Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters

Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters

by Robert Augustus Masters Ph.D.
Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters

Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters

by Robert Augustus Masters Ph.D.


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“A wonderfully significant and important book.”  —Ken Wilber, The Integral Vision
“A timely and penetrating analysis of spirituality’s shadow.” —Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism without Beliefs
A spiritual teacher and integral psychotherapist offers a first-of-its-kind study on how we use—and abuse—spiritual beliefs and practices, revealing how to identify and move beyond what holds us back from living life fully.

Spiritual bypassing—the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs—is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed. The spiritual ideals of any tradition, whether Christian commandments or Buddhist precepts, can provide easy justification for practitioners to duck uncomfortable feelings in favor of more seemingly enlightened activity. When split off from fundamental psychological needs, such actions often do much more harm than good.

While other authors have touched on the subject, this is the first book fully devoted to spiritual bypassing. In the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa’s landmark Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Spiritual Bypassing provides an in-depth look at the unresolved or ignored psychological issues often masked as spirituality, including self-judgment, excessive niceness, and emotional dissociation. A longtime psychotherapist with an engaging writing style, Masters furthers the body of psychological insight into how we use (and abuse) religion in often unconscious ways. This book will hold particular appeal for those who grew up with an unstructured new-age spirituality now looking for a more mature spiritual practice, and for anyone seeking increased self-awareness and a more robust relationship with themselves and others.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556439056
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 07/27/2010
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 828,271
Product dimensions: 9.26(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

Robert Augustus Masters, PhD, is a relationship expert, an integral psychotherapist, and a psychospiritual guide and trainer, with a doctorate in psychology. He is the cofounder, with his wife Diane, of the Masters Center for Transformation (MCT), a school featuring relationally rooted psychospiritual work devoted to deep healing and fully embodied awakening. He is also the author of many books (including Transformation Through Intimacy, Spiritual Bypassing, Emotional Intimacy, and To Be a Man) and an audio program: Knowing Your Shadow.
His uniquely integral, intuitive work, which he developed over the past thirty-seven years, dynamically blends the psychological and physical with the spiritual, emphasizing full-blooded embodiment, authenticity, emotional openness and literacy, deep shadow work, and the develop­ment of relational maturity. He lives and works with his wife in Ashland, Oregon.

Table of Contents

1 Avoidance in Holy Drag: An Introduction to Spiritual Bypassing 1

2 Cutting Through Spiritual Bypassing 9

3 Let's Stop Being Negative About Our Negativity 15

4 Blind Compassion: Neurotic Tolerance in Caring's Robes 21

5 Healthy and Unhealthy Transcendence 29

6 Cutting Through Spiritual Shortcuts 37

7 Bringing Shadow Work out of the Shadows 43

8 What Generates Spiritual Bypassing? 51

9 The Anatomy of Magical Thinking 57

10 Why Don't More Spiritual Teachers Include Psychotherapy in Their Work? 67

11 Making Wise Use of Anger 75

12 Boundaries Make Freedom Possible 89

13 Don't Take It Personally? 99

14 Releasing Sex from the Obligation to Make Us Feel Better 105

15 Neither Romancing Nor Fleeing Relationship 115

16 Disembodied Spirituality and Embodied Being 123

17 True Responsibility: Heart, Guts, Accountability 137

18 Spiritual Gullibility and Cultism 145

19 Are We Responsible for Our Illness? 151

20 When Nondual Teachings Are Not Nondual 157

21 Bringing Shame out of the Shadows 163

22 When Our Honeymoon with Spirituality Is Over 173

Appendix I The Method of No Method: Intuitive Integral Psychotherapy 179

Appendix II Illuminating and Integrating Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirituality 187

Acknowledgments 197

Index 199

About the Author 205

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