Posted by: facetothewind | August 9, 2009

The sublime and ridiculous of Esalen

I’m torn by Esalen. It is truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Lovely people, lovely food (although ridiculously overpriced). But I take issue with the curriculum they serve up in between the wonderful servings of locally-grown foods. The curriculum. Some call it the New Age. I call it the “newage” (rhymes with sewage). Esalen is the epicenter of newage thinking…and feeling.

Ridiculous Esalen

I started calling Esalen the Newage Treatment Plant.

How do you know when it’s newage?

1. They call the directions in a native ritual but don’t quite get the directions right so that you’re actually calling Northwest and are facing a closet door.
2. Someone adds “ness” to the end of a word that doesn’t need it. Example: feel it in your whole being-ness. It’s the newage Loch-ness monster.
3. Someone next to you is chanting (out of key) about surrendering “to the numinous love light of the One” and belches and you can smell the alcohol
4. Someone named Spirit asks you if you have a light for her cigarette. Honey if you ARE the light, why do you need a lighter? And why are you smoking?
5. All thought is based on feeling good rather than actually accomplishing anything.


Esalen is perched on a cliff in Big Sur and one can drop out of the workshop (as I usually do) and just lie in the grass overlooking the ocean watching whales, the undulating kelp beds and the advancing and retreating fog bank. Here’s a photo I shot (which I know is really not the quintessence of Esalen, but still, I liked it)…

Sublime Esalen

Here is a video in 2 parts that I made of the trip from Marin with my friend Jean. You’ll get to experience our California Condor moment…





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