The GROSS futility of Spiritual Bypass
Let me tell you a story about one of the most nauseating things I have ever experienced (and that’s a lot to say keeping in mind that at our medicine centre in Colombia we deal with people vomiting and shitting themselves all the time)
Four years ago I was attending a musical performance in Costa Rica. It was a musician whose work I had enjoyed for a while and she was hosting what seemed to be at the intersection of a concert and a large scale ecstatic dance class.
“Ecstatic Dance” for those who don’t know is a sort of movement therapy in which people are encouraged to move their bodies and free themselves of inhibition and stagnant energies by just letting loose.
There’s no right or wrong way to do it as long as you’re letting it flow and getting sweaty.
And sweaty they got – in an already hot and humid climate – I found myself surrounded by waves of sweat drenched attendees.
No big deal I thought.. Not my jam but no judgement either.
So I was standing right on the edge where I could still enjoy the music and not drown in steams of body scents and fluids.
when suddenly, I felt a gnarly stench..
A smell so awful I almost threw up!
I looked all around me wondering if someone had opened some tupperware full of food left rotting in the Costa Rican heat or something along those lines..
And I found its source..
A “spiritual” looking tall, blonde, sweaty guy with mala beads around his neck, bracelets and a ‘sacred geometry’ patterned vest.
The closer he walked towards me the stronger the smell became..
I was in shock wondering how on earth he hadn’t noticed.
He stood right next to me, I covered my face with my scarf to breathe and saw him go through his backpack.
YES! he must be looking for deodorant (I thought)
And in a way he was…
He pulled out a Palo Santo and Sage stick and proceeded to light them up and smudge his armpits with it..
And I laughed at how ridiculous the whole situation was!
He saged his armpits as if the smell was due to some bad vibes or evil spirits..
Not realizing that maybe a lack of hygiene, inconsistent showering and poor food choices were probably at the root of the issue. (and what needed urgent attention)
So.. why am I sharing this?
That scene to me sums up the unhealthy approach that a vast amount of people have to spirituality:
A way of avoidance while deluding themselves into thinking they’re doing something about it.
Like rearranging furniture in a sinking ship.
Useful? perhaps.. under different circumstances.
Like painting the walls of a burning house. It looks like change and improvement but it’s wasted, unconscious effort.
I once met a girl that would smudge herself and her home every time she felt “bad vibes”, yet she wouldn’t consider that perhaps it was not the home at the source.. and instead a relationship with drugs, alcohol and sex that were spiralling out of control.
And like these there’s many people..
Who sit chanting mantras or visualizing things that they are NOT putting actual, wheel-meets-the-ground work on.
Spinning their spiritual wheels in futile attempts at moving forward in their growth.
Nothing wrong with that, just not very useful.
So I’m here to call it out!
To reclaim spirituality as a powerful, bold, PRACTICAL and effective way of being human.
Not as tools and deluded ways in which our humanity is dismissed.
I have friends that tell me they don’t hang out with “spiritual people” because they’re in so much denial about life that they can’t stand it.
Oddly enough, most of these friends are among the few I actually consider to be very spiritual (in the deep, profound sense of the word)
Spirituality has been getting a bad rep and it’s about time we clear it out (and not with sage under our armpits )
It’s about time we realize that spirituality comes at the inclusion and integration of who we are – and last time I checked, we are human.
We occupy a space and time on this earth and as such, we have a duty (with it and with others)
Spirituality is as much the work we do within our own hearts as the one we do with our hands.
It is the facing of fear, looking at those places we are afraid to step into and doing what needs to be done.
Learning to embrace resistance, tension, discomfort and disagreement without closing down our heart.
Spirituality is learning to honour ALL of ourselves and ALL of life, and at the same time, taking no BS from any of it.
It is to take a bold stand with a kind smile.
So here’s an invitation for those who, in some way or another, may have turned their ‘spiritual practices’ into the way they bypass their life.
You can do all the affirmations you want, but if you shy away from speaking your truth, honestly, confidently and clearly in your relationships.
You can do all the yoga, stretching, dancing, cleansing that you want, but if you rarely ever complete your to-do lists, honour your word and learn to keep your commitments..
The stress of your unexplored potential will anyways make you sick.
You can take all the plants and substances, sit in ceremonies, drink cacao, do the breathworks and hike around as much as you want.. but if your breakthroughs and insights do not become new, different, inspired and implemented action..
You’re but drowning in spiritual entertainment.
You can sage your armpits all that you want but if you don’t shower..
You get the point.
So, if you consider spirituality a meaningful part of your life, ensure that you walk at least twice what you talk.
And that in your quest towards the light, you do not become blind..
And that looking at the heavens you do not forget to plant your feet firmly on the earth.
PS: Feel free to share this if you’d like to support me in spirituality being reclaimed as a way to navigate life grounded, lovingly and consciously (instead of it being connected to hippies, struggling, unreliable people and bypassing hidden in woo-woo nonsense)