Sustainability Consciousness

About Esalen

Esalen is a "work in progress," founded by two visionary men, Michael Murphy and Richard Price, who laid the philosophical groundwork and embodied Esalen's purpose and values. It is on this foundation of deep respect that Esalen has flourished, continually challenging and pushing the envelope of human potential. Its activities consist of public seminars, residential work-study programs, invitational conferences, research, and semi-autonomous projects. This unique "experiment" has become more of a success than anyone, even its co-founders, could have dreamed.

Aside from its sheer magnificence, the land on which Esalen sits was the home of the Esselen Indians for centuries. Ceremonial grounds extending along the coast are peppered with artifacts--some over 4000 years old, and others from as recently as the 1700s. In the late 1800s, Thomas Benton State purchased the land. Then in 1910, Dr. Henry Murphy, Michael's grandfather, purchased the property with the idea of having the baths serve as curative waters for his patients. It is on this magical land that Esalen now resides.

Gregory Bateson, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Fredrick Spiegelberg, George Leonard, Buckminster Fuller, Moshe Feldenkrais, Fritz Perls, Ida Rolf, and many other masters of the mind/body mystery often walked the grounds here, smelled the sweet ocean air, and left countless others inspired and enrichened.

What is it that makes Esalen the only one of its kind? Esalen has been characterized in different ways by many persons: as a metaphysical "Grand Central Station," where anyone may come and choose the best "train" for his or her next personal destination; as the "Carnegie Hall" of human potential where the theatre and acts change constantly, and the Esalen staff are the stage crew, the orchestra, the patrons, insuring the stage is always ready; as a spiritual home or a nondogmatic, experiential temple of the inner being; as the most beloved alma mater, even for those with many other academic degrees; as the safe ground or safe container for personal and social transformation, the much needed support for individuals or groups going through change.

Esalens encouragement of diversity and different approaches (no one approach shall ever "capture the flag"), affords each person the opportunity to find what he or she seeks, and to experience what is needed in a safe and accepting environment.

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