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


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Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters + Transformation through Intimacy, Revised Edition: The Journey toward Awakened Monogamy + Emotional Intimacy: A  Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions
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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: 22.7 x 15.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Amazon.com: 33 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
The Only Way Out Is Through Sept. 21 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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. Here are a few short quotes:

"Instead of trying to get beyond our personal history, we need to learn to relate to it with as much clarity and compassion as possible, so that it serves rather than obstructs our healing and awakening. This also means relating in similar fashion to our tendency to spiritually bypass, casting a lucid, caring eye upon the part of us who buys into us." (Location 225)

* * *

"When we remain outside or removed from our fear, we are trapped by it, but when we actually do get inside, cultivating intimacy with it, we are no longer trapped by it, discovering--and not just intellectually--that it is but darkly contracted energy, a knotted-up vitality that can be freed when we become intimate with it." (Location 337)

* * *

"Real shadow work does not leave us intact; it is not some neat and tidy process but rather an inherently messy one, as vital and unpredictably alive as birth. The ass it kicks is the one upon which you are sitting; the pain it brings up is the pain we've been fleeing most of our life; the psychoemotional breakdowns it catalyzes are the precursors to hugely relevant breakthroughs; the doors it opens are doors that have shown up year after year in our dreams, awaiting our entry. Real shadow work not only breaks us down but also breaks us open, turning frozen yesterday into fluid now." (Location 635)

* * *

Those are from the first few chapters - there are wise quotes like these on nearly every page. I could offer lots of other quotes, especially from the chapters on shadow work (hint: 1-2-3 shadow work ain't real shadow work), blind compassion, false transcendence, magical thinking, sex, shame, and so much more.

One of the more important sections in the book is the chapter on "magical thinking." So much of what passes for "spirituality" is simply magical thinking (and spiritual materialism) all dressed up in new language. The so-called "law of attraction" is a prime example that Masters takes on, revealing the childish thinking behind the pseudo-spirituality.

Most importantly, he is not condescending - we all engage in spiritual bypass from time to time. The trick is learning to recognize and limit it's ability to keep us isolated from ourselves. In the end, that's exactly what happens. If we do not get to know our pain and our wounding, our fears and our hatreds, then we are never fully ourselves, we are two-dimensional beings casting a large shadow.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A Must! Dec 22 2010
By Scott Kiloby - Published on Amazon.com
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. Once we close down to looking at these issues, we may remain closed forever. So Masters book is just sitting out there, like an invitation to look again, to double check for ways in which we use spiritual language and methods (as well as direct non-method, nondual approaches) to bypass in areas like relationship, responsibility, "manifesting things in one's life," "healthy v. unhealthy transcendence," boundaries v. no boundaries. He deals with very difficult issues, striking a balance between total freedom where everything is perfect as it is and everyday discrimination where we know how to say "no" or remove ourselves from toxic situations or strike a balance between containment of anger v. expression of anger. This book is like one big invitation NOT to repress various aspects of our experience.

Masters chapter on Spiritual Gullibility and Cultism is great stuff. Wow, much needed! I'm glad someone is talking about this. I've seen it in virtually every kind of spirituality--from the dual to the nondual. This book is intelligent spirituality! It asks you to question what you are doing and thinking, and why you belong to a certain group or attracted to a certain practice--ultimately inviting you to let liberation be a fire that burns up unhealthy tendencies of bypassing within that group or practice.

This book is really more valuable than 10 books within your favorite tradition or from your favorite spiritual teaching because it can illuminate things for you that your tradition or teaching cannot see. So why not take a break from whatever you are doing, with whatever teacher, or in whatever path, and just check out this book. It's well worth it!

Masters reminds us to bring every aspect of our experience online--from the head to the heart to the body and to nondual awareness. It's a beautiful invitation to everyone, student and teacher alike. 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
Living Realization
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Spiritual Bypassing Connects You to What Matters Nov. 29 2010
By jarod - Published on Amazon.com
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!
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Superb book on important topic Aug. 2 2010
By Alison www.health-journalist.com - Published on Amazon.com
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. [...]
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A MASTERPIECE March 10 2011
By Lisa Holliday Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book by Robert Augustus Masters may be the most important book in spiritual circles today. Especially in the Eastern, Non-dual and "Every thing is Just a Story" realms. I am becoming a more integrated woman, teacher, student, mother, wife and friend because of this book. It is absolutely a masterpiece! I have so much more I could say about this, but I will simply say that it is in the top 3 most important books I have ever read. Give this gift to you.


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