Monday, August 17, 2009

Goma ceremony

I recently participated in a traditional goma, a Japanese fire ceremony, in Connecticut. It was led by my friend, Don Siclari, who has agreed to join our advisory board. Dr. Nick Karapasas, a chiropractor and practitioner from the Tendai tradition, also participated.

The fire ceremony is an ancient rite, going back at least to the ancient Vedic ceremonies in India. I recorded a ceremony that I attended at the home of JC Kapur near Delhi, India on youtube:

While the ceremony is quite elaborate, I see the ultimate purpose as being the attainment of a state of clear, unaffected, pristine awareness. To reach this state, a number of symbolic actions are performed to allow the practitioners to let go of defenses and feel safe to drop their limited and fixed ideas of self.

This reminds me of a similar process in psychotherapy. Before a client can feel free enough to drop the defenses of the ego, therapist and client engage in rituals designed to build rapport, trust, and safety.

For more information about the ceremony, visit

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dr. Ron Alexander joins advisory board

It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Ron Alexander, a psychotherapist and teacher of mindfulness and meditation, has joined our advisory board.

My wife and I met Dr. Alexander in Marco Island, Florida last February, where he hosted a week-long workshop on using mindfulness in clinical work. (It seemed easier to practice mindfulness by the ocean!) I was very impressed with background and knowledge, and believe we are fortunate to be able to draw upon his expertise.

Dr. Alexander is based out of Santa Monica, CA, but conducts workshops across the country.

I highly recommend Dr. Alexander's new book, Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss & Change, available from New Harbinger Publications. For more information about Dr. Alexander, visit