Mindfulness isn’t a cure for all the ails of the world, nor is a one hit wonder. Mindfulness is a way of life and one thing I have learnt is that mindfulness in and of itself is not enough to make you truly happy.

Mindfulness is simply a technique, all be it a powerful one, that can help to bring awareness to the world and the environment around you as well as to you personally. However it can’t help bring peace without logic and more importantly intuition coming into play.

In order to get the most out of mindfulness it is important to practice it every day and to integrate it into every aspect of your life. Mindfulness as a technique can only get better through regular practice and deep personal development.  Therefore it is important to practice mindfulness at every opportunity and in every situation. I have learnt however, through bitter experience, that if mindfulness is not developed with the right frame of mind it can become something that detaches you from the present moment as well as the world around you. The exact opposite of the ‘mindfulness benefit’ can occur and it can work against you rather than work for you.

If you do not catch yourself in detachment from the present moment then you can be in danger of ending up in a situation that is called ‘spiritual bypassing*’.

Spiritual bypassing is tendency to use certain practices and techniques to sidestep unresolved emotional issues and traumas that are within the human psyche.

There’s always danger in using spiritual bypassing as a way to see the world around you as it can be very seductive.  Spiritual bypassing can become a way to seeing the world, but through partially closed eyes.  The connection of your mind the heart to the world around you can become a loose connection and slowly your mindfulness practice can become focused on only the good things.  When bad things occur it can become easier to switch off your awareness to what is happening.  In this way mindfulness then becomes used solely to make you feel good.  However, as we have already established, the practice of mindful awareness meditation should be used not only to see the good; it is there to see it ALL, including the BAD.   

What is going on around you and how you are interacting with the world as well as how you are engaging with thoughts and feelings and emotions is where mindfulness becomes most powerful.  The whole of existence becomes vivid and clear and the real power in mindfulness shines.  It is very important that the practitioner allows mindfulness to occur in a whole and inclusive way as in not dong so it can cause further suffering.  It is essential that the practitioner sees the world in all its glory: good parts and bad parts.  Beautiful and ugly.   

Spiritual bypassing removes you from what is truly occurring and it removes you from your Own True Nature (OTN) and what you believe at your very core.  It focuses on the positive aspects of life and ceases to see the benefit and value in non-positive elements of living.  These negative aspects, that occur ALL of the time, can offer you as much teaching and insight as the positives ones and often in a lot of cases can offer you much, much more.

It is a very attractive proposition to be able to use mindfulness and meditation in a way to avoid the uncomfortable things in life. However mindfulness and meditation if you do spiritually bypass can lead to unhealthy results.  True mindful awareness is something that has to encompass the whole of existence in the whole of existence includes everything.  Good and Bad.  Warts and All.  Don’t get lost going around in circles, trapped in a personal one way system. Watch out for the signs and get off spiritual bypassing as soon as you can.

*N.b. – use emotional/ cognitive as a replacement for spiritual if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Author Jonathan

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