In this push-button, ego-massaging world, it is no surprise that there is a vacuum in human values… a space that many spiritual and self-improvement fields feed off. It is against the backdrop of these distorted principles, the modern spiritual and New Age movements have reacted.
Today, spiritual students have few options for understanding what being a psycho-spiritual being actually means. The number of available paths are diminishing and the quality of the advice that is available is weakening.
In Spiritual Bypassing writer and integral psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters lays down his views on the slanted approach to spirituality and its practice that much of the New Age expounds and promotes.
He identifies several key areas of modern spiritual practice—the approach to human emotions, sexuality, compassion and health—and reveals how ungrounded many practitioners of the modern slant on spirituality really are.
Robert Masters has written many books about the human shadow and the lack of clear guidance on its importance in contemporary spiritual practice. Yet, he directs his strongest criticism at the way people use spirituality as a way to avoid personal issues, instead of as a way to resolve them.
Life is a transformational process. It involves growth and change and often forces us to engage with our inner darkness and demons. As Masters points out, it is at times like these that we need to drop the spiritual aspect of our lives and engage in some serious Soul Searching. A process that Masters feels should be handled by experienced teachers with deeper insights into the way that the human spirit works.
Spiritual Bypassing is a fluid and non-threatening read—but there again, I was wholly convinced by the author’s proposals from the beginning. I am sure that others in the New Age movement will see it differently.
Spiritual Bypassing is not a perfect appraisal of the inadequacies of modern spiritual beliefs. In places, the author is a little harsh in some of his personal judgments. Also, when criticizing the practice of spirituality today, he fails to acknowledge the important psycho-therapeutic work Shamans and Magickians do in ritualized settings.
He also misses the important point that some New Age disciplines, such as Astrology and Tarot, do engage with deeper psychological principles. Many people use these tools very effectively.
Nevertheless, Spiritual Bypassing opens an important debate in Western Spirituality—hampered as it is by its Juedeo-Christian principles and armageddonist philosophies.
I urge anyone working in these fields to pick up a copy of this book and to engage with the author’s personal insights and commentaries on spirituality and how we use it in our daily lives.
This is a wise book, written with passion and by a man of passion. The arguments he presents are powerful and convincing.