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Story

Telling stories of personal transformation for societal change while documenting  Esalen’s evolving culture.

As the story goes, since 1962 we have been envisioning Esalen as a place to explore human potential, foster personal growth, and integrate various spiritual and psychological ideas and theories.

From its inception, Esalen was a hub for counter cultural activities and a gathering place for leading edge artists, intellectuals, and seekers — some well known today, and many forever transformed by their time here, be it via weekend workshops, or living in community for weeks, months and years.

All of this means that there are some truly excellent stories being told and eager to be told about past discoveries, present explorations and future ambitions. These narratives bridge personal transformation with positive societal change.

As stories evolve over time, Esalen evolves and adapts to society’s changing cultural and societal dynamics. What you'll find here is a collection and sharing of stories about individuals who have been impacted by Esalen's programs and philosophy. These legacies serve as a testament to the positive influence Esalen has had and continues to have both in the present and for generations to come.

Through story, Esalen fulfills the mission of facilitating personal and collective growth, fostering a sense of community, and contributing to the exploration of human potential in an ever-changing world.

Stories that bridge personal transformation with positive societal change.

Since its inception in 1962, Esalen has been a destination and laboratory for leading-edge artists, intellectuals, and seekers to explore human potential, foster personal growth, and integrate a variety of spiritual, psychological, and somatic ideas and theories. As such, there are some truly excellent stories to be told about past discoveries, present explorations, and future ambitions. These legacies serve as a testament to the positive influence Esalen has had and will continue to have in the present and for generations to come. "We tell stories because we are human," says poet Amanda Gorman. "But we are also made more human because we tell stories."

The Journal is our blog, a growing container for stories with recurring columns — including Back in the Day, #myEsalen, the Proust Questionnaire, and On Our Bookshelf — where we reflect on Esalen origin stories and find throughlines that recall the past and explore what the future of our human potentiality holds. Read about the remarkable hearts, minds, and souls of the ever-growing Esalen community.

Voices of Esalen

Hosted by Sam Stern, the Voices of Esalen podcast features engaging conversations with acclaimed authors Sonya Renee Taylor, Cheryl Strayed, and Michael Pollan; innovators Stan Grof, BJ Miller, and Bessel van der Kolk; psychedelic thought leaders Xochitl Ashe, Ismail Ali, and Lauren Taus; and many, many more.

Listen to the latest episodes here, and subscribe to Voices of Esalen on Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts. These podcasts are made possible in part by the support of Esalen donors and are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

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With more than sixty years of history behind us and at least sixty more ahead, the Esalen archives hold a treasure trove for incredible multimedia narratives and captured moments in time. Watch our growing series of thematic video shorts that connect the past into the present and our future.