Episode 81: Open Hearts Melting Into Love (Part One) with Saniel Bonder and Linda Groves-Bonder, Spiritual Awakeners, Teachers, and Creators of the Tantra of Trust

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Have you ever felt alone... so alone... that you wished you had some way to open your heart to yourself as well as to another? But how do you do this? And what happens when you see inside your heart, when you’re feeling kind of scared or messy? Where do you go to get support to learn how to deeply open up? Or is it … open in? And what if we … wake up … while we … open up? And…what if we wake down (into matter) while we wake up (into spirit)? Here to give us some support and understanding about opening our hearts are today’s special guests, Saniel Bonder and Linda Groves-Bonder. Saniel and LindaMa, as she is called, explain why we feel this way so often, and why this is a perfectly natural way to feel. We explore how culture has created something Saniel and LindaMa call the “Spirit-matter” split. We examine existing cultural paradigms that tell us waking up is good, and consider their paradigm that includes “waking down into mutuality” as well. Find out how an adept can transmit healing energy, and why Saniel and LindaMa offer a free 4-part course, an online transmission, specifically through the organ of the heart. Find out how to do this heart-gazing yourselves, as well, with a partner. And enjoy Saniel and Linda’s message: No one needs to be alone, sorting out all this messy stuff by themselves. Embrace and embody it all…alone, and also, with others… and remember, love and support are there for you!

Transcript

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Dr. Patti Taylor: Welcome to the Expanded Lovemaking Show. I am your host, Dr. Patti Taylor of ExpandedLovemaking.com, and I teach you how to make exquisite love. This is Part One of a two part series. Today we are talking about open hearts melting into love.

Have you ever felt alone, so alone that you wished you had some way to open your heart to yourself as well as to another? But, how do you do this? And what happens when you see inside your heart, when you are feeling kind of scared or messy? Where do you go to get support to learn how to deeply open up, or is it open end?

What if we wake up while we're opening up and what if we wake down when we wake up? Well, here giving support and understanding about opening up our hearts are today's special guests, Saniel Bonder and Linda-Groves Bonder. Hi and welcome to the show.

Linda-Groves Bonder: Hi, Patti. Thank you so much for having us today.

Saniel Bonder: Yes, thank you. We really appreciate the opportunity to be with you.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Well, it is totally my pleasure. I understand that your friends and students like to call you Saniel and LindaMa. So, may I call you that as well?

Linda-Groves Bonder: Yep.

Saniel Bonder: Fine with us.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Let me tell you a little bit about Saniel and LindaMa. They are among today's foremost pioneers in the field of embodied mutual awakening of consciousness. Saniel is a renowned columnist. He is the author of nearly a dozen books of teaching, including one called, "Waking Down". LindaMa is the creator of many dynamic practices for awakening, healing and transmission on her own.

Both Saniel and LindaMa are founding members of Ken Wilbur's Integral Institute. They teach and counsel together and individually and offer unique trainings they call "The Tantra of Trust", skilled and superlative, intimate partnership for the 21st century man and woman. They are located in northern California.

Today, we will be discussing how people come to feel the sense of separation as a natural part of being alive in this culture and what we can do through a simple yet profound practice called transmission to get support to melt open our hearts. Well, let's get started.

How do we wind up feeling so separate in the first place?

Saniel Bonder: Well, I would say, Patti, that it's actually - you used the word, natural, just a moment ago. That's probably the first thing that we like to emphasize. The feeling of being separate is not a sin. It's not fun. It doesn't feel good, but it's not inherently wrong or bad. It's just the product of human evolution that we've gotten into this separated or dissociated kind of state. That's really the most important thing to say about it. Not that there's an explanation of why or how that if we know it, then we're automatically free of it.

Dr. Patti Taylor: OK, great. Can you give me some examples of what this separation might translate into in the people you work with?

Saniel Bonder: Well, sure. People have a feeling of being cut off. They are trying to connect. They are trying to find a way to feel that they are being seen and heard in life. Many people express a sense of even a physical pain. I remember for me when I was going through the process of this opening up,down, out and all that, it actually became - it was almost like a steel band across my chest.

Linda, you had a different experience. It might be good to share here.

Linda Groves-Bonder: The way that it showed up for me is I had felt for so long this emptiness, this void, if you will, in my diaphragm and in my stomach. It was as if part of my seeking was to fill that or to heal that. So, I felt that there was something missing in my life, and that created some confusion and a feeling like, OK I'm doing all these different things and parts of them are really serving me. But yet, I still have this feeling and sense of emptiness in my body, actually. So, that was the sensation I had.

Dr. Patti Taylor: I'm sure a lot of our listeners, maybe, everyone alive. It's part of the human condition, isn't it?

Saniel Bonder: Pretty much.

Linda Groves-Bonder: Yes, indeed.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Like you said, natural, right? And then the flip side of that is that what do we do? We want to go into the spirit. You have written a lot on the spirit matter split. Can you say more on the spirit matter split? I guess matter is the body, right?

Saniel Bonder: Yeah, matter is the body and all of our material "real world" experience. It appears that we humans have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years and especially more recently into this quality of being split.

There's part of us that seems to be more spiritual or mental or psychic, and the link, the connection and the unity with our bodily life and our energies and emotions is not clear to us.

Dr. Patti Taylor: What happens? What's the spirit side? You've worked with what - thousands of people at this point. Is that fair to say?

Saniel Bonder: I think so.

Dr. Patti Taylor: You've worked with thousands of people. Would you say most people have a really well developed spirit side as well as this pain, this emptiness? Do they also have that good side, that spirit side?

Saniel Bonder: Well, yeah, most of the people who are attracted to our kind of work would identify themselves as being pretty spiritual. The pain actually is a kind of a symptom of the split. On one level it's how it feels not to be integrated and whole.

Linda Groves-Bonder: I think also there is a judgment that people have sometimes around actually feeling the pain, especially if they are spiritual or have a very strong religious belief system. They feel that they should be transcending it, or they should be getting over it, or something else should be entering in, or they should be "the good spiritual practitioner" and not have to feel that. That can create some separation, also, and some frustration.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Well, that's a good point. You wrote a book, Saniel. And, Linda, I think you were part of that, too, called "Waking Down". Clearly, you have a real viewpoint about that.

Saniel Bonder: Yeah, very much so, Patti. It's very clear to us having helped now many, many hundreds of people really heal this split in a profound way. It's real obvious to us that humanity appears to be moving in that kind of direction. Like you said, there is a coming into our hearts and our deeper feelings that's happening anyway. So, we're part of that movement.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Now, you said a really favorite word of mine, heart. I want to link that word, heart, to the body here because I think a lot of our listeners are really into embodiment. Before we go into the heart which is where I really want to go next, just how does this all just tie into embodiment in general? Why are our bodies important? Why is this tantric?

Linda Groves-Bonder: When we speak about tantra in our work, we really talk quite a bit about embracing the opposites, embracing spirit and matter which in some people's viewpoint that's two separate things but really it's not. Matter, the body, the heart, the emotions, the ego, all parts of who we are in this physical form is equally divine as the absolute conscious nature that we are and all live.

We fall deeply into feeling the body more and more and acknowledging the fact that we are divinely human beings and that we do have emotions and we also have limitations which is just human. But, the limitations are not wrong and bad.

Dr. Patti Taylor: That's where I think you're very different from a lot of tantra. Of course, tantra is not one thing. Tantra, I think, is a mountain and there are many paths up the mountain, but a lot of tantra says, transcend the body or transcend the pain and go into the pleasure. I see what you're saying is actually: no, embrace the pain and the suffering and you can still have an amazing life.

Actually, you need to actually immerse yourself and go into the pain and see into the heart and into the body and into all of that stuff that is going on at the body level, even if it's not pretty. It may be pretty much the opposite.

Linda Groves-Bonder: Yes, indeed.

Saniel Bonder: That's correct. That's how we see it. I think it is important to say out front that we are not talking about a life of wallowing in pain here but rather integrating the parts that otherwise are tantric practice or spiritual practice that might be motivating us to try to escape.

You know, you feel pain. Well, what's wrong? I've got to get away from that, or I've got to transcend it. I've got to master it. In our orientation you could say in some ways is, maybe, more feminine, especially in the initial stages of learning how to be with it and find out what it can teach you and also the greater bliss and joy and freedom and love that are possible when we're no longer at war with these unpleasant parts.

Dr. Patti Taylor: I think that is so beautiful. I'm going to pause. We're going to take a break, but right what you said there, I think is really profound and very, very much the heart of part of your message. This is Dr. Patti Taylor, and I'm here with Saniel Bonder and Linda Groves-Bonder.

You can find out more about Saniel and LindaMa at their website, HeartGazing.com and I'll spell that for you, h-e-a-r-t-g-a-z-i-n-g.com, HeartGazing.com. So, please stay with us. We'll be right back.

Announcer: Listen to Sex, Love and Intimacy, a podcast providing weekly audio workshops for your pleasure and connection on PersonalLifeMedia.com.

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Dr. Patti Taylor: We're back and we've been just talking about how there is some richness and some profound - something amazing that comes from actually going deeply into the truth of the moment, even if that includes panic [?]. Can you just say a little bit more about that?

Saniel Bonder: LindaMa, do you want to take this?

Linda Groves-Bonder: Go ahead, Saniel. I'll jump in.

Saniel Bonder: OK. Well, the key here is that all of this, as LindaMa was saying a few minutes ago, all this is part of who we are. One of the things that we propose about the history of spirituality is that so much of it has been built upon this sense of a split of a difference in our natures and trying to really get to one side, the spirit side, at the expense of our material nature often.

So, when we fall into that, drop into that, when we allow ourselves to be in touch with those places, there are ways to integrate all of these parts, and it makes for - I love that you used that word. It makes for a very rich, full adventure of living where among other things you stop splitting the world into good and bad parts, right and wrong parts. And you're just living a whole and rich and full life.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Could you give me an example? Let's just say that... Well, could you give me an example, maybe, in your area of sex or love, maybe, someone you've worked with or yourself?

Saniel Bonder:  Yeah, I'm thinking of a friend of ours who's actually a teacher of the general work that I founded years ago that I called "waking down, a mutuality". There again, using that down part. For quite a few years he went through a pretty intense process. He's someone who experienced a lot of abuse and distress and trauma in his earlier life. He went through a challenging process of, in effect, reclaiming all that; owning it, being it, being with it and has come through the other side as a very, very profound teacher. And also, someone who can really help other people integrate those aspects themselves, but he had to be willing to go through that zero strain, as we like to call it.

Linda Groves-Bonder: That's also the beautiful thing about when someone dares to go into that territory and really become it, really investigate it. And also in a relationship ask for help and guidance and holding. It transforms them on a cellular level. It's literally a body transformation as well as a spirit transformation which is one and the same, really. By that transformation these people move in the world differently, and they touch people differently and they help people draw more fully into all of who they are.

Dr. Patti Taylor: What I really like from what I am hearing you say, there are a couple of things. Number one, that this is a very different paradigm than what we've been taught which is that you have to be perfect, and the way is up and looking good. And two is asking for help.

We're also taught to go it alone, right? Or you go see your therapist. I mean, 50 years ago we all lived in extended families. We all lived in groups in community. Nowadays, I think we are so isolated and cut off. We're dying in our aloneness.

Saniel Bonder: I think that is such an important point and really worth sort of pausing with as we discuss it. People today are under the impression that we've got to have it together and be able to do it right all by ourselves or just get a little bit of help from a book or a training or whatever and stand on our own.

Certainly, what we are talking about is each and every one of us developing the utmost personal - what we would call divinely human - responsibility and capability. But, in that there is this beautiful, humble, vulnerable recognition that we need and can be greatly helped by resources that others can provide. We all need that, not just the students and the people who are trying to learn something new, all of us.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Well, I can just speak for myself. I have had my own share of wounding in my life. I don't talk about it much on the air. I guess no one has asked me. I'm the interviewer; I don't know. And it's been pretty intense. I am really grateful that I have had my own guides who have been there for me repeatedly who I could go to repeatedly while I learned a new way to grow up and do things differently.

I think that's one reason why even though we've never met in person that I really understand. We're going to transition here in a moment to the whole idea of transmission. Why I really understand why it's so beautiful, the work you are doing around transmission of the heart because I think that we have the opportunity now with the Internet to begin to train ourselves, if we want to. To learn new ways of being in the world, that we just have an unparalleled chance to grow ourselves as new human beings, to make our own choices.

So, having said that and revealed that truth about myself, I'd like to, maybe, move on and just talk about, maybe, for a moment about what does it mean. You two are both known as what are adepts or guides. Can you briefly tell us what that means?

Saniel Bonder: Yeah, essentially we are both people who have gone through a very profound, deep search and spiritual practice, growth practice, psychologically, emotionally, physically, and have become embodiments of a different condition, a quality of being alive in which that spirit matter split is healed. The adeptship comes in in that we are skilled at helping others go through the same kind of transitions.

Dr. Patti Taylor: You said it so beautifully in "Waking Down", so I'm going to try and paraphrase this.

Saniel Bonder: OK.

Dr. Patti Taylor: It's kind of like what a guru used to be, only that word kind of has a lot of negative energy to it although it shouldn't. I think guru just means dispeller of darkness, if you go back to the Sanskrit, without all the meaning. But, I think it means someone who in a loving way is willing to speed your evolution along faster and who has actually traveled the path faster.

And when the student is ready, it is up to the student or the learner to come and find the guru or the adept, the adept is someone who is skilled, and to say, "Help me. Throw me some rope" and the adept throws them the rope and says, "Here" and makes it a faster journey and just helps you out. It's a very deep, loving, intimate relationship.

Linda Groves-Bonder: Yes, indeed. I love the deep and loving is a really important piece here because when you encounter these individuals saying, "Wow, you know, I really see there is something here and I feel something from you and can you hold me? Can you listen deeply?" That is so much part of the work that we do.

Also, I would like to say that our process is not a cookie cutter process. It's very, very unique to the individual. And so, that deep listening, that deep love, that deep holding from the heart that we do with individuals really helps them open up. Then, we make suggestions along the way and we ask questions and we dive very deep into their whole life process. It's so juicy. I just love my work.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Well, it makes a big difference and, obviously, the integrity of the adept is, I think, the foundation of it. You both have certainly been there for a long time and have - I know for a fact - made a difference in thousands of people's lives. I've just heard so many stories about it myself.

What's an example of how someone might shift by doing this work?

Linda Groves-Bonder: Well, initially someone might come in and say, "Oh, I have some really deep issues that I feel like I need to investigate along with this desire and just hoping and need to awaken." What we'll do is we'll walk them through a very deep investigation of these places that we call sometimes "broken zones" or "shadow material". And they'll start to experience a deeper connection to that, and as we were mentioning before, a place where they are not judging it as severely as before. They are not judging themselves and making themselves wrong for having these broken zones. This is part of who we all are. We all have broken zones.

And so, by us holding them and listening and counseling and guiding, making suggestions along the way, there is a deeper sense of an opening or a trust that happens within their bodies and in their minds. And they start to find their own unique means as they investigate, as they drop more deeply.

Dr. Patti Taylor: That is so beautiful. We are going to come back to broken zones very much so in the second show, but I am just going to say. Could you just imagine totally loving all those places you're scared of and messy in your own heart?

Linda Groves-Bonder: Yeah, indeed.

Dr. Patti Taylor: What a concept. How different is that from how we were raised.

Linda Groves-Bonder: That is so true. And part of the work, if you want to call it work, part of our heart's passion that Saniel and I do and many other teachers and mentors in this work, is the aspect of transmission coming in from that awakened condition, from that place of the healing of the spirit matter split, the unity between matter and spirit that is just divine.

Dr. Patti Taylor: We are going to pick up on that, on why the heart and definitely the transmission. So, please stay with us. This is Dr. Patti Taylor and I'm here with Saniel and LindaMa. You can find out more about them at HeartGazing.com. I'm going to spell that for you: h-e-a-r-t-g-a-z-i-n-g.com. We'll be right back.

Announcer: Listen to Sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra, a weekly Internet audio program from PersonalLifeMedia.com. Learn ancient secrets that turn on the soul of sex at PersonalLifeMedia.com.

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Dr. Patti Taylor: We're back and we're talking about open hearts melting into love. I just want to talk now about one heart. You know, we talked about the spirit matter split, and I think the spirit is up in the top chopras and the matter is so lower chopra and, of course, the heart is in the middle but why the heart? You do the heart transmission, and we're going to go right into the transition but why the heart?

Saniel Bonder: Well, Patti, as it's happened, the heart has been the focus or my life and work since my own spiritual search began when I was 20, which is now a fairly long time ago.

As you know, when we talk about it or when we write about it, we often capitalize that word because we're not just meaning the heart as the love chopra when placed in the sense of opening and feeling although that's clearly part of it. But, it's the heart as the seat and the epitome, you could say, of the whole being.

In fact, through the teachers and also studying what was happening in science over the course of the 20th century, what I came to recognize is that one of the really great breakthroughs was an understanding that the place in the human heart that is the source of the heart beat. We could talk about it anatomically, but it's in the right upper chamber of the heart is also the place where great sages have recognized as the seat of consciousness or the essence of our spiritual transcendental nature.

So, the unification of all of our parts actually comes through a transmission that people feel as a connection to their deepest, truest center, their most authentic and also total self.

Dr. Patti Taylor: OK, great. That's really beautiful, so the healing spirit matter split really is through the heart. Could you tell us just what is a transmission, and then I want to find out how your heart gazing works. So, you can just kind of go right into that.

Saniel Bonder: Well, very briefly the word, transmission, is used in many ways. In some traditions it is in reference to teachings being given over at a certain point, but in our context we are talking about something like sunlight radiating from the sun, that there is a radiation, an energetic and conscious presence or force of being, we could say, that LindaMa and I and other teachers who we've trained and are training others now.

Part of their capacity to teach in our work is that they are living in such an awakened and enlightened state that they very naturally transmit or radiate this presence, and it has a profound effect on others who become receptive - how do you phrase it - open hearts melting into love.

Dr. Patti Taylor: So, it's like you bask in that love and then you kind of catch some of those rays yourself, right?

Saniel Bonder: Well, I like to say it's as if the transmission is turning up the gas on the pilot light in your own heart.

Dr. Patti Taylor: That's beautiful.

Saniel Bonder: So, part of it is you are definitely getting something from someone else, but it's activating your own capacity to live that and be that.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Oh my God, that sounds great. How do we do that? You have HeartGazing.com, or do you want to just do one, maybe, for our listeners. Before you tell us about that, can you do something like right here on the airwaves for us?

Saniel Bonder: Well, we're actually doing it all the time, but what you who might be listening can do is if you are sitting somewhere just feel, just be present and feel and sense from your body and your heart and not only listen from your head. And see if you sense a stronger energy or sense of presence as LindaMa and I are talking with Patti.

Linda, did you want to add anything to that?

Linda Groves-Bonder: Yeah, I always like to suggest to people that a form of breathing technique is also helpful in opening up the body and opening up the channels and that is very simple. It is really just breathing with your mouth slightly open, allowing your face muscles to relax and drop the jaw at a very natural position with the mouth open and do your breathing through an open mouth. It feels vulnerable sometimes because we tend to clench our jaws sometimes.

A lot of tension appears in the upper shoulders and the neck and the face and the jaw area, so by relaxing and breathing through an open mouth, in and out, and focusing on how the body is starting to just drop and feel, you can bring attention to the heart area. You can bring attention to any place in the body that might actually be feeling contracted or a little tense, perhaps, or there might be an energetic flowing through the body.

This is a form to where you are opening and you're allowing this energy, this focus to go to the heart to relax.

Dr. Patti Taylor: I'm doing it right now. I love you guys.

Saniel Bonder: We like that about you, Patti.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Well, I guess I've been transmitting the whole time. Oh, yeah, it's wonderful. Can you do this with another person, looking at them?

Linda Groves-Bonder: Oh, absolutely. What we do at our heart gazing events, actually, is we do gazing with individuals. I might be jumping a little ahead here, but there's a form where people do mutual gazing. You can gaze with your partner, your lover, sitting right in front of you.

I like to have people cross their legs and put their knees together and then to hold hands so that you are very close. The knees are also a very important energetic part of the body so the touching of the knees, the holding of the hands and the breathing and the gazing directly into each other's eyes was not an intent to change anything or to do something to each other. It's really just being to being. It's a deep heart connection from just relaxing into being with each other.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Well, I love that, you know, and sometimes the simpler the better. This is very beautiful, everything you are sharing.

Saniel Bonder: Yes, Patti, and we want to emphasize two things about it. One is people can do this with one another. As a matter of fact, this is something people have always done with especially people they love and friends. That communication through the eyes is natural. This is one of the primary things that grows little infants is the mother's eye contact and the father's eye contact. It is a very natural, primal human thing that we can do face-to-face and body-to-body, especially where there is that basis of trust.

As Linda was indicating, we recommend an orientation of not trying to work on each other's energies or kind of read each other's minds or anything like that but just being present and simply available to one another.

The second thing also, as she pointed out earlier, with the advent of the Internet and all the other forms of virtual communication, people can do this and are doing it, for instance, with us, with our photographs and so on all over the world. It has that same effect.

Dr. Patti Taylor: That's amazing. We are going to close out this show pretty soon. But, before I do, would you just tell us about your HeartGazing.com? We are coming back for Part Two of the show, so we do have more. But, before we do, I'd love to just have you tell us about HeartGazing.com.

Saniel Bonder: Well, HeartGazing.com is where we invite people to come and initially find out about our work and through it they can go in whatever directions they wish. At that site we explain why the heart is so important in our work, how this process of gazing works and a few simple things about it.

We also help people understand the differences between this approach and some of the more transcending orientations and the kind of 'fix it' orientations that people have. And then we invite people to take a free four session online course, an audio-based course, that also includes instructions not only on how to do this gazing with us to receive this transmission but also how to go deeper into integrating your cutoff parts or broken zones.

Linda has a whole teaching called "Active, Conscious Dreaming" that she does which is manifestation work, and we have training in how to awaken your consciousness much more fully. All of that is included completely free. It is our total pleasure to make this a gift to everybody.

Linda Groves-Bonder: Yes, in fact, we have a woman from the UK who wrote a beautiful statement here. I'll read it just real briefly: I am finding the course of Heart Gazing to be an excellent tool in coping with the stresses and strains of living in today's world. It brings back the calmness needed to cope. Saniel and Linda are so easy to connect with. I think the whole world should listen to this course.

So, that was such a beautiful statement. It's really making a change in her life by participating in it.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Isn't it amazing that somebody writes in because, you know, for every one person that writes in, there's like a hundred people that actually are thinking that. It's kind of a rule of thumb I found. That is so beautiful.

Well, we are going to close out the show. We are coming back for Part Two. We have so much more to talk about. You guys have a ton of great things to say. I want to thank you for coming on the show so much.

Linda Groves-Bonder: Thank you so much, Patti. This has been such a delight.

Saniel Bonder: It's our great pleasure. We love it.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks, all our listeners, for joining us. Please send me email at [email protected]. For text and transcripts of this show and other shows on the Personal Life Media network, please visit our website at PersonalLifeMedia.com.

Also, please visit me, Dr. Patti Taylor, at ExpandedLovemaking.com where you can join my mailing list and find out more about my products, services and events.

This is Dr. Patti Taylor. That's all for now. I remain yours in ever expanding lovemaking, and I'll see you next week.

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