The Esalen Farm & Garden started to take shape in the late 1960’s, catalyzed by a Resident Fellow’s desire for crisp lettuce she could serve at impromptu dinner parties. It didn't take long for folk to become deeply invested in agriculture, dedicating themselves to cultivating nutrient-rich soil through rigorous composting, expert tilling, and an abundance of care.
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Esalen co-founders Michael Murphy and Dick Price encountered and explored altered states of being in dramatically different ways. Their experiences were equally transformative, catapulting them into parallel lifetimes of seeking. Both found their ways through altered states, and both looked to more than psychedelics as the routes to healing and expanding the mind.
As a laboratory of big ideas, Esalen nourished pioneering scholars who came here to experiment with meditation, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and other practices to deeply connect the mind, body, and soul. Collectively and individually, they discovered modalities with meaningful mental health benefits that dance toward feelings of enlightenment through their frequent practice. This video considers where our past has led us and how differently we now regard mental health and the unknowns of the mind.
Photo and video credit to Wiley Chubb, Peter Cobabe, Paul Herbert, Joyce Lyke, Emma Barry, Heidi Kaden, Lisette Cheresson, Melina Maza. All generative AI images were created by Sam Stern using Midjourney. Short segments taken from Acid Test Graduation Ceremony (1966), “Hippie Revolution” (1968), and “Celebration at Big Sur” 1969.