Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Tai Chi Master Al Huang’s Wake-up Call
Category:
Healing

With more than 50 consecutive years leading Esalen workshops, Chungliang “Al” Huang holds a remarkable lineage. By offering creative Tai Ji and the Living Tao in those early years, Al helped join body and mind at a time when East was first meeting West in California. We spoke with Al about his Esalen collaborations and what makes Tai Ji both a timeless integrative practice and a wake up call for the larger world.

Esalen News: What first drew you to Esalen?

Al: Alan Watts was the key figure who brought me into the fold. In the mid-1960s I was invited to Alan’s ranch in Santa Barbara, and the minute we met he asked me to teach with him. My first trip to Esalen was a couple of weeks later; I guest-taught in his class on Zen Buddhism and comparative philosophy. At that time there was no class meeting room at Esalen. After dinner we just moved all the tables away and taught in the Lodge. [Esalen co-founders] Michael Murphy and Richard Price were both there, and they invited me back. That was the beginning.

Esalen News: Can you share other highlights of those early years?

Al: Richard Price became my soul brother. In my view, Richard was a true student of Taoism and Zen Buddhism in his own way. He was the one who persistently enticed me to come, first to teach Tai Ji to the Esalen staff and get to know the community, and then he ensured my sense of belonging as I taught my own seminars. Later, Joseph Campbell and I created the MythBody to Live By workshop. We decided to come together at Esalen every year for his birthday, March 26th.

Esalen News: Why do you lead Tai Ji sessions outdoors?

Al: The outdoor Esalen deck facing the Pacific Ocean is a natural place for Tai Ji practice from the Chinese perspectives of how to begin the day by waking up the body-mind-spirit, especially through the body in Nature. We are all inspired by the open sky, the earth beneath the deck, the expansive Pacific Ocean in front, mountain in back, and the hot spring to the south, and the gardens to the north. It is the perfect location to tune in to the power of Nature.

Esalen News: What makes Tai Ji and the Living Tao important today?

Al: As the world becomes more digital and technically oriented, human activities are becoming robotic and dependent on gadgets. We are losing our humanity and trust in our intrinsic gifts as creative individuals. We need to re-visit Esalen elders’ pioneering teachings, especially acknowledging the human potentiality of Aldous Huxley, the Tao and Zen teachings of Alan Watts and Richard Price, and Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to “follow your bliss” to the essential human experience of being alive! Living Tao Tai Ji learning has become more and more important to balance the one-track progression of the high-tech environment we are in. Tai Ji is the essential awareness, and a wake-up call for the world at large.

Join Al for Creative Tai Ji Experience in Daily Living, December 1–6 and The Essential Qi-Gong Exercises of China, November 29–December 1.

Photo Credits: Chris Franek

“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

Esalen Team

Tai Chi Master Al Huang’s Wake-up Call

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Healing

With more than 50 consecutive years leading Esalen workshops, Chungliang “Al” Huang holds a remarkable lineage. By offering creative Tai Ji and the Living Tao in those early years, Al helped join body and mind at a time when East was first meeting West in California. We spoke with Al about his Esalen collaborations and what makes Tai Ji both a timeless integrative practice and a wake up call for the larger world.

Esalen News: What first drew you to Esalen?

Al: Alan Watts was the key figure who brought me into the fold. In the mid-1960s I was invited to Alan’s ranch in Santa Barbara, and the minute we met he asked me to teach with him. My first trip to Esalen was a couple of weeks later; I guest-taught in his class on Zen Buddhism and comparative philosophy. At that time there was no class meeting room at Esalen. After dinner we just moved all the tables away and taught in the Lodge. [Esalen co-founders] Michael Murphy and Richard Price were both there, and they invited me back. That was the beginning.

Esalen News: Can you share other highlights of those early years?

Al: Richard Price became my soul brother. In my view, Richard was a true student of Taoism and Zen Buddhism in his own way. He was the one who persistently enticed me to come, first to teach Tai Ji to the Esalen staff and get to know the community, and then he ensured my sense of belonging as I taught my own seminars. Later, Joseph Campbell and I created the MythBody to Live By workshop. We decided to come together at Esalen every year for his birthday, March 26th.

Esalen News: Why do you lead Tai Ji sessions outdoors?

Al: The outdoor Esalen deck facing the Pacific Ocean is a natural place for Tai Ji practice from the Chinese perspectives of how to begin the day by waking up the body-mind-spirit, especially through the body in Nature. We are all inspired by the open sky, the earth beneath the deck, the expansive Pacific Ocean in front, mountain in back, and the hot spring to the south, and the gardens to the north. It is the perfect location to tune in to the power of Nature.

Esalen News: What makes Tai Ji and the Living Tao important today?

Al: As the world becomes more digital and technically oriented, human activities are becoming robotic and dependent on gadgets. We are losing our humanity and trust in our intrinsic gifts as creative individuals. We need to re-visit Esalen elders’ pioneering teachings, especially acknowledging the human potentiality of Aldous Huxley, the Tao and Zen teachings of Alan Watts and Richard Price, and Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to “follow your bliss” to the essential human experience of being alive! Living Tao Tai Ji learning has become more and more important to balance the one-track progression of the high-tech environment we are in. Tai Ji is the essential awareness, and a wake-up call for the world at large.

Join Al for Creative Tai Ji Experience in Daily Living, December 1–6 and The Essential Qi-Gong Exercises of China, November 29–December 1.

Photo Credits: Chris Franek

“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

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Tai Chi Master Al Huang’s Wake-up Call
Category:
Healing

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About

Esalen Team

Tai Chi Master Al Huang’s Wake-up Call

About

Esalen Team

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