INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

Integral World Forum


Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".

 

 

THE PROCESSES ACCORDING TO ESALEN
 Using the Offerings of the World’s Greatest Growth Center
To Build Your Own Integral Program for Personal Growth

This is the sixth in a series of eight excerpts from our book-length study on the fabled human potential growth center, Esalen Institute – on Northern California’s dramatic Big Sur Coast.  The entire series (to be posted on successive weeks) is as follows:

1.      REPREIVE FROM DEATH: Hugh Martin’s Journey from Terminal Cancer to Personal Transformation.

2.      THE MAGIC OF ESALEN: The Special Features that make Esalen Institute One of the Most Extraordinary Places on Earth.

3.      ESALEN AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTEGRAL: The Key Role Played by Esalen Institute in the Development of Ken Wilber’s Integral Worldview.

4.      THE HEALING POWER OF PSYCHIC TRANSFORMATION: How the Processes of Growth offered by Esalen Institute Aided Hugh Martin in His Battle Against Terminal Cancer.

5.      THE ESALEN REPORT CARD: A Frank and Candid Evaluation of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Esalen Institute.

6.      ESALEN VERSUS INTEGRAL INSTITUTE: How Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute Stacks Up Against Esalen Institute.

7.      THE PHENOMENON OF GROWTH CENTERS: How Growth Centers and Holistic Growth Situations Can Support in Your Own Journey to Personal Transformation.

8.      TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE IN SEVEN STEPS: How You Can Use the Offerings of Esalen Institute To Create a Life-Changing Program of Personal and Professional Growth.

You can view or download an MS Word or PDF version of the full study. 

For other excerpts from this study, and for detailed descriptions of other articles by Hugh & Kaye Martin, click here.

For biographical background on the authors, Hugh & Kaye Martin, see the end of this excerpt and the end of the full study.

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ESALEN VERSUS INTEGRAL INSTITUTE

How Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute Stacks Up Against Esalen Institute

Hugh & Kaye Martin

Copyright 2009

ESALEN vs. INTEGRAL INSTITUTE[1]

As stated above,[2] Esalen is the ideal foundation for an Integral Growth Program -- in part because it compares so favorably to its major integral competitor, Integral Institute.  This section matches the two Growth Centers against each other to show how each stacks up.

Although it seems much different, Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute (‘II’) is actually a Growth Center much like Esalen.  Integral Institute is spread over different locations and various communications media, but it’s basically a gathering place where we can experience the growth offerings of ILP, Integral Spiritual Center, Integral Psychology Center, AQAL Journal, Integral Naked, and so forth. 

For the sake of illustration, let’s compare the offerings of Esalen to those of Integral Institute’s ILP for each of the seven ADAPT Process Themes.  We find that Esalen proves substantially superior in at least five of the seven categories.  The comparison is not totally fair, because II is just getting started, and because it’s difficult to determine exactly what II and ILP will consist of[3] – but for the moment, Esalen is by far the front-runner. 

Here are some preliminary evaluations of ILP and Integral Institute Processes,[4] so far as they can be ascertained:

{     FOUNDATIONAL. 

II:  Natural Nutrition (#1) is represented only in diet programs listed under the Body Module.  Natural Medicine (#2) is not represented.  Certain aspects of Nurturing & Bonding (#3) are covered under the Sex, Shadow, Emotions, and Relationships Modules.  Relationships & Marriage (#4) are well represented in the entire Relationships Module.  Sexuality & Sensuality (#5) is well represented in the entire Sex Module.  Family Dynamics (#6) receives some coverage under the Shadow and Relationships (Integral Parenting) Modules. 

Esalen:  Natural Nutrition well covered in the dining and garden experience.   Natural Medicine (#2) is covered in several Workshops.  Relationships & Marriage (#4) are the focus of many Workshops.  Sexuality & Sensuality (#5) is explicitly addressed in certain Workshops, but is also an underlying current in virtually every Esalen offering.  Nurturing (#3) and Family Dynamics (#6) implicitly covered in every Esalen Workshop and in the Esalen way of life. 

The WinnerEsalen by a considerable margin.

{     PHYSICAL WORLD. 

II:  Sensory Awareness (#7) and Physical Activity (#8) are somewhat represented in the Body and Sex Modules.  Some aspects of Life Experience (#9) are covered under the Work module.  Natural Environment (#10) not represented.

Esalen:  Esalen is outstanding in Sensory Experience (#7), Physical Activity (#8), and Natural Environment (#10) – and adequate in Life Experience (#9). 

The Winner : Esalen by a wide margin[HM1] .

{     SOCIO-CULTURAL. 

II:  Skills, Habits, Responsibility, Enterprise & Leadership, and Ethics & Service (#s 11-15) are somewhat represented under the Work, Relationships, and Ethics Modules.  Acculturation (#16) receives some representation through practices from diverse cultures in all Modules.  Archetype & Myth (#17) receive some coverage under the Shadow (Dreamwork) and Spirit Modules.

Esalen: Because of her Work/Study and Staff Programs, Esalen is adequate or better in most Socio-Cultural areas, while II is unspecific and unproven. 

The Winner: Esalen by a modest margin.

{     FORMAL INVESTIGATION.  

II:  Cognitive Processes (#s 18-23) are well-represented under the Mind and Ethics Modules, and in the systematic logic and structure underlying all the Modules.

Esalen: Esalen is not strong in these areas, while Ken Wilber is superb.  II will probably reflect Wilber’s strengths. 

The Winner: Probably II by a wide margin.

{     SELF-EXPRESSION. 

II:  Some representation for all Self-Expression Processes (#s 24-28) under the Emotions (Creative Expression & Art) and Shadow (Art & Music Therapy) Modules.

Esalen: Creative Expression is one of Esalen’s great strengths, and is suffused throughout their offerings and community.  Esalen is also strong in Humor (#25) and Communication (#24), and has the advantage of a beautiful site that supports all these processes.

The Winner: Esalen by a wide margin.

{     CONSCIOUS DEVELOPMENT. 

II:  Limited representation for Body Therapies (#29) under Body and Sex Modules.  Introspection & Self-awareness and Psychotherapies (#30-31) well-covered under the Shadow, Emotions, Relationships, and Sex Modules.  Psycho-Biologic Techniques (#32) not represented.  Spiritual Practices (#33) well-covered under the Spirit, Body, and Sex Modules.

Esalen: Psychotherapies (#31) are one of Esalen’s great strengths, and Spiritual Practices (#33) is not far behind.  Wilber is outstanding on Spiritual traditions, so II may outrun Esalen here – but Esalen’s Psychology offerings will be hard to match.

The Winner: Esalen by a wide but shrinking margin.

{     COMPREHENSIVE. 

II:  The ILP program as a whole is an excellent Holistic Experience (#34).  II has a fresh and inspiring set of guiding principles that knit all her activities together.  By our definition, ILP is not truly Integral (#35) until woven together at a level deeper than conceptual by a qualified Growth Coordinator.

Esalen:  Esalen’s principles are 40 years old, and could use an Integral makeover (#35), as described in this article.  Esalen’s programs are more experiential and organic, and so probably have more staying power. 

The Winner: Esalen by a modest margin.

Although this comparison is necessarily incomplete and over-simplified, it suggests that Esalen’s offerings are significantly more comprehensive and articulated than the Modules currently outlined or offered by Integral Institute and ILP. 


Table D1: INTEGRAL LIFE PRACTICE -- from Integral Spirituality (2006)

The Methodologies advocated by Wilber in this 2006 version Integral Life Practice (ILP) cover nearly all of the 35 Processes in the ADAPT model – although usually not a thoroughly as Esalen.[5]  This Table displays the nine Modules of Ken Wilber’s Integral Life Practice, with their attendant Methodologies, as presented in Integral Spirituality (2006), page 203.  According to Wilber, a Module is ‘any aspect of human capacity that can be trained’ (p. 202).  The four Core (foundational) Modules are shown on the first page, with five Auxiliary Modules shown on the second page.  An Asterisk (*) indicates methodologies Wilber designates as Gold Star.  In [brackets], we indicate which of ADAPT’s 35 Processes correspond most closely to a particular ILP Methodology.

 

CORE MODULES
[* = Gold Star practices]

Body
P=Physical, S=Subtle, C=Causal

Mind
Framework, View

Spirit
Meditation, Prayer

Shadow
Therapia

Sample Practices

Weight-lifting (P) [#s 8, 12]

Reading & study [#s 19, 21, 24, 30]

Zen [#s 33, 7, 11, 12, 35]

Gestalt therapy [#s 31, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15, 19, 24]

 

 

 

 

Aerobics (P, S) [#s 8, 12, 25, 29]

Belief system
[#s 35, 19, 30]

Centering prayer [#s 33, 17]

Cognitive therapy [#s 31, 19, 12, 30]

 

 

 

 

F.I.T. (P, S) * [#s 8, 29, 33]

Integral (AQAL) framework [#s 33, 31, 19]

Big Mind meditation *
[#33]

3-2-1 Process [#s 31, 33, 30]

 

 

 

 

Diet – Atkins [#1]
Ornish, The Zone (P)

Mental training [#s 18-23]

Kabbalah [#33]

Dreamwork [#s 31, 33, 30, 24]

 

 

 

 

ILP Diet (P) * [#s 1, 30]

Taking multiple perspectives [#s 18, 19, 21, 24]

Compassionate exchange * [#s 33, 4, 3, 15, 24, 30]

Interpersonal [#s 4, 3, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15, 19, 24, 30, 31]

 

 

 

 

T’ai Chi Ch’uan (S)
[#s 33, 8, 28]

Any worldview of meaning system that works for you|
[#s 35, 19, 17]

Transcendental meditation [#s 33, 7, 30]

Psychoanalysis [#s 31, 30, 9, 19, 24]

 

 

 

 

Qi Gong (S) [#s 33. 8, 28]

 

Integral inquiry *
[#s 35, 33, 30, 19, 21]

Art & music therapy
[#s 7, 25, 28, 30, 31]

 

 

 

 

Yoga (P, S) [#s 33, 8, 7, 29]

 

The 1-2-3 of God * [#33, 30]

 

 

 

 

 

3-Body Workout
(P, S, C) [#s 33, 29, 30, 8]

 

 

 


Table D1.  INTEGRAL LIFE PRACTICE -- from Integral Spirituality (cont.)

 

 

AUXILIARY MODULES

Ethics

Sex

Work

Emotions

Relationships

Sample Practices

Codes of conduct
[#s 13, 15, 19, 30, 33]

Tantra
[#s 5, 4, 33, 8, 3, 7]

Right livelihood
[#s 13, 14, 15, 11, 30, 33]

Transforming emotions * [#s 31, 33, 30]

Integral relationships * [#4, 5, 3, 9, 13, 15, 30, 31]

 

 

 

 

 

Professional ethics
[#s 13, 15, 19, 30, 33]

Integral sexual yoga*
[#s 5, 4, 33, 3, 7, 8]

Professional training [#s 11, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 20]

Emotional intelligence training
[#s 31, 30, 7, 19, 24, 28]

Integral parenting *
[#4, 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 19, 25, 30]

 

 

 

 

 

Social & ecological activism
[#s 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 24, 10]

Kama Sutra
[#s 5, 4, 33, 3, 7, 8]

Money management [#s 13, 21, 9, 11, 13, 15, 19]

Bhakti yoga (devotional practices)
[#s 33, 31]

Communication skills [#s 4, 19, 24, 30,  31, 3, 6]

 

 

 

 

 

Self-discipline [#s 12, 11]

Kundalini yoga
[#s 5, 4, 33, 3, 7]

Work as a mode of ILP * [#s 8, 11,  13, 15]

Emotional mindfulness practice
[#s 33, 31, 30]

Couples therapy
[#s 4, 5, 19, 31, 24, 25, 30, 3]

 

 

 

 

 

Integral ethics *
[#s 15, 13, 16, 19, 30, 33]

Sexual transformative practice
[#s 5, 4, 33, 3, 7]

Kama yoga
[#s 13, 15, 24. 30, 33]

Tonglen (compassionate exchange meditation) [#s 33, 4, 15, 30]

Relational spiritual practice [#s 4, 33, 3]

 

 

 

 

 

Sportsmanship
[#s 13, 15, 25, 33, 8, 11]

 

Community service & volunteering
[#s 15, 13, 11, 8, 24, 25]

Creative expression & art [#s 24-28, 7, 30]

Right association (Sangha)
[#s 15, 4, 33, 3, 13]

 

 

 

 

 

Vows & oaths
  [#s 13, 15, 19, 33]

 

Work as transformation
[#s 8, 13, 15, 33]

 

Conscious marriage [#s 4, 3, 5, 6, 9, 13, 15, 30, 31]

 

 

 

 

 

(For explanations of these practices, see the book Integral Life Practice (2008), by Wilber, Patten, et al.)

 


Table D2: INTEGRAL LIFE PRACTICE -- from Integral Life Practice (2008)

 The Methodologies advocated by Wilber in this 2008 version Integral Life Practice (ILP) cover nearly all of the 35 Processes in the ADAPT model – although usually not a thoroughly as Esalen.[6]  This Table displays a version of the nine Modules of Ken Wilber’s Integral Life Practice, with their attendant Methodologies, as presented in Integral Life Practice (2008), by Wilber, Patten, et al, page 203.  According to Wilber, a Module is ‘any aspect of human capacity that can be trained’ (p. 202).  The four Core (foundational) Modules are shown on the first page, with five Auxiliary Modules shown on the second page.  An Asterisk (*) indicates methodologies Wilber designates as Gold Star.  In [brackets], we indicate which of ADAPT’s 35 Processes correspond most closely to a particular ILP Methodology.

 

CORE MODULES
[* = Gold Star practices]

Body

Mind

Spirit

Shadow

Sample Practices

3-Body Workout
 [#s 33, 29, 30, 8]

Reading & Study [#s 19, 21, 24]

Meditation [#33]

3-2-1 Process * [#s 4, 15, 16, 24, 31, 33]

 

 

 

 

Focus Intensity Training (p152) (Strength Training) *
[#s 8, 29, 33]

Discussion & Debate [#s 11, 14, 19, 21, 24]

Prayer [#33]

Dreamwork [#s 17, 30, 31, 33]

 

 

 

 

Aerobic Exercise [#8]

Writing & Journaling [#s 19, 24, 26, 30]

The 3 Faces of Spirit *
[#s 30, 33]

Journaling [#s 19, 24, 27, 30]

 

 

 

 

Balanced Diet & Conscious Eating [#1]

Looking at Your Meaning-Making [#s 19, 24, 26, 30]

Integral Inquiry *
[#s 33, 30]

Psychotherapy [#s 31, 30]

 

 

 

 

Yoga [#s 33, 8]

Integral (AQAL) Framework* [#s 35, 19]

Spiritual Community [#s 6, 15, 16, 18, 33]

Family & Couples

Therapy [#s 4, 6, 13, 15, 19, 24, 30, 31]

 

 

 

 

Martial Arts [#s 33, 8]

Pursuing a Degree [#s 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 34]

Worship, Song, & Chant [#s 8, 24, 28, 29, 33]

Transmuting Emotions [#s 15, 24, 30, 33]

 

 

 

 

Sports & Dance [#s 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 25 28]

 

Compassionate Exchange * [#s 33, 15, 30]

Art, Music, & Dance Therapy
[#8, 25, 28, 29, 31]

 

 

 

 


Table D2.  INTEGRAL LIFE PRACTICE -- from Integral Life Practice (cont.)

 

Sample Practices

ADDITIONAL MODULES

Ethics

Work

Relationships

Creativity

Soul

Moral Inquiry [#s 13, 15, 19, 24, 30]

Right Livelihood
[#s 13, 14, 15, 11, 33]

Conscious Commitment [#s 4, 3, 5, 6, 13, 30, 31]

Integral Artistry * [#s 24-28, 30, 33]

Solitude [#s 7, 10, 30, 33]

 

 

 

 

 

Integral Ethics *
[#s 15, 13, 19, 33]

Time Management [#s 12, 18, 22]

Weekly Check-Ins [#s 12, 19, 24, 25, 30]

Practicing, Playing, & Writing Music [#s 11, 8, 7, 13, 18, 28, 30]

Nature Communion [#s 7, 10, 30, 33]

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Work [#s 9, 13, 15, 25]

Professional Development [#s 11, 8, 12, 15, 20, 22]

Intimacy Workshops [#s 3, 4, 5, 7, 15, 19, 24, 30, 33]

Creative Writing [#s 11, 19, 24, 26, 27,  28, 30]

Discovering/ Living Your Purpose [#s 9, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 30, 33]

 

 

 

 

 

Social Activism
[#13, 14, 15, 16, 22, 10]

Integral Communication * [#s 13, 24]

Integral Parenting
[#4, 3, 6, 12, 13, 15, 19, 24]

Dance & Drama [#s 8, 9, 11, 24, 26, 28, 30

Depth Psychology [#s 30, 33, 35]

 

 

 

 

 

Professional Ethics
[#s 13, 15, 19, 33]

Personal Productivity Systems [#s 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]

Being Vulnerable [#s 24, 25, 30, 31]

Cooking & Interior Decorating [#s 1, 11, 19, 28]

Resonance with Art, Music, & Literature [#s 7, 17, 28, 30]

 

 

 

 

 

Philanthropy [#s 13, 14, 15, 22]

Financial Intelligence [#s 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 30]

Integral Sexual yoga *
[#s 5, 4, 33, 3, 7, 8]

Creative Community [#s 6, 9,13, 14, 15, 22, 24, 28, 30]

Vision Quest Journeys [#s 17, 28, 30, 33]

 

 

 

 

 

Heartfelt Service [#s 13, 15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(For explanations of these practices, see the book Integral Life Practice (2008), by Wilber, Patten, et al.)


HUGH & KAYE MARTIN

HUGH MARTIN.  Hugh Martin is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.  He has appeared on numerous talk shows, led seminars at many colleges and corporations, and spoken at numerous professional conferences and colloquia.  Mr. Martin is president of the FINRA-registered securities brokerage firm, Hugh Martin Securities, and of the California-registered investment advisory firm, Hugh Martin & Co.  Hugh is also an experienced Life Counselor.

AMALIA KAYE MARTIN.  Amalia Kaye Martin (‘Kaye’) is a ‘clairvoyant’ Life Counselor, gifted natural medicine practitioner, and early education specialist.  Kaye is also a dedicated homemaker, full-time mother, instructor in natural medicine and nutrition at Bauman College, certified natural foods chef, and dynamic community organizer.

HUGH AND KAYE MARTIN.  Hugh and Kaye are primarily qualified as Integral theorists and practitioners because they have led Integral lives.  Both Hugh and Kaye have extensive experience in personal transformation, natural medicine and health, early and advanced education, societal change, natural and cultural environments, and high-level academics.

Hugh and Kaye have been married for over 30 years.  They have five highly-independent, multi-gifted children with strong family ties. 

 

WHOLE LIFE COUNSELING.  Hugh and Kaye Martin are the founders and co-directors of the life planning and counseling firm Whole Life Counseling.  Whole Life Counseling is a comprehensive program for personal and professional growth, which empowers clients to achieve success and fulfillment in 12 key arenas of life -- education, career, marriage, family, community, emotions, sexuality, finances, health, recreation, nature, and spirituality. 

For more information, please contact the authors at WholeLifeCounseling@Gmail.com.



ESALEN FAMILY
Everyone in the Martin Family has attended an Esalen Workshop or Festival, participated in the Work/Scholar Program, and/or enjoyed the sunset from Esalen's steamy hot baths.
Counter-clockwise from lower right: Kaye, Hugh, Pat Dobbins, Mollie Martin Dobbins, Livvie, Josh, Becky, and Sam.


NOTES

[1] For a detailed comparison of Integral Institute’s Processes to those of ADAPT, see Appendices C2 and C3, Integral Life Practice, as well as our companion article AQAL, the Next Generation?. For a more detailed evaluation of Esalen’s offerings, see Appendix B, The Esalen Report Card, beginning p. 80.

For illustrative and dramatic purposes, we have sometimes set Esalen and Integral Institute against each other, as if in competition.  In fact, the two Programs are valuable complementary endeavors striving toward a common goal of personal evolution.

[2] See Why Esalen, page 27.

[3] Integral Life Practice (ILP) and other seminars were first offered by Integral Institute in 2003, and are currently evolving into a complete program.   The Integral Life Practice Starter Kit, an introductory self-help ILP program, came out in 2006.  Integral Institute’s scholarly AQAL Journal, also launched 2006, includes several articles describing and extolling certain aspects of ILP.  In Integral Spirituality (2006) Wilber outlines the Modules and Methodologies to be included in ILP.  In Integral Life Practice (2008), where Wilber is named as the source and ‘meta-author,’ the model is fleshed out with specific exercises for each Module.  Because of this limited and somewhat diffuse information, assessments of ILP and II are necessarily tentative and uncertain.

[4] The Integral Life Practice Matrix and accompanying description from Integral Spirituality (pp. 201-10) is used as an outline for these evaluations.  Definitions and descriptions of individual methodologies are often drawn from Integral Life Practice (2008).  For extensive and detailed comparisons between Wilber’s Processes and those of ADAPT, see AQAL, the Next Generation?.

[5] See the excerpt Esalen versus Integral Institute for a comparison.

[6] See the excerpt Esalen versus Integral Institute for a comparison.


 [HM1]