Great Relief Hero's Journey

A 10-session recorded seminar with Saniel Bonder assisted by Linda Groves-Bonder

This recorded seminar is for people who want to learn how to stop adding unnecessary, reactive suffering to life’s pressures, in both our ordinary everyday experience and our most intimate, primal sense of being alive.

We suggest you read or review Great Relief: Nine Sacred Secret Your Body Wants You to Know before or while listening to the course. The pdf version is included with the course. Please also see the description of the book here in our Store.

Here are the titles and descriptions of the 10 sessions:

Secret #1: “Most Everybody Feels Like Something Is Wrong, Missing, or Unclear at the Core of Life Most of the Time”

Presentation by Linda

Linda Groves-Bonder (referred to sometimes as Linda Ma) welcomes everyone to the 2015 10-session Great Relief Hero’s Journey Virtual Seminar. She speaks briefly about Saniel’s book Great Relief, the importance of these teachings on the core wound, and her early experience of the core wound that led her years ago to go so deeply into the work that Saniel had founded. Her presentation is followed by a short gazing session

Presentation by Saniel

Saniel opens the Great Relief Hero’s Journey Virtual Seminar with explorations of the nature of the hero’s or heroine’s journey and an examination of Secret #1 of Great Relief: “Most Everybody Feels Like Something Is Wrong, Missing, or Unclear at the Core of Life Most of the Time.” A short gazing session is included near the beginning of his presentation.

Saniel introduces Great Relief and the 10 sessions of the Great Relief Hero’s Journey Virtual Seminar, and tells the story of how Great Relief came to be published. He reads from and comments on Joseph Campbell, Richard Rohr — particularly Rohr’s statements on “necessary suffering” — and Great Relief. He speaks on the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and Michael Brown. All are respectfully considered in light of our perspective on the core wound and its importance for our optimal whole-being growth and evolution.

Secret #2: “It’s Really Hard to Be Here, Isn’t It?”

Presentation by Saniel

After an introduction and short gazing session, Saniel begins with some important points that hark back to Secret #1 – its key exercise and what we mean by “the body” in these teachings. His commentary on Secret #2 focuses on:
- the difference between having and reacting to the fear of death and knowing and acknowledging that we are all actually and in every moment dying – here he cites teachings from Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart
- the core wound as the most primal pain underlying our tendency to “spiritual bypassing,” with references to Robert A. Masters’ landmark book, Spiritual Bypassing, 
- the “knot of the Heart” – hridaya-granthi in the Asian Indian yoga teachings – as more foundational to our sense of separateness than the activities going on in the left and right lobes of our brain; and the many ways in which our minds and brains are hardwired to pay more attention to the negatives in our experience than the positives, including but not limited to intense setbacks, with reference to Rick Hanson’s book Buddha’s Brain
- a whole different orientation to “heroism” as a kind of “cosmic immortality project” that each human organism becomes dedicated to in the face and certainty of its eventual death, which is a central thesis of Ernest Becker in The Denial of Death.

Secret #3: “It’s Never Enough, Is It?”

Presentation by Saniel

Saniel elaborates on the teachings in chapter 3 of Great Relief, talking about:
- the innate narcissism or essentially innocent and inevitable self-centeredness of life as self-aware human beings, and our “immortality projects” (Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death) as “IT Wars” where we vie with one another over all kinds of objects of our endless seeking;
- the scarcity consciousness at the root of our feeling “It’s never enough,” and also vulnerability, shame, and “the fear of being ordinary” (Brene Brown, Daring Greatly);
- action vs. inaction and the subtle violence of traditional spiritual injunctions to be free of “attachment to the results of action” (Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Spandakarika);
- why it’s more appropriate to give ourselves over into seeking, finding, wanting and not wanting, but with freedom from unnecessary reactions to how vulnerable that leaves us;
- and another contemporary insight into something similar to the core wound, from Rob McNamara’s The Elegant Self on “the ontological [existential] sources of inadequacy."

Secret #4: “Every Body Is Homeless Here, Even the Ones Living Under Expensive Roofs”

Presentation by Saniel

An exploration of the primal insecurity that is always present in our bodily existence in this life. Saniel draws on several sources, including more from:

- Brene Brown on vulnerability and exposure
- Rick Hanson on “feeling safer” and finding refuge
- Richard Rohr on the paradoxes of home as both source and destination, and the deeper paradoxes of what is it to be “homesick.”

Other important references: Alan Watts on "The Wisdom of Insecurity,” Martin Seligman’s positive psychology and cultivation of greater wellness and happiness, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (in his later work, 8, not just 5).

A key point in this session: feeling beyond extremes of desperation and other intense emotions into the more primal and subtle, pervasive qualities of the core wound.

Secret #5: “Every Body Has an Anxious Heart”

Presentation by Saniel

Starting with the premise of this Secret in Great Relief – that we aren’t just in our bodies, but we are our bodies – Saniel explores the primordial anxiety that characterizes every human heart, whether enlightened oar not. He references the great existentialist Soren Kierkegaard, and the founder of “positive psychology,” Martin Seligman, to help clarify that this Secret is not fundamentally about emotions or psychology, but the truth of our organismic nature.

Secret #6: “Every Body Is Always and Only Equalizing Pressures”

Presentation by Saniel

Saniel looks into whether “happiness” is an adequate word for what we are always moving toward as we equalize pressures on all levels – quoting from Andrew Weil, MD’s book Spontaneous Happiness. After reading aloud portions of this Secret in Great Relief, he cites material on trauma from a recent magazine article and on “reclaiming habituation” in the face of threat and terror, from Rob McNamara’s The Elegant Self.

Secret #7: “The Body’s Own Logic Blows Its Mind, Heals Its Heart, and Empowers Both Trust and Peace”

Presentation by Saniel

In this exploration of the body’s “organismic intelligence,” Saniel draws on cutting edge neuro-physiological understanding of the “other than conscious” aspect of mind that’s the foundation of a relatively new healing modality called NeuroModulation Technique (NMT). He also references diverse sources including a Lakota Sioux psychiatrist and author of “Coyote Medicine,” early post-Freudian Otto Rank, and his own observations of a tribe of monkeys outside the caves once inhabited by the legendary Indian sage Ramana Maharishi, to help illustrate and elucidate this Secret’s teachings.

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to do the “Emergency Exercise” from the Conclusion of Great Relief Secret #7!

Secret #8: “Obvious Body Limits + The Feeling, ‘This Is Not Enough’ = The Core Wound”

Presentation by Saniel

It’s in this Secret that Saniel defines the core wound and its unique value as “the engine of human evolution.” He reads aloud from and comments on Parts One and Two of an essay he wrote in 2005, “A Brief, Not Exactly Chronological History of the Concepts ‘the Core Wound’ and ‘the Core Mystery’ in My Work,” and then comes back to read aloud short excerpts from Secret #8 in the book Great Relief.

Secret #9: “You Can't Heal the Core Wound, but You Can Gradually Become Conscious Of It, In It, and As It”

Presentation by Saniel

The final secret in Great Relief offers us an overview of the sequence of shifts in our awareness that occur as we become more intimate with the core wound — and, increasingly, with the core wellness that shines forth more and more profoundly in association with it. Using the analogy of the sun's light, heat, and presence becoming gradually stronger each day at dawn, Saniel comments on what it means to go from consciousness of the core wound, to consciousness in it, leading to consciousness as it. He returns to the writings of Franciscan monk Richard Rohr in Falling Upward for parallel and resonant references.

Final Words: Blessings on Your Journey!

Presentation by Saniel

In this brief closing Presentation, after gazing for a couple of minutes, Saniel reads the list of the “Nine Sacred Secrets Your Body Wants You to Know” from the book Great Relief. He then offers closing words to those concluding the Great Relief Hero's Journey, now and at any time in the future, about the meaning and significance of these teachings – and why they may prove to be important for more and more people as time goes by.

$258.00 USD