Bøygen [2] represents an apparently unmovable obstacle that it is often tempting to avoid and walk around, which is sometimes a good idea. But other times, it may be good to stand our ground. To hold and allow it, stay with it with some receptivity and curiosity, take our stories as questions, take it as an invitation for exploration. 

For me, one bøyg is Bernadette Roberts. From the descriptions in her books, it seems that her awakening is the garden variety one, the one mystics from all the great traditions attempt to describe and point to, Ground awakening to itself. At the same time, she insists that it is not. It is different somehow, although  – to my limited knowledge – she is not all that specific or clear about how. (She may well be somewhere.) 

Another piece of information here is that she clearly misrepresent, and may misunderstand, the teachings of mystics in general, and in particular those who are not Christian. The way she describes their views is very different from, and often distortions and caricatures of, how these themselves talk about it. 

The easy answer here is that she does operate from a Ground awakening. That seems pretty clear from her own descriptions. And also that she may be misunderstanding the teachings of mystics, and taking stories about it all as more solid and substantial than they are. 

But is that so? Simply landing on that one interpretation is too easy. I rob myself of a fertile area of inquiry. Instead, I can take all of this as a question, with receptivity, curiosity. Staying with it. Recognizing any answers as questions and new pointers for inquiry.  

Landing on a particular view about it gives me a view to protect, and feels off and precarious. Staying with it in a receptive way, with curiosity, is an openness in all directions, and there is nothing in particular to protect here. 

This allows me to find the grain of truths in her views. How is it true for me?

Well, the easy one is that her representation of the teachings of mystics and mystical traditions may be distortions of these, but do fit the views of some of the students of these mystics and traditions. Sometimes – or quite often – students misunderstand teachings, and also take them as “true” stories and not just pointers and medicine aimed at particular conditions (fixed views). It is easy to acknowledge that. 

Also, although the Ground awakening is pretty universal – a recognition of me + I as content of awareness as anything else and not what we and everyone and everything really are – there is also uniqueness here. There is uniqueness in how it is expressed and lived through a human self. And there is also a great – infinite – number of facets of what and who we are, and these come into foreground and background at different times. Emptiness. Fullness. Soul phenomena such as alive presence, a sense of infinite love and wisdom, luminosity, luminous darkness. And the human experiences with each of our unique history and characteristics. So when she says that the awakening expressed through her is unique, I can easily find the truth of it in these ways, and that would be true anytime an awakening is expressed through a human life. The uniqueness of it is universal. 

There are also many other ways of exploring what is going on for me around this.

For instance, I can find in myself what I see in her. I can find specific examples of it in my own life, and allow my self-image to reorganize to include it. For instance, I see that whenever I take a story – about anything – as true, I do what I see in her. I misrepresent. I distort. I think I get it and others don’t. And this also goes for how I see her. Whenever I take my stories about her as true, I distort and misrepresent her. 

I can notice that this is all happening within my own world of images. They are my own images of her, myself, mystics, traditions, and the relationships among them all. It is all happening within my own world of images, and any experience of drama comes from within my own world of images. 

And as usual, all of this can easily co-exist with conventional views on all of this. Her views on this does not match my own experience, nor the teachings of the mystics from all the great traditions, so I won’t take her views as my main guidelines. But I can learn from the dynamics around it all, find myself in her, notice how it is all happening within my own world of images, and find the genuine grains of truths in what she is saying. 


Initial outline…

  • bøygen
    • hold, allow, inquire into w.out taking refuge in stories
    • a question, don’t know + invitation to inquire

Well, the easy ones is that no teaching is true, only a pointer, a medicine aimed at a particular condition (a fixed view). Sometimes, students in different traditions misunderstand these pointers and take these stories as true.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.