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Spiritual Bypassing and the Spiritual Friend

Host Michael Taft talks about the phenomenon of spiritual bypassing, what it is, what it means for our practice, and whether it is as big of an issue as many seem to think, as well as the importance of having a meditation buddy, and the ageless tradition of the “soul friend.”

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5 thoughts on “Spiritual Bypassing and the Spiritual Friend”

  1. Your “rant” 🙂 hit the nail on the head its true its good that we keep spiritual bypassing in mind in our practice but sometimes I also think that because of this constant vigilance on spiritual bypassing in our practice can limit our practice as we end up being hyper vigilant.

  2. Hi Michael,
    Thank you for the content you provide, it has been one of the most helpful and intuitive resources of Buddhist concepts I have found. I have a question I was hoping you could help me with, and I apologize if this is not the right place to ask as it is not related to this specific blog post.
    I often find myself having the thought “if I resist anxiety I might go through an endless loop of resisting anxiety” which often makes me anxious because I am resisting the feeling of anxiety, which then makes me more anxious because it reinforcing the original fear of having an anxiety loop. Of course this always eventually subsides, and I find it subsides sooner if I become mindful of how I’m resisting the thought or the feeling of anxiety. However, it takes time to be mindful, and I sometimes would like to just refocus on what I’m doing, like work or my breath during meditation. I often feel like by refocusing I am actually just resisting the thought further, and by doing so strengthening it. Is it always possible to refocus your attention from a thought/feeling, or are some thoughts/feelings too strong and require mindfulness to be applied first before refocusing?

    1. The latter, Phillip. Sometimes it’s best to engage with a thought or emotion and work with it, rather than simply refocusing. Especially if it’s too strong/compelling to just let go of. Especially with anxiety, I almost almost recommend engaging with it rather than trying to refocus past it.

  3. Do I always at least have the option to refocus on another sensory object though, or will doing so from an especially strong thought just make it stronger, even if I am truly focused on the other thing. My anxiety often stems from being unsure if I am dealing with the thought correctly, as in whether I am truly being mindful or actually further mindlessly engaging/suppressing it, so it would be nice to simply have the option to refocus, no matter how strong the feeling is.

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