Our Mission & Values

For half a century, Esalen has been a primary thought leader and shapeshifter of the culture, generating and promoting new ideas, methods, and connections that have transformed our world. As we move into the future, we honor our rich legacy, celebrate our initiatives and our outreach today, and embrace our common human future in an emergent world culture of tomorrow.

Esalen exists to serve the world — not as a refuge from it. We believe in the deeply transformative power of this place, recognizing that retreat and refuge must always be, ultimately, in the service of something larger than yourself. So we are organized to give you the tools to unleash latent capacities and re-energize your sense of purpose — for yourself and the world.

We look beyond dogma to explore deeper spiritual possibilities, forge new understandings of self and society, and pioneer new paths for change, tracing the arc from change to change agent.

The Esalen Vision

Esalen is a major catalyst in the transformation of humankind, working with individuals and institutions to integrate body, mind, heart, spirit, and community in a nurturing relationship with the environment.

The Esalen Mission

Esalen is a leading center for exploring and realizing human potential through experience, education, and research. We work toward the realization of a more humane and all-embracing world, seeking answers to questions unlikely to be explored by traditional universities and religions. We sponsor pioneering initiatives and offer personal, spiritual, and social transformation programs for residents, interns, and workshop participants.

Esalen Values

  • Human possibilities vastly exceed our imagination.
  • Realization of the human potential transcends religious and scientific dogma.
  • Mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social dimensions of our being are inextricably joined.
  • Transformation of consciousness is the basis for transformation of the world; individually, collectively, and in social systems.
  • All share the potential to love, learn, feel, and create. Esalen explores these possibilities and celebrates unity in diversity.

Esalen Practices

Growth. We share the right to realize our potential to love, to learn, to feel deeply, and to create, living fully in all aspects of our being — mind, body, heart, soul and community. We take risks to reveal and discover ourselves. We provide learning opportunities and support personal and social transformation.

Service. We value relationships and community, doing service by offering our experience and support to the growth of others.

Responsibility. We know and take full responsibility for who we are including our choices, attitudes and actions. We acknowledge our part in each situation and recognize that our actions affect others.

Integrity. We strive for congruency among our values, beliefs, words and actions and to cultivate authentic self-expression.

Stewardship. We take care of Esalen and the land. We take responsibility for the way we use all that is available to us. We understand and interact with the natural world with consideration for those here now and those who will follow.

Presence. We are willing to return to body and sensation, seeking to be here now and fully experience what is in this moment.

Community. We recognize the interdependence of all things, appreciating diversity of persons, thoughts, actions and beliefs. We are aware that our actions and attitudes affect the whole.

Gratitude. We recognize and honor the gifts of each moment.

Mission & Values of Esalen Institute


We offer a rich and varied integral learning environment devoted to cultivating deep change in self and society.


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