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Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters Paperback – July 27, 2010


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Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters + Emotional Intimacy: A  Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions + Transformation through Intimacy, Revised Edition: The Journey toward Awakened Monogamy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; Original edition (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556439059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556439056
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a wonderfully significant and important book, and is highly recommended. Its contents are truly mandatory for this day and age."
—Ken Wilber, author of The Integral Vision

"This timely and penetrating analysis of spirituality’s shadow provides a much-needed counterpoint for those who tend to get blinded by its light."
—Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism without Beliefs

"There is much wisdom and good information in this book. Robert joins a growing number of wise teachers who understand that the personal and the universal must be combined to bring true and genuine spiritual awakening."
—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

"Traversing the muddy waters of contemporary spirituality requires a willingness to meet its seen and unseen challenges with ruthless self-honesty and keen discernment. Robert addresses 'the many faces of spiritual bypassing' with intellectual rigor, hard-earned insight, and emotional intelligence. It is a lucid, well-written, and practical guide for both new and seasoned practitioners on the spiritual path."
—Mariana Caplan, PhD, author of Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path and Halfway Up the Mountain: the Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment

"Robert Masters has given us a great gift—a tremendously useful guide to examining our tendencies to spiritual bypassing, clearly the most comprehensive and accessible treatment available on this crucial topic. His work is a great contribution to the ongoing integration of psychotherapy and spiritual practice, and to our understanding of the meaning of spiritual maturity."
—Donald Rothberg, PhD, author of The Engaged Spiritual Life

"In Spiritual Bypassing, Robert Masters eloquently reminds us of something we have unknowingly misplaced on our spiritual journeys: Mother Earth. In our efforts to bypass our earthly challenges, we have disconnected from the Ground of our very being, seeking our wholeness on a pogo stick to the stars. In poignant and clarifying language, Robert calls us back home, confronting us with our avoidance, inviting us to find our spirituality in the heart/depths of our humanness. In an era where detachment models for spirituality are becoming dangerously prevalent, his inclusive message is of profound importance. It may not appeal to the part of us that wants the path to be easy, but it will speak loudly to the part of us that longs for the truth. I recommend it wholeheartedly."
—Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping

"In Spiritual Bypassing, Robert Augustus Masters offers a wake-up call—more of a shout—to those of us who have unwittingly fallen prey to all manner of promising and seductive antidotes to our pain and suffering in the form of detached spiritual teachings and New Age magical thinking. The book is a sobering and powerful reminder that our present embodiment, in all its flawed, messy humanness, cannot be conveniently sidestepped, and so invites us inward to a face-to-face encounter and embrace with the raw truth of who we really are. Masters’ unique and at times disarming prose style blends a poetic sensibility with a surprising stark clarity that points us to 'What Really Matters.'"
—Eliezer Sobel, author of The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalist’s Misadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics, and Other Consciousness-Raising Experiments

"There is much hard-won wisdom in this work. Spiritual Bypassing is a detailed, point-by-point description of how so-called spirituality can be used by some to actually avoid individuation, adulthood, and the daimonic. When Carl Jung noted that “neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering,” he hinted that, especially for the Western psyche, spiritual practice itself can be just such a sneaky neurosis. This insightful, firm, confrontive yet compassionate book promotes and encourages the complementary marriage of spiritual practice and psychotherapy, recognizing that they are—and, at best, have always been—basically two integrally related sides of the same existential coin: The most profound psychotherapy is essentially spiritual; and the deepest spiritual quest includes some depth psychology. Neither approach can be excluded on the unpredictable path toward selfhood. But even the powerful fusion of spirituality and psychotherapy cannot offer transcendent perfection. Selfhood or spiritual enlightenment is never about escaping or distorting inner or outer reality to serve our egos, but requires lovingly accepting and embracing reality as it is and on its own terms."
—Stephen Diamond, PhD, author of Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity

"Uncompromising and truth-telling, this book is an antidote to spiritual obesity. What emerges is the call to psychological clarity as essential to the mature spiritual life. Here is soul-fuel for those who would enter the road less traveled—the deeply examined life as part of spiritual practice."
—Jean Houston, PhD, author of A Mythic Life

"The escape act and forms of denial and self-delusion that Robert Masters diagnoses as 'spiritual bypassing' have been with us for millennia — perhaps since our early ancestors first discovered psycho-spiritual experiences that seemed to relieve the pressures of living and dying. But the syndrome has become endemic in our frothy age of virtual everything — so we are all blessed by the appearance of this diamond of a book. Here a priest of our true wellness has distilled the blood, sweat, and tears of his decades of fervent triage work in trenches of bypassing into essences of truly healing wisdom. Every spiritual practitioner would do well to study Spiritual Bypassing again and again. So would every one of us who presume to teach any spirituality at all. Thankfully, it's as much compassionate antidote as prophetic critique. May it be put to grateful use as long as the illness it treats continues  to ravage human bodies, souls, and lives."
—Saniel Bonder, founder, Waking Down in Mutuality, and author of Healing the Spirit/Matter Split and Waking Down

Spiritual Bypassing
casts a critical eye on our deeply entrenched misuse of spirituality… Masters provides a framework for how to deal with and integrate ‘negative’ emotions such as anger, fear, hate and judgment into a more authentic way of living. While most self-help books these days seem to simply tell you to ‘just be more positive,’ ‘avoid negativity’ or ‘have more compassion,’ Masters suggests a method where we can simultaneously choose to be compassionate while also still choosing to acknowledge our heartfelt anger—without expressing it with excessive aggression or repressing it through denial or other practices that might numb our real feelings... Spiritual Bypassing is a must read for anyone who is looking for a more integrated spirituality, authentic relationship with themselves and others, and practical methods for dealing with unresolved wounds.”
Spiritual Media Blog

“In my opinion, [Spiritual Bypassing] will become as important as Chogyam Trungpa's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism… Masters seems to be, based on his writings, one of the most important minds working in integral psychotherapy.”
Integral Options Café

Spiritual Bypassing is an exceptionally well-written book that is endorsed by big-time authors such as, Jack Kornfield, Jean Houston, and Ken Wilber. Let's support (and challenge) ourselves and others who can no longer see for themselves when they are blinded by the light.”
New Consciousness Review

About the Author

Robert Augustus Masters, PhD, is the author of eleven books, including Transformation Through Intimacy and Darkness Shining Wild. He holds a doctorate in psychology and is a master integral psychotherapist, trainer of psychotherapists, and group leader. He lives in White Rock, British Columbia.

More About the Author

Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D., is the author of 11 books, including Transformation Through Intimacy and Darkness Shining Wild. He holds a doctorate in psychology, and is a highly experienced psychotherapist, bodyworker, trainer of psychotherapists, and teacher of spiritual deepening. His integral, intuitive work dynamically blends the psychological and physical with the spiritual, emphasizing embodiment, authenticity, deep shadow work, emotional openness and literacy, and the development of relational maturity.

He has seen and personally experienced the highs and lows of spirituality from many perspectives, including as a practicing psychotherapist for 32 years and as a spiritual teacher. Those who work with him are taught, among other things, how to turn toward and enter their pain so that they might pass through it, rather than rising above or otherwise avoiding it. At essence his work is about becoming more intimate with all that we are -- dark and light, high and low, shallow and deep, neurotic and transcendent, dying and undying.

He and his wife Diane work and teach in extraordinarily close conjunction, doing all their groups, sessions, and trainings together. To learn more about what they offer, visit www.robertmasters.com (where you can subscribe to his free newsletter, The Crucible of Awakening). They also offer online work; for more information go to www.masterscenter.net.

Customer Reviews

An interesting topic explained very succinctly.
Martin B. Jetton
We seldom look into our pain and seek to heal it - we often try to bypass it and spirituality is often a great way - in our minds - to do it.
Amazon Customer
I not only highly recommended this book, but I think it's a "must read" for anyone who finds themselves being a spiritual teacher or author.
Scott Kiloby

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yeah, that's a cliche, but after reading this book it will feel like the most true thing you have ever heard.

I have been reading and enjoying Robert Augustus Masters' newest book, "Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters." I'm reading a Kindle version on my iTouch and my Kindle, so I find myself highlighting whole pages that I want to share.

I can't post the whole book here. Yet I cannot recommend this book strongly enough - if you want to be fully integrated as a human being, get the most from your spiritual practice, and/or go deeper in your psychotherapy, you MUST get this book and read it, slowly and let it sink in.

Of all the people who talk about an integral spirituality and psychology, Masters is the only one I really see walking the talk. His books are not filled with abstract theory, they are practical guides to becoming more authentic, more integrated, and more whole.

Masters gives us an overview of the many varied ways we engage in spiritual bypassing in the first 7 chapters. When we get to chapter 8, "What Generates Spiritual Bypassing?", the answer he gives is perfectly obvious - pain - and yet all the ways we seek to escape the pain generally just make it worse. We seldom look into our pain and seek to heal it - we often try to bypass it and spirituality is often a great way - in our minds - to do it.

In my opinion, this book will become as important as Chogyam Trungpa's "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism," which they publisher mentions as well (see above).

This book is so clear and so true that one wonders how no one else has ever written this.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Scott Kiloby on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the author of Doorway to Total Liberation: Conversations with What Is, and after having written several books and traveled across the US talking about nondual realization, my experience tells me that no matter how deeply one has realized nondual awareness, gained valuable spiritual insight, progressed far along in some spiritual tradition or path, or had powerful spiritual experiences, there are usually shadows of some sort or elements of spiritual bypassing....lurking within the person.

I've seen this in myself and in many others who were spiritual teachers. Perhaps what this reveals, more than anything else, is that in our rush to awakening, in our "McDonaldized" fast-food mentality of "wake up now," we sometimes push issues under the rug or just completely bypass them. We end up giving ourselves the short end of the stick when it comes to freedom and fullness. And for those of us that are teaching, writing books, or otherwise sharing a spiritual message, we tend to pass that tendency to bypass onto others. Our bypassing becomes like a virus in the system, infecting one human heart and mind after the other.

I had to say all that to explain exactly why I think "Spiritual Bypassing" by Masters is so important! Just reading this book can open up one's eyes and bring attention to issues that are so easily overlooked.

I found myself silently nodding my head "yes" as I was reading. I have seen several of the things he brought up in myself. And I've seen the other issues in fellow friends, students, and teachers. So this is really a book for all of us, no matter where we think we are, on a path or beyond a path.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jarod on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I only discovered the works of Robert Augustus Masters a few months ago, and thank him dearly for writing Spiritual Bypassing. We are currently moving through a time of post modernist reductionism so it's easy to fall into a cynical mindset around spirituality, especially as the New Age movement has resulted in a confusing, mystical and oft times magical approach toward profound and deep spiritual truths. Masters perspective on the importance of breaking through your individual spiritual prejudices and seeing your truth as an objective, integrated 21st century adult is both refreshing and lucid.
He asserts that our spiritual practices are just as valid as our psycho-therapeutic understandings, and to not just blindly believe either, don't just meditate your life away, pray for forgiveness, or spend years talking about it to a therapist, get up and do something about it. He highlights that we have to make an effort and healthy connection to all aspects of being a whole human, which is to nourish mind, body and spirit.
A fabulous, clear, and intelligent read for any one that desires to be a whole, loving and evolved citizen on planet Earth today. Loved it!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Alison www.health-journalist.com on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
In Spiritual Bypassing, Masters brilliantly raises awareness about a downside risk of the misuse of spirituality to declare ourselves whole, perfect, and happy before the task, either individual or collective is truly done. Our current epoch is one in which material values predominate over the values of caring, connection, and community. That's why so many people have turned to spirituality for understanding and a refuge. But it's critical that we garner the nourishment of a spiritual view while not using it to escape or avoid authentic healing of personal suffering. Nor should we use the notion that nothing exists but love or everything is perfect to abdicate responsibility for undertaking practical steps to assure necessary change in societal infrastructures so that the greater public good shall prevail. [...]
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