Monthly Archives: September 2021

Summer of the Void

We have just completed our summer series on Voidness and all things Void. The methodology employed has been a systematic one incorporating Doctrinal, Hermeneutical, Exegetical, Spiritual, Experiential and Transcendental disciplines. You’d be hard-pressed to find any other comprehensive approach to the subject matter anywhere else on the internet. Our most recent segment, The Experience of No-self (and related sequential blogs), conjoined the experiential and transcendental components in the life of one prominent Contemplative-Sojourner, Bernadette Roberts and her coming face to face in a series of life-transcending events with the very essence of the Void-Factor. Her subsequent volumes, What is Self, The Path to No-Self, further extrapolate the meaning of her No-Self experiences. Her essential contribution to the field of Contemplative-Spirituality places her alongside spiritual giants like John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila—actually eclipsing them on several points. She has also written a book on Christology, The Real Christ, which nicely compliments our series on a Docetic Assessment. Her approach is keenly aware of the pitfalls of relying too heavily on an anthropocentric approach to Christhood and the Divine… read more

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What’s in a Smile?

Few people would be able to survive intact the nature of the no-self experience that thrust Bernadette Roberts into the very core of Voidness Itself. Even those who are seasoned contemplatives and who have progressed from the torturous Dark Night of the Spirit into the peaceful unified whole of the divine embrace would not be able to withstand the form of assault that afflicted Bernadette on her path beyond self-discovery into something new and terrifying, but ultimately rewarding and liberating. The liberation came in the form of a simple smile, one that unfolded itself from the murky depths of nature… read more

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The Void is Nothing to Fear

As Bernadette’s No-self excursion continued she was beginning to feel the ramifications for not having a “within” to turn to for solace… read more

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A Peculiar Gathering of Intensity

When the sense of self slowly wanes and eventually dissipates, only the emptiness is left which gives rise to the realization, When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. Yet for Bernadette this was not a bitter pill to swallow but just a quiescent sense of acceptance for whatever would follow: read more

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An Interminable Stillness

A prominent part of a Contemplative’s mystical gear is silence. Bernadette asserts that this is fourfold in nature: a silence from within; a silence that descends from without; a silence that stills existence; and a silence that engulfs the entire cosmos. As part of her newfound no-self awakening, a silence in which there is nothing also needs to be included. True enough, the path of silence constitutes an unfolding of the Unknown—a numinous quilt that enwraps itself around an earnest disciple in the Unborn. However, for Bernadette this path suddenly came to an abrupt end one day when she found herself engulfed in an altogether totally strange silence from which she would never emerge. read more

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No-Self, the Anatomy of the Journey

Originally the subject matter of this series was planned to be included in our previous one, The Doctrine of the Void, but it was evident that the riches contained therein were just too many and therefore justified its own run.  Bernadette’s contemplative acumen began at an early age, but later coalesced into the monastic Carmelite tradition, one whose goal was centered in Absolute Union with the Godhead. It was within this framework that “loss of self” is automatically configured into the total transformation of personhood into the majesty of the transcendent. Throughout this process the self always maintains its unique identity and never once “loses its ontological sense of personal selfhood.” She later awoke to the fact that there was being revealed a form of a “permanent state in which there was no self, not even a higher self, a true self, or anything that could be called a self.” It needs to be unequivocally stated that this realization is not satori-like in fashion, but one which is slowly revealed in two distinct movements: read more

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The Experience of No-Self

The subject matter of this blog-series must be prefaced with a little personal anecdote. It was August in the summer of 1999 and I was just returning from a leave of absence and was pondering what lay before me by reading and reflecting upon a book I had just purchased from the old Border’s Bookstore. It was The Experience of No-Self by Bernadette Roberts (1931-2017). What I was reading was an amazing chronicle in the annals of contemplative mystical experiences. The author was a former Cloistered Carmelite Nun who had since been married and raised a family with four children. She was in her mid-40’s when her actualized “beyond the mystical” experience occurred: read more

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