Wisdom– In the right context, this perspective can invite us beyond our habitual, linear, localized and neurotic perspectives into a vaster framework of perception. We are, so often, so much more than our stories. We need to transcend and re-frame ‘story’ in moments of great difficulty, when the pain and confusion are unbearable, or when we sense that our lens is incongruent with reality.

Perils– If taken too far, this perspective can detach us from the reality of who we are and becomes a reality bypass technique. We may not be only our stories, but we are also our stories. In the heart of our stories are the personal identifications, emotional material and unresolved issues that are the grist for the soul mill for our spiritual expansion. Without karmic clay to work through and with, our expansion is stalled.

Grounded Perspective– I honor my story as the karmic field for my soul’s expansion. I value the cacophony of circumstances, archetypes and experiences that I chose or that were chosen for me in this lifetime. The Schools of Heart Knocks and Heart Delights is my primary school for expansion. At the same time, I choose to look beyond my habitual range of emotion, and see my story and my life experiences from a broad, imaginative and multi-layered perspective. I see my story from a localized and a universal dimension. Not identifying myself as my story, but interfacing with my story in a way that humanizes and transforms my consciousness.


Wisdom: This optimistic saying can have the effect of inspiring us to honor our callings and follow our dreams. This encouragement may be just what we need to finally make “a leap of fate”- a stepping forward into the pre-encoded life we are meant to live. In some cases, that stepping forward opens the door to abundance.

Perils: If followed too literally (and too hastily), this saying can lead to disaster. All too often, individuals make the wrong-headed assumption that what they love to do will necessarily meet their economic needs. Or they abandon their practical career before they have done the foundational work necessary to earn a living at their calling.

Grounded Perspective: Do what you love, and the money MAY follow. Some callings are inextricably linked with financial abundance, others may not be. Although I envision a day where society will be structured in such a way that we survive economically doing what we love, we aren’t there yet. Some of us still have to honor our divine purpose while making our money doing something else.


Spiritual Bypass: A term first coined by author John Welwood, the spiritual bypass is the tendency to jump to spirit prematurally, to turn to God as an escape hatch. Spirit becomes a crutch rather than an expression of a natural unfolding. The bypasser looks outside the body for spirituality rather than in the heart of it. He turns to God reactively, in a determined effort to get away from here. The deeper ocean feels safer than the riptides of disappointment and grief on Mother Earth. The bypass has many possible indicators i.e. the starry eyed bliss trip, radical detachment from one’s self-identifications, premature forgiveness, ungrounded behaviors, wish-full thinking. The opposite of ‘Ascending with both feet on the ground.’

Wisdom: In a world of pain, the spiritual bypass is an essential mechanism. For some of us, this mechanism actually allows us to survive and momentarily transcend unbearable aspects of earthly reality (i.e. practical challenges, traumatic events, unresolved emotions and memories). Without it in place, some of us would perish in the heart of unbearable pain and suffering.

Perils: Sometimes bypassers forget to come home. On a pogo stick to the stars, they float off to outer space and lose contact with Mother Earth, detaching from their personal identifications and emotional lives to an extreme extent. By turning away from old pain, they have simply shackled themselves with their unresolveds. Sometimes, reality brings them back to earth with a harsh and deadly thud. But not always.

Grounded Perspective: The bypass is an unrooted trip-out rather than a solidly rooted trip-in, a form of openness that is not actually open, because there is no structure to ground it. It may be a necessary survival tool for a time, but real growth demands that we come back down to earth and work with what lives inside of us. ‘Ascending with both feet on the ground’ is a model of grounded spirituality that invites to connect to the Godself from the ground up. We begin with the root chakra- the quest for Om begins at home- and we work our way up from there. It is not enough for our feet to merely skim the ground. The mythic life begins with our feet planted on Mother Earth. With our soles firmly planted, our Soul has a leg to stand on in its efforts to go higher. As we develop a healthy egoic foundation and work through our chakras, we become organically present in our bodies and in the moment. From this stable foundation emerges a natural and sustainable movement upward, toward God. Instead of settling for the occasional peak experience, we are now capable of sustaining a more heightened way of being.

Copyright Jeff Brown (Author Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation; www.soulshaping.com)