Blog

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

As we move deeper into fall, we are reaping the harvest of our busy spring and summer here at Sacred Stream. We’ve been collaborating with colleagues to create new platforms for carrying out our mission, and they’re changing the way we work to fulfill our mission. Our mission statement says, “We understand that there is a common source of wisdom that underlies all authentic spiritual, cultural and artistic traditions that informs and enlivens them. And while each tradition may take a different form, like plants along a riverbank, each is sustained by the same source. Each workshop we create, each artist or guest teacher we host, and each resource we post is offered to you with the intention of illuminating another way to deepen your own connection to this source, attain a broader perspective, and receive inspiration from it.” These collaborations will multiply our offerings, allowing more people to receive the inspiration and the perspective-altering wisdom of the classes we teach through the Sacred Stream.

A Meeting of Christianity and Buddhism

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Last year I was asked to give a review for the cover of The Lotus and the Rose, a new book by Matthew Fox and Lama Tsomo. The book is the result of a series of workshops they’ve taught together that focus on the relationship between Christian and Buddhist teachings. I was so drawn in by the new perspectives they offer, particularly about Christianity, that I almost missed the most significant aspect of the book; it is a collaboration between two belief systems.

Are All Past Lives Traumatic

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Question: It seems like all the past lives I contact with Depth Hypnosis are traumatic in nature. Do we have happy past lives?

The concept of reincarnation is found in many spiritual traditions. To my mind, the tradition that best articulates the relationship between our previous lives and our current life is Buddhism. In that tradition, there is a concept called a “sanskara.” A sanskara is an imprint that contains information about the focus of the mind at the time of death. The information contained in this imprint is considered to be at least part of the focus upon which the next lifetime is based. For this reason, Tenzin Wangyal, a well-known Buddhist teacher, says, “If you want to know what your past life was, look at your current life. If you want to know what your future life will be, look at your present life.”

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

You may have read my article, “Driving with Bob,” which talks about the existential fun that is a feature of driving around with Robert Thurman. We have had many adventures behind the wheel, as I often volunteer to take him up and down the California coast to his various commitments when he is out West. It is always a pleasure for me to be able support him in this way, and, as I point out in the article, there is seldom a dull moment with Bob around. We did have a moment driving in traffic on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge the last time he was in town that could have been a bit duller to my way of thinking.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

I am often asked how people can know if the shamanic path is a path that is right for them. Of course, this is a very important question – but only the individual can really know if the shamanic path is right for them. When people ask me this question, I ask, “Have you had anything out of the ordinary happen to you? You may have had anomalous experiences – you may have felt a shift in the light and a sense of a presence of something unseen. Or perhaps you have vivid dreams while those around report never dreaming, or perhaps you have had an illness or a calamity befall you which has changed you and separated you from those around you. And you may have set off on a path to try to understand these experiences.” If this is the case, it is likely that education related to the shamanic path will be helpful to you.

Spiritual Maturity and Depth Hypnosis

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

People often ask me if Depth Hypnosis is like psychotherapy. If psychotherapy is a process of identifying psychological disturbance and then talking about it, possibly while working with prescription drugs to reduce symptoms, then it cannot be said that Depth Hypnosis is psychotherapy. In Depth Hypnosis there is no process of diagnosis and no use of medication. Rather, it is more a process of inquiry and discovery – particularly about client experience that might be hidden or unknown.

In “The Ten Lessons of Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered” Neal M. Goldsmith suggests that it might be more accurate to look at symptoms of imbalance such as anxiety and depression as an indicator of spiritual immaturity rather than as an indicator of psychological pathology. This is an intriguing idea – and certainly one that resonates with the practice of Depth Hypnosis.

Buddhism Offers a Solution to Hopelessness

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and the epidemic of depression raging across the world will be the single biggest contributor to the overall burden of disease of all health conditions by 2030. Suicides by high profile personalities such as Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, and Kate Spade have triggered a widespread effort to understand what causes people to suffer so much that they find suicide to be a viable option.

When I first began practicing Buddhism, a teacher told me that everything is an illusion – so my suffering was an illusion. All I needed to do was to let go of the illusion of myself and the suffering would go away. This was not helpful. In my view, spiritual practice which encourages the student to “Just let go of the self!” or “Just let go of the pain!” is misguided.

Listening to the Sacred Earth

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

If we listen, the earth has much to tell us. When humans lived closer to the earth, they understood that great wisdom was held in the trees, the plants, the rocks and the sea. They communicated with the earth, and learned ways of listening to the wisdom she had to offer. For example, the shaman of a tribe is often described as talking to the plants to learn the nature of their medicine. Ways of gathering this kind wisdom are still preserved by many indigenous cultures. The vision quest and the shamanic journey are just two examples of these processes that are accessible to us today.

Healing Your Mind by Dropping into Your Heart

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Sometimes people come into my office struggling with a problem, and whenever they try to address it, they find themselves stuck in “mind loops.” Mind loops are characterized by sequences of labyrinthine reasoning containing dead ends and knotted thoughts that fold back on themselves without producing the hoped-for clarity.

People who experience this type of mental confusion are usually viewed as having a high level of intellectual intelligence, and tend to work in professions that require the use of their intellect. These people are able to generate logic sequences that make them valuable contributors at work. This capacity, however, can often send the same people into mental traps when they try to apply these logic sequences to experiences that do not necessarily respond to logic.

Repatterning Life Transitions and Initiations

By Isa Gucciardi PhD

Within each of our lives, we have important moments of transition, which we experience in our bodies, that can be understood as initiations into a new way of being. Birth, death, puberty, the sexual encounter, becoming a parent, and for women menstruation, menopause, and giving birth, are all potent initiations we experience in our lifetimes. Each of these initiations holds powerful information and the possibility of transforming long held patterns that no longer serve us.

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