Spiritual bypassing involves using beliefs to avoid challenging emotions, while homophobia involves justifying attitudes or behaviors towards gay people.
In his classic book, Toward a Psychology of Awakening, John Welwood, the prominent psychotherapist and author in the transpersonal-psychology field, defined spiritual bypassing as:
“Using spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks.” The goal of such practices, he claimed, was enlightenment.
Some signs of emotional bypassing (from Psychology Today):
The coming out process is a spiritual awakening that started at a very early age. And it’s a lifelong process of self-acceptance in a larger culture that still promotes hate and discrimination. The goal is to transcend that. But how do you find love and self-acceptance in a spiritual community that avoids the existing issues in the name of spiritual enlightenment?
My argument is that, yes, we do need to transcend the labels and tags, but we are not all at that same level of consciousness, yet. For now, we can, instead, choose to hold the light for those in our community who are struggling with mental and emotional health issues such as substance abuse, addictions, and suicide. Hold the light so they can find their light.
In response to a blog post I shared in a men’s yoga group about a breathwork online class I have coming up, someone commented:
“I guess I am lucky to have a space held in our studio for all practitioners without judgment, whether gay, straight, bisexual, trans, etc., and all body types, where yoga is the main focus and not what the person next to you looks like.”
It’s not about the labels, tags, and boxes, and it’s also not about how the person next to you looks. It’s about recognizing that, yes, the goal is to move past all of that and help raise collective awareness. It’s about creating a space where they feel safe to be there and be themselves.
It’s about recognizing as a member of the gay community and spiritual gay men, we do have unique mental and emotional wellness issues that still need addressing.
I’d prefer, instead, to acknowledge and hold a safe space for my gay brothers and be light for them to find their light. To create a safe space with loving awareness without the spiritual mask and an understanding that others might be going through their traumas or shadows.
Speaking personally, it took a lot of courage and processing my fears and limiting beliefs to decide to focus my energy on helping other gay men through the process of healing and spiritual awakening.
I fully acknowledge that labels such as “gay” and “bisexual” in the context of true spiritual enlightenment become irrelevant because, by nature of their meaning, they divide and separate us. The true meaning of unity consciousness, understanding oneness with loving awareness, transcends the need for the “labels, tags, and boxes.”
But we are not there yet. Not all of us.
Mounting evidence shows that gay culture can be a hostile environment that presents unique challenges for the physical, mental health, and emotional wellness of gay and bisexual men.
From unrealistic body standards and online dating to substance abuse and rampant loneliness, it can be challenging for gay and bisexual men to let go of outdated beliefs that no longer serve us.
Not to mention rates of suicide are higher among men who do not identify with the normative labels of heterosexual mainstream.
I’m not saying my position on this is the ultimate truth, nor am I saying that I have all the answers. As a healer and breathwork facilitator, I support anyone willing to do the internal work of healing past traumas and seeking to better themselves—emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually.
And if I am feeling called to shine my light and help others find their way on the path to their light, and if it makes the difference to even just one person’s life, then it was worth it. No regrets.
Heart-Centered Creator has evolved from my desire to create a safe space to facilitate the creative process of gay men’s health, mental wellness, and personal transformation.
In a typically machismo gay community, Heart-Centered Creator represents the other side of gay culture—inner strength, authenticity, vulnerability, courage, and love.
It takes courage, commitment, and determination to overcome false fears and limit negative beliefs about ourselves. It can be challenging letting go of the outdated thoughts we’ve held on to.
Understanding that all of us are single points of one unified consciousness (and that perhaps, the old labels and tags and boxes no longer serve us), I also recognize that not all of us are at that same place in our process.
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