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First Name Basis Podcast

Jun 22, 2020

There have been many different types of reactions to the calls for racial justice that are going on in our country right now. If your social media looks anything like mine you’ve probably noticed a lot of spiritual bypassing. Spiritual bypassing is a term coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984, he describes it as, “a widespread tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.” 

It is calls for “prayer,” “unity,” and “love” without a commitment to action. It is the message that “we are all different and God loves everyone” and statements like “I’m not listening to the voices of the world anymore, I’m only listening to God.”

Spiritual bypassing may look harmless on the surface, but it is actually a form of violence because it shuts down conversation and allows people to distance themselves from the responsibility they have to be part of the solution, which in turn perpetuates racism. In this episode we discuss how to spot spiritual bypassing, what makes it so dangerous, and what you should do when you see it.  

Human Nature, Buddha Nature: On Spiritual Bypassing, Relationship, and the Dharma by John Wellwood 


Spiritual Bypassing, White Privilege, and Black Lives Matter


Song Credit: “Away” by Geographer and “Beach Disco” by Dougie Wood