Is It Forgiveness Or Spiritual Bypassing? ~ Dianne Bondy

Via Dianne Bondy
on Jun 5, 2012
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Are You Dealing with Your Sh*t?

Are you tired of the John Friend scandal yet? The drawn out nature of this mess makes me wonder are we really tackling our issues or are simply wearing yogi blinders?

As yogis (especially in the Anusara tradition) we are taught to always look for the good in everything. “Forgive, love everyone boundlessly and serve with all your heart,” are often heard mantras. Motivational speakers and self help gurus spew this stuff relentlessly: “Just think of the positive to attract more positive to your life, don’t focus on the negative or worse things will happen.”

You have to face the negative. Difficult situations present themselves and we must deal with it.  That’s called “life.”

Working through conflict, sitting with the feelings that bubble up and learning from them is the work of true spirituality.

Suppressing our dark feelings and thoughts is not effective personal management. Identifying the triggers and truly dealing with the source of your discontent is a worthy cause. Disconnecting from pain and sad feelings keeps us from being grounded in truth.

Being a true yogi doesn’t mean living blindly, or in denial. In his book Spiritual Bypassing, Robert Augustus Masters lists the symptoms of the phenomenon as: “…exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, over-emphasis on the positive, anger-phobia. Blind or overly tolerant compassion, weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development…and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being.”

Embrace the pain within.

Lauren Mitchell

I have the pleasure of meeting countless people who are creating a deeper connection with themselves throughout the physical and spiritual practice of Yoga. At some point, you stop practicing yoga and then yoga just happens to you. It isn’t always pretty. All of your regrets, insecurities and true feelings may come rushing out at you like a freight train with no brakes. This is when the real yoga begins. Growth occurs when one acknowledges and embraces the lessons of what comes up from within.

It’s okay to be upset and not to love everyone. You can’t be friends with everyone, it’s really hard to love everyone…and why do you have to? Isn’t respect and compassion good enough?

To attain true spirituality we have to own our situations; life will have difficult, burning moments. Our connections to others may end for reasons we can’t understand. Swim in the authentic feelings of love, hate, anger and jealousy. They are a part of what you are but are not who you are. Love your light and your dark (it helped you become the person you are). This is the true work of spirituality and is the only path to forgiveness and acceptance.



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Editor: ShaMecha Simms


About Dianne Bondy

Dianne is an E-RYT 500 the founder of, and Co-founder of Yoga for All Online Teacher Training She loves to educate, share, celebrate yoga and diversity and is a contributing author for Yoga and Body Image: A New anthology. She is also featured in Yes Yoga Has Curves and Yoga Journal. She is a columnist for the Elephant Journal, loves public speaking, runs yoga retreats, trains yoga teachers, has a devoted husband, two small boys and not enough sleep. Dianne is big, black, bold and loves all things yoga. Try to keep up with Dianne on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram or download one of her FREE podcast on iTunes


14 Responses to “Is It Forgiveness Or Spiritual Bypassing? ~ Dianne Bondy”

  1. Mamaste says:

    Just intro'd on FB to: Culture, Spirituality & I'm Not Spiritual.

  2. I am a lover says:

    Dianne, you say "It’s okay to be upset and not to love everyone. You can’t be friends with everyone, it’s really hard to love everyone…and why do you have to? Isn’t respect and compassion good enough?". I think there is a difference between loving someone and wanting to be their friend. Often, the people in life that trigger us or cause us the most pain can be our biggest teachers. And often those people remind us of a darker part of our own self that we are not willing to see or acknowledge. I still believe you should truly wish love and success unto that individual. Especially because they are teaching such valuable lessons that lead to more spiritual growth. In yoga, we are taught to realize connection between all beings. Yoga does mean "to yoke". I try to recognize the suffering in others as being the same as my own suffering as well as the happiness in others being the same as my own happiness. One thing that is true according to Buddhism, is that there will always be suffering. The goal is to look beyond the outer layer and to see what is truly inside. This is where the love comes in. And from this love is compassion and empathy. I do not think that compassion and love can be separate.

  3. Dianne says:

    Good point

  4. This is your best post so far, Dianne. 🙂

  5. Dianne says:

    Dear I am a lover -you have a great point about love.I have had more time to sit with your thoughts. I LOVE human kind, the struggles, the experiences, the light and the dark- all of it. I really do wish success for everyone. I want everyone to find what they are looking for and experience life fully. Life is full of great experiences most of them good, some of them bad and then there are the ugly parts ( the shadows we need to see). I do believe we all connected by the life experience and life force. Do I love everyone….define love? I respect and have compassion for everyone but love is sacred. __The feelings I have for my children, my husband, my friends, my family and people who I connect with every single day is a far different feeling then I have for people I don't know, never met or for people who have hurt me and done me some emotional and physical damage. People who have hurt me have allowed me to look at my shadows. They have taught me great lessons but I can't say what I feel for them is love. I feel respect. I liken to it teaching asana..I certainly don't LOVE chatarunga but I respect it and honour what it does for my mind and body. I think it is really unrealistic to truly and wholy have love for people you truly don't know or people you thought you knew…I do have compassion and respect. I don't necessarily agree that love and compassion are the same thing….

  6. Sean Haleen says:

    As a former Anusara teacher, I rarely, if ever, used the term or the idea of "looking for the good." I found that it either enabled Spiritual Bypassing via encouraging people to employ some trite, impersonal mantra that sublimated their problem or completely turned them off (try telling some one you hardly know who's lost their child or has cancer to "look for the good").

    I've changed my phrasing to look for the opportunity or the importance and people have been for more responsive.

    Thanks for your article.

  7. Dianne says:

    Thanks for reading it…..

  8. Madhavi says:

    You have made my day!!! i will teach this in my class today. Thats the point iam working on and i love your text!!!

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