Powerful free audios by Terry Patten and Sandra Glickman, about the relationship between Waking Down and Integral development

image Found these two free audios on the Institute of Awakened Mutuality site recently that have rocked my world. Get them here:

  1. Teleconference: The Integral Map and the Waking Down Process, and
  2. Waking Down: A Tender Gateway into Uncharted Human Territory

They cover overlapping material, which is a description of the Waking Down in Mutuality spiritual practice (they call it a “mystery school”), and how this integrates with more “traditional” integral theory and integral philosophy.

terry Patten is an “integral coach”, co-author with Ken Wilber of the classic guide Integral Life Practice.image

Sandra Glickman is a senior Waking Down teacher, who has been with Saniel Bonder from the very beginning (mid-90s).

Terry, Sandra and Saniel were all students / devotees of Adi Da where they met. Saniel studied with Adi Da for almost two decades before leaving him, getting his awakening shortly afterwards (despite all odds and the threat of “hellish karmas for lifetimes” as described in his books).

I am transcribing a portion of “Tender Gateway” because it expresses so beautifully the nature of the Waking Down process and answers a lot of questions I have about “feminine” approaches to personal development (such as Waking Down) versus more “masculine” approaches (such as Integral theory, or evolutionary spirituality).

[Transcript begins at about minute 50 of the audio. Highlights are mine.]

Sandra: quoting “Das”: “I saw that I could only find my true spiritual being energy in the energy of my repression, shame and self-control and allow the emergence of the self that I did not want to realize”. This is another phrase that Ted Strauss has brought to our work “the self that you did not want to realize” (it was either Saniel or Ted). That’s another thing, there is a hidden self in there, the shadow self if you could say, that we are all hoping and praying will go away. And, it is replete with incredible energy. And it’s just to be able to touch that in communion with others and honor that energy and open to it that we discover that in the very place where you felt the worst about yourself, the energy transforms and shows you its light, shows you its holiness, shows you its opening to the divine. That is a really wonderful thing to discover, to really discover that and here is something that I do want to say. It’s easy to try to “get an understanding” from the outside, “is this something that I want to look at”, “let me see how it sounds”, we do investigate and ask a lot of questions. But its only when you finally consent to enter into these places and really engage them with the greatest integrity that you can muster and with support from other people that it’s secret knowledge reveals itself and its sort of like a divine battle going on, you have to really engage the elements in yourself, and challenge them, struggle with them, throw your arms around them and throw them to the ground, merge with them, and then in that opening, something else is revealed.

Terry: You know this leads me to a question that I bet some people have: is this “waking down” or awakening realization that you are talking about, is this the same as the traditional realizations or different?

Sandra: that is a really good question! I would say that it’s not as extreme one way or the other. It’s not extremely related to release into consciousness only, and letting go of phenomena, it’s the entryway into consciousness and the self (or the absolute) is right through the phenomena, its right through the limitation. And as one enters through that doorway it seems dark, messy, untouchable, and it seems like it couldn’t possibly yield anything. And the awakening that comes from it has more of an integrated flavor. It’s more the light and dark have merged and so there is neither extreme light, or extreme radiance, or extreme, you know, loss and phenomena. It’s like a wedding of the two, where each, the light and the dark are honored, and the consciousness that is both the light and the dark, the duality completely shines through the limitation, and yet paradoxically it doesn’t erase the limitation. Our humanness is always with us. So it’s hard to say.

A lot of people will say to Waking Down people, “you don’t really act like you are spiritual or awake’ [laughter], and what they usually mean by that is that we may not seem to be beyond our ego-limitations, or always cool calm and collected and in charge of everything and smiling and happy and peaceful. And this is true, we don’t seem to be that. But I don’t really know if that is what a traditional awakening is really about. I really can’t say that I know what a traditional awakening is really about. But I do know what my awakening is about. And it’s about being free in the midst of all these limits. Free to be the limits. Free to enjoy the personality at times, the ego at times, the uniqueness of my quirky character, and not worry about some formal character that I should be displaying, not holding myself back. So I think for some people where it’s really natural to have a more exaggerated, more “pure” in fact, awakening experience, if they have certain characteristics that make that available to them then that is what their awakening will look like. But mine just looks like what it is. And I think that this is one of the secrets that Saniel has brought forth, that it is possible to have ordinary people awaken in their ordinary lives and really be awake. Really be able to touch into their freedom, their love, their compassion, their creative spiritual gifts, and their very functional working egos, that have been healed of past limitations. So I don’t know. It’s probably not what most people have in mind for the ultimate awakening. But I no longer find that to be of value, or attractive to me.

Terry: You are not interested in being the imperturbable serene sage under the tree, meditating?

Sandra: No! No! [laughter]. I would find that not to my liking. And totally impossible for me. So that is real .. whatever this awakening is, it’s very enlivening. And it’s very deeply satisfying. It has made me very functional and very creative in my life. Well I will take that [laughter]. Maybe another lifetime I will have another kind of awakening. So Terry, I really can’t answer that question because I haven’t been down that other path.

Terry: well, one of the things that we do in the integral world, with Saniel participating, in the Integral spiritual center, with lineage holders, Christian, Buddhist , Hindu, variety of different paths met together and had these discussions, there is a clarity in integral theory that there are many spiritual realizations. There is a slogan in new age spirituality “one mountain many paths”. And there are commonalities in different awakenings for sure, but I think there are unique characteristics for what takes place in different types of awakening. One of the conversations I had with Saniel in the early days of his teaching was that partly he was saying in a way, most of the spiritual paths are about purifying the body-mind so that you can sustain high states in a particular pattern that was, in Saniel’s opinion, “doing violence to aspects of the being”. He didn’t want to purify the whole body-mind first. He was saying look, at the very peak of pinnacle of enlightenment of all these paths that purify the body-mind, is a freedom in consciousness that doesn’t identify the body-mind, so you don’t need the body-mind to be perfect, it’s never perfectable anyway, it will die no matter what you do, there is a way in which you can be free in consciousness without the body-mind having been transformed. So I think that was an important idea to him at that time and that’s one thing that I want to add to what you said.

There is one other thing that I would like to put forward, is that there is a, for me, my awakening such as it is, is about a kind of freedom in consciousness and also a committment to a larger purpose than myself. And being given over to a larger truth and beauty and in service, and living for and doing what I am called to do by an evolutionary intentionality, and I don’t know that has been a part of the discussion in the Waking Down community. How would you respond to that?

Sandra: that is part of the discussion, more along the lines of what happens after people have awakened and stabilized their awakening for a number of years. It comes into the conversation more then.

But here I see a question from Deborah, “how does vertical development occur in a work that just accepts everything”. So I think this question has to do with what you were saying Terry, about how you are drawn forward, and how there is something in you that is always moving and evolving and opening to some other level. So I would say that one thing that we have discovered, is that when you go through the purification and wait until the end, to allow that you yourself are awake, it takes a lot of discipline, a lot of attention, a lot of struggle; but when you just wake up first and you recognize who you are essentially, without doing anything, that really empowers, vitally empowers, a relatively rapid integration over a few years, and it propels you into this vertical development. It doesn’t just stop with the Second Birth awakening. That is just a mere beginning. Because the being itself is purposed to grow and develop and evolve. And when people get together, like the integral community and the Waking Down community when they come together in groups they empower that in each other. And it does happen naturally, that is the important thing that we have discovered, there is an evolution at work, people after awakening may eventually take up subjects that they know they need to evolve in, and interests in other areas.


[Question about evolutionary intention]

Terry: This might be a question for me because it’s central to my work. And it’s something that I have encountered and engaged in a way that has been a natural outgrowth of my own free consciousness or awakening, in which I feel a kind of coincidence and simultaneity with “being itself” and “being itself, already whole and complete and needing nothing”, is urgently evolving and has been for 13 billion years. So there is a sense that the more rested I am in being the more urgently I feel a need to do what I can. And it isn’t the same as the urgency that I used to feel. I was always something of an activist but there was always a kind of core anxiety, overwrought feeling “the worlds in trouble, I gotta do something about it”, a kind of a deficit-urgency, not rooted in a basic peace, whereas what we’re talking about here is an expansion of a basic peace, that peace and freedom and everything being Ok, wants to.. it’s like an acorn wanting to be an oak, a child wanting to be an adult, there is a kind of inherency… and we live in a time in which there is a lot at stake in our lifetimes, and the significance of that seems objectively confirmed by everything that we see around us. In our lifetimes awakening I think is to show up in a way that makes a contribution. Somehow we need to become a part of how health re-establishes itself in the human community. That is my experience speaking very personally.

Sandra: I really like the way that you have articulated this, there is an articulation of a lot of things that I deeply experience and recognize in my own life, but this work that I am involved in, we haven’t really come to the point of articulating this so finely. So I feel really indebted to the integral perspective for articulating what I feel I am coming to recognize and live in my own life. Thank you terry that is very good.

[Question: how is tonight’s talk on Waking Down linked to the Integral work]

Terry: we haven’t linked it as much as some of you might have liked. I wanted people who are new to the Waking Down work to get a feel for the lived experience of it, which is not specifically highlighted by talking about quadrants, lines or levels; but let me say a few things. The Waking Down work is in my opinion a mystery school, in which a particular mechanism of awakening, a methodology of incubating the being into transformative shifts has really been exercised and worked so that it has been understood. Most of the schools help people by helping them operate in a masculine way. They do disciplines, they purify the body-mind, they attain certain skill and capacity and freedom, and out of that they achieve certain kinds of awakening. And sometimes gracefully something spontaneously happens where they have integrations or shifts that also create openings. It’s not just in a masculine mode. But it’s mostly disciplines that is the method, and then awakening can be a happy accident, but it’s based on practice. What is really cultivated in the Waking Down work is this feminine mode in which there is a kind of holding, a deep seeing of the humanity of the being, and not an efforting to transcend limits, but an allowance of all that is, so that there is a disarming of the armored structure of the being and there are shifts that take place on that basis. And it’s a different methodology.

In technical terms, for those who are familiar with integral theory, this has to do with a stage transition into a certain non-dual realization that is coincident with the full complexity of a human personality and life in relations. It is very much a path that has been created by contemporary westerners, for contemporary westerners… It’s not something that requires the kind of translation that some of the traditional paths require, in which it was developed in an agrarian society for monastics. The other things about the integral view relative to the Waking Down work that is useful, is that there are some schools that have to do with… for example the Shag Yoga [?] school is a school of “high subtle yoga”, and attention is fixed in the high-subtle. The Waking Down work rests on very profound radical non-dual teachings or Ramana Maharshi and Adi Da Samraj, which recognize the coincidence of radical consciousness and all-arising, gross and subtle. And so there is a kind of deep, deep acceptance of even the aspects of ordinary human experience and gross embodiment that have been rejected traditionally, and an embrace of those and of people’s humanness that is one of its defining characteristics.

Saniel, you know has been close friends with Ken with some years, and Ken has done some work in the Waking Down mode and appreciates it and has included some of it in integral spiritual center from the beginning, recognizing this radical non-dual ground which is Ken’s disposition. But the Waking Down work is particularly well suited to people who are well-ensconced in a post-modern society and the challenges and problems of being a post-modern personality and the kind of deep tender sensitivities in that disposition, and letting these become an asset and an agent of transformative change, rather than simply something that has to be overcome, which is how they are viewed in many traditional schools.


terry: I will add that the way best to view the Waking Down work in an integral lens, is not necessarily as an alternative to other schools but as a mystery school that can complement the rich life and practice has of the other dimensions. Many integralists have spent some time embracing a particular traditional path and often they find they have a dual experience in which the path really does have a richness that leads to transformative change, but often these are old schools and although they have been updated to some degree, they still don’t center in and orient around the actual lived experience and the interior complexity, the nuanced inner life that people have. To meet other people who are confronting the challenges of living and the existential challenges of our time in a way that is just fully raw and real and intimate and yielded-up is present in this Waking Down work in a way that is valuable. Therefore it is complementary to other path and meets certain needs.

Sandra: definitely. I think a person could have a traditional practice and could engage Waking Down and even come into their second birth and find that their traditional practice could be incredibly enlivened. I discovered that myself. I had studied and did a lot of practices and after my awakening I saw what these practices were really about, they really made sense now. So yea, Waking Down is adaptable in a way to whatever culture you find yourself in, it’s just entering a doorway that is kind of beyond traditional definitions but it doesn’t throw them out, it makes use of them and enriches them in a way, it awakens them.

Terry: maybe there is a kind of alchemy of coming together with the raw ragged realities of how we are living life today, there is often a subtle hyper-masculine requirement that people imitate a kind of simplicity that isn’t [real]… there is so often a kind of snobbishness in some schools that treats all the Westerners as if they are contemptible fallen creatures because they have busy minds and complex lives instead of meeting them in their own experience, which is what happens in Waking Down work.

[End transcript 1:20]


So I am not a “contemptible fallen creature” because I have a busy mind and complex life?

And if I have not yet given myself over to that “larger purpose”, found the thing that I can best contribute that will help “re-establish health in the human community”, I can still feel Ok about myself?

And maybe there is another way than an “efforting to transcend limits and to perfect myself”, which may in the end prove way more effective at making me more functional , creative, and (dare I say) happy?

And perhaps my most neurotic characteristics – those characteristics which (lets be honest) all of us manifest in trying to navigate the complexities and meet the challenges of modern life – these are my best “asset and agent of transformative change”?

How deeply, profoundly settling these thought are.

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