Vitvan was an American Master of the Ancient Wisdom teachings. He lived and worked among other giants of his time, such as Einstein, Steiner, Gurdjieff, Blavatsky, Korzybski and Reich. Vitvan taught that we live in a vast energy world and each one of us is a dynamic energy system, a truth known long before modern science proved it empirically. Most individuals experience their universe as a world of solid objects and we go about our daily existence unaware of the energy process of which we are an integral part. In all of us there is a Power-to-be-Conscious that is seeking to manifest itself in our awareness. He outlined a specific methodology for experiencing the energy world and provided detailed instructions for learning to cooperate consciously with the process of expanding self-awareness. The School of the Natural Order was established to preserve his life's work of bringing the Ancient Wisdom Teachings to the modern Western world. Vitvan's students are committed to ensuring that his teachings will still be available when the expected awakening occurs at the end of this present Age. His work provides an accurate guide that will facilitate the establishment of a sustainable reality based on true knowledge and wisdom in this current time of transition, and in the Ages to come.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Spiritual Bypass and Avoidance, in Holy Drag

Don't you just love it when certain others claim to "wish you well" when you know by their actions, words and deeds that they actually hate and despise you, and wish nothing positive for you at all...? In fact, it would give them the greatest pleasure if you would just hurry up and die so they didn't have to ever see you again, or talk to you, or hear you any longer, avoiding at all costs the need to acknowledge and own the discomfort that being around you causes them in their safe little frozen spiritual bubble...? Why not just be honest and say it out loud, "I wish you Hell...?"  

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us...” ~ Hermann Hesse, Demian

Artist: Diane Salter
Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. It is much more common than we might think...

Part of the reason for this is that we tend to not have very much tolerance, both personally and collectively, for facing, entering, and working through our pain, strongly preferring pain-numbing “solutions,” regardless of how much suffering such “remedies” may catalyze. Because this preference has so deeply and thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it has become all but normalized, spiritual bypassing fits almost seamlessly into our collective habit of turning away from what is painful, as a kind of higher analgesic with seemingly minimal side effects. 

It is a spiritualized strategy not only for avoiding pain but also for legitimizing such avoidance, in ways ranging from the blatantly obvious to the extremely subtle... 
 
Artist: Chie Yoshii

“We see only that which we are. I like to think of it in terms of energy. Imagine having a hundred different electrical outlets on your chest. Each outlet represents a different quality. The qualities we acknowledge and embrace have cover plates over them. They are safe; no electricity runs through them. But the qualities that are not okay with us, which we have not yet owned, do have a charge. So when others come along who act out one of these qualities they plug right into us.”  ~ Debbie Ford, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

Aspects of spiritual bypass include exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, overemphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, blind or overly tolerant compassion, weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development (cognitive intelligence often being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence), debilitating judgment about one’s negativity or shadow elements, devaluation of the personal relative to the spiritual, and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being...

The explosion of interest in Eastern spirituality has been accompanied by a corresponding interest and immersion in spiritual bypass, because it's easy to frame it as a religion-transcending, spiritually advanced practice or perspective, especially in the fast-food spirituality epitomized by faddish phenomena like The Secret. Some of the more glaringly plastic features of this, such as its drive-thru servings of reheated wisdom like, “Don’t take it personally” or “Whatever bothers you about someone is really only about you” or “It’s all just an illusion,” are available for consumption and parroting by just about anyone.  

Everyone around us is our mirror...
 
Artist: Lisa Iris
True spirituality is not a high, not a rush, not an altered state. These times call for something far more real, grounded, and responsible -- something radically alive and naturally integral, something that shakes us to our very core until we stop treating spiritual deepening as something to dabble in here and there. Authentic spirituality is not some little flicker or buzz of knowingness, not a psychedelic blast-through or a mellow hanging-out on some exalted plane of consciousness, not a bubble of immunity, but a vast fire of liberation, an exquisitely fitting crucible and sanctuary, providing both heat and light for what must be done. We like the Light but not the heat, doing whatever we can to distance ourselves from the flames...

“What is to give light must endure burning...” 
~ Viktor E. Frankl
 
Artist: Andrei Posea, Lilith
When we’re caught up in spiritual bypassing, we’d usually much rather theorize about the frontiers of consciousness than actually go there, sedating the fire rather than breathing it even more alive, espousing the ideal of unconditional love while not permitting love to show up in its more challenging, personal dimensions. To do so would be too hot, too scary, and too out-of-control, bringing things to the surface that we have long disowned or suppressed. But if we really want the Light, we cannot afford to flee the heat... 

When a person suddenly begins making their needs a priority, often for the first time in their life, this change can create reactivity in others. You’re no longer predictable emotionally and your new inner strength can be unsettling. When we are anxious about how others will react, we don’t pursue our needs because we’re afraid of getting their reactivity thrown at us. It’s just easier to keep pleasing others. This is especially true when dealing with an employer, a spouse, a parent, or any other person we perceive as having influential power over us...

Sometimes emotional reactivity makes a person want to shut down and withdraw. Just the thought of getting sprayed with more reactivity causes some of us to stuff our emotions. It’s as if we put them in the freezer to be addressed later. We certainly won’t let the reactive people around us know how we feel; we’ll merely get more emotions thrown our way! 

Maintaining this type of control over your own deep feelings is a way to protect yourself, but it can feel suffocating, and it often leads to avoiding necessary discussions... It takes cool strength and gentle courage to stay calm and remain balanced in the face of emotional releasing...

“Traumatic events, by definition, overwhelm our ability to cope. When the mind becomes flooded with emotion, a circuit breaker is thrown that allows us to survive the experience fairly intact, that is, without becoming psychotic or frying out one of the brain centers. The cost of this blown circuit is emotion frozen within the body. In other words, we often unconsciously stop feeling our trauma part way into it, like a movie that is still going after the sound has been turned off. We cannot heal until we move fully through that trauma, including all the feelings of the event...”   
~ Susan Pease Banitt, The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD from the Inside Out

If we really want the Light, we cannot afford to flee the heat. And being with the fire’s heat doesn’t just mean sitting with the difficult stuff in meditation, but also going into it, trekking to its core, facing and entering and getting intimate with whatever is there, however scary or traumatic or sad or raw...

It is time to go deeper. We must do this not only to get more intimate with the essence of the wisdom traditions beyond ritual, belief and dogma, but also to make room for a healthy evolution. And not just the necessary Westernization of these Eastern traditions, so that their presentation ceases encouraging spiritual bypass but, in fact, consciously and actively stops giving it the soil to flower in. These changes won’t happen to any significant degree unless we work in-depth with our physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social dimensions to generate an ever-deeper sense of wholeness, vitality, and basic sanity.

Several years ago I thought i was part of something unique and special, something spiritual and valuable, labeled SNO.... I invested a lot of time and energy, personally, financially, emotionally, before finding out that it was mostly a fantasy overseen by self-serving hypocrites... When I spoke out in protest over the way power was being abused and used to mistreat others, fellow students, my husband said to me, "I've known these people for over thirty years, no one has ever spoken to them like you are doing." Well, now he has known me for 30 years too and it apparently means nothing to him, because I'm not some quiet meek little mouse who sits back and watches injustice served up with whipped cream and Vitvan's name on it and labels it dessert.... He also now says to me, "whenever I'm around you I react, so now I need 6 months of no contact with you for my health..." As if he can dissolve a legal contract of marriage with me so easily, by waving a magic wand and making me vanish... 



To those who continue to hide from shining the Light upon themselves: Now is the time to make peace and ask for forgiveness... I will no longer be bound by any agreement to refrain from blogging about what goes on up there at that Farm, in that "spiritual school," and forget all the high-falutin' Vitvan quotes and notions about what he said or didn't say, or didn't want to talk about...

Any spiritual path that does not deal in real depth with psychological issues, and deal with these in more than just spiritual contexts, is setting itself up for an abundance of spiritual bypass. If there is not sufficient encouragement and support from spiritual teachers and teachings for their students to engage in significant depth in psycho-emotional work, and if those students who really need such work don’t then do it, they’ll be left trying to work out their psycho-emotional issues, traumatic and otherwise, only through the spiritual practices they have been given -- as if doing so is somehow superior to -- or a “higher” activity than -- engaging in quality psychotherapy or a real program of self discovery. 

Psychotherapy is often viewed as an inferior undertaking relative to 'spiritual practice," perhaps even something we “shouldn’t” have to do. When our spiritual bypass is more subtle, the idea of psychotherapy may be considered more acceptable but we will still shy away from a full investigation of our core wounds...

The trappings of spiritual bypassing can look good, particularly when they seem to promise freedom from life’s fuss and fury, but this supposed serenity and detachment is often little more than metaphysical Valium, especially for those who have made too much of a virtue out of being and looking positive... The overdone niceness that often characterizes spiritual bypass strands it from emotional depth and authenticity, and its underlying grief -- mostly unspoken, untouched, unacknowledged -- keeps it marooned from the very caring that would unwrap and undo it, like a baby being readied for a bath by a loving mother...

Artist: Unknown
Spiritual bypass distances us not only from our pain and difficult personal issues but also from our own authentic spirituality, stranding us in a metaphysical limbo, a zone of exaggerated gentleness, niceness, and superficiality. Its frequently disconnected nature keeps it adrift, clinging to the weight of its self-conferred spiritual credentials. As such, it maroons us from embodying our full humanity...

Even the most exquisitely designed spiritual methodologies can become traps, leading not to freedom but only to reinforcement, however subtle, of the very “I” that wants to be a somebody who has attained or realized freedom (the very same “I” that doesn’t realize there are no Oscars given out for awakening). The most obvious potential traps include the belief that we should rise above our difficulties and simply embrace Oneness, even as the tendency to divide everything into positive and negative, higher and lower, spiritual and nonspiritual, runs wild within us. 

Subtler traps, less densely populated with metaphysical lullabies and ascension metaphors, teach non-aversion through cultivating a capacity for dispassionate witnessing and/or various devotional rituals. Each approach has its own value, if only to eventually propel us into an even deeper direction, and each is far from immune to being possessed by spiritual bypassing, especially when we are still hoping, whatever our depth of spiritual practice, to reach a state of immunity to suffering (both personally and collectively).

In the facing and outgrowing of institutionalized spiritual bypass, we finally can enter into a deeper life  -- a life of full-blooded integrity, depth, love, and sanity -- a life of authenticity on every level. A life in which the personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal are all honored and lived to the fullest...

What do I hope to accomplish in writing any of this? Not a damn thing... If there was ever any hope for a real school of wisdom and a healing place of sanctuary for Vitvan's students to live out there in the backwoods of Nevada, that ship sailed long ago... and now my own husband has abandoned me so he can live comfortably under their harsh cold rules, and tells me he doesn't know the meaning of the word forgiveness...

“To err is human, to forgive, divine...” ~ Alexander Pope
   

Artist: Fülöp Péter

http://vitvan.education/
https://www.facebook.com/InnerSchoolOfTheNaturalOrder/ 
https://www.facebook.com/NaturalOrderFoundationForHealth/




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