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seminar spotlight ACloser Look


expertise. Enjoy! I Nora Bateson & Rex Weyler


Nora Bateson writes, “As a child growing up at Esalen, my early memories are of scampering up Big Sur hillsides bare- footed, reaching for stable footing on the crumbly earth. It was a good metaphor; it taught me to be flexible. If there is one thing I learned at Esalen, it is that with any luck, and with a great deal of courage, the process of learning to learn never stops.


Kelly McGonigal writes, “My passion is bringing together two seemingly disparate ways of understanding suffering and how to relieve it: science and Eastern wisdom. I’m trained as a research scientist and I’m fascinated by new insights about how the brain works, the mind-body relationship, what makes us happy, how we find strength, and how people heal. I’m also a long-time practitioner of Buddhist meditation and yoga, and have been profoundly moved by these traditions’ understand- ing of suffering. There is so much wisdom to draw on, from the idea of deep practice as a path for freedom, to the importance of supportive community.”


“Some may remember my father, Gregory Bateson, lumber- ing up from the Esalen baths in the 60s and 70s. His body showed age, but his mind was incredibly nimble. He liked to talk about ecology as the totality, or pattern, of relations. Now, thirty-two years after his death, Gregory’s ideas are experiencing a new traction. The world has changed. Now more than ever, his notion of life within dynamic systems provides useful tools to expand our frames of perception. Between and among living things there is only integrated interaction. It is the restless conversation between all subjects: history, biology, creatures, math, psychology, anthropology, and you and me.


“This year, as Esalen celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is an honor to bring this conversation—that began so many years ago—to new light. After traveling around the world with the film, An Ecology of Mind, I am happy to be coming back to my childhood home, to play with the ideas, to dangle in uncer- tainty, and to find footing in the rhythms of nature’s patterns.”


See An Ecology of Relationships in Science, Art and Life, June 29–July1.


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Leah Weiss Ekstrom writes, “Sharing meditation practices with refugees to heal trauma, and with clinicians to transform burnout and compassion fatigue, has greatly informed my approach to suffering and its alleviation. My adult life has alter- nated between clinical social service work and long meditation retreats. That contemplative practice and service—together—can engage personal and social suffering in a meaningful way is at the heart of my understanding of compassion.”


McGonigal and Ekstrom’s workshop is offered through the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research (CCARE), an organization based at Stanford University that conducts and supports rigorous scientific studies of compassion and altruistic behavior.


See Strengthening the Heart with Compassion, June 29–July 1. Miguel Angel Vergara & Saul David Raye


Mayan shaman Miguel Angel Vergara writes, “The ancient Mayan teachers said, ‘Everything will be unveiled to humankind in its right time and at the right hour.’ According to the Mayan calendar the year 2012 is 12 BAKTUN, 6 AHAU, the ‘time of the return of the wise men.’ All of us have been preparing for


n this section, we highlight a few of the programs we are especially excited about this season, so that you can learn a bit more about our faculty and their specific areas of


Kelly McGonigal & Leah Weiss Ekstrom


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