• November 20, 2011

    The business leaders of Esalen are afraid. Their fear is of Esalen losing its relevance in the face of a Western society that is becoming more class-stratified, luxury-focused, and anti-radical, even amongst liberal thinkers. In fear these business leaders are turning to conformist (albeit leftist) models of education, hospitality, environmentalism, and business, and blighting Esalen’s aspirations to rest on par with the corporate carcass of contemporary liberalism.

    Esalen’s greatest legacy is that it is has made progress in the development of the human potential, by a process in which long- and short-term communities interweave their discoveries into decades-long threads of experimentation and learning. Esalen’s land supports this quest as a place of unique natural power. If Esalen’s governors aspire to re-make this profound institution and magical land in the image of millennial New Age spas and thought centers, they have quite simply lost their claim to the Esalen name, the Esalen land, and the Esalen people.

    Esalen must consider not how it can fit into some new mold, but how it can cultivate its greatest and deepest assets.

    Programs that support Esalen’s powerful tradition of “seekers serving seekers” are on the chopping block. Yet what obtains institutional protection is a strategy of expanding high-paid management structures, and one astronomically expensive program (CTR) that exudes elitism and strictly excludes community. Neither of these activities have shown any tangible benefits for the institution as a whole.

    It is time for Esalen Institute to get its priorities straight.


  • The spirit of the land

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    November 19, 2011

    Corbin Harney was a shaman of the Western Shoshone Tribe. He lived in Nevada, and called it the most bombed place on Earth, because of the nuclear tests that were done in that desert. When he visited Esalen he would walk the land, sing and drum, and lead sweat lodge ceremonies. He would say that the Spirit of the land is hungry, that it needs care and attention, that we should do more sacred ceremony and honor the ancestors and the gifts of clean air and water that we take for granted.

    Corbin’s words ring true now as then. Without a foundation grounded in the love and care of that shelf of land and all the creatures who live on it, and without a mutual respect among those who live and work there, and without an awareness that the bottom line is only one measure (and often a poor one) of the success of the Esalen experiment, nothing substantial or worthy will follow.

    Ours is a prophetic task, calling the Institute and its representatives to remember it’s founding values and principles. Yes, changing times will require new forms, but the essence of what the place represents — its values, its openness to ideas, new and old, its willingness to experiment, its radical commitment to the unfoldment of human potential — all of that must be sustained and protected for Esalen to be Esalen.


  • Join us

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    November 19, 2011

    Esalen Institute is dear to us. It is sadly in the midst of a decline brought about by the high-handed imposition of deeply flawed new doctrine. The Nine and Esaleaks.org invite you to contribute your anonymous voice to our web site — in describing the current situation at Esalen, offering ways to honor and restore Esalen’s true value, uncovering the negative forces currently at work, and organizing real action to place Esalen back in the hands of true seekers.

    Please read our first article, Speak Without Fear, and then contribute your own words to this chorus of voices campaigning for the soul of Esalen.

  • Speak without fear

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    November 16, 2011

    Esalen Institute is in a time of crisis. Those who know the Institute’s legacy of transformation — who have experienced it and transformed themselves — see the power of the land turning barren under the heavy hand of flawed new business and social ideologies. The result has been an Esalen which is losing its meaning — less experimental, less tolerant, less able to stir the pond of new visions that has been its life blood.

    The great language of Gestalt has itself been subverted to quell those who question, a communications off-switch masquerading cynically as supposed hearing. The magnetism of the Esselen land itself is abused by the powerful, who threaten to swiftly replace those who take our traditions of experimention seriously. We see a community of seekers, with great wisdom and desire, afraid to express themselves fully, lest they be forced prematurely from their Esalen path by powerful outsiders. This situation cannot continue.

    The Nine are a group of thriving disembodied souls who love Esalen and enjoy it in eternity. The Nine once held sway over the Institute, and are compelled once again to offer their wisdom and beneficial perturbations. The Nine offers through Esaleaks.org an anonymous voice for Esalen seekers, to do what Community Meetings cannot — create a place of spoken truth without fear, honoring of the great and wild Esalen spirit.

    The Nine invites you to contribute your voice in describing the current situation at Esalen and offering ways to honor and restore its true value.

    The Nine invites you to expose the hidden agendas, double standards, corporate conformity, wasteful spending, misinformation, and cynical management which are destroying Esalen Institute.

    The Nine invites you to propose action to place Esalen back into the hands of genuine seekers before 2013.

    To learn how to speak anonymously through the voice of Esaleaks.org, while minimizing your personal risk, please read How to Contribute.

    And please spread the word.

    Thank you.

    The Nine