Following below are elements of a Press Kit designed by John Raatz and David Langer of The Visioneering Group in Los Angeles, to serve our efforts to publicize my book, Waking Down: Beyond Hypermasculine DharmasA Breakthrough Way of Self-Realization in the Sanctuary of Mutuality, and our work in general.
If you are in the media or have a friend, associate, or colleague in the media who you think might be interested in receiving a copy of Waking Down in either print or audiobook form, or in conducting an interview with me (Saniel), or doing a feature article on the book and our work here, please contact John Raatz at The Visioneering Group. John will be happy to send out a copy of the book and to discuss your interest or to contact your associate.
Heres how to contact John:
The Visioneering Group
11837 Darlington Ave., Ste. 1
Los Angeles, CA 90049-5449 USA
At present the Press Kit includes two items: a 4-page press release summarizing my life and work and the significance of "Waking Down"; and an interview, "Waking Down Makes Finding Possibleand Seeking Obsolete," with questions by The Visioneering Group and my responses.
Well be adding other elements to this "Waking Down Press Kit" shortly. Stay tuned!
MT. TAM AWAKENINGS, INC. CONTACT: JOHN RAATZ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PHONE: 310/979-9227
NOVEMBER 4, 1998
Author, Teacher Saniel Bonder Aims
Spiritual Efforts in Alternative Direction
New "Spiritual Technology" Offers "Breakthrough Way
of Self-Realization That Really Works for Ordinary People"
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIAEverything about Saniel Bonders latest book, Waking Down (Mt. Tam Awakenings, 1998), sounds provocative and revolutionary. From the title, Waking DOWN! seekers all seem to be trying to wake UP!to the two subtitles: Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas and A Breakthrough Way of Self-Realization in the Sanctuary of Mutuality.
But is there really something different going on in the small community of "awakening spiritual adepts" which has grown up around Bonder over the past few years? Bonder and those working with him would say, emphatically, yes!
In fact, the success of those working with him is what prompted Bonder to begin publishing his teachings. "As long as it was just another guy with an awakening here with yet another message that might be true in principle but unrealizable in practice, what was the point? The world is full of such teachings," he says. "First this particular awakeness had to replicate itself in many men and women. Then at least some of them had to become adept at spontaneously transmitting that awakeness, and also at helping others achieve it themselves. When all of that had happened, thats when it was time for me to publish. So Waking Down is not so much a philosophy as an announcementHey, this approach really works for ordinary people, and it can work for YOU."
That "transmission" of what he calls "Being-force" has traditional precedents. But much of the self-realization process he presents in Waking Down flies in the face of most traditional spiritual disciplines. "Waking up," he reflects, "means lots of different things according to various schools and ones life experience. In general, though, it seems to connote the effort to notice our enmeshment with material life and karmathe feeling of being down and into lifeand our desire to lift ourselves up and out of all that, to connect with the infinite. Some people now call this flight to the light because, in a sense, it denies or separates from a most important part of who we are.
"Waking down, on the other hand, is releasing down into the finite, ordinary conditions of our life and, at the same time, connecting with the true source of both our infinite existence and our finite life. Transmission and encouragement from awakened adepts and others are indispensable for us to trust this process. In this relaxation, when we let go of our attempts to wake up, we awaken into the totality of our true nature."
But what about all the gurus, prophets, and sages whove said from time immemorial that self-realization requires complete renunciation, super-human EFFORT, and lifetimes to achieve? According to Bonder, "These styles were all valid for their time and place, but many of their assumptions may no longer apply. For instance, what if, instead of assuming we are all separate souls trying to achieve union with the Absolute Reality . . . we consider that perhaps it is Absolute Reality thats trying to achieve incarnation as us! If that assumption proves realistic, it opens new possibilities."
Waking Down speaks both to beginning and advanced seekers. It details a developmental process that, if engaged and followed, according to Bonder, "will land you deeply in yourself in short order. Thing is, youve got to be ready to rot into it. You cant will it to happen. But, in general, if people arent going through major, permanent shifts in, say, six months, were as aggravated as they are to find out why." And for longtime seekers who are in despair, the alternative perspective of Waking Down renews hope.
Why have so many people been seeking for so long, and so few have ever found? Bonders answer: hypermasculine dharmas. "These paths," he explains, "are conceived in and speak to a dissociated condition, where the transcendent reality is held to be apart from us, where we actively work on one part of us in order to realize another part. Its a non-whole, divisive, over-masculine approach that appeals to the minds capacity to reckon with a situation, see that change is needed, then systematically go about perfecting that change. It gives you something to work on . . . forever! In waking down, one relaxes into the totality of what IS, and the realization of wholenessor, Onlyness is a natural result. Like a rock rolling downhill, you gravitate into more and more of Who you are."
Bonder is no newcomer to the spiritual life. He recalls his first opening in 1969 when, as a student activist at Harvard, he saw that everyone was fundamentally motivated by primal, instinctive ego needs, rather than a true impulse to serve others. He then read extensively, first the Beat poets and Whitman, then Buber and the Hasidic saints. In 1970 he turned east, read Autobiography of a Yogi, and experienced an initial illumination that only whet his appetite. Upon returning to the U. S. from a pilgrimage to India, he discovered the living presence of the late sage Ramana Maharshi, whose teaching on Self-enquiry and "the Heart" prompted another initiatory opening.
After much focus on consciousness, Bonder experienced "many moments of blissful intuition. But outside meditation I was a mess. I needed help with sex, diet, career, familyhow to live my very human life." In late 1973, he found the teachings of Bubba Free John (later Da Free John, now Adi Da), a daring, experimental teacher in northern California. Bonder soon joined his community. For nearly two decades, he served an often central role in the effort that led Adi Da to have worldwide reach.
Of this time, Bonder recalls, "I participated in and observed the evolution of one of the most exciting and sobering sacred experiments ever made." It was sobering, he points out, because, while he and others had extraordinary spiritual experiences and gained immense personal self-knowledge, at last the experiment did not work. "No matter what Adi Da tried," Bonder recounts, "he couldnt get people to realize the Divine Self on his terms, surrendering eternally to him as guru. He never really wanted us to duplicate his radical independence and creative originality in life." Finally, in 1992, needing to rediscover his personal integrity at all costs, Bonder left the community.
With the help of a therapist and a shamanic mentor, he then reclaimed himself. A series of initiations occurred that proved to have lasting impactfar more powerful self-enquiry than he had ever known and communion with the Goddess in an archetypal form, totemic dreams, a great mountain-spirit, and, not least, his closest women friends. As a result, Bonder landed simultaneously in his body and unshakeable witnessing-consciousness. "I found grace in my own Heart-conscious Self-nature," he recalls, "and from there rocketed into the Onlyness of Being that I had been seeking all along."
That was December, 1992. Over the ensuing months and years, Bonder found a capacity to "help people transcend self-doubt and actually fulfill their own great quests." In what he calls "the sanctuary of mutuality, where relationships become a blessed refuge and a catalytic alchemy is constantly working just by contact with each other," Bonders friends, too, began to enjoyand endure!this "Onlyness of divinely human nature." More than a dozen of them have begun their own service as "adepts." His journey, it seems, has borne fruit not only for himself but for those around him, as well.
Now Bonder and his friends conduct weekend workshops and daily meditation sittings attended by people locally and others from around the U. S. and other countries. At the beginning, he says, these times spent together "are like a decompression chamber. If youve been endlessly gnawing at yourself, like a beaver working on a log, relaxation is the first order of business. This permits the transmission to activate in you, as YOU."
Those interested in this approach to Self-realization are encouraged to attend these sessions and to create private individual meetings with adepts. "Because its such a bodily process, its important to have ongoing contact," Bonder notes. Currently held outside San Francisco, sessions will be offered in other cities in 1999, and other modes of contact, e.g. phone, newsletters, email, videos, video conferencing, etc., are being explored. For those who cannot get to California, Bonder recommends reading and also listening to the audio version of Waking Down. "The book is a transmission," he points out. "If it stirs something in you, that may be sufficient to move you closer to yourself."
In closing, Bonder tells us about his birth name. "A Biblical scholar once told me that Saniel is a kind of middle-level manager in the hierarchy of archangelsthe patron saint of the abyss and the protector of pregnant women." Bonder laughs . . . but the name certainly applies to someone whose work is about releasing down, and who seems to be heavy with the birth of a new approach to self-realization for the 21st century.
Previous books by Saniel Bonder include The White-Hot Yoga of the Heart: Divinely Human Self-Realization and Sacred MarriageA Breakthrough Way for "Westerners," which he distributes privately. Set for release in 1999 by Mt. Tam Awakenings, Inc., are The Perpetual Cosmic Out-of-Court Payoff Machine: Essays on Living with Whole-Being Integrity; The Conscious Principle: Talks on Recognition Yoga and Mutual Embodiment; and While Jesus Weeps: Conversations in the Garden of Gethsemane (a Novel).
Also available from Mt. Tam Awakenings are audio cassettes of his work, including an unabridged audio version of Waking Down; The Fire of the Onlyness of Conscious Life; and, Our Risky Experiment in Total Transformation. Information regarding Bonders books, tapes, and other publications and the workshops and other offerings of the "Waking Down Community" can be found on this website, www.wakingdown.org, or by calling toll-free (888)741-5000.
Click here for An Interview with Saniel Bonder, conducted by John Raatz and David Langer of The Visioneering Group.
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