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Seminar Spotlight - David Steindl-Rast

“In the mid-1990s I was an Esalen teacher in residence for close to three years and I learned to deeply appreciate the inner workings of Esalen's community. All in all, my body has again and again been rejuvenated, my soul has been inspired, and my mind and heart uplifted by the unique combination of nature, people, and ideas that is Esalen.”

David Steindl-Rast, Catholic Benedictine monk and pioneer of interfaith dialogue and the practice of gratefulness, is a treasured Esalen elder. Like so many others, his earliest encounters with Esalen brimmed with adventure and synchronicity. “In the early 1980s I lived at New Camaldoli Hermitage, down the road from Esalen,” Brother David writes. “The Esalen program director called me one Saturday morning in an emergency: The presenter for a weekend seminar had failed to show up and a dozen disgruntled seminarians were still waiting. Would I take over? I barely made it on time for the morning session and in the hurry I had forgotten to ask for the title of the workshop. To my surprise, I found out that I was to talk on ‘Why I'm Not a Catholic.’ With a bit of humor the participants and I got over this hurdle. From then on, I gave workshops every year. It was a special joy for me to explore a wide range of topics together with co-leaders. I have led more than twenty film seminars with cultural psychiatry professor Francis Lu (see page xx), seminars exploring Body Poetry: East and West with Tai Ji master Chungliang Al Huang, and many hiking workshops with Big Sur wilderness guide Steven Harper, among others.

“In the mid-1990s I was an Esalen teacher in residence for close to three years and I learned to deeply appreciate the inner workings of Esalen's community. All in all, my body has again and again been rejuvenated, my soul has been inspired, and my mind and heart uplifted by the unique combination of nature, people, and ideas that is Esalen.” 

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