Healer, Heal Thyself: Spiritual Bypass, Shadow Work and Reiki.
Exploring Spiritual Bypass, Shadow Work, and Reiki
When we begin learning a spiritual practice like Reiki, we are often so excited about all these exciting new techniques and perspectives that are helping us heal our lives.
We practice diligently at first, but it doesn’t take long before we shift our focus to all the people around us that are struggling. We often feel they should be living more like we are.
Before long, our personal practice falls to the wayside.
Instead of tending to our own inner healing, we spend our days preaching to the people around us – pointing out their flaws, how broken society is, how much better our new way of looking at life is.
As we stand on our soapbox, preaching to everyone around us (whether they want to listen or not) we notice that no one is really taking what we have to say to heart. Maybe they allow us to share a couple of free healings with them, but that’s where it ends and we can often become frustrated if they make no effort to continue learning and implementing the precious jewels we’re trying to share with them.
We begin to feel frustrated and angry.
Don’t they realize how hard it was to come to these realizations?
Don’t they realize how much suffering went into our own decision to finally see things in a new way?
Don’t they understand how much more difficult it is to continue on their current path?
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.
We can try to share our newfound knowledge with everyone, try to lead them to the water of self love, inner reflection, compassion, forgiveness and healing – but if they aren’t ready to hear it, they simply will not drink. At best, they’ll submit to a couple of halfhearted dribbles to please us, but that’s where it will end.
And rightly so.
Why does it have to be this way?
The answer may lie at the heart of the frustration. We want to help other people because we suffered so greatly to come to this place of healing. We experienced the path of numbing, the paths of believing life is meaningless, of succumbing to bitterness, blame, guilt, shame and addiction. Many of us walked those paths stubbornly for many years before we discovered that they were dead ends.
But how many years did we have to walk those paths before we decided to try another way?
How many lifetimes?
How many people tried to show us there always was another way, before we finally decided to change our course?
Every one of us in a very personal process of soul growth and spiritual evolution. It consists of countless lifetimes, experiences, and mistakes. We cannot bypass the process, and we cannot force the people around us to accelerate their growth and bypass the process, either.
Trying to skip the gritty lessons and difficult processes of life that lead to true spiritual growth and attempting to go straight to a false place of love, light and enlightenment (without doing the inner work) is known as Spiritual Bypass, and it does tremendous harm.
Just as we had to suffer and go through our own process to come to this place of healing, so must everyone else.
It can be a very hard pill to swallow, understanding that everyone is exactly where they have chosen to be. It becomes doubly hard to swallow when they are people we love, and we watch them suffer as a result of their choices, thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Armed with our new-found spiritual knowledge, it can be tempting to come charging into battle – determined to be their savior and the reason their life finally changes.
Unfortunately, it will not work.
It can also be a bit prideful to assume that we have all the answers. A person may certainly know a lot, but there will always be someone who knows even more. Perhaps you’re familiar with an old saying, “The more you know – the more you know you don’t know.” When we think we have all the answers we are guaranteed to have a very limited understanding.
The one who is wise knows that no matter how much he understands, it is only a tiny fraction of the big picture. He knows his understanding will continue to evolve and shift as he continues to grow and learn.
So what does this mean for us as lightworkers and Reiki healers? Can Reiki helps us navigate these tricky issues in a healthy way? Once again we can turn to the precepts and trust them to guide us.
Navigating with the Precepts
Just for Today
Stay grounded in the present moment. Accept things, including others, as they are. Do not allow your energy to run away into the past or future, stay centered and focused on the here and now.
Do Not Anger
Notice feelings of frustration, superiority, or injustice. Acknowledge them. Thank them for their messages, then look for healthy ways to release these feelings and to strengthen any boundaries that have been crossed or disrespected.
If the anger is directed at systems or society, understand that your frustration is valid, and that you can choose to channel that frustration into creating positive change. Know when to take a break and focus on what soothes and energizes you.
Do Not Worry
It can be very hard not to worry about those you care about when you see them walking a destructive path. Ultimately, you must understand that worries are prayers for things you do not want. Choose to use your imagination wisely, and visualize them prospering, healthy, making positive changes and send them lots of blessings when you feel concerned.
It is not enough to only think about helping others, we must also act. Think of ways you can make a positive difference, whether that is volunteering, donating time, money or services, or simply being there for someone who is struggling without judgement – and when you feel energized and capable of being of service to others, do it. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed or negatively affected, it is your responsibility to take time to restore yourself and clear your energy.
With Thankfulness, Work Diligently
Understand that it has likely taken you countless lifetimes to be at this point in your spiritual evolution – and that you still have a long way to go. Be grateful for the opportunity to practice, to begin learning the higher teachings, and to heal yourself.
Be of service to others because you understand that it is part of reciprocating the blessings you have received, yet do not get attached to the outcome. Give with a grateful heart and let go of needing things to go a certain way. Be of service from a place of love and compassion, and trust that everyone is doing the best they can. Trust the process of life.
Be Kind to Your Self and All Living Things
Be compassionate to your self. Understand that you are a work in progress, and you don’t have to be perfect. Understand that this holds true for every one you will ever meet. Practice self care, and notice when you are becoming depleted so that you can stop, take a break, and do the things that make you feel energized again.
No one can constantly give without also allowing themselves to receive. Show kindness to yourself and nurture yourself. Allow yourself to rest. Allow others to rest. Allow people to be where they are at, and honor their journey.
Reiki and Shadow Work
It’s tempting to turn our focus and our practice outwards. It’s natural to want to help others, but if we are not mindful it is easy to spend our time trying to heal the world while neglecting our selves. As Frans Stiene says, “I cannot give you tea if I do not have tea.”
When we feel ourselves becoming frustrated, angry, and judgmental towards the people around us, that is a clear indicator that we need to return to our own practice. Our emotions are signalling us that is time look within, and look with eyes of love on the parts of ourselves that are crying out for healing.
The people that trigger us the most are often reflecting back to us the places within ourselves that need healing and compassion. It can be painful to acknowledge these places and the urge to look away can be very powerful. In the past, the urge to look away may have manifested as addiction and destructive behaviors, as we may not have been equipped with the knowledge, support systems and tools to go there without fear that those painful parts of ourselves would overwhelm and destroy us.
When we muster the courage to look with eyes of love on these scary parts of ourselves, we discover that we are often really looking at a hurting inner child that is crying out for love. The process of looking within at these parts of ourselves that need love and healing is often referred to as “Shadow Work.”
Reiki can be an incredibly powerful tool to help us do this inner Shadow Work. The healing Reiki energy will facilitate the healing process within us, if we will work with it. Reiki helps us heal the most painful areas of our lives gently and lovingly. In those moments, the energy adjusts to what is needed and strengthens, supports, and surrounds us in a cocoon of healing grace. It gently brings what needs to be acknowledged to the surface of our awareness, and when we are ready, the shifts in perception follow.
It’s ability to help us heal is unlimited, when we are willing to be open, use our tools, and do the work.
The heart of Reiki is compassion, and a compassionate heart accepts that we are all doing the best that we can.
It does not cast judgement and waste energy trying to change the hearts around it, it simply loves.
That love, acceptance and gentle compassion is the most powerful and transformational energy that exists.
Your energy speaks with more power than your words ever could.
With lots of love and Reiki Blessings,
Reiki Master-Teacher and Pranic Healer