Voices of Esalen-logo

Voices of Esalen

Religion & Spirituality Podcasts >

"Voices of Esalen" features provocative, in-depth interviews with the dynamic leaders, teachers, and thinkers who are part of the Esalen Institute.

"Voices of Esalen" features provocative, in-depth interviews with the dynamic leaders, teachers, and thinkers who are part of the Esalen Institute.
More Information


United States


"Voices of Esalen" features provocative, in-depth interviews with the dynamic leaders, teachers, and thinkers who are part of the Esalen Institute.






Dr. Emily Silverman on the Soul and Psyche of the Modern Physician

Dr. Emily Silverman came to Esalen to help faciliate Through Our Own Eyes, a retreat for and by women physicians. She’s the host and creator of the Nocturnists, a medical storytelling live show and podcast whose aim is to demystify doctorhood and bring to light the real people who toil behind the mask as our modern-society healers. We discussed whether what it means to be a woman and a physician in our contemporary health care system, how the inner world of a doctor continues to change in an...


Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg on Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us

Today we present an edition of Voices of Esalen On the Road. Our intrepid correspondent Greg Archer took a jaunt to the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, where the film Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath us was having its California premiere. While he was there, he spoke to renowned filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg about the mysteries and magic of mycology. Together they discussed Louie’s unique stop-motion filmmaking technique he's been employing for the better part of 40 years, the healing...


Terence McKenna's 1982 Lecture at Esalen: "Tryptamine Hallucinogen Consciousness"

We’re pleased to introduce a new segment where we dive deep into the history of the Esalen Institute, in order to focus on a lecture previously recorded here in Big Sur. Today our subject is Terence McKenna and his talk entitled “Tryptamine Hallucinogen Consciousness”, recorded in December, 1982. McKenna was an American ethnobotanist, author, lecturer and widely-respected psychonaut known internationally for his work with shamanism, metaphysics, consciousness, and of course, psychedelic...


Yoga Nidra with John Vosler

Yoga Nidra is a conscious relaxation process intended to induce physical, mental, and emotional restoration. It has been shown to ease anxiety, heighten awareness and focus, transform negative habits, and foster feelings of peace, calm, and clarity. John Vosler is a Senior Teacher at the Amrit Yoga Institute, where he leads Yoga Nidra Certification programs. His infectious humor and compassionate heart make working with him a joy-filled experience. Today he leads us through a conscious...


Gordon Wheeler on the History of Gestalt Psychology at Esalen

Gordon Wheeler is the president of Esalen. He's also a licensed clinical psychologist, as well as the author of numerous books on Gestalt psychology, including Gestalt Reconsidered, Beyond Individualism, and The Heart of Development. He is noted for his work integrating the Gestalt tradition with relational and developmental psychology. Gordon teaches and trains clinicians around the world, also serving as editor and director of GestaltPress. Today we invited him to educate us about the...


Blue Mind Summit, Pt. 3: Dr. Dan Siegel Defines the Mind

Today's episode is part 3 of a series of panels presented at the 9th annual Blue Mind Summit at Esalen in the summer of 2019. Representing the "mind" in Blue Mindfulness is Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several honorary fellowships. Dr. Siegel is also...


Blue Mind Summit, Pt. 2: Shauna Shapiro on Blue Mindfulness

Today's episode is part of a series of panels presented at the 9th annual Blue Mind Summit at the Esalen Institute in the summer of 2019. Representing Mindfulness in the summit, Dr. Shauna Shapiro is a professor, author, and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and compassion. She has published over 150 journal articles and co-authored two critically acclaimed books translated into 14 languages: The Art and Science of Mindfulness, and Mindful Discipline. Her newest book, to be...


Blue Mind Summit, Pt. 1: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols on The Healing Powers of Water

Today's episode is part of a series of panels presented at the 9th annual Blue Mind Summit at the Esalen Institute in the summer of 2019. The Blue Mind summit is the brainchild of Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, whose stated mission is to create the new story of water and share it with the world, focusing on the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual benefits that we can derive from healthy waters throughout our lives. By connecting neuroscientists and psychologists...


Psychedelic Integration, Pt. 7: What About the Kids?

In the final installment of our Psychedelic Integration series, Marsha Rosenbaum (director of Drug Policy Alliance and author of “Kids, Drug, and Drug Education: A Harm Reduction Approach”), Kristi Panik (chief of psychiatric services of the University Student Health Services at UC Berkeley), and Martin Lee (co-founder, Project CBD) discuss reasonable, realistic, and comprehensive drug-education for minors.


Psychedelic Integration, Pt. 6: Cannabis Panel, featuring Martin Lee of Project CBD, and more

Martin Lee (Project CBD), Julie Holland (psychiatrist and author of “Moody Bitches” and “The Pot Book”), Rick Doblin (MAPS), Marsha Rosenbaum (director, Drug Policy Alliance), Allan Badiner (conference convener and author of “Zig Zag Zen”), and Dr. Ben Sessa speak about the adaptive capacities of cannabis from a medicinal, therapeutic and historical perspective. Martin Lee then delivers a keynote address on cannabidiol (CBD) and the import of the body’s endo-cannabinoid system itself.


Psychedelic Integration, Pt. 5: Psilocybin Panel, featuring Paul Stamets

In part 5 of Esalen's Psychedelic Integration series, mycologist Paul Stamets, UC Berkeley professor of neurobiology David Presti, and psychiatrist Ben Sessa explore the contemporary landscape of psilocybin mushrooms, touching upon how mushrooms can help treat depression and other chronic illnesses, the concepts of synchronicity and hyper-focus, how the intravenous administration of psilocybin functions in a clinical setting, and the interconnected nature of the mind and body. Paul Stamets...


Psychedelic Integration, Pt. 4: Dr. Ben Sessa on Childhood Trauma and Addiction

Dr. Ben Sessa is a child and adolescent psychiatrist working in adult addiction services in the United Kingdom. He’s also an author, a researcher, and a key player in the evolving world of psychedelic psychotherapy. Today’s episode centers around Dr. Sessa's keynote speech at the Psychedelic Integration conference at the Esalen Institute, regarding the relationship between early childhood trauma and addiction. You'll also hear remarks drawn from the various panels that Dr. Sessa participated...


Psychedelic Integration, Pt. 3: Rick Doblin on MAPS, MDMA, Esalen, and PTSD

Rick Doblin is the founder and executive director of MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. He’s been a tireless proponent of the effort to develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics. At Esalen, he discussed the historical trajectory of MAPS, the legal narrative surrounding psychedelics - in particular MDMA - and why MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has been proven to be so effective for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He also spoke on what the future...


Psychedelic Integration, Part 2: Michael Pollan on How to Change Your Mind

Michael Pollan's keynote address from the Psychedelic Integration Conference at Esalen Institute, 2019, is part two of a seven-part series drawn from the week's lectures. Pollan is the author of six New York Times bestsellers: "Cooked," "Food Rules; In Defense of Food"; "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," "The Botany of Desire," and now “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence,” a masterful book...


Psychedelic Integration Conference at Esalen, Pt. 1: Introduction with Allan Badiner

The first in a 7-part series, this episode will present a sampler of some of the most notable moments of the 2019 Psychedelic Integration Conference at the Esalen Institute. Environmentalist, conference convener, and Buddhist author Allan Badiner introduces each of the participants, and discusses why psychedelics have become a key touchstone in our current society. Over the course of this 7-episode arc, you'll hear from Michael Pollan, Rick Doblin (MAPS), Paul Stamets, Dr. Ben Sessa, Julie...


Linda and Charlie Bloom: Relationship Experts

Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW, are psychotherapists and relationship counselors. They have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975, and have been married since 1972. In a very open and candid conversation, they share a host of actionable tips culled from their decades of experience with couples. Together we addressed whether couples should share their finance, whether they should be best friends, if it's okay to go to bed angry, the importance of...


Ricki Lake on "Weed the People", Hairspray, and The Business of Being Born

During the Esalen Inspirational Film Festival, Ricki Lake stopped by to talk about her new documentary film, "Weed The People," which advocates for the use of cannabis for pediatric cancer patients, citing palliative care advantages as well as tumor shrinkage. She also spoke about a host of topics, including her breakthrough film, "Hairspray," advice she got from John Waters, her first foray into documentary film as a producer (with "The Business of Being Born"), her eleven-year stint as a...


Michael Ableman on Urban Agriculture, Sustainable Farming, and Sole Food Street Farms

Michael Ableman is a farmer, author, photographer and urban and local food systems advocate. Michael has been farming organically since the early 1970′s and is considered one of the pioneers of the organic farming and urban agriculture movements. He is a frequent lecturer to audiences all over the world, and winner of numerous awards for his work. He is also the founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens; co-founder and director of Sole Food Street Farms, and founder and...


Peggy Horan on Esalen in the late 1960's and Her Life in Big Sur

Peggy Horan is a longtime Esalen staff member, known far and wide for her exceptional work as an Esalen massage therapist and massage teacher. She has been practicing and teaching Esalen Massage for four decades and is the author of Connecting Through Touch, A Couples Massage Book. It was my pleasure to visit Peggy recently at her home on Gorda mountain, which she shares with her husband, artist Richard Horan. I’m joined in the interview process by Lucia Horan, Peggy’s eldest daughter, who...


Michael Murphy: Mysticism in Sports

The esteemed Michael Murphy is the co-founder of the Esalen Institute, and a very smart guy; this is accepted as established fact. What’s somewhat less known about Michael is that he is a sports nut - and an expert on mysticism within the realm of sports. In 1972, Murphy published his first book, Golf in the Kingdom, which went on to sell more than one million copies, becoming a cult classic among athletes, with many celebrity fans, among them Phil Jackson, Bill Murray, and Tom Smothers. He...