THE BLOG

Why Your Next Retreat Should Be at the Esalen Institute

02/09/2015 01:28 pm ET | Updated Apr 10, 2015

You could read the Esalen catalog forwards and backwards one hundred times and still only get the faintest glimpse of the magic that occurs there.

Imagine a place where people can shed all of the pretenses of the everyday hustle and peacefully rejuvenate.
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Imagine a place where you can gaze with childlike wonder at schools of whales, dolphins and seals in the wild.
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Imagine a place where 30% of the food you eat was picked from the garden that morning.
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Imagine a place where after days of scintillating casual conversations with a stranger you realize that he or she is one of your favorite authors, a grammy-award winning musician, the CEO of one of your favorite companies, or possibly the future Vice President of the United States of America.
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Imagine a place where both 18 year-olds and 90 year-olds can study subjects they always wanted to study.
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Imagine a place where you can luxuriously soak in healing waters while looking up at billions of stars (and maybe even see one shooting).
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Imagine bumping into an old friend who you haven't seen since a brunch in lower Manhattan eleven years ago.
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Imagine a place where a young middle-eastern guy can nonchalantly pull a guitar off of the wall and fifteen minutes later there are twenty Harvard-Yale-Stanford-M.I.T. Ph.D.s singing Beatles songs (in key nonetheless!).
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Imagine a community flooded with so many loving healers that you could spontaneously receive an evolutionary-astrology reading, a sound bath, a book recommendation or some nugget of wisdom that opens your eyes to new possibilities?

Well, you don't have to imagine any longer. If you've already been there you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Because all of the above actually happened to me during my last few visits to Esalen.

Founded in the early 1960s by Dick Price and Michael Murphy, Esalen was established as "a cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary place for integral transformation" and remains a place where Western psychology vanguards explore Eastern philosophies, a place where authentic sharing of intellectual ideas and spiritual practices occurs every minute of every day amidst glowing redwoods and radiant sunbursts over the Pacific Ocean. It's a cocoon of consciousness-raising, healing, transformational experiences. And the food ain't bad either.

From personal experience I recommend taking yoga workshops with Kia Miller, Saul David Raye and Tracee Stanley; for meditation I recommend James Baraz, Vinny Ferraro, Sally Kempton and Mark Abramson; and for personal growth I recommend Theo Kyriakos, Phillip Moffitt, and Fred Luskin.

Esalen is such a rare haven that the only way to truly understand its magic is to walk its hallowed grounds, bath in its restorative waters, eat its delicious food, and commune with the fascinating people there. Don't miss it!