Healing the Spirit/Matter Split
Spiritual Awakener Saniel Bonder CONTINUES TO DISCUSS the Marriage of Heaven and Earth Part III: Is It Safe to Have Sex Before Awakening?
© 2002 Laurel Airica
In Part I and Part II of his interview with Awareness (see July/August and September/October issues), Saniel Bonder explained how it is possible to have complicated human attachments and absolute spiritual freedom, simultaneously; why it is essential to our global evolution that we integrate transcendent consciousness with our imperfect, finite body/minds; the importance not only of Self-Realization but of Other-Realization; and his perception of the purpose of human life.
In Part III, this revolutionary teacher/transmitter, who has catalyzed conscious awakenings in dozens of aspirants across the country, explains why sexuality is not in conflict with spirituality. He also outlines the process by which his students are achieving lasting liberation from binding psycho-emotional patterns — a process for which Self-realization is actually a prerequisite in his breakthrough Way of Waking Down in Mutuality.
How do you guide people to fulfill their human longings and spiritual quest simultaneously?
I often point to three prerequisites for developing the capacity to live out the most creative, divinely human expression of our full potential.
The first is to enter the quality of awakeness that in our work we call the ‘Second Birth.’ This is a profound unification of infinite feeling — consciousness with the finite person.
The second — for most people — is to develop what, borrowing from tantric Buddhism, I call a divinely human, ‘skilled and superlative partnership.’ So the first prerequisite has to do with Self or identity, the second with Other and intimate relatedness.
The third prerequisite is to actively participate in a community of awakened and awakening people — even if, most of the time, you are not face-to-face but are participating with them by phone and e-mail. This allows the ‘agonies and ecstasies’ of such a life to be held and processed, recognized and celebrated in a larger tribe dedicated to mutual love and trust. And it allows your community to extend around the planet.
Do you recommend that people abstain from intimate, romantic relationships until they have awakened?
No, I definitely do not. In fact, I believe that kind of recommendation does great harm to most seekers, who often become confused, conflicted, and divided within themselves when trying to follow it. Hardly anyone can pull it off. Most come to feel inadequate and incapable of both intimate love and spiritual awakening. Whether they are ‘unattached’ or ‘householders,’ they often view their human longings for intimate connection as proof of their spiritual inferiority and inherent inability to do the supposedly real awakening work.
Having said that, I can also say the more one does go through stages of conscious awakening and embodiment — in mutuality — the more one is equipped to create and sustain wonderfully nurturing, transformative relationships.
But in my work with people I’ve never said, ‘Hang back from sexuality and just work on your conscious awakening. Once you are awake, you’ll be that much better able to handle love and sex without losing your freedom.’ Those rare few who can endure forcibly splitting from their natural bodily instincts to lead a celibate lifestyle almost always become products — and purveyors! — of that split.
Very few are naturally inclined to concentrate on the more spiritual side of their evolution before seriously trying to find intimate love and to develop a skilled and superlative partnership. Most people want love now! So we basically support and encourage people’s desire for love and intimacy along with their desire to awaken into conscious freedom.
We help them to see that this is part and parcel of their total awakening in mutuality, and not in conflict with it. We also invite them to make use of the support we offer through our community, so they can grow ever more conscious through connecting ever more deeply with others.
How did you meet your own skilled and superlative partner?
Linda came to me as a student in the mid 90s. She awakened within a couple of years and then became one of the teachers of this Way. We fell in love early on and have been together ever since. We were formally married a year and a half ago and she is my full partner in this work — while also pursuing her career as a singer/song-writer.
We are grate-ful — every second of every day — to have each other. We find our partnership to be unimaginably preferable to any other lifestyle. And we want everybody who wants this to have their own version of it. But in order to do so, people have to be willing to unravel a lot of conventional naiveté and illusions along with their dissociative spiritual conditioning.
What are some of these illusions?
One of the most persistent and enduring conventional illusions is adolescent romanticism. Anybody who has lived in a serious relationship, spiritual or not, knows that when you get beyond the romance to the work of being together, that’s when true love has a chance to emerge.
As for spiritual conditioning, the bloodstreams of many seekers of consciousness are gummy with fear that they may need to become an impersonal, absolute realizer before they can dare give in to just how much they want to love and be loved, to hold and be held. It really doesn’t have to be that way. Ask the many people in our community who are enjoying the pleasures of both the spirit and the flesh without conflict or a loss of consciousness.
How do you help people get past their conditioning?
Body by body, heart by heart, mind by mind. In other words, there is no mass production process, no technique to be found in a book or on the Internet. Each of us has to go through an intensely personal process of investigating these ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and suspicions — most of which aren’t functioning at the level of a statement you can articulate.
And because these patterns are so tied in with relationships, this healing work cannot be done alone. Those who think it can, to my view, tend to perpetuate the same broken circuitry responsible for the spirit/matter, self/other splits. We need each other as mirrors, supporters, and loving allies in the great evolutionary work we are all here to do together.
One of our most important tasks on the planet is to gain awareness of — and freedom from — our unconscious operating assumptions. These ‘governing sentimentalities’ ricochet around within us like pinballs as a result of all the forceful suggestions and propaganda we’ve been exposed to — especially concerning the source of happiness and the costs of freedom and transcendence. As we begin to feel the shape and characteristics of these binding dynamics in our being, they naturally start to unravel and break apart.
Can you describe this unraveling process?
The transmission of evolutionary, liberating ‘Being-force’ by qualified teacher-transmitters — and by our growing community — establishes both a catalytic force field and a group consensus that initiate and facilitate this work. As I explain in my book, Waking Down, anyone who goes through this process eventually encounters and heals not just self-limiting beliefs but also profound cellular imprinting and the ‘primal insanity’ of their brokenness.
Participants learn how to ‘greenlight’ their reactive, dysfunctional patterning by descending into it temporarily when it emerges so they can observe it from the inside out, not from some buffered state of supposedly superior ‘witness’ awareness. Instead of making for self-indulgence, this approach actually empowers people to go through a fiercely clarifying identification with — and then radical release from — the recurring patterns that have kept them stuck. It’s exciting how insights into and freedom from these patterns keep on growing as Being naturally reorients and spontaneously regenerates one’s entire existence — from the roots of the soul.
So your teaching really is a marriage of spiritual liberation with psychophysical integration.
Exactly. And because it’s so challenging, we encourage practitioners to gather a team of supporters — consisting of a primary teacher-transmitter, a mentor, a therapist, and peers in the community. These are people they can trust to aid them through the painful passages, to guide them to permit and make an ally of their confusion, and to share their joy and vision with them as it emerges.
So, though our community is scattered across the U.S. and Europe, we stay in close touch with each other. And we’re finding that by working on our issues individually and together, a whole new paradigm for living is emerging at the soul-ground of our conscious life and relationships.
I call this new paradigm “Self- and Other-Realization.” Its practice of sharing liberated awareness — while being very much in the body, consciously evolving together — is a primary undertaking in our school of Waking Down in Mutuality. It’s what gives us the means to forge and refine — within and among us all — the sacred marriage of Heaven and Earth.
Saniel Bonder’s book, “Waking Down: Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas — A Breakthrough Way of Self-Realization in the Sanctuary of Mutuality,” is available by phone at (888) 741-5000, at local bookstores, or by e-mail email@example.com . For more information, you are welcome to visit www.sanielbonder.com and www.humansunseminars.com . Laurel Airica is a freelance writer and intuitive counselor. She can be reached at (310) 395-7177 and firstname.lastname@example.org .
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