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Showing posts from August 18, 2014

Spiritual Bypass

The Buddha taught that the greatest source of suffering in life arises from our attempts to avoid inevitable discomforts; essentially, we crave immunity from discomfort and an escape route from difficult emotions. Yet we humans all work from the same universal, basic emotional palette: anger, fear, sadness, happiness, disgust, contempt, surprise.

Now, many of us are trained, in the formative years of childhood, that some of these inevitable emotional states aren’t safe to express, such as sadness and anger; they must be avoided at all costs. (As infants we run to our caretakers during emotional events, seeking regulation and security; whatever emotions make our caretakers uncomfortable, we’ll struggle with as well). While many of our emotions will be tolerated, others will be rejected or shamed; this experience of disrupted connection creates what can be a lifelong tendency to suppress and repress core human energies, rather than learning to face and tolerate all of our core emotional …