Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Two Movements of Spiritual Life

Bernadette Roberts

Once again I would emphasize that the contemplative life is composed of two separate and entirely different movements: one of integration or the finding of the self; and one of disintegration or the losing of the self. In a religious context this would be the movement toward union with God-as-object, followed by the second movement toward identity or God-as-subject. 

Of the two movements, it is far more likely that the movement toward union would culminate in experiences of personal deification, because further on, the experience of personal selfhood – on which personal deification depends - falls away. It is this very experience of no personal self and no personal God that composes the second movement. Thus it does away with any possibility of a mistaken identity, especially when everything we thought we knew is taken away in a state of complete unknowing. 

The Experience of No-Self, 1982 Edition

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