By Erdinc Raim
In the age of spiritual bypassing, I often ask myself—why is it that I do what I do?
Whenever I post something on Facebook or Instagram, is it because I want to share something I feel will help humanity? Is it something I am truly passionate about? Or, is it for the sake of my own recognition and desire for affirmation?
The answer isn’t simple.
My entire Facebook feed is plastered in life-affirming quotes and big statements about “living your truth”, “following the heart” and “loving all the way through”. Yet, I wonder, is it authentic?
Am I being true to who I am, what I stand for and what I share? Am I, in fact, “living my truth”?
Today, it’s all too easy for the modern person to seek quick fix solutions to personal issues and to hide behind fast food quotes from enlightened masters and ancient texts.
For sure, these texts talk about living your truth, but they are also based on an ancient knowledge of walking the path of your own enlightenment.
With that being said, a spiritual practice is more than setting an intention or reading gorgeous quotes. It’s doing the work to grow as a human, not pushing yourself into blind compassion or overwriting the basic essence of who you are.
It is embracing the darkness in order to fully understand the light. It isn’t quick, and it’s beyond surface level.
When I think about the human essence, it doesn’t only encompass beauty, expansion and joy. There is also all that is ugly, contracted and painful.
Anything that ever exists, will always exist with an opposite polarity.
How else would you know the light without the dark to illuminate it? How would you appreciate joy without knowing sadness? How would you feel vibrant and expanded if we didn’t also feel disease and limitation?
When you push away the sides of yourself, and life, that scare you or limit your ability to accept who you are, you are bypassing the very reality of the inner work that is going to complete you in the end.
Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” I can agree that the spiritual path is one of illuminating our entirety as human beings—including the sides that we perceive or judge as negative or dark, ugly or contracted.
The path of real growth.
It comes down to your willingness to see this moment for what it is, to accept it fully, to forgive the past and move forward.
There’s a shift happening from fast track spiritual practices to actual grounded pathways of connectivity. People have begun to rebuild what it means to be compassionate, are developing authentic relationships, and igniting a conversation for the shift of consciousness the world really needs to heal our personal and collective wounds.
Humans have undergone many wars of rights, freedoms and beliefs. The new frontier is to return to the embrace of what human nature really is and our ability to hold compassion for all that it offers.
That is, compassion in a real way, where we can learn to understand the pain and joy of others and not judge people for how they look or for their actions.
It is to forgive and accept forgiveness.
It is to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes our parents did, and our ancestors before them.
It is to heal the wounds we have been hiding behind and identifying with for far too long.
Why stay hidden behind our fears and anger, when we can rise up, spread our wings and embrace our glory? Why keep chasing a dream, merely an illusion of the future, that will forever change and keep us locked in the limbo of desire? Why stay broken in the past, instead of enjoying what’s really here, right now?
If anything is going to move forward in your life, the only one responsible for that shift is you.
Again, it comes down to your willingness to see this moment for what it is, to accept it fully, to forgive the past and move forward.
Healing the world starts with healing the self.
You can begin living your actual truth by looking at your own actions, taking responsibility for the life that you lead and the choices you make, and in every single moment choosing love over fear.
It’s easy to share happy life quotes while enjoying a chia breakfast bowl, next to your healing crystals, than by actually being present and asking yourself:
Is it true?
Is it loving?
Is it necessary?
When the messages you convey through words, actions and Instagram posts aren’t an actual portrait of who you stand for as a human being, the effort you make becomes counter reactive to the purpose of the message in the first place.
We circle back: living your truth involves not slaying the darker aspects, but illuminating them.
This doesn’t mean that you have to portray or share all of your tears and heartaches, but rather take 100% responsibility for them for yourself, in order for the collective shift to happen.
Give yourself permission to wake up from the numbness of intellectualising and conceptualising your spirituality and emotions.
Once you start being open about the dark, the true light will shine through.
When it’s hard to do this work alone, find a friend you can confide in. When you hear the inner critic, stay where you are and listen deeper. Instead of grabbing a beer or dramatising your daily Tarot read to try and feel instantly better, stay!
Stay in the forest of your darkest emotions, and figure out what this landscape brings forth in you.
Once it has been illuminated, discover that the fear, anger and judgment living inside you share the same character of energy as love and joy, all of it pulsing radiantly through your body; all of it pulsing radiantly through your body.
For more self-study on this subject, Erdinc recommends Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters by Robert Augustus Masters.