Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Where Science and the Sacred Meet
Category:
Mind

As one of the founders of the popular public radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge, Steve Paulson has made a career of asking thoughtful questions of fascinating thinkers and curating conversations to expand our perspective on the world.

For example, there is the interview with famed British primatologist Jane Goodall where she describes her first encounter with the chimpanzee, David Graybeard, and a mystical experience of connecting non-verbally with another species suggesting clues about the origins of human spiritual experience. Then there is the discussion with famed neurologist Oliver Sacks describing his early psychedelic experiences, which helped shape his thinking about science and the mind. Or the story of how astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson launched himself into a life in science because of an awe-inspiring experience in a planetarium.

All of these conversations, and many more, have woven a narrative of where science meets the sacred. And from these experiences emerged for Steve an idea to share these conversations in a workshop environment to explore them in more depth. “There’s a real hunger to talk about these things,” says Steve, who will be leading Can Science Be Sacred? at Esalen July 6-8.

“My goal is to open up an intellectual space to talk about this. Where else would you go to do this? I don’t have the answers, but I can put ideas out there and introduce people to fascinating speakers and thinkers. We can take that and run with it, and see collectively what we come up with.”

In addition to serving as executive producer for the Peabody Award-winning public radio show, Steve has written for Salon, Slate, and Huffington Post. He is also the author of Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science and is currently working on a second book exploring the intersection between science, philosophy, and spiritual experience. It is this second book that helped to spark the concept of the Esalen workshop, along with his conversations with the Center for Theory & Research co-director, Esalen trustee and religion scholar Jeff Kripal.

“Steve is our best guide through the labyrinthine complexities of science, scientists, and contemporary culture. He knows (and has really read) everyone,” observes Jeff. “That he is also always keenly interested in the ways that science intersects with our deepest spiritual impulses gives every conversation, every interview, every seminar a most unique, and most rare, touch. I am just thrilled he is one of our gifted Esalen teachers now.”

According to Steve, seminarians participating in his workshop will get a window into his soul as workshop topics and discussion themes are a reflection of his own intellectual and spiritual journey. “This workshop comes out of my work over the past decade,” he adds. “I’m interested in what are the limits of scientific knowledge and how far can you push the edge of what science can tell us. The other is the huge debate among scientists and philosophers around the nature of consciousness. And then there is a whole question around the experience of awe and wonder. I have a personal theory that as more secular minded people have left religion they have gravitated to experiences of awe and wonder.”  

The workshop experience will include a curation of Steve’s favorite interviews over the past 10 to 12 years, including one with Goodall that goes deeper into her experiences with the paranormal.

During a time where public discussion is challenged by polarization, Steve’s philosophy and approach has been to embrace intellectual curiosity and the value of listening. He shares that some of his favorite interviews have been the ones that surprise him, showing him a different perspective on the world. “How do we establish connection and find common ground?” he asks.

Learn more about Can Science Be Sacred.

Photo by Brody Q. Scotland


“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
Category:
Mind

As one of the founders of the popular public radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge, Steve Paulson has made a career of asking thoughtful questions of fascinating thinkers and curating conversations to expand our perspective on the world.

For example, there is the interview with famed British primatologist Jane Goodall where she describes her first encounter with the chimpanzee, David Graybeard, and a mystical experience of connecting non-verbally with another species suggesting clues about the origins of human spiritual experience. Then there is the discussion with famed neurologist Oliver Sacks describing his early psychedelic experiences, which helped shape his thinking about science and the mind. Or the story of how astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson launched himself into a life in science because of an awe-inspiring experience in a planetarium.

All of these conversations, and many more, have woven a narrative of where science meets the sacred. And from these experiences emerged for Steve an idea to share these conversations in a workshop environment to explore them in more depth. “There’s a real hunger to talk about these things,” says Steve, who will be leading Can Science Be Sacred? at Esalen July 6-8.

“My goal is to open up an intellectual space to talk about this. Where else would you go to do this? I don’t have the answers, but I can put ideas out there and introduce people to fascinating speakers and thinkers. We can take that and run with it, and see collectively what we come up with.”

In addition to serving as executive producer for the Peabody Award-winning public radio show, Steve has written for Salon, Slate, and Huffington Post. He is also the author of Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science and is currently working on a second book exploring the intersection between science, philosophy, and spiritual experience. It is this second book that helped to spark the concept of the Esalen workshop, along with his conversations with the Center for Theory & Research co-director, Esalen trustee and religion scholar Jeff Kripal.

“Steve is our best guide through the labyrinthine complexities of science, scientists, and contemporary culture. He knows (and has really read) everyone,” observes Jeff. “That he is also always keenly interested in the ways that science intersects with our deepest spiritual impulses gives every conversation, every interview, every seminar a most unique, and most rare, touch. I am just thrilled he is one of our gifted Esalen teachers now.”

According to Steve, seminarians participating in his workshop will get a window into his soul as workshop topics and discussion themes are a reflection of his own intellectual and spiritual journey. “This workshop comes out of my work over the past decade,” he adds. “I’m interested in what are the limits of scientific knowledge and how far can you push the edge of what science can tell us. The other is the huge debate among scientists and philosophers around the nature of consciousness. And then there is a whole question around the experience of awe and wonder. I have a personal theory that as more secular minded people have left religion they have gravitated to experiences of awe and wonder.”  

The workshop experience will include a curation of Steve’s favorite interviews over the past 10 to 12 years, including one with Goodall that goes deeper into her experiences with the paranormal.

During a time where public discussion is challenged by polarization, Steve’s philosophy and approach has been to embrace intellectual curiosity and the value of listening. He shares that some of his favorite interviews have been the ones that surprise him, showing him a different perspective on the world. “How do we establish connection and find common ground?” he asks.

Learn more about Can Science Be Sacred.

Photo by Brody Q. Scotland


“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

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