Inquiry: She shouldn’t distort the views of others (Bernadette Roberts)

She shouldn’t distort (the views of others). (Bernadette Roberts.)

  1. True?
    Yes. Feels true. I can find stories saying it is true. I can find people who agree.
  2. Sure?
    No. Not at all. It just an opinion, a particular view.
  3. What happens when I believe that?
    • I get stressed. Tension. Agitation. My attention is drawn to it, I want to sort it out and clarify it for myself. I want to explore the knot I have around it.
    • I experience separation.
    • I want to make her wrong. I tell myself stories about how she distorts the views of others and then proceed to shoot them down, which is easy because her presentation on those views makes them look absurd. She doesn’t play a fair game. She uses the oldest and most obvious trick in the book.
    • I want to make myself right. I get it. I know how to play a more fair game. Where she presents the views of others (for instance Buddhism) in a way that is utterly bizarre, I am able to present them in a more fair and clear way.
    • There is a draw to play the game on her terms, to make her views appear absurd. And this feels very uncomfortable. There is a lot of tension there. Agitation. A sense of having to create, protect and defend a certain position, which – as any position – ultimately cannot be defended.
    • How do I feel it in my body? Tension. A “freezing” of the upper body. Shallow breath.
    • When did I first have that thought? Hm… Probably early childhood. I have always been into fairness, so got distressed when I saw something that didn’t seem fair, even as a little kid. One of the ways I got distressed was when I saw someone distorting the views or actions of others, to make it easier to shoot it down.
  4. Who would I be without it? Who am I when I don’t have the belief that “she shouldn’t distort the views of others”, and she does (according to my story about it)?
    • Curious. Interested. Receptivity. Receptive to the truth in what she is saying, and also to what is more true for me. Aim at finding a fair resolution for myself. One that takes the different views in account, and feel more true for myself.
    • Receptive to finding the truth in what she is saying, in the surface of it – and also in what she may be trying to convey.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • She should distort.
      • Yes. She does. Apparently, everything in her history and experience tells her to present the views of different traditions in ways people familiar with them wouldn’t agree with. I am not sure why, but in her own mind she must have plenty of good reasons for it.
      • Her strategy of distorting the views of others may repel many, but it also attracts some – maybe especially those who are attached to such a pattern themselves. It is a fly paper, attracting students. And it is good, in that sense.
      • It stirs things up. It gets peoples beliefs around fairness triggered, as it did for me. It helps me see my beliefs around it, take it to inquiry, and find what is more true for me around it. (As I do here.)
    • I shouldn’t distort.
      • Right. I shouldn’t distort her views, as I tend to want to do when I get caught up in the initial belief.
      • Also, I shouldn’t distort what is going on here. There is a truth to what she is saying, and especially in what she is trying to convey independent of whatever strategy she applies, and I can sincerely try to find that truth for myself.
      • I see that whenever I attach to a story (a view, position, role, identity) as true, I inevitably distort. I try to make it true. I feel I need to defend and protect it. I try to deny the truth in its reversals. I hide from myself what is already more true for me, which is the grain of truth in each of those stories, and that they are all stories and nothing more.
    • My thinking shouldn’t distort.
      • Yes. Whenever thoughts are taken as true, there is distortion.

One thought to “Inquiry: She shouldn’t distort the views of others (Bernadette Roberts)”

  1. I very much enjoyed reading the depth of your self-inquiry into your reactions to Bernadette Robert’s “distortion of the views of others”. This was undoubtedly mostly because I found myself to be in much the same position, without the depth, after reading some of her writings on “the experience of no-self”. I just kept wondering why she felt the need to discredit or distort the stories of others instead of simply telling her own. Why she couldn’t simply embrace the commonalities, because there most certainly are common threads running through her “tellings” and those of so many other mystics. In the final analysis I mostly just found myself being receptive and open to what resonated for me from her experiences.

    Your comments here, directed toward yourself alone, added a whole other depth and dimension that I found very valuable.

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