Stream of Consciousness Blog

Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: Patience and Anger with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: Patience and Anger with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In this series of videos, Isa Gucciardi explores the concept of the bodhisattva, the Mahayana Buddhist belief that refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

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Blog: The Shamanic Journey and Metaphor

Blog: The Shamanic Journey and Metaphor

By Clementine Moss

I understand metaphor. I have been blissfully falling into the written word since See Spot Run or something similar. When I learned to read, I remember the rising images from the page, pictures becoming alive because of what the words were spelling out.

When I learned to journey, I began to understand the symbols of my inner world.When we recognize that our stories are not our full identity, then we can release them from ruling us, along with the patterns and behaviors that weight them. I found Eastern meditation practices and discovered my identity beneath stories. I found Shamanism and learned to sneak up behind the stories, unravel them in a way that allows me to clear my perception and experience life, each moment, more fully.

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Podcast: Episode 85: Thupten Jinpa: Mindfulness in the Modern Era

Podcast: Episode 85: Thupten Jinpa: Mindfulness in the Modern Era

On this episode, we reach back into the archives for this talk by esteemed author and Buddhist scholar, Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D., given at the Sacred Stream Center in Berkeley, CA, in 2018. Jinpa is a longtime friend and advisor to the Sacred Stream and he is the author of several books, including A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives and Tsongkhapa: A Buddha in the Land of Snows. In this talk, Jinpa discusses the universality of spiritual traditions, his relationship with the Dalai Lama, and the modern mindfulness movement.

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Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: The Bodhisattva Way of Life with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: The Bodhisattva Way of Life with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In this series of videos, Isa Gucciardi explores the concept of the bodhisattva, the Mahayana Buddhist belief that refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Read More
Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: The Eightfold Path with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: The Eightfold Path with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In this series of videos, Isa Gucciardi explores the concept of the bodhisattva, the Mahayana Buddhist belief that refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Read More
Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: Path of the Bodhisattva with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: Path of the Bodhisattva with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In this series of videos, Isa Gucciardi explores the concept of the bodhisattva, the Mahayana Buddhist belief that refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Read More
Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: What is a Bodhisattva? with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Video: Bodhisattvas in Training: What is a Bodhisattva? with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In this series of videos, Isa Gucciardi explores the concept of the bodhisattva, the Mahayana Buddhist belief that refers to anyone who has generated bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Read More
Video: The Sacred Feminine in Buddhist Philosophy with Isa Gucciardi: Tara: Help in Hard Times: Part 2

Video: The Sacred Feminine in Buddhist Philosophy with Isa Gucciardi: Tara: Help in Hard Times: Part 2

In this series of videos, we will explore the sacred feminine in Buddhist philosophy and learn how the engaged activism of Tara, best known of the female deities, can help us in our everyday lives. These talks are inspired by the workshops that Isa Gucciardi and Robert Thurman teach called Embracing the Sacred Feminine.

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Podcast: Episode 84: Geshe Namgyal: Holy Women of Great Perfection

Podcast: Episode 84: Geshe Namgyal: Holy Women of Great Perfection

On this episode, Laura Chandler interviews Geshe Dangsong Namgyal, the founder of Kungsong Dar Meditation Center in Santa Cruz, and author of the book, Holy Women of Great Perfection: Thirty Signs and Meanings of Ultimate Nature in the Ancient Tibetan Tradition. And she is joined by a special guest co-host, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., author of The New Return to the Great Mother and Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream.

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Article: Tara, Bob, & Me

Article: Tara, Bob, & Me

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Robert Thurman and I spent several years teaching a class called Embracing the Sacred Feminine. The class was an exploration of the power of the feminine within Buddhist philosophy. At the beginning, I was surprised that Bob wanted to teach this class together because it was outside of his usual focus in teaching. But it was right in the heart of mine. I had been teaching two classes, the Initiations of the Sacred Feminine and Tracking Spirit in the Birth Environment: The Creative Portal for many years. I was excited to teach what I knew from this perspective and learn more about the power of the feminine within Buddhist philosophy when I accepted his invitation.

At the outset, I realized this was a learning for Bob as well. Although he had an incomparable mastery of Buddhist philosophy, he had never really filtered that mastery through the lens of the Sacred Feminine in the way class required. At first, it was hard to perceive the influence of the feminine beyond the expressions of the female deities, but that quickly shifted for the two of us.

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Video: The Sacred Feminine in Buddhist Philosophy with Isa Gucciardi: Tara: Help in Hard Times: Part 1

Video: The Sacred Feminine in Buddhist Philosophy with Isa Gucciardi: Tara: Help in Hard Times: Part 1

In this series of videos, we will explore the sacred feminine in Buddhist philosophy and learn how the engaged activism of Tara, best known of the female deities, can help us in our everyday lives. These talks are inspired by the workshops that Isa Gucciardi and Robert Thurman teach called Embracing the Sacred Feminine.

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Article: Tonglen – An Integrated Energy Medicine Point of View

Article: Tonglen – An Integrated Energy Medicine Point of View

By Joanna Foote Adler, PsyD, CHT

Much has been written on the practice of Tonglen, the Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice of giving and taking. Tonglen is a powerful and important practice in many of the schools of Buddhism. I would like to offer some thoughts to add to this literature from the perspective of Integrated Energy Medicine as it is taught at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, which will hopefully help to focus this practice for western practitioners in a skillful way.

Let’s start by defining Tonglen. Tonglen is a meditative practice for cultivating love and compassion through giving and taking. The focus in this practice is to embrace (rather than reject) unwanted and painful aspects of experience, and to work to overcome fear and develop greater compassion for others. The opportunity here is to change the attitude towards pain and to open the heart as one visualizes dissolving pain. In this practice, one uses the breath in conjunction with a specific visualization. One visualizes or imagines taking in the pain and suffering of others on breathing in, and then visualizes breathing out love and peace for the other.

Tonglen is a practice said to help develop wisdom and compassion on both the relative and absolute levels of reality as they are understood in Buddhist philosophy. These levels are known as the Two Truths. Talking about these levels of reality gets us into deep philosophical water, but for the purposes here we can understand that the relative level of existence refers to the everyday ordinary world experienced as solid and “real.” The ultimate level of reality in Buddhism points to the understanding that reality is actually “empty” in that it is always changing, and that all things depend on or originate from the causes and conditions that came before them. Tonglen points us towards letting go, towards releasing the clinging to our sense of self and to the attachment held when one believes they are permanent beings. In different ways on the relative and absolute levels, Tonglen practice can reverse resistance to pain and help develop the enlightened mind qualities of equanimity, love, and compassion in the face of suffering. The concepts of relative and absolute levels of reality are helpful here in the exploration of how Tonglen practice works.

As the Founding Director at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, Dr. Isa Gucciardi teaches courses of study in Applied Buddhist Psychology and Integrated Energy Medicine, among others. She teaches that one way to understand Tonglen is as an energy medicine practice.

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Podcast: Episode 83: Vinitha Watson: Zoo Labs

Podcast: Episode 83: Vinitha Watson: Zoo Labs

On this episode, Laura interviews Depth Hypnosis Practitioner and Zoo Labs Co-founder, Vinitha Watson. The success of Zoo Labs is in no small part to Vinitha and her husband, David Watson, whose vision to build startup entrepreneurship infrastructure for BIPOC artists began in 2013. To date, the Zoo has run 26 residencies, and created a strong and vibrant community of over 250 artists and 350 mentors. Recently, they have moved to directly funding artists with grants and providing high-quality video education and mentorship. Vinitha has had an impressive and varied career with a common theme of helping others. In this conversation, Vinitha shares about her early years studying Indian classical dance and carnatic music, her interest in the arts and helping empower BIPOC communities, as well as her interest in wellness from Ayurveda to Depth Hypnosis.

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Article: The Unseen Teacher

Article: The Unseen Teacher

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Teaching and learning have never been separate for me. As a learner, I have always been keenly aware of the fact that I am being taught from within as I try to master a skill. I can feel the internal teaching change me in a different way than the external learning changes me. I remember being taught how to sight read as I was learning to play the piano. My piano teacher taught me the concept of matching the notes on the page with the notes on the keyboard, but when I read the notes on the page, I could feel an unseen teacher aligning me with the music. I was being taught how to play the piano, but I was also learning a new alignment to the world.

The experience of participating in learning in the external educational environment and receiving teaching from within simultaneously is a phenomenon that has revealed itself to me in different ways bit by bit over time. This experience has many facets to it, but it is always present in every teaching situation regardless of the subject being taught or whether or not I am ‘officially’ the teacher or the student.

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On the Air: Love’s Answer Podcast: Reclaiming Your Spiritual Experience with Laura Chandler and Elizabeth Sabet

On the Air: Love’s Answer Podcast: Reclaiming Your Spiritual Experience with Laura Chandler and Elizabeth Sabet

In this episode of the Love’s Answer Podcast, Elizabeth Sabet interviews Laura Chandler, Executive Director of The Foundation of the Sacred Stream, to discuss reclaiming your experience in a world run by material reductionism.

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