Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined in psychology, refers to misusing spirituality or wisdom teachings by zeroing in on their “feel-good” aspects, while minimizing the reality of pain (our own, as well as others’). But is the only alternative to feel paralyzed by raging despair?
Don’t Tell Me to Relax, De La Rosa’s second book, arrives at the perfect time to inform a growing cultural awareness that neither approach will get us very far. “May we never forget: Often the deepest truths are the ones that challenge us,” he writes.
Skillfully drawing on neurobiology, mindfulness teachings, and psychotherapy, De La Rosa acknowledges that suffering is caused by a multitude of factors: from the systemic, like racism, ableism, homophobia, and economic disempowerment, to the personal—dysfunctional upbringings, traumatic losses, physical and mental health struggles. Having faced some of these himself, he doesn’t negate their importance in our lives, nor claim we should just get over them. Instead he empowers us, through direct and insightful prose, to touch in with these parts of ourselves that hurt. The book’s focus is “on radical nonpathology,…