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Spiritual Bypassing? – The Bus Stop Metaphor

Six months ago, my spiritual sensibilites were triggered when I watched a video about a spiritual bus stop. There are many aspects of the video that could be helpful to those struggling with a “why me” mindset, but the bus stop metaphor itself didn’t seem useful. It seemed more like “spiritual bypassing.” The metaphor says that just prior to returning to another life, we are waiting at a bus stop where we share with other souls our greatest desire for our next life. The example given is of a person who wants a major trauma in her life, something that would be unforgivable, just so she can learn unconditional love and forgiveness. She asks for another soul at the bus stop to possibly drink and drive and hit her car so that she loses her family and she is paralyzed. She says that she would feel a great contraction in her life until, finally, she would forgive the perpetrator. The video says we request the worst experiences in our lives to occur so we can dig deeply to experience forgiveness. The most difficult experience comes as what is also our greatest gift. The drunk driver would have brought her her greatest gift.

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I tried to make sense of that through the traumas I or members of my family had experienced, and I found it hard to imagine that the tens of millions of us who lost loved ones during the Holocaust would have asked for that experience, let alone have seen it as a gift. Although I have learned so much from my brother’s suicide, and it has led me to work with gifted and sensitive people, I do not see his death as my greatest gift. It seems so narcissistic to think I would have requested something like my brother’s suicide that left a daughter without a father, my mother in the early stages of dementia rocking herself and saying, “My golden boy,” and his many friends in pain, just for my own soulful awakening and evolution. And now, on podcasts by spiritual coaches, I am hearing this same mantra: We ask for the challenges we receive. That seems like an invitation for people to be less than compassionate with each other because, whatever happens to people, they asked for it.

In my journal I wrote, It doesn’t resonate with me when I hear someone say that souls sign up for things like being killed by a suicide murderer, raped by a gang, or abused by parents. Why care about the pain and suffering of others if all these people have co-created this? Why have compassion for a person whose ex-spouse kills their three children if the surviving spouse asked for this unforgivable trauma? As usual, my spirit guide Holly was there with her take on this bus stop metaphor.

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Holly: This is a total misunderstanding of the human/divine connection. With each new incarnation, the soul is trying to evolve and grow toward greater love and light. There are challenges that will be met along the way, and the attempt should be to remain in the NOW as much as possible. Do not be fueled by past experience with hatred, revenge, guilt, sorrow. Try to focus on what is here and now. When those in the spiritual community speak of “those people signed up for this,” it is a slippery slope into spiritual bypassing. In other words, there is no need to care about others and their plight because they signed up for their traumas. Any life agreements one has made, does not mean there should not be compassion for the plight of that person. This is such an important topic. And your role in this is to share your perspective about being a loving, compassionate person — the Eternal Flame — the Eternal Light. Do not allow spiritual explanations aimed to soothe the masses to fool you. Suffering is real, and you are being asked to step forward as incarnated compassion.

After hearing what Holly had to say, I read a bit more about spiritual bypassing. John Wellwood coined the term (1984) for the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to bypass unresolved issues, pain, and suffering. Ingrid Clayton, Ph.D., in her article, Beware of Spiritual Bypass, says, “Over the years, I’ve become fascinated with the ways in which we try to feel endlessly good. We’ve gotten progressively more skillful in our methods: turning away from drugs or alcohol to alter our consciousness and turning towards things like self-help books, meditation, yoga, prayer, and special diets. In some ways, we are now spiritually distracting ourselves from our feelings — but thinking that we are walking a healthy spiritual path.”

So, if we are trying to make ourselves feel better about the state of the world by saying that victims have asked their perpetrators to traumatize them, perhaps we are bypassing an opportunity for true spiritual growth and soulful evolution by not allowing ourselves to feel deeply into the true pains of humanity and this planet.

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We invite you to support this planet and its sentient beings in their journeys through traumatic experiences. It is your compassion and love that will be the tipping point so many of you are seeking. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, October 19, 2021

2 thoughts on “Spiritual Bypassing? – The Bus Stop Metaphor

  1. Holly’s words were so deeply meaningful to me. I have been confused and troubled when observing people responding to others through their beliefs in karma earned, or choice, and with a content detachment. As a person who can merge too much, I am often left wondering if I have not gained enough wisdom or insight to witness others suffering with such detachment, but I can never reach a place of peace with that option either. I think Holly’s words and your final synopsis offer a crucial meditation for us right now. Thank you.


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