A former Esalen executive writes of his experience:
“[T]here were persons on staff and on the board who were saw the pace of change as far too slow and a danger to survival. For them everything needed to move faster. I believe they failed to take into consideration the amount of progress that had been made and the need to respect the impact of change on the close Esalen communities.… I wish now that I had stood up… while I was at Esalen instead of knuckling under to the bullying from both sides and leaving quietly.… I wish there were a place for reasoned dialog about the future of Esalen.”
Esaleaks.org has emerged as a place for sharing information and experiences, and raising awareness, but not as a forum for the human dialog needed to map Esalen’s future. Our contributor discusses the need for that forum, and much more, in this excellent contribution:
Comments on current situation and future of Esalen
I only recently discovered esaleaks.org and have now read through all the postings and comments. I am saddened by the described division and acrimony. The disharmony that has long plagued the dream, community, and reality of Esalen appears to have substantially strengthened since my days as a member of the Esalen executive team. While I was only at Esalen for 29 months and did not live on site, I cared and continue to care deeply about the organization, its legacy, and its ongoing mission.
While at Esalen I believed that a middle path was the needed response to the challenges posed by the transitions that harsh economic realities were forcing. I also believed that in exchange for the privilege extended to Esalen to operate as a nonprofit organization, Esalen’s highest responsibility needed to be to its defined mission, and I believed that mission must be one of service to humanity — the wide, globe-encompassing community of humankind, not merely the narrower community of people who live and work at Esalen, nor the somewhat wider community of people who have, are, will be able to visit Esalen. I still believe all of the above.
When I came to Esalen in 2007, It was with many expectations. Not included in those expectations was the personal acrimony of many community members that turned potential discussions of Esalen’s future into soul-scorching verbal hostilities that obliterated civility, demonized individuals, and prevented vision. I thought that what was taught at Esalen would be at work at Esalen. It wasn’t, at least apparently not well enough to stave off the further descent into the culture war that now threatens 50 years of hope and a future of promise. Read the rest of this entry »