Bernadette Roberts

MoonBlog 30.2 Pragmatism

You know that moment, at the end of the night and u wake up, knowing, determent, clearheaded, when u realise things fall back into place, yes fall back into, as u come back to knowing that u realise stuff, more, when information has made sense. As the wind gently howls across the building in late autumn.

I was so stuck and fucked up just a few months ago, and clearly needed some kind of help, support, guidance perhaps, as I had wiggled my way into distress and mental suffering through reading stuff way over my head, trying to get things that one might not get from just reading, from reading someone else’s experience even, it simply does not always work that way.


So I guess I sort of booby trapped myself in my own process, and was reading both ‘The Experience of No-Self‘ by Bernadette Roberts as well as the very dark ‘Brahma’s Long Night‘ by Ra Uru Hu in the Rave Cosmology Teacher Training right after having finished the fucked up ‘The Nature and Mechanics of the Rave (2027)‘ semester which really did not make things any lighter, and it just fucked me up, big time. And here is the kicker, I got what was said even, that was tough to swallow, I got what was said, what was meant, I could follow this experience of Bernadette, but I could not possibly also share her experience or recognize it in my own life, my own perception of what she was sharing about. And so I came to a grinding halt

Zoned out and outshined

So I stopped, I stopped reading Bernadette while gently continuing Rave Cosmology, but giving myself some space and time, knowing I got fucked up, knowing I needed to take a breather, a step back, unwind the tension just a bit, and reorient myself. But first, just back off a bit, simply ease off, and not push myself over this edge of not understanding, of not having the same experiential knowing, and allow for that.
Read more


This is the personal account of a two-year journey during which I experienced the falling away of everything I can call a self. It was a journey through an unknown passageway that led to a life so new and different that, despite forty years of varied contemplative experiences, I never suspected its existence. Because it was beyond my expectations, the experience of no-self remained incomprehensible in terms of any frame of reference known to me, and though I searched the libraries and bookstores I did not find there an explanation or an account of a similar journey which, at the time, would have been clarifying and most helpful. Owing then to the deficiency of recorded accounts, I have written these pages trusting that they may be of use to those who share the destiny of making this journey beyond the self.

Though my contemplative experiences began at an early age, it was not until I was fifteen that I discovered how these experiences fit like the inset of a child’s puzzle into the larger framework of the Christian contemplative tradition. This finding was followed by ten years of relative seclusion in order to pursue the Christian goal of union with God, and once I had the certitude of this goal’s realization, I entered the more ordinary stream of life where I remain to this day.


Within the traditional framework, the Christian notion of loss-of-self is generally regarded as a transformation of the ego or lower self into the true or higher self as it approaches union with God. In this union, however, self retains its individual uniqueness and never loses its ontological sense of personal selfhood. Thus being lost to myself meant, at the same time, being found in God as the sharer of a divine life. From here on, the deepest sense of being and life is equally the sense of God’s being and life. Thus there is no longer any sense of “my” life, but rather “our” life–God and self. In this abiding state God, the “still-point” at the center of being, is ever accessible to the contemplative gaze – a point from which the life of the self arises and into which it sometimes disappears. But this latter experience of loss-of-self is only transient, it does not constitute a permanent state, nor did it occur to me that it could ever do so in this life.

Prior to this present journey, I had given little thought to the self, its perimeters or definitions. I took for granted the self was the totality of being, body and soul, mind and feelings; a being centered in God, its power-axis and still-point. Thus, because self at its deepest center is a run-on with the divine, I never found any true self apart from God, for to find the One is to find the other.

Because this was the limit of my expectations, I was all the more surprised and bewildered when many years later I came upon a permanent state in which there was no self, no higher self, true self, or anything that could be called a self. Clearly, I had fallen outside my own., as well as the traditional frame of reference, when I came upon a path that seemed to begin where the writers on the contemplative life had left off. But with the clear certitude of the self disappearance, there automatically arose the question of what had fallen away; what was the self? What, exactly, had it been? Then too, there was the all-important question: what remained in its absence? This journey was the gradual revelation of the answers to these questions, answers that had to be derived solely from personal experience since no outside explanation was forthcoming.
Read more