On Our Bookshelf: Inspiration

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

This month, we walk in the metaphorical footsteps of Michael Murphy and Dick Price by reading the great works and great men that inspired them. Maslow, Myers, Huxley, James, and Sri Aurobindo — giants of psychology, spirituality, philosophy, literature, and more who deeply influenced the founders — and founding — of Esalen. 

Also, an announcement for all readers on campus: Esalen is nearly finished with a newly imagined space for quiet contemplation. A nook within the Bookstore presents as a portal for those inspired by the ideas and philosophies explored by the Center for Theory & Research (CTR). Pass through to find many of the titles below and other writings that align with CTR’s mission, “to bring together leading-edge thinkers to accelerate our collective evolution toward a new worldview.”


The Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

by Frederic Myers

Myers, the English poet, classicist, and psychic researcher, was called a pioneer "who staked out a vast tract of mental wilderness and planted the flag of genuine science on it" by William James, the "father of American psychology." Originally a two-part volume, the work, assembled from decades of study on the survival of consciousness, was first published in 1903, just a few years after the author's death. This was well after Meyers helped found the ​​Society for Psychical Research alongside great authors, philosophers, physicists, and Nobel laureates of his day. This deep investigation of spiritualism (originally 700 pages!) includes Myers’s influential theory of the "subliminal self," which merges psychic phenomena with his era's understanding of psychology. A foundational text —  readable considering it was published over 120 years ago — that will leave even modern readers an entirely new outlook on the afterlife.

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature

by William James

The aforementioned philosopher and psychologist gave a series of talks on religion and its academic study at the University of Edinburgh, subtitled "Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902." Though some chapters/lecture titles can sound intimidating (for example, "The Divided Self and the Process of Its Unification”), James's pragmatic ideas are not. He explores diverse religious experiences, finds commonalities, and details the impacts on the self. Belief, a fundamental human thing, mostly benefits humankind, he concludes — and your mileage may vary. This means that personal spiritual experiences are more important than religious principles, a relatively commonly understood notion today that was truly shocking at the turn of the 20th century. Readers will find trailblazing ideas that profoundly influenced philosophy, psychology, and the human potential moment, such as "the Mind-cure movement," a precursor to positive thinking and so much more, in his section on "The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness." A seminal and still highly relevant work. 

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

by Peter Heehs

One of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives has written a comprehensive biography of the famed yogi, philosopher, sage, scholar, politician, revolutionary, poet, and theorist. Using his subject's own diaries and writings, accounts from family and friends, and materials from associates and enemies, the author finely traces Sri Aurobindo's story — though some will inevitably bristle at any evaluation of a beloved spiritual figure. To the author's credit, he knew criticism was inevitable and noted that admirers "do not always agree with perspectives that do not match theirs or with interpretations that challenge existing ones." As an impartial biographer, Heehs brings all elements to these pages, mapping a definitive overview in five sections with everything you need to understand the life of one of India's most revered mystics.

Island

by Aldous Huxley

His final novel before his death, Huxley's Island has long been considered the counterpart, answer, or antidote to Brave New World. A Pacific island, strategically isolated, is the setting of an idyllic free society. It is an oasis of happiness and freedom where children have multiple sets of parents and all is shared. Journalist Will Farnaby, sent to scope the place out for greedy capitalists, acts as a cynical stand-in for the reader before he is swept up in the beauty and possibilities — only a little too late. Paradise is lost. So is this novel Huxley's vision, as his widow believed, of humanity at its "sanest and most admirable"? Or, as others have argued, is it a bleak look at how we are doomed to forever destroy? ("Huxley's most pessimistic work to date, an indictment of humanity's characteristic inability to rid itself of the materialistic desire to have rather than to be," according to David Bradshaw.) We definitely side with the former, but either way, the journey to Pala, where the myna birds tell us to pay "attention, attention, here and now," is a beautiful and enlightening trip.

Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences

by Abraham Maslow

Maslow, a man who greatly influenced the Institute's vision of positive human values and potentials. Best known for his Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow articulated in this book the idea of a "peak experience" — those transcendent moments of pure joy that tend to change a person forever. Love. Ecstasy and complete and utter happiness and insight. He found that, though there are practices to facilitate them, one can find such epiphanies at a temple or while waiting for the bus. "The great lesson from the true mystics [is that] the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." This short (yet life-altering) read is a great place to start studying the work of this preeminent psychologist, who, inspired by experiences at Esalen, founded the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Those curious to learn more can stream this recording of his 1966 lecture on campus.


After taking on these classic texts, pick up a newly published (mid) life-changing guide by former Board of Trustee and the Conley behind the official Conley Bookstore name, Chip Conley.

Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age

by Chip Conley

Taking the premise that we grow throughout our lives, New York Times bestselling author Conely asks, What if midlife is not a crisis? This alternative narrative by the hospitality entrepreneur and co-founder of the Modern Elder Academy posits that the misunderstood stage of maturity is actually a chrysalis — a time for us to process our accumulated wisdom to pollinate the world. Far more than a new outlook, this is a profound paradigm shift that will help readers understand aging as “a privilege, a gift of time.” With advice on health, guidance for facing new challenges, surprising research, and the author’s undeniable enthusiasm, this one (along with his accompanying TED Talk) is required reading for anyone north of 40.

“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?



About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

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< Back to all Journal posts

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
On Our Bookshelf: Inspiration

This month, we walk in the metaphorical footsteps of Michael Murphy and Dick Price by reading the great works and great men that inspired them. Maslow, Myers, Huxley, James, and Sri Aurobindo — giants of psychology, spirituality, philosophy, literature, and more who deeply influenced the founders — and founding — of Esalen. 

Also, an announcement for all readers on campus: Esalen is nearly finished with a newly imagined space for quiet contemplation. A nook within the Bookstore presents as a portal for those inspired by the ideas and philosophies explored by the Center for Theory & Research (CTR). Pass through to find many of the titles below and other writings that align with CTR’s mission, “to bring together leading-edge thinkers to accelerate our collective evolution toward a new worldview.”


The Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

by Frederic Myers

Myers, the English poet, classicist, and psychic researcher, was called a pioneer "who staked out a vast tract of mental wilderness and planted the flag of genuine science on it" by William James, the "father of American psychology." Originally a two-part volume, the work, assembled from decades of study on the survival of consciousness, was first published in 1903, just a few years after the author's death. This was well after Meyers helped found the ​​Society for Psychical Research alongside great authors, philosophers, physicists, and Nobel laureates of his day. This deep investigation of spiritualism (originally 700 pages!) includes Myers’s influential theory of the "subliminal self," which merges psychic phenomena with his era's understanding of psychology. A foundational text —  readable considering it was published over 120 years ago — that will leave even modern readers an entirely new outlook on the afterlife.

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature

by William James

The aforementioned philosopher and psychologist gave a series of talks on religion and its academic study at the University of Edinburgh, subtitled "Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902." Though some chapters/lecture titles can sound intimidating (for example, "The Divided Self and the Process of Its Unification”), James's pragmatic ideas are not. He explores diverse religious experiences, finds commonalities, and details the impacts on the self. Belief, a fundamental human thing, mostly benefits humankind, he concludes — and your mileage may vary. This means that personal spiritual experiences are more important than religious principles, a relatively commonly understood notion today that was truly shocking at the turn of the 20th century. Readers will find trailblazing ideas that profoundly influenced philosophy, psychology, and the human potential moment, such as "the Mind-cure movement," a precursor to positive thinking and so much more, in his section on "The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness." A seminal and still highly relevant work. 

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

by Peter Heehs

One of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives has written a comprehensive biography of the famed yogi, philosopher, sage, scholar, politician, revolutionary, poet, and theorist. Using his subject's own diaries and writings, accounts from family and friends, and materials from associates and enemies, the author finely traces Sri Aurobindo's story — though some will inevitably bristle at any evaluation of a beloved spiritual figure. To the author's credit, he knew criticism was inevitable and noted that admirers "do not always agree with perspectives that do not match theirs or with interpretations that challenge existing ones." As an impartial biographer, Heehs brings all elements to these pages, mapping a definitive overview in five sections with everything you need to understand the life of one of India's most revered mystics.

Island

by Aldous Huxley

His final novel before his death, Huxley's Island has long been considered the counterpart, answer, or antidote to Brave New World. A Pacific island, strategically isolated, is the setting of an idyllic free society. It is an oasis of happiness and freedom where children have multiple sets of parents and all is shared. Journalist Will Farnaby, sent to scope the place out for greedy capitalists, acts as a cynical stand-in for the reader before he is swept up in the beauty and possibilities — only a little too late. Paradise is lost. So is this novel Huxley's vision, as his widow believed, of humanity at its "sanest and most admirable"? Or, as others have argued, is it a bleak look at how we are doomed to forever destroy? ("Huxley's most pessimistic work to date, an indictment of humanity's characteristic inability to rid itself of the materialistic desire to have rather than to be," according to David Bradshaw.) We definitely side with the former, but either way, the journey to Pala, where the myna birds tell us to pay "attention, attention, here and now," is a beautiful and enlightening trip.

Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences

by Abraham Maslow

Maslow, a man who greatly influenced the Institute's vision of positive human values and potentials. Best known for his Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow articulated in this book the idea of a "peak experience" — those transcendent moments of pure joy that tend to change a person forever. Love. Ecstasy and complete and utter happiness and insight. He found that, though there are practices to facilitate them, one can find such epiphanies at a temple or while waiting for the bus. "The great lesson from the true mystics [is that] the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." This short (yet life-altering) read is a great place to start studying the work of this preeminent psychologist, who, inspired by experiences at Esalen, founded the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Those curious to learn more can stream this recording of his 1966 lecture on campus.


After taking on these classic texts, pick up a newly published (mid) life-changing guide by former Board of Trustee and the Conley behind the official Conley Bookstore name, Chip Conley.

Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age

by Chip Conley

Taking the premise that we grow throughout our lives, New York Times bestselling author Conely asks, What if midlife is not a crisis? This alternative narrative by the hospitality entrepreneur and co-founder of the Modern Elder Academy posits that the misunderstood stage of maturity is actually a chrysalis — a time for us to process our accumulated wisdom to pollinate the world. Far more than a new outlook, this is a profound paradigm shift that will help readers understand aging as “a privilege, a gift of time.” With advice on health, guidance for facing new challenges, surprising research, and the author’s undeniable enthusiasm, this one (along with his accompanying TED Talk) is required reading for anyone north of 40.

“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?



About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

On Our Bookshelf: Inspiration

About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

< Back to all articles

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

This month, we walk in the metaphorical footsteps of Michael Murphy and Dick Price by reading the great works and great men that inspired them. Maslow, Myers, Huxley, James, and Sri Aurobindo — giants of psychology, spirituality, philosophy, literature, and more who deeply influenced the founders — and founding — of Esalen. 

Also, an announcement for all readers on campus: Esalen is nearly finished with a newly imagined space for quiet contemplation. A nook within the Bookstore presents as a portal for those inspired by the ideas and philosophies explored by the Center for Theory & Research (CTR). Pass through to find many of the titles below and other writings that align with CTR’s mission, “to bring together leading-edge thinkers to accelerate our collective evolution toward a new worldview.”


The Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

by Frederic Myers

Myers, the English poet, classicist, and psychic researcher, was called a pioneer "who staked out a vast tract of mental wilderness and planted the flag of genuine science on it" by William James, the "father of American psychology." Originally a two-part volume, the work, assembled from decades of study on the survival of consciousness, was first published in 1903, just a few years after the author's death. This was well after Meyers helped found the ​​Society for Psychical Research alongside great authors, philosophers, physicists, and Nobel laureates of his day. This deep investigation of spiritualism (originally 700 pages!) includes Myers’s influential theory of the "subliminal self," which merges psychic phenomena with his era's understanding of psychology. A foundational text —  readable considering it was published over 120 years ago — that will leave even modern readers an entirely new outlook on the afterlife.

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature

by William James

The aforementioned philosopher and psychologist gave a series of talks on religion and its academic study at the University of Edinburgh, subtitled "Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902." Though some chapters/lecture titles can sound intimidating (for example, "The Divided Self and the Process of Its Unification”), James's pragmatic ideas are not. He explores diverse religious experiences, finds commonalities, and details the impacts on the self. Belief, a fundamental human thing, mostly benefits humankind, he concludes — and your mileage may vary. This means that personal spiritual experiences are more important than religious principles, a relatively commonly understood notion today that was truly shocking at the turn of the 20th century. Readers will find trailblazing ideas that profoundly influenced philosophy, psychology, and the human potential moment, such as "the Mind-cure movement," a precursor to positive thinking and so much more, in his section on "The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness." A seminal and still highly relevant work. 

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

by Peter Heehs

One of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives has written a comprehensive biography of the famed yogi, philosopher, sage, scholar, politician, revolutionary, poet, and theorist. Using his subject's own diaries and writings, accounts from family and friends, and materials from associates and enemies, the author finely traces Sri Aurobindo's story — though some will inevitably bristle at any evaluation of a beloved spiritual figure. To the author's credit, he knew criticism was inevitable and noted that admirers "do not always agree with perspectives that do not match theirs or with interpretations that challenge existing ones." As an impartial biographer, Heehs brings all elements to these pages, mapping a definitive overview in five sections with everything you need to understand the life of one of India's most revered mystics.

Island

by Aldous Huxley

His final novel before his death, Huxley's Island has long been considered the counterpart, answer, or antidote to Brave New World. A Pacific island, strategically isolated, is the setting of an idyllic free society. It is an oasis of happiness and freedom where children have multiple sets of parents and all is shared. Journalist Will Farnaby, sent to scope the place out for greedy capitalists, acts as a cynical stand-in for the reader before he is swept up in the beauty and possibilities — only a little too late. Paradise is lost. So is this novel Huxley's vision, as his widow believed, of humanity at its "sanest and most admirable"? Or, as others have argued, is it a bleak look at how we are doomed to forever destroy? ("Huxley's most pessimistic work to date, an indictment of humanity's characteristic inability to rid itself of the materialistic desire to have rather than to be," according to David Bradshaw.) We definitely side with the former, but either way, the journey to Pala, where the myna birds tell us to pay "attention, attention, here and now," is a beautiful and enlightening trip.

Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences

by Abraham Maslow

Maslow, a man who greatly influenced the Institute's vision of positive human values and potentials. Best known for his Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow articulated in this book the idea of a "peak experience" — those transcendent moments of pure joy that tend to change a person forever. Love. Ecstasy and complete and utter happiness and insight. He found that, though there are practices to facilitate them, one can find such epiphanies at a temple or while waiting for the bus. "The great lesson from the true mystics [is that] the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." This short (yet life-altering) read is a great place to start studying the work of this preeminent psychologist, who, inspired by experiences at Esalen, founded the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Those curious to learn more can stream this recording of his 1966 lecture on campus.


After taking on these classic texts, pick up a newly published (mid) life-changing guide by former Board of Trustee and the Conley behind the official Conley Bookstore name, Chip Conley.

Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age

by Chip Conley

Taking the premise that we grow throughout our lives, New York Times bestselling author Conely asks, What if midlife is not a crisis? This alternative narrative by the hospitality entrepreneur and co-founder of the Modern Elder Academy posits that the misunderstood stage of maturity is actually a chrysalis — a time for us to process our accumulated wisdom to pollinate the world. Far more than a new outlook, this is a profound paradigm shift that will help readers understand aging as “a privilege, a gift of time.” With advice on health, guidance for facing new challenges, surprising research, and the author’s undeniable enthusiasm, this one (along with his accompanying TED Talk) is required reading for anyone north of 40.

“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?



About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

< Back to all Journal posts

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
On Our Bookshelf: Inspiration

This month, we walk in the metaphorical footsteps of Michael Murphy and Dick Price by reading the great works and great men that inspired them. Maslow, Myers, Huxley, James, and Sri Aurobindo — giants of psychology, spirituality, philosophy, literature, and more who deeply influenced the founders — and founding — of Esalen. 

Also, an announcement for all readers on campus: Esalen is nearly finished with a newly imagined space for quiet contemplation. A nook within the Bookstore presents as a portal for those inspired by the ideas and philosophies explored by the Center for Theory & Research (CTR). Pass through to find many of the titles below and other writings that align with CTR’s mission, “to bring together leading-edge thinkers to accelerate our collective evolution toward a new worldview.”


The Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

by Frederic Myers

Myers, the English poet, classicist, and psychic researcher, was called a pioneer "who staked out a vast tract of mental wilderness and planted the flag of genuine science on it" by William James, the "father of American psychology." Originally a two-part volume, the work, assembled from decades of study on the survival of consciousness, was first published in 1903, just a few years after the author's death. This was well after Meyers helped found the ​​Society for Psychical Research alongside great authors, philosophers, physicists, and Nobel laureates of his day. This deep investigation of spiritualism (originally 700 pages!) includes Myers’s influential theory of the "subliminal self," which merges psychic phenomena with his era's understanding of psychology. A foundational text —  readable considering it was published over 120 years ago — that will leave even modern readers an entirely new outlook on the afterlife.

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature

by William James

The aforementioned philosopher and psychologist gave a series of talks on religion and its academic study at the University of Edinburgh, subtitled "Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902." Though some chapters/lecture titles can sound intimidating (for example, "The Divided Self and the Process of Its Unification”), James's pragmatic ideas are not. He explores diverse religious experiences, finds commonalities, and details the impacts on the self. Belief, a fundamental human thing, mostly benefits humankind, he concludes — and your mileage may vary. This means that personal spiritual experiences are more important than religious principles, a relatively commonly understood notion today that was truly shocking at the turn of the 20th century. Readers will find trailblazing ideas that profoundly influenced philosophy, psychology, and the human potential moment, such as "the Mind-cure movement," a precursor to positive thinking and so much more, in his section on "The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness." A seminal and still highly relevant work. 

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

by Peter Heehs

One of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives has written a comprehensive biography of the famed yogi, philosopher, sage, scholar, politician, revolutionary, poet, and theorist. Using his subject's own diaries and writings, accounts from family and friends, and materials from associates and enemies, the author finely traces Sri Aurobindo's story — though some will inevitably bristle at any evaluation of a beloved spiritual figure. To the author's credit, he knew criticism was inevitable and noted that admirers "do not always agree with perspectives that do not match theirs or with interpretations that challenge existing ones." As an impartial biographer, Heehs brings all elements to these pages, mapping a definitive overview in five sections with everything you need to understand the life of one of India's most revered mystics.

Island

by Aldous Huxley

His final novel before his death, Huxley's Island has long been considered the counterpart, answer, or antidote to Brave New World. A Pacific island, strategically isolated, is the setting of an idyllic free society. It is an oasis of happiness and freedom where children have multiple sets of parents and all is shared. Journalist Will Farnaby, sent to scope the place out for greedy capitalists, acts as a cynical stand-in for the reader before he is swept up in the beauty and possibilities — only a little too late. Paradise is lost. So is this novel Huxley's vision, as his widow believed, of humanity at its "sanest and most admirable"? Or, as others have argued, is it a bleak look at how we are doomed to forever destroy? ("Huxley's most pessimistic work to date, an indictment of humanity's characteristic inability to rid itself of the materialistic desire to have rather than to be," according to David Bradshaw.) We definitely side with the former, but either way, the journey to Pala, where the myna birds tell us to pay "attention, attention, here and now," is a beautiful and enlightening trip.

Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences

by Abraham Maslow

Maslow, a man who greatly influenced the Institute's vision of positive human values and potentials. Best known for his Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow articulated in this book the idea of a "peak experience" — those transcendent moments of pure joy that tend to change a person forever. Love. Ecstasy and complete and utter happiness and insight. He found that, though there are practices to facilitate them, one can find such epiphanies at a temple or while waiting for the bus. "The great lesson from the true mystics [is that] the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." This short (yet life-altering) read is a great place to start studying the work of this preeminent psychologist, who, inspired by experiences at Esalen, founded the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Those curious to learn more can stream this recording of his 1966 lecture on campus.


After taking on these classic texts, pick up a newly published (mid) life-changing guide by former Board of Trustee and the Conley behind the official Conley Bookstore name, Chip Conley.

Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age

by Chip Conley

Taking the premise that we grow throughout our lives, New York Times bestselling author Conely asks, What if midlife is not a crisis? This alternative narrative by the hospitality entrepreneur and co-founder of the Modern Elder Academy posits that the misunderstood stage of maturity is actually a chrysalis — a time for us to process our accumulated wisdom to pollinate the world. Far more than a new outlook, this is a profound paradigm shift that will help readers understand aging as “a privilege, a gift of time.” With advice on health, guidance for facing new challenges, surprising research, and the author’s undeniable enthusiasm, this one (along with his accompanying TED Talk) is required reading for anyone north of 40.

“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?



About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

On Our Bookshelf: Inspiration

About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

< Back to all articles

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

This month, we walk in the metaphorical footsteps of Michael Murphy and Dick Price by reading the great works and great men that inspired them. Maslow, Myers, Huxley, James, and Sri Aurobindo — giants of psychology, spirituality, philosophy, literature, and more who deeply influenced the founders — and founding — of Esalen. 

Also, an announcement for all readers on campus: Esalen is nearly finished with a newly imagined space for quiet contemplation. A nook within the Bookstore presents as a portal for those inspired by the ideas and philosophies explored by the Center for Theory & Research (CTR). Pass through to find many of the titles below and other writings that align with CTR’s mission, “to bring together leading-edge thinkers to accelerate our collective evolution toward a new worldview.”


The Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

by Frederic Myers

Myers, the English poet, classicist, and psychic researcher, was called a pioneer "who staked out a vast tract of mental wilderness and planted the flag of genuine science on it" by William James, the "father of American psychology." Originally a two-part volume, the work, assembled from decades of study on the survival of consciousness, was first published in 1903, just a few years after the author's death. This was well after Meyers helped found the ​​Society for Psychical Research alongside great authors, philosophers, physicists, and Nobel laureates of his day. This deep investigation of spiritualism (originally 700 pages!) includes Myers’s influential theory of the "subliminal self," which merges psychic phenomena with his era's understanding of psychology. A foundational text —  readable considering it was published over 120 years ago — that will leave even modern readers an entirely new outlook on the afterlife.

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature

by William James

The aforementioned philosopher and psychologist gave a series of talks on religion and its academic study at the University of Edinburgh, subtitled "Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902." Though some chapters/lecture titles can sound intimidating (for example, "The Divided Self and the Process of Its Unification”), James's pragmatic ideas are not. He explores diverse religious experiences, finds commonalities, and details the impacts on the self. Belief, a fundamental human thing, mostly benefits humankind, he concludes — and your mileage may vary. This means that personal spiritual experiences are more important than religious principles, a relatively commonly understood notion today that was truly shocking at the turn of the 20th century. Readers will find trailblazing ideas that profoundly influenced philosophy, psychology, and the human potential moment, such as "the Mind-cure movement," a precursor to positive thinking and so much more, in his section on "The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness." A seminal and still highly relevant work. 

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

by Peter Heehs

One of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives has written a comprehensive biography of the famed yogi, philosopher, sage, scholar, politician, revolutionary, poet, and theorist. Using his subject's own diaries and writings, accounts from family and friends, and materials from associates and enemies, the author finely traces Sri Aurobindo's story — though some will inevitably bristle at any evaluation of a beloved spiritual figure. To the author's credit, he knew criticism was inevitable and noted that admirers "do not always agree with perspectives that do not match theirs or with interpretations that challenge existing ones." As an impartial biographer, Heehs brings all elements to these pages, mapping a definitive overview in five sections with everything you need to understand the life of one of India's most revered mystics.

Island

by Aldous Huxley

His final novel before his death, Huxley's Island has long been considered the counterpart, answer, or antidote to Brave New World. A Pacific island, strategically isolated, is the setting of an idyllic free society. It is an oasis of happiness and freedom where children have multiple sets of parents and all is shared. Journalist Will Farnaby, sent to scope the place out for greedy capitalists, acts as a cynical stand-in for the reader before he is swept up in the beauty and possibilities — only a little too late. Paradise is lost. So is this novel Huxley's vision, as his widow believed, of humanity at its "sanest and most admirable"? Or, as others have argued, is it a bleak look at how we are doomed to forever destroy? ("Huxley's most pessimistic work to date, an indictment of humanity's characteristic inability to rid itself of the materialistic desire to have rather than to be," according to David Bradshaw.) We definitely side with the former, but either way, the journey to Pala, where the myna birds tell us to pay "attention, attention, here and now," is a beautiful and enlightening trip.

Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences

by Abraham Maslow

Maslow, a man who greatly influenced the Institute's vision of positive human values and potentials. Best known for his Hierarchy of Needs, Maslow articulated in this book the idea of a "peak experience" — those transcendent moments of pure joy that tend to change a person forever. Love. Ecstasy and complete and utter happiness and insight. He found that, though there are practices to facilitate them, one can find such epiphanies at a temple or while waiting for the bus. "The great lesson from the true mystics [is that] the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." This short (yet life-altering) read is a great place to start studying the work of this preeminent psychologist, who, inspired by experiences at Esalen, founded the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Those curious to learn more can stream this recording of his 1966 lecture on campus.


After taking on these classic texts, pick up a newly published (mid) life-changing guide by former Board of Trustee and the Conley behind the official Conley Bookstore name, Chip Conley.

Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age

by Chip Conley

Taking the premise that we grow throughout our lives, New York Times bestselling author Conely asks, What if midlife is not a crisis? This alternative narrative by the hospitality entrepreneur and co-founder of the Modern Elder Academy posits that the misunderstood stage of maturity is actually a chrysalis — a time for us to process our accumulated wisdom to pollinate the world. Far more than a new outlook, this is a profound paradigm shift that will help readers understand aging as “a privilege, a gift of time.” With advice on health, guidance for facing new challenges, surprising research, and the author’s undeniable enthusiasm, this one (along with his accompanying TED Talk) is required reading for anyone north of 40.

“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?



About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.