I have looked more into Bernadette Roberts‘ take on the different traditions, and am as baffled as ever. She seems to consistently use a straw man argument, present the traditions in ways people familiar with them would not agree with, and use examples that seem like bizarre caricatures.
It is of course easy to just say that, well, she is obviously awakened, yet still acts out of some conditioned patterns playing themselves out this way. It may alienate quite a few people, but seems to work for others, so that is fine. Why not?
But I would like to go a little beyond that. For instance, I can ask myself if this was a conscious teaching strategy, coming from infinite wisdom and kindness, how would I see it?
If it came from infinite wisdom and kindness, I would see it as an invitation for each of us to investigate for ourselves.
In what ways do the people in these traditions themselves see it? What is the grain of truth in what she is saying? What is the gold there, in the practices and pointers she dismisses? What happens when a teacher uses the same teaching strategy as her? How does it feel for me when I assign to those views? How would I do it differently? What happens if I come more from a genuine appreciation of the different traditions and their pointers? Can I make the same points, yet in a way that invites in receptivity in myself and others?
I find the conscious teaching strategy question very helpful for myself, and I can apply it to any situation – and especially those my personality doesn’t immediately like or agree with. Of course, in most cases it doesn’t really come from infinite wisdom and kindness, in a conscious way at least, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the shift that is invited in for myself, in how I receive the situation.
Note: See this post for how I continued working with my hangups around this.