to learn and grow from, however, too much attachment can serve as another form of spiritual bypassing.
While not everyone has the ability to independently follow the path of spirituality, when we begin to worship another living being, we fall in love with the rose-colored illusory image we have of the teacher rather than the essence of their teachings.
Not thinking or discovering truth for ourselves by treating the words of a guru or master as scripture subtracts from our growth and our own mastery on our personal spiritual journeys.
X) The Finger-Pointing Bypass
On our spiritual quests we begin to see through the lies, delusions and crazy behaviors committed by our fellow human beings and this can make us angry, downhearted and greatly frustrated.
However, when we get caught up in “everything that is wrong” with the outside world and other people, dedicating our lives to the self-righteous quest of finger-pointing, this can be another form of spiritual bypassing.
Finger-pointing instillss us with a false sense of righteousness, taking away our responsibility of looking inside and working on ourselves. At its roots, the Finger-Pointing bypass is sourced from fear and avoidance, and is a powerful form of procrastination.
***Certainly, there are many other forms of spiritual bypassing, but here I present the most common ones that are easily observable in everyday life.
From what I have learned, it can be absolutely terrifying to personally expose yourself and the most profoundly vulnerable parts of your being to the process of purification. But slowly as you set afire all illusions and falsities, you see that life is much clearer, more connected, deeply satisfying and indescribably joyful.