Good morning, community.
Brandie’s is a compelling story that is illustrative of one of the pitfalls of spirituality, which is sometimes called ‘spiritual bypassing.’ Spiritual bypassing as I am using the term here is where we use spiritual practices not as a way of engaging with life and embodying Spirit but as escapism. In the video, Brandie describes how she would have what I will call “mystical experiences” in meditation, but that this was a way of avoiding a reality she did not want to deal with.
Brandie is a model student in many ways. She was both ready to do a lot of work independently, but was never afraid to reach out anytime she felt I could be of assistance. She also worked with a somatic Therapist.
I will never say you can’t walk this path alone. But I will say for the vast majority of people it is not only helpful but essential to have some outside help from time to time. On the flip side, we don’t want to think our teacher or Guru will do the work for us as no one can walk our path for us.
As an example, in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna, the warrior, gets to learn directly from God about the true nature of the universe and see his pure form. Does that make him enlightened? Nope. Arjuna goes on in the battle to forget much of what he was taught in the Gita. Such is the nature of the spiritual path.
So the best approach, and the one I believe Brandie is taking, is we don’t expect anyone else to save us, we do as much as we can on our own, we don’t make excuses. But at the same time, we are never too proud to reach out for a hand on what is usually a difficult path to tread.
I want to thank Brandie, personally, for being vulnerable and sharing her compelling story with this community. She demonstrates what is possible when the student, teacher, community, and teachings come together in the right way. It doesn’t happen every time, but it does happen, and this testimonial is proof. I know I try every day to show up and do my part. And like Brandie says toward the end of the video, we use these tools to be more alive and passionate, and to live our true purpose ultimately.
-Douglas Johnson E-RYT 500, YACEP