Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
On Our Bookshelf: Altered States

As we peer past the everyday and the ordinary, we’re considering how we can change our outlook without psychedelics (though we still remain big fans). This month, find out how to dream, breathe, or dance your way into a different state of mind. Whatever natural method you choose to use to “break on through” in the ongoing quest to experience ecstasy, transcendence, and enlightenment, here are some books to guide you to new epiphanies and, possibly, awaken a new you.


Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep

by Jennifer Dumpert
In that transition state just between sleeping and waking, as the mind passes through hypnagogia and hypnopompia, there is an imaginal place. A border zone, if you will. Dumpert, an Esalen workshop leader and the founder of the Oneironauticum, an organization that explores the phenomenological experience of dreams, teaches us how to extend that period and instructs on how to “hack” the unconscious with liminal dreaming (which is different and easier than lucid dreaming). This is a natural, hangover-free way to reach the swirling, free-associative realms — to sink into the unconscious while still maintaining rationality — and then meaningfully integrate the experience. Though it’s compared to the effects of LSD or THC, all you need is a pillow. 

Exhale: 40 Breathwork Exercises to Help You Find Your Calm, Supercharge Your Health, and Perform at Your Best

by Richie Bostock 
Known as “the breath guy,” Richie Bostock has taught tens of thousands across the world and offers a number of different techniques in this easy-to-follow guide. Some of the exercises found here derive from ancient cultures while others were designed for Navy SEALS. Though breathwork and its extraordinary benefits are now well known, most of us are still breathing wrong. Yes, changing respiration can transform bodies and health for greater performance, but we know that it goes so much further. As a leading figure and evangelist for breathwork, the author explains how to use these practices to regulate the nervous systems, create calm, and help depression and anxiety. Those who want even more benefits will find breathwork can help them reach those blissful states of “no-mind, no-where and no-time” — often achieved with the help of certain substances or years of dedicated meditation — with easily accessible air!

Sweat Your Prayers: The Five Rhythms of the Soul — Movement as Spiritual Practice

by Gabrielle Roth 
Before this trailblazing, internationally-acclaimed genius became one of Esalen’s most popular and enduring leaders, she was asked by Gestalt founder Fritz Perl to teach movement to his therapy groups. She found out that “two hours of moving were as powerful as two years on the couch” and discovered the transformative truth about the human body and how we move. For the uninitiated, 5Rhythms is “a movement practice — a practice of being in your body — that ignites creativity, connection, and community.” With the five universal rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness, it remains the basis of many Esalen workshops. Roth’s insights and inspiring stories here will guide readers to “the wild, ecstatic embrace of dance,” where they only need music and their own bodies. In her own words: “The more you dance, the more you sweat. The more you sweat, the more you pray. The more you pray, the closer you come to ecstasy." 

Being You: A New Science of Consciousness

by Anil Seth
As many of us realized after doing drugs, it truly is all “just an illusion, man!” In this critically-acclaimed bestseller, neurologist Anil Seth explores the interplay of billions of neurons with consciousness and explains how our brains create controlled hallucinations gathered from the waves of information through streams of sensory signals. Simply put, we make our “realities” on perceptual “best guesses” about everything around us, which is a pretty subjective process. What’s more, these perceptual predictions influence what we see/hear/smell/believe just as much as our external stimuli, actively generating the world as much as “perceiving” it. If it sounds complicated, it is, and that’s just a small fraction of this fascinating read. It’s also a thrilling, freeing interpretation of existence that turns all life into a grand altered experience.

The Complete Poetry of William Blake

by William Blake 
At the tender age of eight, a young English boy noticed an oak tree on Peckham Rye filled with heavenly creatures: “Bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.” These were later joined by other visitations — his dead brother, artists from centuries earlier, and the prophet Ezekiel. Blake’s experiences led to mystical and dazzling work, his free-spirited and humanistic views, and an awe-filled, spiritual universe — everything that sets him apart to this day. A hero to seminal 60s counterculture figures (particularly Ginsburg and Timothy Leary), the great Romantic poet is another example of how a glimpse of the transcendent can be transformative, even if he was mostly considered a lunatic in his own time. Without these visions, Blake definitely couldn’t have written The Tyger, On Another’s Sorrow, or Auguries of Innocence with lines like this: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand/And a Heaven in a Wild Flower/Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/And Eternity in an hour.” Read these great works, be inspired to see past your ordinary, quotidian existence, and be thankful William Blake always did.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?


PRODUCT PICK

Since ancient times, incense has been used to heighten mood, stimulate creativity, and accompany ceremony. For those seeking help turning on, tuning in and dropping out  energetically with a lowkey accoutrement, we suggest Aromatic Incense by Sandoval, available now at the Esalen store in two varieties, Sacred Aromatic Incense and Clear Aromatic Incense. Hand blended in California, both are free from charcoal, chemicals, or other resin, “resulting in pure, exalted scent that lingers in the air like an unforgettable conversation.” Sacred Aromatic combines the hallowed ingredients of Australian sandalwood and Peruvian palo santo. Fill your spaces with the majestic spirit of ancient wood. Clear Aromatic — a tribute to the California Mojave, Chihuahuan dunes, and wild lavender growing wild along the Valensole Plateau — is made from California native purple sage, organic French lavender, and organic desert sage grown in New Mexico.

Shop Now

About

Esalen Team

On Our Bookshelf: Altered States

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

As we peer past the everyday and the ordinary, we’re considering how we can change our outlook without psychedelics (though we still remain big fans). This month, find out how to dream, breathe, or dance your way into a different state of mind. Whatever natural method you choose to use to “break on through” in the ongoing quest to experience ecstasy, transcendence, and enlightenment, here are some books to guide you to new epiphanies and, possibly, awaken a new you.


Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep

by Jennifer Dumpert
In that transition state just between sleeping and waking, as the mind passes through hypnagogia and hypnopompia, there is an imaginal place. A border zone, if you will. Dumpert, an Esalen workshop leader and the founder of the Oneironauticum, an organization that explores the phenomenological experience of dreams, teaches us how to extend that period and instructs on how to “hack” the unconscious with liminal dreaming (which is different and easier than lucid dreaming). This is a natural, hangover-free way to reach the swirling, free-associative realms — to sink into the unconscious while still maintaining rationality — and then meaningfully integrate the experience. Though it’s compared to the effects of LSD or THC, all you need is a pillow. 

Exhale: 40 Breathwork Exercises to Help You Find Your Calm, Supercharge Your Health, and Perform at Your Best

by Richie Bostock 
Known as “the breath guy,” Richie Bostock has taught tens of thousands across the world and offers a number of different techniques in this easy-to-follow guide. Some of the exercises found here derive from ancient cultures while others were designed for Navy SEALS. Though breathwork and its extraordinary benefits are now well known, most of us are still breathing wrong. Yes, changing respiration can transform bodies and health for greater performance, but we know that it goes so much further. As a leading figure and evangelist for breathwork, the author explains how to use these practices to regulate the nervous systems, create calm, and help depression and anxiety. Those who want even more benefits will find breathwork can help them reach those blissful states of “no-mind, no-where and no-time” — often achieved with the help of certain substances or years of dedicated meditation — with easily accessible air!

Sweat Your Prayers: The Five Rhythms of the Soul — Movement as Spiritual Practice

by Gabrielle Roth 
Before this trailblazing, internationally-acclaimed genius became one of Esalen’s most popular and enduring leaders, she was asked by Gestalt founder Fritz Perl to teach movement to his therapy groups. She found out that “two hours of moving were as powerful as two years on the couch” and discovered the transformative truth about the human body and how we move. For the uninitiated, 5Rhythms is “a movement practice — a practice of being in your body — that ignites creativity, connection, and community.” With the five universal rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness, it remains the basis of many Esalen workshops. Roth’s insights and inspiring stories here will guide readers to “the wild, ecstatic embrace of dance,” where they only need music and their own bodies. In her own words: “The more you dance, the more you sweat. The more you sweat, the more you pray. The more you pray, the closer you come to ecstasy." 

Being You: A New Science of Consciousness

by Anil Seth
As many of us realized after doing drugs, it truly is all “just an illusion, man!” In this critically-acclaimed bestseller, neurologist Anil Seth explores the interplay of billions of neurons with consciousness and explains how our brains create controlled hallucinations gathered from the waves of information through streams of sensory signals. Simply put, we make our “realities” on perceptual “best guesses” about everything around us, which is a pretty subjective process. What’s more, these perceptual predictions influence what we see/hear/smell/believe just as much as our external stimuli, actively generating the world as much as “perceiving” it. If it sounds complicated, it is, and that’s just a small fraction of this fascinating read. It’s also a thrilling, freeing interpretation of existence that turns all life into a grand altered experience.

The Complete Poetry of William Blake

by William Blake 
At the tender age of eight, a young English boy noticed an oak tree on Peckham Rye filled with heavenly creatures: “Bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.” These were later joined by other visitations — his dead brother, artists from centuries earlier, and the prophet Ezekiel. Blake’s experiences led to mystical and dazzling work, his free-spirited and humanistic views, and an awe-filled, spiritual universe — everything that sets him apart to this day. A hero to seminal 60s counterculture figures (particularly Ginsburg and Timothy Leary), the great Romantic poet is another example of how a glimpse of the transcendent can be transformative, even if he was mostly considered a lunatic in his own time. Without these visions, Blake definitely couldn’t have written The Tyger, On Another’s Sorrow, or Auguries of Innocence with lines like this: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand/And a Heaven in a Wild Flower/Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/And Eternity in an hour.” Read these great works, be inspired to see past your ordinary, quotidian existence, and be thankful William Blake always did.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?


PRODUCT PICK

Since ancient times, incense has been used to heighten mood, stimulate creativity, and accompany ceremony. For those seeking help turning on, tuning in and dropping out  energetically with a lowkey accoutrement, we suggest Aromatic Incense by Sandoval, available now at the Esalen store in two varieties, Sacred Aromatic Incense and Clear Aromatic Incense. Hand blended in California, both are free from charcoal, chemicals, or other resin, “resulting in pure, exalted scent that lingers in the air like an unforgettable conversation.” Sacred Aromatic combines the hallowed ingredients of Australian sandalwood and Peruvian palo santo. Fill your spaces with the majestic spirit of ancient wood. Clear Aromatic — a tribute to the California Mojave, Chihuahuan dunes, and wild lavender growing wild along the Valensole Plateau — is made from California native purple sage, organic French lavender, and organic desert sage grown in New Mexico.

Shop Now

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
On Our Bookshelf: Altered States

New Workshops

No items found.

Alert! Workshop Space Available


PRODUCT PICK

Since ancient times, incense has been used to heighten mood, stimulate creativity, and accompany ceremony. For those seeking help turning on, tuning in and dropping out  energetically with a lowkey accoutrement, we suggest Aromatic Incense by Sandoval, available now at the Esalen store in two varieties, Sacred Aromatic Incense and Clear Aromatic Incense. Hand blended in California, both are free from charcoal, chemicals, or other resin, “resulting in pure, exalted scent that lingers in the air like an unforgettable conversation.” Sacred Aromatic combines the hallowed ingredients of Australian sandalwood and Peruvian palo santo. Fill your spaces with the majestic spirit of ancient wood. Clear Aromatic — a tribute to the California Mojave, Chihuahuan dunes, and wild lavender growing wild along the Valensole Plateau — is made from California native purple sage, organic French lavender, and organic desert sage grown in New Mexico.

Shop Now

About

Esalen Team

On Our Bookshelf: Altered States

About

Esalen Team