Bernadette Roberts

The topic of Bernadette Roberts came up again, or I could say the conundrum 🙂 (See the comments of that post.)

To me, it seems that her descriptions of her own path and awakenings are beautiful and clear, quite similar to what have happened here at different times, and what has been described by mystics from many traditions.

For instance, she differentiates between oneness/unity, where there is a sense of an I one with God/all, and selflessness, where there is a release of identification with a sense of I and Other. And that is awakening 101, found among mystics of each of the traditions, experienced by many today as well, and something we can investigate for ourselves using tools such as the Big Mind process, headless experiments and investigating the sense fields.

(For me, there was first a shift into realized selflessness awakening, coming out of the blue, after consuming a great deal of alcohol one time and then being “absorbed into” the witness for about a year. Then, after some months, a shift into a oneness/unity state, which lasted for several years. Then a dark night for a few years. Then a gradual emerging of the oneness state, then a realized selflessness phase for a few months, and now a oneness phase again where things are worked through some more.)

But when she talks about the different traditions, it seems that very few of the ones familiar with them would agree with how she describes them. Sometimes, it seems that her take on them are 180 degrees turned from what you would actually find there. To me at least, she seems to use a straw man argument, fighting windmills and imaginary foes – as I described in the initial post.

But that is only one possibility, and the other is that I have got it completely wrong. Which is of course true anyway. Any story such as these is just a story, more or less accurate in a conventional sense, and also having nothing to do with what it appears to refer to in another sense.

What it comes down to is its effectiveness as a teaching strategy and pointers for own investigation. How effective is her take on it as a teaching strategy? And how effective is it as a pointer for own practice?

And then finally what this is really all about: a mirror for myself. In what ways do I do exactly what I see in her? When do I overgeneralize? When do I use straw man arguments? When am I blinded by my own stories about something?

Note: See this inquiry for how I worked with one of my hangups around this.

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