In a recent conversation, the topic of addiction came up. In the midst of this conversation, I began to contemplate the 'energy' of addiction, and that addiction might be an 'energetic bypass,' along the same lines as "spiritual bypassing." Spiritual Bypassing is a term used by John Welwood in the mid-1980's, and is when one places focus on spirituality and spiritual pursuits at the expense of doing essential psychological work, emotional healing and self-examination necessary for human growth and development.
I contemplated how"energy bypassing" could create a similar expense in one's life--but with a twist. I haven't heard the phrase "energy-bypassing" before, so perhaps I'm exploring something a bit uncharted. "Energy-bypassing" is when we rely on habits and activities to shelter us and unburden us from the 'energy' of trauma, grief, loss, change, mental illness, self-doubt, and other human experiences. It's natural that we would not want to feel or remain in an 'energy' that seems negative. It is challenging, uncomfortable. So, what I am suggesting, is that we give the negative energy to something else. We outsource our experience of it to a habit, addiction, belief, or some form of dysfunction. I do not doubt the effectiveness of this energetic outsourcing. So many of us--me included--have done or are doing this right now.
When we outsource the energy, it's like taking off a hat or a coat and giving it to the alcoholism. We don't want the hat, so we tell the alcoholism, "Here, you deal with this hat." We don't want the coat, so we tell the perfectionism, "Here, you deal with this coat. Thank you very much. I don't want to. I can't. I've got bills to pay. I don't want to feel. I want to keep this relationship, and I can't afford to fall apart." The habit takes over the energetic work that we are meant to do in this life. We are meant to experience all sorts of things in life, learn from them, grow, and let the energy go. Giving the energy of grief to addiction doesn't actually help us learn, grow, and let go. It keeps us stuck in the place, in the event, in the psychological burden that we had. Even a seemingly healthy thing such as running or having a meditation practice can be an energetic bypass. It is hard to bring in fresh, positive, creative energy to your life (and the lives of those you are in relationship with) if you don't do the work, if you let a habit or addiction be an energetic bypass.
I don't mean to have you too much in your head having read this blog post. Instead, I would suggest setting some time aside to begin to 'feel' the energy of the habits/addictions that you currently practice. It is possible that these habits are clear, helpful and positive. You may also discover that the energy feels heavy, dark, negative, or empty. If this is what you sense, it might be a pointing to something in your life that needs attention. You may have known an energy bypass was going on for a long time. It's okay. Energy is a messenger. It will let you know--without judgment--what is happening. And now is the perfect time. Realization couldn't come any sooner because it didn't come any sooner. Then you can say to yourself, "Oh, I feel what is going on. I am now aware of it, too. I have the freedom to make a choice." Stop the bypass. Find help. Do the work. Let go. And in the letting go, so many wonderful things will come in.