Inner Wisdom

Exploring the Unknown Part 1: Dreams

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

I have been a guest lecturer in the Integral Medicine class at the University of California at Berkeley every year for the last ten years or so. Sometimes I lecture on alternative therapies like Depth Hypnosis, and sometimes on methods of healing that are found in shamanic cultures. During the past few years’ lectures, the students have really perked up when I have talked about the way in which dreams are viewed in shamanic cultures. The students are always surprised to hear someone actually talk about their dreams as being an important aspect of their experience.

Journey On It Part 5: More on Healing with the Journey

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Last time, we saw how the shamanic journey helped a student new to the shamanic journey with his issues of fear and anxiety. We saw how the student was met right where he needed to be met and was taken through his fear into a new way of being with it. The shamanic journey works on the level of epiphany. Similar to muscle memory when we learn to hit a tennis ball or ride a bike, the realization that comes in the journey is beyond the rational mind. It is beyond thought. When we learn something at this level, it stays with us and we have the opportunity to change long held patterns of behavior, and shed ways of being that no longer serve us.

Journey On It Part 4: Journeying for Healing

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In a traditional setting, the shaman would align with the forces of the Earth in order to bring organization and guidance to human affairs. People today are so disconnected from the natural world and from their own inner worlds that the spirit of inquiry for the modern journeyer needs to focus on reconnection. In my Shamanic Journey workshops, I help students address issues of imbalance as they work with the journey to deepen their connection to their own inner guidance and personal power.

Journey On It Part 3: Inner Guidance

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In traditional shamanic practice, the journey was taken by the shaman to understand and connect with the power of the Earth. The shaman became empowered through the process of this quest and used this power to aid the community through ceremony, healing, and divination. Shamans use a repetitive sound to alter consciousness and then focus their attention inward. The most common sounds used for the shamanic journey are drums and rattles.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In societies whose stories and wisdom emerge from the Earth, the Earth was often understood to have two important aspects to it: the unseen and seen. This meant that every tree had its physical aspect in the form of the tree that we can see with our five senses. But it also had another, more hidden one. This aspect is often referred to as the ‘spirit’ of the tree.

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The Journey is a process of going inward. It is a process that helps us discover who we are and what our relationship is to the world around us.

Seekers have tried to understand the mystery of their experience for a very long time. They can be found in every culture that has ever existed on the planet. Different societies have different names for these seekers – medicine man, medicine woman, the one who cures, the one who knows. Cultures with these types of references for their seekers tend to be cultures that exist closer to the earth.

In cultures whose traditions are more closely tied to the natural rhythms and processes of the Earth, the Earth herself is the place where all inquiry begins and ends. In order to know when to plant successful crops, her rhythms must be measured. In order to measure her rhythms, seekers have looked skyward to measure the Earth’s rhythms against the patterns of the sky.

The Future of Buddhism in the West

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Arnold Toynbee, the noted British historian, remarked that the most important event for the West in the twentieth century was to be its encounter with Buddhism. We in the West are still in the early days of this encounter and there are still many facets of this encounter that have yet to be worked out or made evident. Yet, by examining the challenges that have arisen in this encounter, we may be able to discern the trajectory of the future of Buddhism in the West.

The Eightfold Path as an Ethical Compass in the Therapeutic Environment

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Ethics is generally defined as a process of determining right and wrong conduct or as the study of morality. In many traditions, both sacred and secular, there is an effort to come up with a set of principles to govern behavior. In many traditions, there is an emphasis on “what bad thing will happen if you don’t do the right thing.” The motivator to good behavior is fear. This is an effective method of crowd control when the luxury of understanding personal motivation and intention cannot be understood on a case-by-case basis. But it falls short in creating conditions under which people can learn how to truly trust their motivation and intention in making decisions regarding their conduct.

Personal Responsibility: A Buddhist Perspective on Relationship

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Relationship forms the core of our experience as humans. We define ourselves and are defined by the nature of our relating. In Buddhism, there is a concept called “interdependence” which postulates that nothing exists independently. Everything exists interdependently. Applying this concept to relationship implies that we do not and cannot exist independently of one another.

The Shamanic Journey in a Modern Context

The Shamanic Journey can be used to develop trust in one’s own voice and guidance that comes through our inner spheres. In today’s episode, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. discusses the Shamanic Journey and its uses in traditional tribal settings as well as its relevance to us today.

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