Our podcast showcases in-depth interviews with the dynamic teachers and thinkers who are part of Esalen Institute. Hosted by Sam Stern, a former Esalen student and current staff member, the podcasts have featured engaging conversations with authors Cheryl Strayed and Michael Pollan, innovators Stan Grof and Dr. Mark Hyman, teachers Byron Katie, Mark Coleman and Jean Houston, Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, and many more.
These podcasts are made possible in part by the support of Esalen donors and are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.
Listen to the latest episodes here, and subscribe to Voices of Esalen on Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
Dr. Adele Lafrance is a clinical psychologist, research scientist, and a leader in the research and practice of psychedelic medicine. Currently, she is the clinical investigator and strategy lead for the MAPS-sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study for eating disorders and a collaborator on the Imperial College study for psilocybin and anorexia nervosa.
We talked about her history as a clinician, and why she believes psychedelics may offer a different and perhaps more successful way of treating eating disorders than traditional methods. We also spoke about a system she developed known as emotion-focused family therapy. Dr. Lafrance believes emotion-focused family therapy can used effectively in conjunction with psychedelic therapy to treat eating disorders.
"All of these sort of regular things that biotech companies do, like snapping up patents so that they can get investor dollars moving forward, they’re intersecting with this culture in the psychedelics world, which is sort of anti-ownership. These forces will clash. They oppose with one another.” –Shayla Love, Vice Media
Shayla Love is a senior staff writer at Vice Media whose writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, The Guardian, and more. Her recent focus has been the field of psychedelics and how they exist and interact with the forces of what some refer to as late-stage capitalism. Shayla discussed whether there is a way to corporatize psychedelics responsibly, who has the most to gain in the new landscape of psychedelic capitalism, why the for-profit entity known as Compass Pathways attempted to patent a form of synthetic psilocybin, how and why the accompanying challenge to this patent from a group called FTO, or Freedom to Operate, originated, whether state decriminalization of psychedelics is at odds with federal medicalization, and more.
Payton Nyvquest is Co-founder and CEO of Numinus, a for-profit psychedelic company based in Canada that empowers people to heal and be well through the development and delivery of safe, evidence-based psychedelic-assisted therapies. Payton has more than 15 years experience working in finance, investment and retail banking. He pivoted to the emerging psychedelics industry not long after ayuasahca helped him experience deep relief from a lifelong battle with chronic pain. At Numinus, he guides teams in strategy, innovation, research and clinic network expansion and is responsible for raising more than $70 million for Numinus in the past year.
Together we talked about the difference between a for-profit and non-profit psychedelic organization, how he works in conjunction with MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (which is a non profit), how he sees psychedelic services intersecting with existing health care protocols in the united states, why Numinus is a publicly traded company, why he believes his company’s stock price will rise, and how being a father to a young child has influenced the direction his life has taken.
A glimpse under the hood at Voices of Esalen. Host Sam Stern interviews himself, entertaining questions including:
Listen in and learn about the show's evolution.
Jon Hopkins is a Grammy-nominated electronic musician and producer who’s collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno and Coldplay, scored award-winning films such as Gareth Edwards’ Monsters, and has recently released his sixth studio album, Music For Psychedelic Therapy, which aims to function as a trusted and luminous guide for an hour-long psychedelic experience. We unpack his creative process and hopes for this hour-long album, which is specifically designed to mirror the length of a therapeutic ketamine journey. We also got into a fascinating conversation about what other recording artists provided inspiration for creating music for psychedelic journeys.
Jeff Kripal is an historian of religions — his work includes the study of comparative erotics and ethics in mystical literature, American countercultural translations of Asian religions, and the history of Western esotericism from gnosticism to New Age religions. He’s also the author of the book Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion — a must read for anyone interested in unpacking the conditions of history surrounding Esalen’s birth in the early sixties.
This interview was originally published in 2016.
Jazsalyn is the creative and curatorial Director of black beyond, a radical space for artists and activists to define alternate realities for Blackness. As an anti-disciplinary artist, she combines new media and community organizing practices to reimagine Black futures and to decolonize and re-indigenize social and creative practice. Her work has been featured in CULTURED Magazine, Vogue, The New Yorker, and Huffington Post.
Jazsalyn was interviewed for today’s episode by Michelle McCrary. Michelle is a daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, mother, wife, and friend who lives on occupied Duwamish land in the Pacific Northwest. She has roots in Coastal Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. When she's not leading the Communications team at Esalen, she's training to become a facilitator with the Healing and Reconciliation Institute, tending to her winter garden, reading her way through a massive pile of books on her nightstand, and working on the screenplay for her horror anthology.
Some links from this great conversation:
black beyond at www.nyfa.org/
newart.city/show/blackbeyond XR on New Art City
And here’s a dublab mix from black beyond — alternate realities
Featured artist KESSWA reps Detroit and explores afro surrealist soundscapes across genres on this continuum of alternate realities.
Sandor Katz has taught hundreds of workshops demystifying fermentation and empowering people to reclaim this transformational process. His book, The Art of Fermentation, received a James Beard award and was a finalist at the International Association of Culinary Professionals. In 2009, he was named one of Chow magazine’s top “provacateurs, trendsetters, and rabble-rousers.” This self-described "fermentation fetishist" treats us to a discussion of his new book, Fermentation Journeys. We talk about food writing and favorite food writers, the benefits of fermentation, being an adventurer in the kitchen, and what's fermenting in his refrigerator.
Vivien Sansour is the founder of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. Trained in the field of Anthropology, Vivien has worked with farmers worldwide on issues relating to agriculture and independence. She is a 2020-2021 Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative Fellow at Harvard University where she is working on an autobiographical book documenting her work saving seeds in Palestine and around the world. Together we discussed how food sovereignty aligns with the struggle of Palestinian resistance, how biodiversity reflects and intersects with cultural diversity, how the military occupation of Palestine affects the farming practices that go on there, and how love is the greatest form of resistance to colonial oppression. She's brilliant.
Sansour teaches Becoming Of The Land: Right Relationship Without Dominance - Understanding The Terrains We Inhabit, December 17–20.
This episode captures Jack Kornfield's lecture/ Dharma talk at Esalen on September 15th, 1983. Kornfield, one of the most articulate and compassionate voices in modern Western Buddhism, is co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma and India, first as a student of the Thai forest master Ajahn Chah, about whom he speaks at length in this lecture. Kornfield has taught meditation worldwide since 1974 and is considered one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practices to the West. He’s the author of a host of books, including 1977’s Living Dharma, 1993’s A Path with Heart, and 2001’s After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. This talk is at turns funny, wise, and insightful. It awakens a certain kind of spirit in the listener. We're grateful to Kornfield for his continuing association with the Esalen Institute, and continuing devotion to the path of the heart.