In 2009 I was living at a meditation center below Tucson, Arizona. Many times I drove from my old home in Northern California to where I was developing myself as a meditator. When I first made the trip, I used maps and my best guess on the quickest route to go, since GPS wasn’t a thing yet. However, while the major highway went through Phoenix, I quickly learned to take Route 85 as the “Phoenix bypass” since traffic through Phoenix, especially at rush hour, could literally be a real drag.
A bypass is a way to avoid or circumvent an obstacle or a problem. A road that goes around a busy city is called a bypass. It avoids the problem of getting stuck in slow moving traffic. Certain practices that circumvent mental and emotional obstacles could be considered a bypass as well. The highway could be called a physical bypass and the mental practices could be called a spiritual bypass. A bypass is always a good thing in my estimation.
I am beginning to focus my attention on doing more spiritual bypassing. The process of coming to know ultimate reality can be considered a clearing away of obscurations or weeds in the mindstream. However, I think there may be a bypass. Instead of focusing on pulling out each weed, perhaps, one can plant so many flowers that the weeds are choked out.
I have some rather large weed trees growing in my mind. I’ve tried to cut them back, sometimes almost to the ground and they just seem to sprout back in a new season. Other trees are so large and entangled with desirable trees that I can only seem to cut branches out. Its so thick that I don’t even recognize them as weed trees. Instead I think they are just a bad branch on a good tree. In the past, I’ve mostly focused on identifying and getting the weeds (false beliefs) out of my mind’s garden.
I know this is not the most efficient way to go. I’ve heard that a single moment of direct perception of ultimate reality will cut the root of every false weed tree. And the way to encounter that illuminating moment is to meditate and investigate how the self is created. That is what the Buddha did. However, so many weeds have taken over my mind I find it hard to have a stable meditation. I have been discouraged.
Now I am choosing to stop focusing on getting rid of the “bad”; to stop focusing on getting rid of the effects of ritual abuse trauma; to let the crazy arising and passing of emotions just be; to stop looking for the uncomfortable in me and the misbeliefs creating my world. Instead, I am embracing the “good”. I am expanding into all that is. I am focusing on simply whatever opens my heart and my mind.
To facilitate this, I’ve adopted the practice of Spiritual Mind Treatment. It is a form of affirmative prayer. The first step is recognition of ultimate truth and who I am in the big picture. Then there is a place for affirming the truth about the world – there is abundance: limitless energy, limitless love, limitless good; while denying falsehoods – there is nothing to fear, crave, or resist. Finally the prayer ends with rejoicing and a sense of surety.
The prayer can be long or short. It is followed with the practice of keeping the mind continuously directed to truth. This spiritual bypass focuses on truth and the multitude of possibilities as a way to elevate the mind, emotions, and spirit to starve out habitual limiting thoughts and false beliefs. Here is my Spiritual Mind Treatment for knowing greater peace and freedom:
I know there is one ultimate reality that encompasses everything. This truth of life flows through, within, around, and beyond everything. The world I experience is a deceptive reality that obscures the simple truth that I am that one life, that one power, that one reality. And since I am all that is (given duality is just an illusion) I know that it is impossible for me to lack anything. I am limitless peace, energy, love. It is impossible for me to really be separate from anyone and anything. It is impossible for me to be traumatized, just as it is impossible to traumatize the one life. Right here, right now, I choose to release all habitual tendencies to reify myself and the harm I experienced. I let go of the notion that I have to work to clear away obscurations. I simply affirm the truth that I am pure spirit and everything that is not true falls away. I rejoice in my new freedom and the great peace I feel. And so it is.