Recently, I ran into more of the story of Bernadette Roberts. When she was a Carmelite nun, she had a superior who believed she was deceived or under Satan’s grasp for experiencing pure silence. As she notes, the Quietism movement is considered heresy.
Roberts journey sounds like the impersonal path, what she described as the contemplative path. God as silent Being. She first stepped into a “unitive” state that sounds like Self Realization, then into an abiding union with God, often called God Realization. This was a well know progression in her church. However, she then later stepped into a “no-self” event, past the map of Catholic mysticism. She experienced the falling away of both the Self and experience of God. This is typical of the entry into Unity. All duality, even of Self and God, ends. But without framework and loosing God, She found this a horrendous experience. Later, she found the no-self ideas of Buddhism and gradually a profound understanding unfolded and she realized she was now seeing with Gods eyes.
From other descriptions, most find Self again on the other side, but it’s not the Self they once referred to. Now more Brahman, the unmanifest, indescribable. The One. The period approaching unity can also hold the challenge of the dissolution of the identity, something Genpo Roshi struggled with.
It’s interesting that She viewed what she called the mystics journey to God as hazardous. She felt it did not resonate and John of the Cross suggests one to be wary of mystical visions and revelations.
Revelations however are the way of the Personal. Certainly one must take care not to become caught by yet another form of experience. I have seen that those with “good experiences” also have more letting go to do. But there is deep value to a direct, intimate experience with God.
Two ways to one place, at home with God.
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