Saniel Bonder - From Devotion to Mutuality.
October 01, 2008 14:02

Waking Down. Part 1. From Devotion to Mutuality.
Saniel Bonder and Ken Wilber

Written by Corey W. deVos

In this dialogue Saniel Bonder shares the story of his own spiritual journey, including his time spent with the always-controversial Adi Da.  Saniel explains how this relationship has helped transform his relationship with spirituality itself, having shifted from a devotional-based practice, to one anchored in intimate mutuality between teacher and student.

In the world that exists just outside of time, Spirit is a single river, flowing from a single mountain with a million cloud-covered peaks, carving channels deep into the soul and soil of the earth.  It bubbles forth from unseen springs, tenderly gnashing through history with sublime patience and tenacity.   It has been called countless names—some of which endure to this very day, while many others have been forever lost to the whispers of time's passing.  Spirit is a single river, reminding us all of our own inherent wetness, leading us back to the Source of being. 

In the world that exists just outside of time, Spirit is a single river—but we do not live outside of time.  We live within the belly of time, swallowed at birth by a demiurge that separates us from our own eternal providence.  From within time, Spirit is not a single river, but a confusing latticework of streams, brooks, and tributaries—each suggesting a universal Source, but leading to a million different springs atop a million different mountains.  Within the world of time, Spirit has been broken up into a million pieces, a million different moments, and is made to dance with itself for all eternity.

If the single river of Spirit has been split into so many seemingly disconnected streams, decoupled from the single Source, then the information age represents the mighty delta of spiritual consciousness.  It is this fragile moment in history where all these streams may eventually converge once again, where the waters from the East lick the waves of the West, and faint echoes of timeless unity can be heard in the playful spray of ancient liquid.

We are standing in the middle of this convergence, this digitally-defined delta, in which more of the world's knowledge, culture, and wisdom has flowed together than ever before possible.  The mid-to-late 20th century saw an unprecedented influx of Eastern traditions into the Western mind, most notably through the work of scholars like Alan Watts, D.T. Suzuki, and Aldous Huxley, as well as through influential (and controversial) teachers like Chogyam Trungpa, Krishnamurti, and Adi Da.  While we might regard some of these individuals as being relatively flawed in comparison to the perfection they are meant to embody, we cannot confuse these vehicles for the rivers they skim across, or we run the danger of distrusting the water for fear of a leaky boat.

This inundation of Eastern and Western traditions into the modern and postmodern worlds has yielded a rich pool of perspectives, principles, and practices—a sort of primordial ooze of spiritual consciousness that has become the habitat of an entirely new generation of Integral thinkers and practitioners—people like Saniel Bonder, Linda Bonder, and Ken Wilber, who are now emerging from the muck of history, and using the tools and technologies of the 21st century to trace the countless streams back to their singular Source.  These new pioneers are beginning to recognize the ripples on the water’s surface as eternal patterns dancing behind the veil of time, and are once again seeing Spirit for what it is: a single river, flowing from a single mountain with a million cloud-covered peaks.

We hope you enjoy this fascinating dialogue, and we invite you to share your own reflections over at the Integral Life community!


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