There’s a lot going on in the world of natural health. Most of it’s really great, but every once in a while, we see stuff that makes us cringe. Over the next couple months, we’ll share our perspectives on a few of these. First up: diets and spiritual bypassing. Here’s what naturopaths Christie Kruisenga and Micah McLaughlin have to say.
What’s a trend in the world of natural health that makes you cringe?
Christie Kruisenga: As a naturopath, I get asked a lot about what diet I think is best. My short answer: NONE.
There are far too many factors to consider when looking at a person as an individual to say that everyone should be vegan, paleo, ketogenic, macro-biotic, raw, vegetarian, etc. We each have our own constitution and what bring us into balance and throws us out of balance is variable from one person to the next.
Things to consider include, but are not limited to, your blood type, your dominant nervous system type, your dosha type, your glandular type, if you’re more yin or yang, the balance of your elements, eating with the seasons, etc.
In simpler terms, some people’s bodies thrive on meat, others do not. Some people need mostly warm cooked foods, others need a cold smoothie each morning and raw veggies all day.
What I DO recommend is to listen to YOUR body. Nobody knows better than you what makes you feel your best, and at different times of the week, month or year, these things may change. What is your body telling you?
Micah McLaughlin: Spiritual bypassing is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds and developmental needs. It is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed, except in more obvious extremes.
Spiritual bypassing especially among natural health advocates, yogis and energy workers is rampant. It fits nicely into our cultural tendency to turn quickly away from the root of a problem, preferring a quick fix that covers the problem up, or something to distract or numb us from the pain. It is a strategy not only for avoiding pain but also for legitimizing such avoidance.
Gratitude journals, positive thinking that denies reality, not confronting fears, anger and past wounds lead the way into spiritual bypassing. When we use meditation, the law of attractions and spiritual practices to avoid past traumas and painful emotions, we deny our human experience for hope of some spiritually enlightened magic carpet ride to draw us above our pain and suffering.
True spiritual growth includes not only acknowledging our past traumas and painful emotions, but turning toward them and grieving our past, while integrating and holding empathy toward our younger selves.
As Robert Augustus Masters says in his book Spiritual Bypassing,
“As my spiritually inclined clients become more intimate with their pain and difficulties, coming to understand the origins of their troubles with a more open ear and heart, they either abandon their misguided spiritual practices and re-enter a more fitting version of them with less submissiveness and more integrity and creativity or find new practices that better suit their needs, coming to recognize more deeply that everything—everything!—can serve their healing and awakening.
In the facing and outgrowing of spiritual bypassing, we enter a deeper life, a life of full-blooded integrity, depth, love and sanity; a life of authenticity on every level; a life in which the personal, interpersonal and transpersonal are all honored and lived to the fullest.”