Transcending the Digital Jungle: Accessing the Awakened Self
January 17–21, 2022
January 17–21, 2022
with Joel Gruber
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In a mass-produced culture of neon and plastic, our social identity — the ego — is typically defined by our employment, salary, and the square footage of our home. Though we may attain professional and financial success, we feel alienated and disconnected, and can be left asking “is this it?”

In reality, we are so much more. If we tilt our heads to the East and listen closely to the contemplative traditions of the past and the present, they speak of inner divinity. These same traditions offer methods of self-transcendence and empirically-based practices that connect us to something larger, something divine.

In this workshop, we learn about the two aspects of human identity — the ego and the awakened self — through the lens of Eastern philosophy’s great contemplative traditions. By deconstructing identity via Buddhist-inspired philosophy, we recognize our ego to be an internalization of cultural voices from the past. With mindfulness meditation, we shift our attention to the present, and through a range of tantra-based somatic practices, we engage our more awakened identity.

With a secularized version of Tibetan tantric somatic practices, we circumvent the left-brain narratives of ego and experience our world as sacred. Each day, we will:

  • Use mindfulness meditation and somatic practices to connect the sacred to our body, gaining experiential access to our inner divinity.
  • Engage in group meditations focused on tonglen, or selfless compassion, to exit, transcend, and overcome the limiting cultural narratives we have internalized.
  • Experience the awakened aspect of our identities in and through the eyes of others, so that new possibilities become affirmed, encouraged, and solidified.

In the process, you will gain a more accurate, fulfilling, and meaningful understanding of who we are.

We depart with a newfound sense of purpose, as well as the skills needed to transcend the plastic knockoff identities provided by the sparkling matrix of American consumerism.

Gather for a weekend in which we shift our attention away from neon and plastic toward the gods of love and unity. Become divine, or at the least, access your inner divinity and gain a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be human, as well as what it means to be divine!

Joel Gruber

Joel Gruber

Joel Gruber earned his doctoral degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), specializing in Tibetan Buddhism and tantric studies. An award-winning teacher and author, he has drawn from his research to create “new gods,” a modernized mind/body training system that enables the working professional to access their inner divinity, and then become it.

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Workshop Schedule

Mon 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tue, Thu 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Wed 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Tue, Wed, Thu 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm
Tue, Thu 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific tuition. Please note that not all accommodation levels are available for every workshop and additional faculty fees may apply.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

For this workshop, you will register and pay for accommodations and tuition in two separate steps.

First, sign up and pay tuition directly to

Second, click Book Accommodations from this page and enter the password to complete your reservation to stay at Esalen.

Prices for accommodations include your lodging, meals, open classes, and use of the baths and other facilities. View partner program accommodations pricing.

COVID Update

All guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

In addition to proof of vaccination, all guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective January 7, 2022 in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, all guests and faculty will provide proof of negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test results at time of check-in. The test must be taken within 72 hours nd results must come from a laboratory or healthcare provider.Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective December 15 in accordance with new guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Health, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective November 19, 2021, in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are no longer required to wear masks indoors on campus. Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Starting November 5, 2021, due to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission in Monterey County, a mask mandate established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will go into effect. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

All-inclusive Pricing
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