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Wisdom House Architectonics Retrospective

Epigram for Seven Pillars

Although the heart has its hidden chambers,
The House of Wisdom has no walls.
The One has no strict containers,
Only the heart under Light's waterfalls.

By William Irwin Thompson


We recognize that our work, like the world, is in an evolutionary state. We do not yet know what we are becoming, yet we go forth into the unknown, open to what is emerging. 

One year after Seven Pillars’ official Inauguration last August 2008, we gathered again, 80 of us in a more interior and connected space, for deeper inquiry into what it means to build a house with no walls.

What does it mean to build a house with no walls? As individuals, what are the barriers that prevent us from a fuller participation in the flow of life? As a group of seekers, how can we shape meaning and articulate purpose without drawing lines of exclusion? As a global community, what is our collective wisdom in the post-industrial age?

We began the weekend on Friday evening with ritual — an invocation of the seven directions and a setting of intention. Sousan Abadian and Orland Bishop guided us in arriving and connecting to a shared space and purpose.

Joseph Newland has written a blog with his reflections after the opening session.

On Saturday morning Pir Zia led us in centering and clearing, working with the breath and the body as temple — the human form as its own house.

Chris Bamford and Deepa Patel then invited us to enter into the exploration of our theme — building a house with no walls. How do we invite the guest into this house? How do we make this house sacred and allow grace to fill its rooms? What is this house we are building?

Later on Saturday afternoon Lama Palden and Orland Bishop led a full-group session on Collaboration and Cooperation, each sharing their reflections on this theme, and then inviting pairs to consider what is needed to be truly collaborative and cooperative.

Lama Palden and Orland Bishop

Right before dinner each night there were two optional sessions, one on Dream Sharing and a second on Embodied Mysticism. In the Dream Sharing group, Shahrbanu Grace facilitated a discussion of dreams arising throughout the weekend, particularly those related to the program’s themes.


Embodied Mysticism was taught by Julianna Takacs who is developing a new way of connecting inner experiences with the physical body. This practice was well received, and many people asked that more of this process be incorporated in future sessions.

Small groups met again Saturday night, a little too late for some. It is fascinating to see the difference in each group’s process during the day versus the night. The evening session on Chivalry had a dream-like quality, similar to being around a campfire sharing meaningful stories from our lives.

On Sunday morning Lama Palden opened us up with a meditative practice, then Pir Zia and Deepa introduced the theme of Universality and Particularity. A strong opening for the second day, shifting the group further toward alignment.

Pir Zia and Deepa Patel

For the afternoon there were more small groups, then dream sharing and embodiment practices, then a spectacular evening program featuring Purnama Sari, a Balinese dance company founded by Megumi Fujimaru and Saddiq Pablo Gonzalez, and improvisational music and group intoning lead by Lynn Miller, accompanied by Tim Klemt and Nur Habib Tiven.

Our final morning Gayan Macher lead an opening contemplation, then Deepa and he invited small groups to convene one last time, to consider the questions, What is your experience of the weekend? and What will you take home with you from this experience?

For the final closing we formed three circles, around a small vase of water that we each circled and then dropped a stone into imbued with our intention for the future.

Closing Ceremony

Audio and video from the weekend is currently being worked with to glean parts to share online with all of you. Please check back for clips and podcasts.

Also, as an outcome of the weekend there is a greater sense of Seven Pillars’ future direction. There will be a further report on the development of our House of Wisdom in the October email newsletter.

We are grateful for the Guiding Voices of the weekend: Sousan Abadian, Orland Bishop, Christopher Bamford, Deepa Patel, Paul Devereux, Lama Palden, Gayan Macher and Dena Merriam. Also for others who facilitated and shared their wisdom, including Shahrbanu Grace, Julianna Takacs, Lynn Miller, Megumi Fujimaru and Saddiq Pablo Gonzalez, Nur Habib Tiven and Tim Klemt.

Much appreciation is also due to the event staff and host committee: Tara Chishti, Rabia Povich, Darakshan Farber, Patrick Scanlon, Josh Hall-Bachner, Lindy Hough, Nur Habib Tiven, Howard Segal, and the community and staff of our home, the Abode of the Message.

And special thanks to Gabe, Beth and Casey for their role in the closing morning and to Zeb-un-Nisa, Liz, Regina, and Suzanne for flowers.


Since the weekend several of our friends have sent in their reflections, which are found below. 

Reflections on a House with No Walls

This week-end we learned about alighting on each moment as the bee lands on a flower. Drawn by the fragrance of invisible nectar, attracted by the colors of our vibrant ideals we reached into unseen depths and sipped the essence. Gathering sweetness from many such moments, together we fanned the nectar with the breath of our conversation, distilling the liquid gold of our collective wisdom. Brushing up against each other’s being and knowing, the pollen of experience was collected giving us substance to structure and build a life of response to the cry we each hear.  

Nature teaches in her house with no walls; the bee roams vast gardens and returns to tell of sweetness through dance. The guard gives her life to protect her hive. With clear intent each worker toils tirelessly for a lifetime to make but a drop of golden goodness and it takes thousands together to create the sweet honeyed fragrance that wafts from the hive on the warm air currents as summer draws to a close.

May our virtual hive continue its alchemy, may we be sustained to provide a nourishing healing balm of wisdom and sweetness in this great becoming we are all a part of. May a sweet fragrance waft from our house with no walls drawing others to the blessing of waking to the invisible nectar within each moment and helping us all to live our most vibrant ideals. - Gloria Deckro


In a word, I think it was a graced event—a blessed step forward. Wisdom, as the immanence of the transcendent, as the praxis and womb of gnosis, made her presence felt. I don't know how planned it was, but the building consensus of a path through conversation—embodied hermeneutics!—felt just right. It placed the guidance exactly where wisdom is: not in the "teachers" but in the multidimensional spaces opened up in-between all those present. Opening—body, soul, and spirit—to those relational spaces, gradually letting go of previously formed thoughts, old insights, past experiences, many of those present realized, if unconsciously, that another being and other beings were present too by whose grace we could become wiser, better, more loving people: that new deeds were possible. – Christopher Bamford


I just wanted to send a big Thank You to you, to all of the guiding voices, to the staff, and to everyone else who gracefully guided us through such a transformative weekend. So many beautiful people are now a part of my life, and I'm back out in the world feeling peaceful, thoughtful, and at home.

Throughout the weekend I kept pausing and thinking, "I KNEW it was the right thing for me to come here!" I was so impressed by the combination of professionalism and Love evident in the gathering. What you are all doing is truly inspiring and I'm excited and grateful to take part in it -- last weekend and in the future. Sending you all loads of love and blessings and -- thanks! - Madelyn Medeiros


I am still absorbing much of what was taught, practiced, discussed, and shared; and can say that already it has resonated in my work. The House of Wisdom Has No Walls - I will sit with this for the next month, and share some of my insights when I lead a training session for our new website with the Wild River Review staff. – Joy Stocke,


I had such an amazing time last weekend ... I feel changed. It’s helped me to see the walls that separate me from ... me. And I feel like I have a changed perspective on 'community' and the need for it ... the need to commune with family in service, in purpose … - Beth Holder

Comments (1)
  • My heart resonated to your comments and to the concept of the House With No Walls. I’m on the opposite side of the country yet feel a great yearning to be there amongst you. Multitudes of blessings on your work. With warm love, Zee Gagne`

    — Zee Gagne` on September 19, 2009

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1 April 2009

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