There’s only so much of your awareness to go around.
You spend a lot of time working on one area of your life and another area gets neglected. It’s a perpetual balancing act. Your head has to stay on a swivel. Otherwise, you risk letting something slip.
And spiritual bypass is one of the easiest ways for things to unravel.
Especially for truth-seekers who aim to live the most wholesome life possible.
It’s when you skip straight to the abstract & ephemeral aspects of life at the cost of the others.
For people into personal growth and altered states, it’s a natural trap to fall in. It’s easier to get your heart right with God than to be the big brother you ought to be. The spiritual realm is a solo pursuit that can take priority over everything else without a second thought.
The sneaky part is that you can get ‘good’ at it. You can feel real progress being made. You can feel more whole and tapped in. But, if your home life doesn’t feel these enlightened ripples and your health doesn’t ascend in parallel - what good is it doing you ultimately?
I’ve been spiritually bypassing my health lately.
It’s not that I’m committing many unhealthy sins, it’s just my health gets the least of my attention these days. And I can’t afford to continue to ignore it. For about 2 years, I’ve been running on an average of 6 hours of sleep. I’ve dropped many of the nutrition principles I once held in exchange for mere convenience. And I’ve spent an enormous amount of carved-out time on training my mind instead of training my body.
Thankfully, this is all on my radar quite vividly and change is underway.
To change nothing, would not be wise.
If I play out the long-term of my personal status quo, the consequences start to compound in a direction I don’t care to go.
The lack of sleep, surprisingly hasn’t impacted me as much as you might imagine it would. But, I know that for each additional hour of sleep I get the day just flows better than had I not. The lack of nutritional discipline has aesthetic consequences (we all wanna look good naked) and prevents me from peak performance in life. And finally, the physical training is 100% a problem of time management - no other excuse can be applied.
The craziest part of all (and why spiritual bypass is a sneaky bastard) is that I feel great!
Despite all that I just mentioned, I feel sharp as a tack mentally and full to the brim spiritually.
All of this tells me that the upside of giving more love, attention, & time to my physical nature will take me to a whole new level and unlock much more of my potential.
What I want to tell you now is how I even realized I had this issue going on even though in so many ways things are going great.
Mind, body, & spirit are all the same just as water, ice, and gas are all the same.
They are all connected and represent a spectrum. To differing degrees, each has an effect on the other and vice versa. You make some meaningful change over here with your mind and your body heals a bit more.
The interesting part is how there actually isn’t a hierarchy to it. You might think that spirit sits above mind and mind above body, but it turns out that in a weird way they are all equals in the human experience.
You can’t solve all through solving just one.
There’s a limit there and I found it.
I only reached this awareness by hitting what feels like a spiritual wall.
I haven’t been able to make any more spiritual progress lately and instead have peaked out on a plateau. It’s this that caused me to start diving into these other areas for answers. Hence, the Meta Checkin. I realized this deep connection between mind, body, and spirit, so I started to follow the line through each of them.
Spiritually, things haven’t been better, but could always get better.
Mentally, things were operating at a pace unlike any previously.
Physically, needed some work.
And that’s the new spot for me to dig into to assist in the wholesome growth of who I am and who I can be.
Start with more awareness.
Awareness cuts to the chase. You start shining a light on your problems and it becomes a lot harder to ignore them. The more painstakingly obvious you make it, the more difficult it is to go against your best interest.
There’s no better way to grab ahold of your main issue than with your full attention.
You put your mind to it - literally.
In practice, applying more awareness to my physical deficiencies begins with tracking.
What time am I getting to bed at night? What time is my alarm going off? What foods are going into my body throughout the day? How much water am I drinking? How much time am I dedicating to physical training each day?
Notice how the only thing I’ve changed here is my awareness of the physical aspects of my life - just tracking what’s been the norm.
The beauty of the Meta Checkin and this uptick of awareness is that the changes needed arise naturally out of paying attention.
It’s not all that much extra effort once the tracking momentum gets going.
Through active noticing, I’m able to make slight adjustments that lead to better physical health without a jarring amount of lane shifts within my life. This is important because I don’t want to fall into the same scenario where I start dedicating too much attention to the physical at the expense of the mental or spiritual. I want those to persist just as before without losing any ground.
This feels like the most sustainable way to do it. The most reliable and long-term strategy to be applied.
This human experience will forever & always be comprised of mind, body, spirit - so I might as well learn to finesse them for maximum benefit.
And lastly, I just have to remember to occasionally drop back in for a Meta Checkin.
You never know when the spiritual bypass will have you veering off, so you must put some guard rails in place to double-check your trajectory.
This keeps you from having to do so much deep work at once.
And instead, you can continue to make those subtle changes that over the long term truly add up.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)