Voices of Esalen features provocative, in-depth interviews with the dynamic leaders, teachers, and thinkers who are part of Esalen Institute. The podcast is hosted by Sam Stern, former Esalen extended student and current staff member.
These podcasts are licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa license.
Listen or download each episode below, or Subscribe to Voices of Esalen in iTunes.
Esalen Executive Director Ben Tauber on Life, Work, and Endless Curiosity
Ben Tauber is Esalen's Executive Director. During our conversation, we spoke about his youth and teenage years, the nature of the company he created and made successful before joining Esalen, his creative relationship with Esalen's co-founder, Michael Murphy, how Ben battled cancer and emerged victorious, what it was like to come to the helm at Esalen in the midst of a natural disaster, and much more.
Listen or download the mp3. Released April 26th, 2018. Length: 50:59.
Steven Harper on Wilderness in Big Sur and at the Esalen Institute
Steven Harper is a wilderness guide, author, artist, and longtime teacher at the Esalen Institute. He focuses on wild nature as a vehicle for awakening; his work is inspired by a deep connection to inner wild nature. Steven is a contributor to the emerging field of ecopsychology, and has written at length on the subject. He was also a longtime student and close friend of Esalen co-founder Dick Price, and in our conversation, he speaks about his history with Dick, Esalen in the 1980’s, what it was like to raise a family in Big Sur, and how he continues to connect to wild spirit.
Listen or download the mp3. Released March 20th, 2018. Length: 1:13:20.
Look for upcoming workshops with Steven Harper.
Dorothy Charles on the History of Gestalt at Esalen
Dorothy Charles writes, "The practice of being present is simple and not easy. We call it a practice because that’s what it takes – returning to the moment whenever I notice that I’m not present." Dorothy is a long-time and beloved teacher and Gestalt Practitioner at Esalen since 1985, where she continues to lead workshops and training groups. Dorothy received her training at Esalen with Richard and Christine Price. She lives in Aptos, California, where she and Christine Price lead and curate Tribal Ground, an educational and congregational organization dedicated to Gestalt Awareness Practice, Relational Gestalt Practice, and recognizing the sacredness in both life and death.
Listen or download the mp3. Released February 13th, 2018. Length: 51:35.
Look for upcoming workshops with Dorothy Charles.
Kristin Neff on the Power of Self-Compassion
Dr. Kristin Neff writes, "Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a 'stiff upper lip' mentality, you stop to tell yourself 'this is really difficult right now,' how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?" In this conversation, Kristin describes the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion, describes the scientific research she has been conducting in self-compassion, and gives us a few simple, actionable techniques to help direct compassion toward ourselves.
Listen or download the mp3. Released January 19th, 2018. Length: 30:56.
Look for upcoming workshops with Kristin Neff.
David Crow, Master Herbalist, on Aromatherapy, Essential Oils, and Grassroots Healthcare
David Crow is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of botanical medicine and grassroots healthcare. He is a master herbalist, aromatherapist and acupuncturist with over 30 years experience in the Ayurvedic and Chinese medical systems, as well as a renowned author, poet, and co-founder of The Learning Garden at Venice High School in Los Angeles, one of the country's largest and most successful school gardens. We explore the ins and outs of essential oils, aromatherapy, flower essences, ayurveda, psychedelics, energy bodies, and gardening.
Listen or download the mp3. Released December 8th, 2017. Length: 59:20.
Look for upcoming workshops with David Crow.
Alison Raby and James Hanusa on Digital Raign: VR, AR, AI, and Emerging Technology
Digital Raign is a conference that recently convened at Esalen with the intention of creating an "experiential ecosystem," dedicated to exploring the links between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain Technology, and essential human nature. Co-founders Alison Raby, founder of Mariposa Search, LifeBeforeDeath and Co-Founder of Wisdompreneurs, and James Hanusa, cultural strategist, entrepreneur, and advisor to Burning Man, walk us through uncharted territory in this interview. If you're looking to learn about new technologies and holistic ways to relate to them, this talk will provide helpful information.
Listen or download the mp3. Released November 28th, 2017. Length: 44:58.
Phillip Burrus, former Executive Chef at Esalen, on Sustainability, Land Stewardship and Great Food
Today we take a small step back in time to speak with Phillip Burrus, longtime member of the Esalen community and former Executive Chef. Recorded in the spring of 2017, only days before Phillip and his wife Isabel Chave-Manso set off for the next chapter of their lives in Spain, host Sam Stern spoke at length with Phillip about his take on sustainability, the importance of locally-grown produce in food preparation, land stewardship, and community in Big Sur. Phillip is a brilliant guy. If you want to learn more about what goes on in one of the best healthy kitchens in California, have a listen. Music for this episode is by Nico Holloman.
Listen or download the mp3. Released October 19th, 2017. Length: 41:12.
Byron Katie on Living Without Suffering
Byron Katie was severely depressed in her early thirties. For almost a decade, she spiraled down into rage and self-loathing, battling constant thoughts of suicide. Then one morning in February 1986, she experienced a life-changing realization: "I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn't believe them, I didn't suffer. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional." In this episode, Katie and Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern discuss The Work, the philosophy and process of self-inquiry that Byron Katie has brought to millions of people across the world, as well as her new book, "A Mind at Home with Itself," written with her husband Stephen Mitchell. Please enjoy this remarkable and revelatory conversation.
Listen or download the mp3. Released October 13th, 2017. Length: 30:40.
Look for upcoming workshops with Byron Katie.
Ken Dychtwald interviews Ben Tauber
Ken Dychtwald — gerontologist, psychologist, educator, lecturer, television host, and lifelong friend of Esalen — interviews executive director Ben Tauber during a recent weekend at the Esalen Institute, covering new ground to the delight of a lively audience. Music produced by Nico Holloman.
Listen or download the mp3. Released September 13th, 2017. Length: 25:15.
Noah Levine on Dharma Punx, Refuge Recovery, and Wearing the Self Like a Loose Garment
Noah Levine is a punk, a father, a remarkable teacher of Buddhism, and the author of the books Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, The Heart of the Revolution, and Refuge Recovery. His memoir, Dharma Punx, details teenage years filled with drugs, violence, incarceration and suicide attempts - as well as his path to vipassana meditation. During this far-ranging conversation, Noah and Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern discussed what it means to look back on a memoir he wrote more than fourteen years ago, and how Noah is able to live a life of leadership that's not contingent upon tending to an unhealthy ego. They also speak about Refuge Recovery, Levine's book and similarly-named addiction program which provides a non-theistic path of recovery for addicts. Music for this episode is "Machine Elves" by Anamorphic Orchestra licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released February 22nd, 2017. Length: 48:23.
Look for upcoming workshops with Noah Levine.
Michael Murphy, Co-Founder of Esalen, on the Institute's Origin Story
Michael Murphy is the co-founder of Esalen Institute, a key figure in the Human Potential Movement and an extraordinary human being. He is the author of many remarkable books, including Golf in the Kingdom, The Future of the Body, Jacob Atabet, and In the Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports. In this interview, Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern spoke with Michael about the 1960's and how Esalen was born, touching upon his encounters with notables like Hunter S. Thompson, Alduous Huxley, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), Timothy Leary, Sri Aurobindo, Abraham Maslow, and Esalen's co-founder Richard Price. Michael also describes his own origin story, from his altar boy roots to his journey to India, Big Sur, and beyond. Music for this episode was created by Esalen's own Daniel Knipprath.
Listen or download the mp3. Released January 20th, 2017. Length: 53:12.
Jeff Kripal on the Cultural History of Esalen Institute
Jeff Kripal is Chairman of the Board of Esalen Institute and holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. His fascinating work includes the history of psychic phenomena, comparative erotics and ethics in mystical literature, American countercultural translations of Asian religions, and Esalen Institute itself. He is the author of the foundational text Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, a must-read for anyone interested in Esalen Institute. His present areas of writing and research include the articulation of a New Comparativism within the study of religion that will put “the impossible” back on the table again, a robust and even conversation between the sciences and the humanities, and the mapping of an emergent mythology or “Super Story” within paranormal communities and individual visionaries. Have a listen to our conversation on the cultural and historical forces at play during the origin of Esalen Insitute. The theme music for this episode is Hallon by Christian Bjoerklund, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released November 28th, 2016. Length: 51:19.
Shauna Shapiro on a Scientific Perspective on Mindfulness
Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on mindfulness. She is also a licensed clinical psychologist, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University, and co-author of the books The Art and Science of Mindfulness and Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. Shauna and Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern discuss a way into meditation and mindfulness that is, somewhat surprisingly, not predicated around spirituality — rather, one that is focused on science and research. Their conversation covers several of Shauna's clinical research studies, which include work with women with breast cancer, as well as increased empathy with physicians. The music for this episode is called Tell the Future by Cory Gray, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released October 12th, 2016. Length: 43:24.
Look for upcoming workshops with Shauna Shapiro.
Paul Selig, I am the Word: The Extraordinary Life of a Spiritual Channel
Paul Selig is considered one of the foremost mediums working today. He is the author of several extraordinary works of channeled literature, including I Am the Word, The Book of Love and Creation, The Book of Knowing and Worth, and The Book of Mastery. Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern spoke to Paul at length about his work before becoming a medium, when he was a well known playwright and director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College. They discuss the creative process and explore connections between creativity and the work of channeling before turning to the content of Paul's work and the remarkable message of his guides. This is a must-listen episode for those who are fascinated by the art of channeling, and those who find their interest piqued by the message of the Word. The music for this episode is Slow Dissolve, courtesy of www.purple-planet.com.
Listen or download the mp3. Released August 26th, 2016. Length: 1:05:20.
Look for upcoming workshops with Paul Selig.
Caroline Harvey on Poetry, Performance, Gender, and Activism
Caroline Harvey is an accomplished poet and educator whose work explores ideas of the sacred and the profane. Nominated for the 2013 Best Poets Award and a 2012 Pushcart Prize, she has shared stages and classrooms with Alicia Keys, Livingston Taylor, Melissa Ferrick, Donna De Lory, and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), and is dedicated to conscious evolution and intelligent rebellion. The conversation with host Sam Stern covers gender politics, teaching, authenticity, her love for the Grateful Dead, and how to avoid a predictable poetic cadence. Caroline also shares several of her fantastic new poems. Music for this episode is by Esalen's own Sierra Snyder, who records under the moniker of See Seer. The track is There Will Be Music Despite Everything.
Listen or download the mp3. Released August 10th, 2016. Length: 58:55.
Look for upcoming workshops with Caroline Harvey.
Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond on Writing from the Heart
This week's episode is a special one. Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern is joined by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, both brilliant writers and co-hosts of the podcast Dear Sugar Radio, an existentialist and compassionate take on the age-old form of the advice column. Cheryl Strayed is well known for her memoir, the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, which was made into a feature film released in 2014. She is also the author of Tiny Beautiful Things, Torch, and Brave Enough. Steve Almond is the author of CandyFreak, My Life in Heavy Metal, God Bless America, and many other terrific books. In their far-ranging conversation with Sam, Cheryl and Steve share their wisdom and convey their understanding of writing as an exploration of human nature and human experience. Music for this episode is from Weinland - the track is Hardly Worth Saving used under an Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released July 26th, 2016. Length: 46:06.
Mark Whitwell on the Heart of Yoga
Mark Whitwell is a brilliant yogi and an impassioned teacher, the student of Krishnamacharya, and an all-around funny, sweet, wonderful dude. Host Sam Sterne was privileged enough to sit with Mark for an afternoon, hear him play his sitar, and speak about many topics, chief among them Mark's book, The Promise of Love, Sex, and Intimacy: How a Simple Breathing Practice Will Enrich Your Life Forever. Music for this episode is Jason Shaw's Running Waters, used under an Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released June 28th, 2016. Length: 54:36.
Look for upcoming workshops with Mark Whitwell.
Alexandra Katehakis on Erotic Intelligence
Alexandra Katehakis is the Founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles and the author of Erotic Intelligence: Igniting Hot, Healthy Sex While in Recovery from Sex Addiction. She's also the co-author of the award-winning daily meditation book, Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence, from which she reads during this far-reaching interview. We touch on a host of subjects, including the difference between desire and eroticism, the value of examining sexual fantasy and peak sexual experiences, the meaning of trauma in today's world, the many faces of sex addiction and love addiction, how to find novelty within one's long-term sexual relationships, and much more. The music for this episode is Dryness by Ketsa, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released May 23rd, 2016. Length: 50:41.
Look for upcoming workshops with Alexandra Katehakis.
Paula Shaw on The Max
"The purpose of THE MAX is to discover yourself beyond who you know yourself to be. It is a voyage through your own humanity—a journey to discover the extent of your self-expressive power." Paula Shaw has been leading a workshop called "The Max" at Esalen for nearly 30 years. Today, we talk to her about the roots of The Max, touching upon her history with est and her experiences with the Actor's Theater of New York. The music for this episode is Sleep Seeds by Graham Bole from the album "First New Day," licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released May 23rd, 2016. Length: 51:36.
Look for upcoming workshops with Paula Shaw.
Ian-Michael Hébert on Esalen's Renewal and the Fine Art of Sustainable Development
Ian-Michael Hébert, Property Development Manager at Esalen Institute, comes aboard to talk to host Sam Stern about the state of Esalen's campus renewal project, the challenges and triumphs of sustainable building, and plans for the future. They discuss Stanislav Grof's holotropic breathing, shamanic portals, perinatal matrices, re-experiencing one's own birth, fatherhood and how amazing it is, visions of a post-capitalistic society, intergenerational alchemy, Ian-Michael's admiration for Dick Price and the Murphy family, his roots in the wilds of Alaska, Esalen as a refuge for revolutionaries, and much more. The music for this episode is Dave Depper's All the Pieces Come Together, licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released May 4th, 2016. Length: 43:36.
Look for upcoming workshops with Ian-Michael Hébert.
Sam Berne on Vision Therapy and Integrative Health
Dr. Sam Berne is known internationally as a pioneer in vision science, integrative health, and subtle energy therapies. He has developed innovative methods for healing the mind-body-spirit through eye therapy. In this episode, Dr. Berne talks through a process and offers concrete techniques to host Sam Stern to strengthen his vision, while exploring somato-emotional territory.
Listen or download the mp3. Released April 20th, 2016. Length: 56:39.
Look for upcoming workshops with Sam Berne.
Patrice Hamilton: Immersive Experience - Body Centered Awareness
In this episode, Patrice Hamilton guides us through Body Centered Awareness. The aim of this practice is to become aware of your own somatic experiences and patterns, expanding your capacity for more fluid and functional movement. Patrice has been assisting people in self-discovery as a teacher and counselor for over 25 years. Body Centered Awareness is her work as a somatic educator and counselor. She draws upon her training in Cortical Field ReEducation, a movement education practice, the Hakomi method, and Gestalt. Music for this episode is Tranquility by Purple Planet.
Listen or download the mp3. Released April 6th, 2016. Length: 24:21.
Look for upcoming workshops with Patrice Hamilton.
Ann Bradney on Radical Aliveness
"When you can engage the powerful feelings of others without the need to control or tame them, that’s radical aliveness." Ann Bradney is the founder and director of the Radical Aliveness Institute, where she facilitates challenging and exciting work that asks individuals to be fully present and honest to their energy and emotions. "When you can learn to hold a space where conflict and challenge are welcome because they serve as doorways to fresh insights, that’s also radical aliveness." The music for this episode is VYVCH's Barely Baked, included under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released March 30th, 2016. Length: 50:10.
Look for upcoming workshops with Ann Bradney.
Susan Collin Marks on Peacemaking and the Power of Presence
Susan Collin Marks is an internationally renowned peacemaker and peacekeeper. She's worked for nearly three decades forging peace, including in her native South Africa, where she worked intimately with the nation's transition from apartheid after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. Additionally, she has helped facilitate ongoing dialogue in the Middle East and established peace-building programs in Africa. Honors include a Peace Fellowship at the United States Institute for Peace, the Institute for Noetic Science’s Creative Altruism award, a Skoll Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship, President Jimmy Carter’s Waging Peace Award, and an Honorary Doctorate from the UN University of Peace. She is also an outstandingly warm and generous person. Our conversation was far-ranging, and included her insights into how peace functions on a personal level, as well as her history with the Esalen Institute. The music for this episode is Siesta by Jahzzar, licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released March 23rd, 2016. Length: 49:15.
Look for upcoming workshops with Susan Collin Marks.
Julie Szabo on Social Activism in the Age of Radical Diversity and Escalating Technology
Julie Szabo is the coordinator of Web of Change, an organization dedicated to examining the influence of escalating technology on the movement of social change. We spoke about many issues pursuant to being an activist in today's changing landscape, including increased racial diversity, the need for conscious self-care, a diversification of critical issues, the death of click-bait and the return to long-form, and much more. Music for this episode is 3 to the 6 to the 0 by Velella Vellella, licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
Listen or download the mp3. Released March 17th, 2016. Length: 32:37.
Aaron Pereira on How to Engage in Social Change Sanely
Aaron Pereira is the creator of the Well-Being Project, an institution that actively works towards creating healthful and realistic avenues for agents of social change to engage in self-care. We chatted about Paris, avoiding burnout and the martyr syndrome, and his own success with somatic experiencing and the Esalen Institute. The theme song for this episode is by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
Listen or download the mp3. Released March 10th, 2016. Length: 26:46.
Michaela Boehm on Sexual Chemistry and the WIld Woman's Way
Michaela Boehm is a teacher and clinician specializing in deep intimacy and the art of maintaining healthy polarity within self and relationship. She received a formal, classical Tantric education from a female teacher in a Kashmiri Shaivism tradition from the age of 16. She is also the co-founder of a Malibu celebrity drug rehabilitation center, and for 13 years has taught with David Deida. This conversation is a lot of fun, and touches upon Michaela's life and her ten-year marriage, the possibility of healthy sexual media, polygamy and its pitfalls, and ways to maintain a healthy balance with a partner. The theme song for this episode is Daily Beetle by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
Listen or download the mp3. Released March 3rd, 2016. Length: 49:27.
Look for upcoming workshops with Michaela Boehm.
Rick Hanson on Hardwiring Happiness
Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Buddha's Brain and Hardwiring Happiness joins us to discuss neuroscience, love, happiness, and wisdom. We get into a wealth of topics, including neuroplasticity, contentment, mindfulness, and basic practices that can enable us to better find happiness. Theme music from Bensound.com.
Listen or download the mp3. Released February 24th, 2016. Length: 39:18.
Look for upcoming workshops with Rick Hanson.
Peter Meyers on on Conscious Communication and Effortless Public Speaking
Peter Meyers is the creator of High Performance Leadership Communication, and in this interview, he teaches several basic, effective tools to overcome fear of speaking in public. Theme music from Bensound.com.
Listen or download the mp3. Released February 17th, 2016. Length: 52:34.
Look for upcoming workshops with Peter Meyers.
Ann Randolph on Speaking the Unspeakable and Being Inappropriate In All the Right Ways
Ann Randolph is a solo performer, a playwright, a talented teacher, and a comedy genius. She stopped into Esalen during the fall of 2015 to co-teach a workshop with Alanis Morrisette. While she was here, she talked with Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern about her hilarious new autobiographical solo show, "Inappropriate In All The Right Ways." Theme music from Bensound.com.
Listen or download the mp3. Released February 16th, 2016. Length: 1:01:38.
Look for upcoming workshops with Ann Randolph.