Cognition & Reality

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Spirtual Bypassing

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — drtone @ 2:20 pm

I’m reading Spitritual Bypassing, by Robert Masters. Ostensibly, it’s a criticism of the New Age trend of hiding behind spiritual practice and spirituality, rather than facing up to the pain in our lives. Masters writes well and simply, and the book has so far held my interest. There are difficulties with his argument, but Masters makes a larger point about the relationship between psychotherapy and spiritual practice that deserves serious study.

To the extent that Masters pursues the main line, he runs into the problem that he can’t be too specific about whom and what he is criticizing. Nobody really knows how much I’m meditating simply to numb my fears. Although it can be annoying to hear people claim that everything is perfect because it’s all the Oneness, or whatever, to address that in detail would involve nothing more than bitching about flaky people. Masters avoids that trap at the expense, sometimes, of spelling out his concerns.

That said, when he does get specific about throwing aside the masks that spirituality offers, Masters offers an outline of a “spiritual” form of psychotherapy that is both illuminating and useful. His message, which he has delivered elsewhere, about going into one’s pain, rather than trying to ascend out of it, is at the heart of effective psychotherapy because it’s at the heart of true personal development.



  1. thanks for the post, this is a book that I’ve wanted to read for awhile, I’ve read excerpts on his website, thanks for the reminder :o)

    Comment by kate — Thursday, 14 October 2010 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  2. […] @ 10:23 am Specifics trump theory every time. Although I admire the new Robert Masters book, Spiritual Bypassing, his chapter on “boundaries” demonstrates how that discussion without specifics is […]

    Pingback by Specifics « Cognition & Reality — Tuesday, 19 October 2010 @ 10:24 am | Reply

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