Stream of Consciousness Blog
In this series of talks, Isa Gucciardi draws on 25 years of clinical experience and research to help you understand your relationships in a new light. She explores patterns of relating that can repeat themselves from relationship to relationship and looks at Buddhist understandings that might offer insight about why this happens. She defines soul mate relationships in a new way and offers tips on how to recognize a true soul mate relationship. She shows how expanding awareness to include the possibility of past life connections with friends, lovers, and family members can inform current relationships. Join her in this wide ranging exploration of relating! Visit sacredstream.org to learn more.
In Episode #5 of the Blossom Your Awesome Podcast, host Sue Dhillon talks to the one and only Isa Gucciardi – Buddhist practitioner, author, speaker, and Founding Director and Primary Teacher at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream. They discuss her forthcoming book, The New Return to the Great Mother, an exploration of our relationship to the divine feminine and how to tap into the energy of the Great Mother during the birthing process.
By Clementine Moss
I recently read The Hidden Messages in Water, Dr. Masaru Emoto’s account of analyzing the effect of the energetic environment on crystals in water. If you haven’t seen these studies, you can pull up the images online and see the beautiful snow flake patterns of the sentiments “I love you” and the song “Amazing Grace,” and the chaotic, disrupted patterns of hate and negativity on the water crystals. The take-away is how we experience a direct response to vibration and frequency, and how our physical being, seventy percent water, might cultivate protection against disruption of our crystals.
One way to guard against this disruption is through gratitude. This information has created new rituals for me around the house. “Thank you water! Thank you! I love you!” now happens before every hydration. “Thank you water! Thank you for keeping Henry healthy!” as I refill the pug’s bowl. I try to remember to do the same for my food, too. Suddenly, a little “thank you” before eating takes on new meaning, as I imagine the molecules arranging themselves into patterns of love as they lift to my mouth.
By Barry Lipscomb
Reading A Fearless Heart was a very powerful, transformative, and healing experience for me personally. This was heightened by reading the book the same week I began the Sacred Stream’s Applied Buddhist Psychology 1: Entering the Stream class, and started practicing Shamata meditation. It seems my heart is breaking open and expanding in new directions, as if compassion and loving-kindness is the last frontier.
I find myself already genuinely wanting other beings to be free of suffering, spontaneously doing small acts of kindness with the recognition that, just like me, all beings want to be happy. By the middle of the week in which I was reading the book, I began a new practice of engaging someone from work each morning by text or Slack, to just say hello and ask how they are doing. It was only later in the week that I connected this new practice to my reading of Jinpa, and my morning Shamata meditation.
2020 was a year filled with unprecedented events, from political and social unrest, to a pandemic that has changed how we live our lives for the foreseeable future. On this episode, podcast host Laura Chandler takes a look back at the year, re-visiting highlights from past interviews. We’ll hear from bestselling authors Carol Klein, Gay Hendricks, John Perkins, Dena Merriam, and Rachel Harris. Our featured music is also from these past episodes and includes Lisa Lynne, Aryeh Frankfurther, Mia Pixley, Jaya Vidyasagar, and the Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
Matthew Fox’s new book, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic is educational in many ways. Not only is it a revelation about a female Christian mystic whose wisdom should be more widely known, but it is a window into the history of 14th century Europe, and the long-lasting effects the bubonic plague had on society and culture. This book could not be more timely.
Reverend Fox has been an ardent preservationist of the mystic streams of thought within Christianity throughout his long career. He has kept this esoteric philosophy front and center in popular discourse in a way that has served thinkers from all traditions. He wrote the first modern book about Hildegarde von Bingen, the 11th century Benedictine nun who founded her own abbey and infused the work there with the fruits of her visions, her poetry, and her prophesy.
Like Hildegarde’s contributions, Julian of Norwich’s work informed Christian thought in ways which have not always been fully acknowledged or appreciated by the church. Both women’s offerings receive the attention they deserve through Fox’s efforts. In spite of the fact that Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love is the earliest surviving book by a woman ever published, it is not widely read. Yet, her writings about her visionary experience and the ecstatic relationship with the Divine are still as profound, fresh and universal today as when they were written. We are lucky to have Fox point our attention to her reflections on her life and the times of plague through which she lived.
By Elizabeth Brinkman Day, Ph.D., CHT
“Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” These iconic words from Emma Lazarus’ 1883 sonnet, “The New Colossus,” gracing the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, are far from actualized in our country. The day before the Statue of Liberty’s inauguration in October 1886, the New York State Woman Suffrage Association met, agreeing that the statue was a symbol of hypocrisy, given that the monument was representing Freedom as a majestic female in a State where women were not yet free to vote.
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
As part of Tarka’s “On Death” issue, I have been asked to speak about the approach to death that my tradition, that of shamanic practice, follows. Some of the questions I have been asked to address are: What is death from the perspective of your tradition? What transmigrates, if anything, from the perspective of your tradition? What key text, verse, or poem offers insight or clarity around the experience of death? How has an experience of death in your life informed your teaching? What is a practice that directly addresses our relationship with death? I have tried to address all of these questions in this short exploration of the shamanic worldview regarding death.
In his book about the Australian Aboriginal experience, Voices of the First Day, Robert Lawlor offers a statement regarding Aboriginal views about death which are reflective of a larger, more general shamanic worldview. He says, “Death, in the Aboriginal view, is not a termination or a dislocation from this world to another; rather it is a shift of the center of one’s consciousness to invisible, subjective layers that are substrate to, and involved within, the natural world of mind and matter.”
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
The wind is cold and biting. I hear the neighborhood kids playing in the fallen leaves all around the Sacred Stream Center as the late afternoon sun is setting far too quickly. I rarely put the electric lights on in the Sacred Stream Sanctuary, because the room has stained glass windows on the eastern, southern and western sides of the wood paneled space. Throughout the day, I know what time it is by gauging where the light is falling in the room. Now, it is fading fast behind the 100-year-old arched stained glass that engulfs the western wall.
This is the fourth time in the solstice calendar that we have cancelled our quarterly drum circle. We have come together to mark the solstice or equinox since 1995. When the spring equinox circle was cancelled in March of this year, it was jarring to realize that our traditions could so easily be abandoned. Now, with the winter winds, it does not seem surprising at all that anything we may have planned does not occur as we thought it might.
As we look into the darkening nights, we are all facing obscurations on so many levels. The pandemic promises to continue to break infection records. Our political landscape both nationally and internationally is fraught with so much danger. The climate crisis deepens as our fellow creatures continue to withdraw from the earth. Since human time began on earth, the winter solstice season has been a time when people have looked into the yawning darkness and wondered if the light would ever return. We still ask this same question, and its import is multiplied across the many layers of complexity we are facing.
On this episode, Laura is joined by chart-topping traditional folk artists Aryeh Frankfurter and Lisa Lynne to discuss their new album, Harmony House. Lisa and Aryeh are veterans of the music industry with thousands of concerts played and millions of albums sold. They speak with Laura about the inspiration for Harmony House and their secret to longevity in the music industry. Also, Aryeh gives a demonstration of the nyckelharpa – a traditional Swedish instrument that dates back to the 14th Century.
Formerly with Windham Hill Records, Lisa Lynne has sold over one million albums and all of her records have reached the top 20 on the Billboard music charts. Well-known for his own independent releases, Aryeh began playing the violin at age three years old. He has toured with and recorded with artists from a variety of genres, and played concert halls throughout the world. Both Lisa and Aryeh play a wide array of instruments including the celtic harp, nyckelharpa, cittern, bazouki, bandura, mandolin, violin, viola, and cello, just to name a few.
In this video with Isa Gucciardi, you will learn about samatha meditation, which can help you step outside of your usual way of thinking about things. You will learn how to focus on your breath and learn how this can help you bring your mind into a calm, aware state. You will be able to work experientially so that you have an opportunity to try meditating with help and guidance. As you practice meditation, you can develop a broader awareness of yourself and the world around you. You can learn how to focus and concentrate better in your everyday life. This can help reduce anxiety and help you feel better. Developing relaxed focus can also help you solve problems and make decisions with more self-confidence. For more information on meditation, see sacredstream.org.
Have you ever walked into a room and felt a sudden loss of energy? This experience is often difficult to quantify or describe, but anyone who has encountered this problem knows there is something that is creating a difference in their mood. From a shamanic point of view, psychic imprints from events that have occurred in a space can continue to effect events or circumstances there after the original event has occurred. To remedy imbalances caused in this way, shamanic practitioners will clear the space. In this video, Isa Gucciardi describes how to recognize when a space needs clearing, as well as some basic techniques for clearing space. For more information on Applied Shamanism, see sacredstream.org.
Video: Applied Shamanic Healing Practices: Part 2: Techniques that Can Help You Maintain Better Personal Boundaries
Shamanism is an ancient wisdom system that has been practiced around the world in many different cultures and in many different times and places. Shamans are the doctors, mediators, educators, diviners, and ceremonialists of the communities they serve. In this video, Isa Gucciardi explores a common experience that we often do not have words to explain. This is the experience of feeling weighed down by others or the feeling of being drained by someone else. We usually think about these experiences as a problem with personal boundaries if we understand them at all. In shamanic forms of healing, these phenomena are well understood and are described as a process of “soul part exchange.” Isa describes how soul part exchange occurs and how it can be remedied. For more information on Applied Shamanism, see sacredstream.org.
On this episode, Laura Chandler is joined by activist and New York Times bestselling author John Perkins, to speak about his latest book, Touching the Jaguar: Transforming Fear into Action to Change Your Life and the World. They discuss John’s work as an economic consultant and what that taught him about the global economy. Laura and John also talk about his extensive study with shamans from around the world, in particular the Shuar people of Ecuador, and what he learned from them about facing our fears and transforming Death Economies into Life Economies.
Shamanism is an ancient wisdom system that has been practiced around the world in many different cultures and in many different times and places. Shamans are the doctors, mediators, educators, diviners, and ceremonialists of the communities they serve. In this video, Isa Gucciardi describes the causes and symptoms of power loss, an imbalance considered to be at the heart of many forms of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual illness by many shamanic healers. You will learn how to recognize power loss in yourself and in others, and learn how a shamanic form of healing called power retrieval can help restore vitality. For more information on Applied Shamanism, see sacredstream.org.