Saturday, May 20, 2017

Leave the Door Open

Bernadette Roberts

"I believe the value and validity of contemplative experience rests solely on the experience itself – never on any theory into which it can be plugged. Nothing is to be gained, and a great deal is lost, when we fit our experiences into an acceptable framework and think no more about them. We will never expand our knowledge of the contemplative life this way; we may even bog down in an illusion and, possibly, go no further with our interior guide. Second, there is a notion afoot that every contemplative must somehow make his experiences conform to a particular theoretical framework – as if mere intellectual acceptance of the theory could do that. This process leads to nothing more than an acceptable form of dishonesty. 

"The threat, of course, is that if you do not see your experiences in a particular light, then you do not belong to the tradition at all. St. John of the Cross was once called a Buddhist by an individual attempting to throw the saint out of his own tradition because he could not be reconciled with this individual’s idea of how things should be. This is what happens when there is rigid adherence to a theory, personal insight, or point of view – as if anyone had the final word on these matters. What is important is that we leave the door open, not only to the views of others, but to the infinite possibilities of God and His ways of guiding, enlightening and bringing man to his final destiny."

Path to No Self, page 30

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