the Waking Down audio recitation and commentary course

50 weekly sessions
October 2015 - September 2016

Recitations and commentaries by Saniel Bonder on his book

Waking Down
Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas
A Breakthrough Way of Self-Realization
in the Sanctuary of Mutuality

On this page, we're pleased to offer all people interested in this work a preview of “The Waking Down audio recitation and commentary course” by Saniel Bonder. We've posted three full sessions of the course plus the descriptions of 13 other sessions.

Waking Down is a classic text of this great Way published in January 1998 and now treasured by people around the world. In this 50 session course being presented October 16, 2015 through September 23, 2016, Saniel reads aloud and offers up-to-date commentary on Waking Down. Each week a new audio session is posted to the course webpage that consists of two parts: Saniel's comments draw upon our own more recent teachings and other sources old and new, spiritual, scientific, and cultural. Given the many refinements and evolutions the teachings have gone through since the book was published, and also the dramatic changes in Waking Down that have been taking place over the last two years, this recitation and commentary promise to be very lively and highly clarifying for all students of and participants in this work.

The Waking Down audio recitation and commentary course
sessions 1, 2 and 17

Session #1
Introduction: “What if It’s Possible to Make Realization Popular?”

Saniel introduces this recitation and commentary course with a few comments about the book, then recites the book's Contents and the Introduction. His commentary fleshes out more of the early history of his work, why he chose to do a combined recitation of the original text and an updating commentary, and the origin of that question which in some ways continues to stand out for us today: “What if it’s possible to make realization popular?”


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Session #2
Prologue: “Breaking the Encryption of Fundamental Human Confusion and Separateness”

Saniel begins this session by describing the excitement he, Linda, and other then-teachers of Waking Down felt as the book Waking Down came into publication. They knew their work had “broken the code” that sabotages so much traditional seeking for awakening or Self-realization. So they expected that many people would respond and take up this path as soon as word got out — through this book. He comments on the necessity of a competent teacher-transmitter, a responsive and supportive community, and a post-hypermasculine teaching, citing the traditional Buddhist “triple gem” of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. And he offers interesting comments on one way the actual unfolding of the work over the past 20+ years has turned out that is different from what he anticipated in this writing.


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Session #17
Chapter 8, “The Rot: Out of Head-Mind-Soul Awareness and into Heart-Body Consciousness,” Part 3

After a short recitation going back over some pertinent passages of Chapter 8 on the Rot, Saniel completes his commentary on that chapter by reading and further commenting on three other essays from Sure Fire:

These essays include extensive acknowledgements of the realizations achieved and the work done in their own times and places by Saniel’s two great Heart-Gurus, Ramana Maharshi and Adi Da. In the essays and his elaborations on them, Saniel clarifies specific ways that these two courageous adepts thus have helped make possible the great “dropping” into the Heart that takes place in our Way... through the Rot.


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The Waking Down audio recitation and commentary course
Descriptions of sessions 3 - 16

Session #3
Chapter One: “Waking Down”

This chapter is an overview of what Waking Down is as an emerging meme of human consciousness, character, and culture and how it differs from many of those that have come before. Saniel reads and comments on how what takes place in the Waking Down process is fundamentally a simultaneous (1) awakening of the conscious ground of our Being/Becoming and (2) descent of the fundamental life-energy and mind-force of our local personhood into deeper embodiment. He distinguishes this teaching in various ways from those that have preceded it, and clarifies the recognition and acceptance of the full divinity of matter in total equality with spirit as the root of the work advances.

However, benefiting from the nearly 20 years since the book’s publication, Saniel also qualifies, offers cautions about, or retracts some of the claims he made back then here in Chapter One, about Waking Down as a process and realization: “It's not a be-all and end-all.” He calls us also to embrace other forms of evolutionary developmental maturing that, along with this primarily core-transforming work, can help us actualize our total greater potential as servants of humanity and of Life.

Session #4
Chapter Two: “Onlyness”

In this chapter of Waking Down, Saniel writes that he coined the term “Onlyness” in his own teachings, deriving it from his guru Adi Da's statement years ago that “There is only God.” In the commentary, Saniel fleshes out more of what he means with this term. It indicates that what we realize in this path is not a “Oneness” that stands out from the multiplicity of phenomena or might seem to be different from our ordinary perceptions of the world. Rather, it is That which is everything, the indefinable Mystery that comprises all that exists.

Session #5
Chapter Three: “Being = Identity + Relatedness”

In this session's commentary, Saniel recalls that in his first book, The White-Hot Yoga of the Heart, he used the term “Being” to indicate our identity, contrasting “Being” with “relationship.” But in this recitation and then the commentary, he explains why it made more sense to him, over time, to see Being – the Onlyness – as including both identity, or self, and relatedness, or the other. He goes on to explain at some length how this dynamic mystery of simultaneous oneness and twoness – the yin and yang of Reality – is central and crucial to the whole working out of this Way.

Session #6
Chapter Four: “The Core Wound of Confusion and Separateness,” Part 1

Session 6 covers the first of two sections of chapter 4 in Waking Down, the very important introduction of the “core wound.” In his commentary Saniel gets both passionate and sober about how deeply propagandized humanity is to do anything but relax into this primordial distress at the heart of our existence.

Session #7
Chapter Four: “The Core Wound of Confusion and Separateness,” Part 2

Saniel recites chapter 4 in its entirety in this session. His commentary is quite extensive and includes recitations from several of his other writings: his books Healing the Spirit/Matter Split, Great Relief, and Sure Fire, as well as an essay in the anthology Healing Our Planet, Healing Our Selves. This is a crucial commentary to help clarify a key transition in the Dharma of Waking Down since the original writing of this book: the relationship between the core wound (or the core wound/core wellness paradox or Core Mystery) and hypermasculine dissociation (or the Spirit/Matter split). Right in the midst of his commentary Saniel newly identifies and clarifies some essential distinctions; this Dharma really is alive and evolving all the time!

Session #8
Chapter Five: “The Subjective Moebius Strip: The Continuum of Identity (Genetic Nature, Soul-Nature, Transcendent Nature)”

In his comments Saniel points out that this is a part of his teaching that he still finds entirely accurate — or sufficiently so, given that it’s all a “rather arbitrary slicing of the Onlyness.” He emphasizes the damage that our historical attempts to rigidly distinguish the different parts of our identity — ego, soul, Being or Self — have often created. The commentary includes readings from his essay “The White-Out Dharmas of the Divine People” in the book Sure Fire, and from a posting to his personal Facebook page that he made just the day before recording this session.

Session #9
Chapter Six: “The First Birth and Its Now Ending Evolutionary Heyday,” Part 1

This important chapter is covered in two parts. In this first part, Saniel recites about half the chapter and offers a brief commentary that focuses on two challenging aspects of this part of the Waking Down teaching. One is the question of its relationship to all previous teachings, teachers, and traditions, and how it offers a new understanding that places all that has come before in an unprecedented perspective. The second is the necessity Saniel recognized when writing the book, and still does today, to dare to speak freely and clearly of what he and others perceived to be the radical and revolutionary innovations of this transmission and teaching that do indeed take people beyond “the first birth and its now ending evolutionary heyday.”

Session #10
Chapter Six: “The First Birth and Its Now Ending Evolutionary Heyday,” Part 2

Saniel recites the whole chapter here in Session 10 and then offers extensive commentary. Early in the commentary, he recites an ecstatic evocation of the “Third Birth” as the ultimate passage of the whole cosmos and All That Is into “The Next Whatever.” He also reads aloud additional essays from his book Sure Fire: “Why the Core Wound Is the Supreme Realization of Our First Birth and Life, and What This Wisdom Means for Humanity,” and “Why It’s Harder for a First-Life Realizer to Rot into the Core Wound Than It Is for a Camel to Lodge Itself in the Eye of a Needle.” Interspersed throughout are further updates on his and Linda Ma’s teachings — and what he calls “planting my staff” in championing just how radical and revolutionary this total revelation of our Way is and will be for humanity and for the future of Life on Earth.


Session #11
Chapter Six: “The First Birth and Its Now Ending Evolutionary Heyday,” Part 3

Saniel had not intended to do another session on this chapter, but felt inclined to do a recitation of both the final portion of Chapter 4, “The Core Wound of Confusion and Separateness,” and the final portion of Chapter 6 on the First Birth as well.

In the commentary he recites and also elaborates on two highly pertinent essays in Sure Fire (both originally published in The Incarnation of Mutuality): “When You Realize the Core Wound, You Enter the World of Simultaneity, or Paradox,” pp. 122-23, and “On the Fundamental Dignity of Our Confusion and Separateness in the First Life,” pp. 123-25. Among other elements in the commentary:

Session #12
Chapter Seven: “Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas, or Lifeways, of Superimposed and Formulaic Seeking,” Part 1

This session’s recitation is longer than most, as Saniel reads the whole chapter aloud in this first session exploring the nature and outgrowing of “hypermasculine dharmas.” His commentary touches on main points of why this is such a central element of his teaching and of the Waking Down work and summarizes several key recognitions to keep in mind. Three key points:

  1. Understanding this particular aspect of these teachings in depth will enable you to appreciate much more fully why this work is, as the second phrase in the book’s subtitle proposes, A Breakthrough Way of Self-Realization in the Sanctuary of Mutuality.
  2. Saniel points out that if he ever revises the book, this chapter’s title will include the term “dissociation”: “Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas, or Lifeways, of Dissociation and Superimposed, Formulaic Seeking.” The key critique of the whole hypermasculine epoch of human culture and civilization is not about how we do what we do — “superimposed, formulaic seeking” — but rather how we are being what we are being: “dissociated” in the very roots of our consciousness and character.
  3. From this perspective, the Oriental hypermasculine genius of transcending and escaping “the wheel of birth and death” is founded in the same fundamental dissociation as the Occidental hypermasculine genius of understanding and controlling material and, really, all forms of phenomenal Nature.

Session #13
Chapter Seven: “Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas, or Lifeways, of Superimposed and Formulaic Seeking,” Part 2

This session is a recitation and commentary on an essay from Sure Fire, “The Most Radically Innovative Break with Tradition Here Is Not These Teachings on the Rot and the Core Wound — It’s My Critique of the Hypermasculine Worldview.” That essay includes extensive sections of Chapter 7 of Waking Down that Saniel rearranged and quoted at length in his book The Incarnation of Mutuality and then included in Sure Fire which he’s reading from here. So it includes his recitation of most of Chapter 7 again and his recitation of the commentary he earlier wrote in Sure Fire plus additional commentary that integrates all the material together.

His experience reading all this and speaking about it current-time had a sense of discovery and fresh revelation for Saniel. See if it doesn’t carry some of that for you too!

Session #14
Chapter Seven: “Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas, or Lifeways, of Superimposed and Formulaic Seeking,” Part 3

This session is Commentary only; Saniel opens by noting that he has recited Chapter 7 in its entirety in Session 12 and then most of it, though somewhat rearranged, in Session 13. The Commentary here is in turn a recitation of a very long essay in Sure Fire in its own entirety: “Going Beyond the Ultimate, Epochal Catch-22 (My Teaching on the Core Wound vs. Hypermasculine Dharmas on the Human Predicament).” And it includes many passages where Saniel elaborates on this writing and its themes, all of which provide yet another window into the extremely crucial exposition of Chapter 7 of Waking Down.

This is a long presentation and we recommend you give yourself the opportunity to listen to it on multiple occasions, both during and after you take the Waking Down Recitation and Commentary course. It is another one of the foundational arguments of this teaching, which, in the words of a Sure Fire essay that Saniel recited in Session 12, “will save you time. It will help you cut through the endless red tape of your own potential searches. It will relieve you of illusions and misunderstandings about yourself and life altogether...” (author’s italics, p. 110, Sure Fire).

Session #15
Chapter 8, “The Rot: Out of Head-Mind-Soul Awareness and into Heart-Body Consciousness,” Part 1

Saniel recites this short chapter in its entirety. In the Commentary, he first goes through and highlights or offers more nuanced current-day framings of specific points in this chapter of Waking Down. Then he reads from and offers further commentary based on a key essay in Sure Fire, “The Rot Disintegrates the Hypermasculine, Soul-Based Use of the Will and Prepares You for Integral Realization of the Core Wound,” pp. 96-98 of that book.

This is a crucial follow-up recitation and commentary to our previous explorations in this course of the core wound, the first birth, and hypermasculine dissociation and seeking, and the first session on Chapter 8.

Session #16
Chapter 8, “The Rot: Out of Head-Mind-Soul Awareness and into Heart-Body Consciousness,” Part 2

After reciting again portions of Chapter 8 on The Rot in Waking Down, Saniel delivers what he laughingly suggests might be called “The Egg-on-Face Sutra” of commentary. The principal additional essay from his own work that he references here, and recites in full, is from Sure Fire: “The Rot Is the Dark Night of the Whole Being.” The egg on Saniel’s face is due to the fact that, as he recounts, when he wrote the essay originally he did not bother to reacquaint himself with the actual teachings on the “dark night of the soul” that the essay refers to.

Before recording this session, while rereading St. John of the Cross, he discovered to his dismay that he had failed to accurately summarize what the great Christian contemplative actually taught about the dark night of the soul. So in this commentary Saniel straightens all that out, also reading St. John’s magnificent, poetic “Stanzas of the Soul” that his whole book on the dark night of the soul elaborates on.

Saniel also helps contextualize the Rot as a "dark night," perhaps we could say “of the core” or “of the Heart,” by referencing teachings on transitions, endings and neutral zones from developmental theorist James Fowler and, originally, writer William Bridges.

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© 2015 Saniel Bonder
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