The Intuitive-Connections Network

Current Update as of July 21, 2005 

Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies

Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.

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The Translucent Revolution

The Translucent Revolution

(Published by New World Library)

Published by Permission

Chapter Four from
The Translucent Revolution:
How People just like you are waking up
and changing the world.

    Josh was a peaceful man. After years of meditation and spiritual study, he had trained himself always to turn the other cheek.

He spoke in an even monotone and nodded slowly and empathetically to anything said to him.

Anger and conflict were, to Josh, stains on the purity of life; his mission was to avoid them.

After experiencing a radical awakening, he began to sense this spiritual and loving persona as a sham.

He recognized that his aversion to conflict was motivated more by fear than by altruism.

Josh volunteers for a community housing project. He gives one day a week to building affordable housing for the homeless.

The dam broke one day when he was working with Eddie, a licensed contractor who was put in charge of all the other volunteers.

Eddie loved to call Josh "the rookie" and make his work an object of ridicule to the other volunteers. In particular, Eddie loved to show up Josh to the women.

Josh had been pushed around and humiliated all his life, and had taken it all with a smile, but this time he stood his ground.

A lion woke up in his belly. "Listen, Eddie, either you stop bullying me and everyone else here, or you can finish the building on your own." Josh was amazed at the words that came from his lips and at the way they had come from his gut.

Eddie didn't mess with Josh after that day. And Josh discovered himself to be more than a nice guy. He found a wholeness that could embrace both saint and demon.

A transformed sense of identity is at the very core of an awakening shift. This shift in who you take yourself to be changes everything else in your life.

Feeling small, threatened, separate from other people, and lost in a chaotic universe gives us grounds to act competitively, even violently.

Feeling vast, at peace, and connected with everything and everyone gives us a totally different way of doing things. It changes the way we drive to work, the way we parent, the way we make love, and the way we treat the earth we walk on.

Living from fullness rather than desire transforms our life from a struggle to a blessing.

When we are fully motivated by Iago's whisper, we become completely identified with this personality. We defend its beliefs and habits and feel offended if it is criticized.

Any potential change to our bundle of traits feels like death. When I initially moved to America from England, I landed in Los Angeles.

The first thing I did was to buy a used car - living without a car in LA is like surfing without a board.

My not-so-new car needed some repair work, to put it mildly, so I went to a local auto parts store.

The only building I had seen in England of comparable size was a cathedral.

The guy in line before me approached the counter. "Got me a dent," he announced, chewing gum.

"Some idiot hit me and ran." How terrible! I wondered when he had been released from the hospital, after his ordeal.

The clerk asked where the wounds had been inflicted. "Rear end, bud, left side. Pushed me right out of shape. Gonna need me some bodywork." I peeked at the man's left buttock. It looked fine to me.

Of course, he was talking about his car. You knew that, and now I do. In Southern California, where a car is central to your life, what you drive becomes synonymous with who you are.

So it is with our identity. Instead of a shifting, evolving art form, an offering to the world, our personality becomes who we are, a matter of life and death.

As Ayurvedic teacher Atreya Smith once said to me, "This whole enlightenment thing has gotten really blown out of proportion. It all boils down to a simple case of mistaken identity."

How We Define Ourselves

"Trailing clouds of glory do we come, from God who is our home," wrote William Wordsworth. As preverbal babies, we experience ourselves as limitlessness.

At one with what we see and feel, we have no need to define ourselves. We are both nothing and everything. Then Iago imposes a sense of limitation, of something missing, which we can never quite put a finger on.

We can spend an entire lifetime trying to find a satisfactory ending to the statement "I am..." It's as though we have amnesia and just remembering the answer will allow us to rest.

We take on labels and defend them. We resist their opposites. Assigning these labels allows us to function in the world of separate beings, but none of them really removes the fact that we have a very vague sense of who we really are, deeper than these roles we play.

Every label we adopt creates a polarity. As soon as we identify with being intelligent, we live in a universe that also contains stupidity.

Being wealthy is a resistance to poverty, and power creates weakness. So a personality is not only a bundle of qualities with which we identify, it is equally a unique set of resisted traits.

In creating a "spiritual" identity for himself, Josh had also resisted his power, authority, and darker energies. His personality was "spiritual" but not translucent; it was fragmented rather than whole.

Try It Yourself: Would You Still Exist?

You can do this exercise alone or with a friend. It can transform your relationship to your identity. Start by writing down every quality you identify with.

If you are working with a friend, one partner can ask the other, "Who have you taken yourself to be?" Be exhaustive in your answer. Write everything: I'm a plumber, I'm Jewish, I'm someone who likes Italian cooking, I'm a gardener.

Keep going until you cannot find any new answers to the question. It might take you an hour or more. Then go back slowly through the list and ask yourself, "If I no longer identified myself as..." and add one of the words you've written, "would I still exist?"

For some of your answers, you'll get an immediate clear "yes." For example, if I were no longer a plumber, would I still exist? Yes, I could go into selling life insurance.

Some may be a little stickier: "If I were no longer a father, would I still exist?" You might have to carefully remember your days before you had children and ask yourself if the core of who you are now and the core of who you were then is the same.

You might have to imagine what it would be like if one day you woke up and found that your entire experience of parenting was just a dream. Disorienting as it might be, would you still be here?

Some answers will be even more difficult: "I am a man." It might take you several minutes of feeling deeper even than your gender identity to decide if you'd still exist without the gender you are used to.

Some of your answers may be conceptual, like, "I am light" or "I am consciousness." When you ask, "Would I still exist?" you may feel that this answer points to something deeper than the other labels.

You can change the question to, "Would I still exist without this thought, without this concept?"

Whether you do this exercise alone or with a friend, you will need some time for it to go deep. If it does, stop and feel your own presence when you have let go of all definitions.

Are you still here? Can you still feel and see and hear? Take some time to relax into knowing the face you had before you were born.

Married to the Past

The personality we create in Iago's trance is a by-product of our sense of personal history. What makes you different from your friends, your partner, or your co-workers?

Of course, we all have differently shaped bodies, which is convenient when you need to find someone you know in a shopping mall. But that is not all that differentiates us.

We experience the world in different ways; we have different reactions, likes, and dislikes. We are all the products of conditioning and memory, of different personal histories.

The more opaque we are in the way we experience each moment, the more we are caught in Iago's web, the more attached we are to that past.

Iago could persuade us that we are helpless victims of childhood conditioning, mechanically acting out the ways we have been programmed to behave.

Or we could cling to affirmations, to ideas of ourselves, in order to feel secure, to feel we are somebody in particular.

Either way, as we age, still in Iago's grip, we cling to memories of the past as a way to preserve a sense of separate identity.

For most of us, this fabricated sense of "me," put together like a scrapbook, is no laughing matter. Our habits of defending identity, resisting change, or submitting to its iron grip run our lives.

When any one of the roles we have adopted and called "me" is threatened, we feel the deepest despair we can know. When Robert's real estate dealings went wrong, he felt suicidal.

Years earlier, as a student, he had very little money and was happy. But when his fortune was taken away, even though he knew life to be fine without it, he contemplated death as a better alternative to pennilessness. Losing his money seemed a fate worse than death.

When Sandra's children left home, she faced a period of depression she had never before known. She lost her appetite, her will to live.

Although she had spent twenty-six reasonably happy years before becoming a mother, once that role was taken away from her, she suddenly did not know who she was and was plunged into devastating despair.

This desire to kill oneself is most often linked to the removal of a central role.

I'm Bobby's mother...I'm Amy's boyfriend...I'm John's wife
...I'm the president of the bank...I'm the one who everyone turns to ...I'm the owner of this...the creator of that.

Take away our core definition, and we want to die.

Cookie-cutter Spirituality

We acquire our identity in Iago's grip through imitation. Because we have no intrinsic sense of self when we are hypnotized by separation, we create one from what we see around us.

After Josh had his moment on the building site, huge chunks of his identity broke away.

He realized that his soft gaze, his empathetic nod of the head, his habit of deferring to others, were all qualities he thought he should display, all created from the cookie-cutter image of a spiritual man.

He had borrowed every characteristic from a meditation teacher or from stereotypical behaviors displayed by spiritual groups. As soon as he took one step out of the box, the box disappeared.

The following week he discovered a whole new way of being with his girlfriend, his friends, and even his meditation teacher.

Our best solution when Iago is the only game in town is to increase the qualities we find desirable - usually the ones for which we get the most external approval - and to reject their opposites.

To the degree we are successful at this, we feel we are becoming a better person, and we call this raising our self-esteem. But it never really works.

Sometimes we may feel useless, sometimes like a great person, but either way, as long as we feel essentially separate, as long as we ignore any lingering knowledge of our deeper nature, ultimately we feel like a fraud.

Forgotten echoes of our innocent natural vision tell us we could, and should, feel connected with everything, relaxed, expansive, at home.

A Translucent Identity

In contrast, translucents share a sense of humor about their personality, a distance from it. They can allow it to be as it is. Translucents display a willingness to be wrong, to let go and move on.

Their perception of their identity is the way we might experience a crazy uncle who can be tolerated, enjoyed, even loved.

There is no reason to change your mad uncle, but there is also no reason to defend him or apologize for him. If he disturbs the neighbors, a little damage control is simply intelligent.

Translucents have shifted their dominant sense of self from content to context. They know that who they really are is what remains when they relax any attempt to define themselves.

It is like being the sky instead of a cloud, being the ocean instead of a wave. Self-esteem yields to esteem for the Great One Self, which knows no limits.

The Big Self was never born, will never die, has no limitations, and is untouched by the swirling dramas of this world.

It is appearing in disguise for a limited time only in your hometown, ladies and gentlemen, as a small person with a great many small problems and a very severe case of amnesia.

Lynne Twist is the author of The Soul of Money. I went to a book signing she gave in San Francisco. "I need you to know that I did not write this book," she began.

People looked a little puzzled. "Oh, I signed the contract with the publisher, and I got an advance, and my name is on the cover.

But what really wrote the book is the same source that has been my teacher in life."

She went on to list some of the manifestations of this real teacher: as children in South America or Asia, as courageous people who have shown her firsthand the real meaning of wealth as something more than just money.

"I feel blessed by so many gifts in this life, it would be a crime not to pass it on. But I cannot take credit for what is in the book. It came through me, not from me."

This is the translucent spirit speaking. Before an awakening shift, we linger in the default setting of low self-esteem. We feel ashamed of our smallness and fear.

Then, if we come to our senses and wake up, we lose even that small amount of esteem we were holding onto for the sense of "me" and instead have total esteem for the real source of our gifts, which is everywhere all the time.

This overflowing esteem, for the real author of our books and for all our other offerings, is gratitude. By remaining internally undefined, you become nothing, but at the same time potentially everything.

So we feel quite comfortable to be both intelligent and stupid at the same time in a way that defies logic but that we experience subjectively as wholeness.

Isaac Shapiro exemplifies this fluidity. He has been traveling as a translucent teacher for more than twelve years in Europe, America, and Australia.

Hundreds of people attend his retreats and look to him as a source of wisdom. He could have every excuse for solidifying an identity as a "showbiz guru." Goodness knows many have gone down that road.

When Isaac's marriage fell apart a few years ago, he made no attempt to hide his confusion or pain. I remember sitting with him in a small circle of friends in Amsterdam. The circle included some of his students.

I watched closely as someone challenged him, pointing out his unattended personality habits that had contributed to the breakdown of his marriage.

I saw in his eyes a vulnerability, a rawness, an absolute willingness to be wrong that was as total as his willingness to play spiritual teacher when that role was demanded.

When translucents are faced with being the great enlightened teacher or with being the most unenlightened fool, they just don't know which to choose.

Both roles look interesting - like two flavors of ice cream. So they take on what is real in that moment and die to the rest.


I first met Byron Katie many years ago, when she was still traveling the country in an RV. She would meet with a handful of people in one city, then drive on to another.

It was clear that she had unvelcroed her attachment to her story completely. She would speak of herself in the third person, but with no trace of affectation.

She obviously experienced Katie to be a delightful, interesting, and quirky creature. She enjoyed watching Katie and also knew herself to be so much more than Katie.

She told me of a time she was walking in the parking lot at the grocery store. Most of her stories took place in shopping malls or supermarkets - she embodied the Mahabharata, relocated to suburban America.

In this story, she saw a woman loading her groceries from her shopping cart into the back of the car. Poking out of the top of the last bag Katie saw a bunch of bananas.

"And honey," she said, "this Katie just knew, without any hesitation, that one of those bananas was destined to be eaten by her." Katie walked right over.

Without saying a word to the woman, she smiled, took the banana, and ate it. Katie relayed this story with a twinkle in her eye, as if she were giggling about her eccentric grandmother.

There was neither self-aggrandizement nor self-apology, but rather absolute humorous acceptance of her natural character.

The climax of the story was that the woman who owned the banana in question did not bat an eye. She, too, mysteriously experienced the whole event as quite normal.

This story is, of course, somewhat unusual. Perhaps not something you should aim to imitate, this kind of event cannot be duplicated.

What is exemplary here is not the circumstance, but the relaxed and amused way that Katie speaks of her own unique way of moving through this world.

The thousands of people I have talked to have nothing in common except that their awakening has imbued them with a growing translucence.

Translucents are relaxed, accepting, and amused by the personality.

There is no attachment to changing it, getting rid of it, or indulging in it, but neither is there any resistance to change, if it happens.

In this awareness of being undefined and beyond the personality, a luminous presence is liberated that has no content or opinions, that is still and silent and empty.

This presence uses the personality, as the best raw material available, to play in this world.

Natural Character

As translucents continuously relax into being less defined internally, they become more vivid and unique externally. This differs radically from the personality contractions created by Iago's anxiety.

Life chooses to express itself through you in a way that is quite effortless, spontaneous, and original - as natural character.

Eckhart Tolle is quiet, very modest, and loves to stay at home for long periods in his apartment in Vancouver. No one has told him to be like that. He is not imitating a role model.

And he has no impulse to interfere with himself. It is his natural character. Byron Katie is constantly on the road, traveling from city to city, talking with people from dawn to dusk, always fresh.

"Don't you get tired with so much traveling?" I once asked her. She looked puzzled for a moment. "Hmm," she finally said. "Do I look tired, honey?" I had to admit she looked great.

Bill plays in the band and drinks beer, Cynthia cooks for her son and volunteers at her church, and Ewa plays her flute. They are following their natural character.

We all have natural character, but when we are caught in the Iago trance, we are hypnotized into feeling there is a problem to fix, and so we modify ourselves.

Hale Dwoskin calls this process "shoulding": "We are 'shoulding' on ourselves all the time. All that does is create resistance. It causes us to resist the flow, if it does not match our rights and wrongs, goods and bads, shoulds and shouldn'ts.

As you let go, you should on yourself much less. You do what you do when you are doing it, and you don't do what you are not doing when you are not doing it."

Because translucents internally experience themselves as undefined, they can let natural character do its thing. With less identification, there is no motivation to change anything.

Spontaneous Forgiveness

With the willingness to be less defined comes a loosening of our grip on the past. The past is of little use when you have no case to defend.

If the trial is dismissed as boring and irrelevant, you can send the witnesses home to get on with their lives and dump the bulging dossier of carefully crafted case notes into the trash.

Translucents have a natural interest in forgiving and moving on.

Forgiveness is no longer a moral virtue, or something we need to practice, but the effortless by-product of no longer needing to protect an identity with a story attached to it.

The past is not healed; it simply ceases to be useful. Sarah had memories of abuse as a child.

She was never quite sure which of the events she remembered actually happened, but they certainly all seemed real. She saw a number of therapists over many years.

She visited her family from time to time; she tried to sit down with her father to find out what had really happened. She joined a support group.

This identity, as a survivor of abuse, was one of the first things she would tell you about herself.

Some years ago, Sarah came to a gathering I offered. She had an awakening; she discovered reality without the filters of her mind.

Recently, I tentatively asked her again about her memories. I knew it was a sensitive subject.

"I don't really know if that stuff happened or not," she laughed. "Maybe it did. I don't think about it anymore. It's not interesting.

It doesn't feel like I healed the past." She stopped and looked surprised. "It's more like I don't really have a past.

I'd need to think a lot to create one." Sarah has been to visit her father on several occasions since her shift but feels no need to talk about the past.

They discuss sports results and gardening and have a good time. Sarah discovered forgiveness as a by-product of releasing a part of her identity. It was the death of a part of herself and, apparently, a great relief.

A survivor of abuse has every reason in the world to be angry, to have strong feelings. A translucent's forgiveness is neither a moral quality nor a cultivated virtue, but the natural and inevitable consequence of knowing oneself as something more than the past.

When we disidentify with the story, there's no need to hold onto it with regret. We forgive as an act of allegiance to the present moment; it becomes choiceless.

Instead of clinging to our familiar identity, as we grow in translucence, we discover a thirst for death and rebirth while still alive. Many of us have experienced several different lives all in one lifetime.

This is very different from the discontented moving on described in chapter 1 that disturbs us in the Iago trance. Translucents welcome this death of identity with a sense of play and adventure.

David Deida describes the process like this: "Once I feel complete with something, it's over for me as a gift, and it drops, letting a new gift evolve.

If I meet someone who could do what I can do better, I stand aside and let them do it, and develop a service that is missing in the world."

At one time Deida was considered one of the world's top neuroscientists. He worked at Ecole Polytechnique and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. When that career was complete, he knew it.

Neuroscience held no more interest or attraction. He then co-invented a new form of calculus, publishing articles about it in mathematics journals.

Then, when he knew that life was over, he moved to Hawaii and taught Hatha yoga for many years.

In the mid-1990s he started to write about sex, relationship, and spirit, since he didn't see anyone else doing that in the way he wanted to see it done.

"I'll be moving on from the whole sex/relationship/spirit thing," he says, "as soon as someone gets up to speed. The sooner the better, as far as I'm concerned."

Translucents enjoy creating and letting go of identities as much as Iago resists change.

Inherent Evolution

As we deepen in translucence, we discover another dimension of our relationship to identity.

It begins with the absolute acceptance of things as they are, of all our strange quirks and addictions and banana nabbing.

Once we recognize everything to be fine as it is, we can relax even more deeply.

We can feel, within each moment, an evolutionary impulse to steer life in a more artful, loving, open way. This is not a personal doing fueled by Iago.

It is a surrendering, a discovery of the urge inherent within life to endlessly expand its expression of the mystery in form.

This is a subtle movement. As long as there are traces of Iago, which can appear in all of us at any time, it can be hijacked by effort and discontent.

But within a radical acceptance of our broken condition, a willingness to endure it eternally and to abandon futile efforts at improvement, our habits of identity begin to mend and to evolve, always toward their ultimate potential.

Life is not a static event. It is a river of endless evolution. Look over your shoulder a few billion years. Once there was just a bunch of atoms.

Look at how they have evolved into trees and rivers and rocks and sentient beings - at how life has transformed into this unimaginable, miraculous sentient being with the capacity to be aware of its own source.

Within this huge evolutionary process, the birth, awakening, relative translucence, and eventual death of any specific individual is a very small, fleeting event.

Andrew Cohen speaks eloquently about collective evolution: "In the urge to become, there is a directionality toward higher and higher levels of integration.

When human beings awaken to this and begin to emotionally care, not only about themselves, but also about this larger context, the largest context that there is, then their response becomes one with the God principle itself."

Cohen calls this recognition "impersonal enlightenment" and sees it as the next essential evolutionary stage of human life. In what he calls "premodern, traditional models of enlightenment" the goal was to just "get up and out of here":

Their concept of time was cyclical - the idea was that we are on a merry-go-round that is going around and around for eternity. They hadn't yet discovered the deep time developmental context that we're all a part of.

This knowledge is relatively recent, only three hundred years old. The fact is, we're not on a merry-go-round; we are the product of fourteen billion years of evolutionary development.

Human beings have only existed for about sixty thousand years, and only very, very recently have we awakened to the evolutionary context of our emergence. We are living in such an exciting time!

The moment of radical awakening described in chapter 2 is a part of this developmental process.

And the very recognition that we are in a collective developmental process is in itself another huge shift, one that transforms the individual as well as the collective process itself.

Cohen continues: "You realize that part of what you are is an individual human being that has been born in a particular time in history.

On a personal, emotional, psychological, and physical level, you have a personal history.

From the larger perspective, you are actually part of a fourteen-billion-year process of development."

As human beings, we are predisposed to become exclusively focused on "my" life. It is all that most of us will ever think about.

Even when we have developed a higher degree of translucence, there still often remains a natural and inevitable interest in "my" liberation, "my" enlightenment, "my" spiritual experience.

This is natural and good; without that predisposition, no one would even have the interest to mature and evolve.

When sperm are released during sex, every single spermatozoan is focused on reaching the egg and fertilizing it.

Either one or none of them will be successful. The eventual outcome may be a human birth and the continuation of the evolutionary process.

Out of the countless billions of sperm ejaculated out of a male body in one life, only a very few will realize their potential to become human beings.

But in order for that to occur, it is vital that every little ambitious fella rush like crazy to reach that egg every time. Almost all will die and disappear.

The impulse to reach the egg is, we could say, the micro-motive, human birth is the macro-motive, and the evolution and continuation of human life is the meta-motive that lies beyond both.

In the same way, however profound our awakening, however deeply lived our translucence, it is highly likely that in a few hundred years no one will remember how enlightened or unenlightened any of us was, or if we even existed at all.

Our personal lives, our spiritual journey, is the micro-motive, while the evolution of life is the meta-motive.

Each human story is like a tiny grain of sand in an hourglass, irrelevant and dispensable in itself, but an essential part of the bigger picture of evolution.

Everything living is carried in this evolutionary current, and everything is, to some degree or other, causing that evolution to occur. Cohen asks:

Do the actions we take, the choices we make, express the fact that we know we are a part of this process?

Does this process itself, at a certain point in evolutionary development, actually begin to depend upon my own conscious participation in it?

At this point there is an imperative to begin to be responsible for the process itself through one's own incarnation in the biggest possible way, rather than living for oneself the way that most people do.

As Cohen points out, awareness of the evolutionary context is quite recent in human development.

It takes the very peaks of human maturity to grasp that ultimately your or my awakening, translucence, and eventual death are a tiny part of a much bigger and more important process.

As long as we are preoccupied with our own identity, that very preoccupation will keep the idea of a separate me locked in place, the very core of the Iago trance, and will prevent genuine realization.

As soon as we realize the bigger context of collective evolution, our attention shifts from "me" to that process itself, and our realization of the timeless and formless deepens.

Cohen sees that simply by pursuing this awareness of the collective evolutionary process, people pass through an enormous transformation.

He calls it the "authentic self" awakening. Not only do people return to an awareness of their natural state, but they also realize that the way they live is actually very significant; it is evolution in action, here and here and here.

There is no evolutionary process happening outside of how you and I live every moment:

"When you truly, deeply, profoundly recognize that your human experience is not really a personal journey," says Cohen, "and it's not a personal drama, your relationship to it changes in a way that's very profound.

The individual is transformed and becomes a different person as a result. They have a profoundly different relationship to what it means to be a human being, living in the world."

With this awareness, we return to paying attention to how we live, to how we relate, to the things we say and the choices we make.

We pay attention to these things not to improve ourselves, not to fix a problem or achieve a goal, but because the larger current of collective evolution demands it.

Awakening and Mending

To surrender to this demand, we must be willing to look at the "broken zones" of our personality with honesty and courage.

In the last decades, several new approaches have evolved that address this calling. These are not paths to psychological healing.

They are also not spiritual paths to enlightenment in the traditional sense. Rather, to some extent they all rest on a degree of awakening to be effective.

They are skillful means to bring wakefulness into full embodiment. Until recently, spiritual teaching presented an either/or choice.

It was thought that if you were trying to fix, mend, heal, or release tension from your personality, you were identified with it, in a state of delusion.

Awakening, in the traditional view, meant that you had seen through the personality as fictitious, and therefore you no longer touched it.

This view has resulted in many people with some degree of genuine awakening but who also carry horrendous dysfunctional habits.

They obstinately refuse to look at them, because to do so would display "identification."

One of the most effective and powerful ways to address this schism is found in the work of Saniel Bonder:

"It's a particular passion of mine to communicate the extent of the brokenness of the human soul and psyche, and how gravely impaired we are by the degree to which even 'awakened' people continue to be governed by all that."

He describes his approach, Waking Down in Mutuality, as "not formally psychotherapeutic, but rather initiatory and mutually grounding."

Bonder's work has three dimensions, all contained in its title.

The first is waking. He and his community help people to awaken through a variety of means, including self-inquiry.

This awakening is not the end of spiritual life, as it's often thought to be in approaches that emphasize transcendence.

Rather, it catalyzes an exploration of our potential to live with sanity.

As long as you're predominantly identified with personality, as long as you think "this is me," you can't really make any big shifts, says Bonder.

That's like trying to make a major renovation to the hull of a boat you are sailing in - first you've got to get the hull out of the water.

You can't do brain surgery on yourself. Similarly, you can't begin to deeply mend your psyche if you overwhelmingly feel and think you are the psyche. That would be brokenness trying to mend itself.

Bonder sees awakening as the essential foundation for the evolutionary work that follows:

"You can't do that work for real without the transcendental ground of being. Otherwise, it is one part of your split-off self engaging the other, but still to some degree fearing and fighting it."

Without an awakening, we are able to accomplish only a relatively superficial mending of our human brokenness.

The second dimension is down: bringing the liberated spirit into embodiment in daily life, and integrating the broken zones:

When wakefulness comes forward and starts to wake down, to embody, to descend more fully into the psyche, there is a sacred marriage of two great dimensions of ourselves.

We undergo a challenging exposure to our issues, traumas, broken zones.

When we fall into them, these dimensions of our identity feel radically discontinuous with our ordinary sense of who we are.

We start reacting in ways that others may find quite disproportionate to the actual realities of the present moment.

Bonder sees these broken zones as relatively untouched by a radical awakening.

When we discover a deeper, unconditioned dimension to ourselves, we identify less with these old habits; we may feel they are essentially unimportant, but they continue nevertheless.

He believes that most traditional spiritual approaches have tended either to ignore these broken zones or even to exacerbate them:

"Under the guise of attracting people into ego-death and ego-transcendence, the teaching styles of many teachers have practically pulverized people in their broken zones.

It takes an Olympic gymnast of a psyche and spirit to somehow leap over those gaps, collect enough energy and attention, and crystallize the awakening.

Consequently, only a few in any generation pull it off."

Bonder feels that traditional spiritual approaches often hole up in awakeness, shying clear of the much more difficult, messy work of evolutionary embodiment.

We know ourselves to be limitless and free, untouched by birth and death. "Good," they might say, "let's close the book on how we live and treat other people."

In this way, the evolutionary aspect described by Cohen is more or less stopped dead in its tracks. Bonder feels that in order to bring forth the real evolutionary potential of awakening, we must return to how we live and heal, or make ourselves whole, from an awakened perspective.

The third dimension is mutuality, doing this work with others of like mind, catalyzing further transformations together.

Bonder sees mutuality as an essential context, one in which everyone is equally vulnerable, open, and willing to see where the evolutionary impulse can be given more room:

"You can't hide out in the enlightened ivory tower of 'my realization is superior to yours,' or, 'I know you better than you know yourself,' or, 'I've got a superior insight, wow, isn't that amazing to you?' "

In real mutuality, the teacher is no longer one particular person in the room; the real teacher becomes the meeting itself, the highest evolutionary potential of the group, called forth by the gathering.

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