Michael Murphy (Part 1) – The Human Potential Movement Then & Now: 60 Years at the Leading Edge of Transformative Practice, Research & Action

Michael Murphy The Human Potential Movement

Michael Murphy, author, co-founder of the world-famous Esalen Institute, and pioneer of the Human Potential Movement starting in the 60s, relates a wealth of intimate experience, knowledge, and wisdom covering his decades of living at the leading edge of transformative practice and the realization of human potential. Mike talks about Esalen’s latest research, our current crisis of belief, and the anchoring question that has guided Esalen (and Mike) all along: how best to serve? Mike has watched the developmental process of transformative practices themselves, such as somatics and psychedelics, now circling around after a period of purgation, and talks about current efforts to add research on the mystical and the ecstatic to meditation and mindfulness research in order to better understand what’s going on. 

This podcast is a wonderful mix of tales from the past—including Mike and his wife Dulce’s achievements and adventures with Soviet-American citizen diplomacy towards the end of the Cold War—the present, and what’s coming up at the Esalen research center now, e.g., asking what is happening on “the other side,” and discovering the truth about subtle body phenomena. On a personal note, Mike shares about practicing agnosticism, his respect and admiration for the quality of wonder, and about the magic of reading subtle cues and being increasingly in tune with “the algorithms of his heart.” Friendly, relaxed, and humorous, Mike is one of the world’s leading lights on self-transformation. Recorded on February 16, 2022.

“With Esalen, life has given me this marvelous laboratory.”

❤️​ Our podcast is a labor of love funded solely by co-hosts Roger and John. If you appreciate the value we bring, please help us keep these meaningful conversations alive.

Buy Roger and John A Coffee

Topics & Time Stamps – Part 1

  • Introducing Michael Murphy, Human Potential Movement pioneer, author, co-founder and director of Esalen Institute, co-creator of Integral Transformative Practice (01:20)
  • Esalen’s “scouring of the Shire” (05:51)
  • Forging a deeper marriage of the two parts of Esalen: public programming & the Center for Theory & Research (07:19)
  • The realization that atman = Brahman and how Michael came to be a yogi (08:29)
  • The anchoring vision and worldview of Esalen: evolutionary panentheism, embracing the whole in an evolving world (11:33) 
  • Our current crisis of belief: living between the death of the old gods and the birth of new gods has prompted more conflict, more divergences than ever before (16:37)
  • How best to serve? Should Esalen continue? Most transformative practices (like somatics and psychedelics) have had to go through a period of purgation and are now coming back into play (21:34)
  • The explosion of psychedelics in the 1960s through the psychedelic renaissance today and owning the immensity of its shadow side (27:47)
  • Tanya Luhrmann, critical of the unwarranted hegemony of modern Buddhist influence on meditation research, researches contemplative, transformative, yogic, shamanic practices, including the evangelical Vineyard Movement (33:14)
  • Tanya is now studying the uniqueness of people who have attended Esalen (37:28)
  • On absorption capacity, its differentiating effects on our evolutionary capacities, and the concept of porosity, an attribute involving both the sensory and the extrasensory domain (38:29)  

Resources & References – Part 1

* As an Amazon Associate, Deep Transformation earns from qualifying purchases.



Michael Murphy Human Potential Movement

Michael Murphy is a graduate of Stanford University, co-founder of Esalen Institute, founder of Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research, and author of numerous books. His novels include The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, Golf in the Kingdom, Jacob Atabet, and An End to Ordinary History. His latest nonfiction work is God and the Evolving Universe, co-authored with James Redfield and Sylvia Timbers. Other nonfiction work includes: In the Zone, an anthology of extraordinary sports experiences, co-authored with Rhea White; The Life We Are Given, a book about transformative practice, co-authored with George Leonard; The Future of the Body, and The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, co-authored with Steve Donovan.


Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell


 Presented by iAwake Technologies’ innovative, sound tech infused, brain wave entraining audio track

Brain Awake


“This track literally rewrote the script in my brain! It’s like it scrubbed away all the thoughts that are not true about myself and connected me to the deepest truth about who I am.”

~ Lisa Celentano, MA, LMHC

Cover Art of Brain Awake from iAwake Technologies
Listen to a sample of 01 Brain Awake (Guided Meditation)
Listen to a sample of 02 Brain Awake (Music Only)

“The album is effective and wakes up your brain! I was in flow states for days on end where everything I did was smooth, in sync, and easy. Creativity just flowed from me without any deliberate intention of trying to make something happen. It was natural, relaxed, and the next thing to do just became apparent – brilliant. I was certainly more buoyant in mood and ‘full of beans,’ as is said. Excited about life and what to expect from it. Lots of wonderment and an ‘anything can happen’ attitude. This album ‘turns the lights on’ — literally. It has taken around six or seven listens before it happened but clearly each session builds on the last until take off. Ha! Brilliant, just brilliant!”

~ Scott McGreevy

iAwake Technologies was founded in 2010 with the mission of helping the world to heal, wake up, and evolve, through creating and offering cutting-edge, transformational technologies and promoting and inspiring their skillful use in our daily lives.

iAwake’s unique approach to session design entrains both our nervous and our subtle energy systems by combining traditional entrainment methods with newer applications based on the power of resonance. In addition to increasing intelligence, creativity, flow, and skillfulness in practically any activity that requires the human body-mind, with iAwake Technologies, we enter into deep healing brainwave states almost immediately while listening to these audio tracks.

To see what we are talking about, download a free sample of Stealing Flow’s Warm-up track here for a 25-minute, full-spectrum, whole-brain workout.

“I have enjoyed many [meditation technologies] but my VERY favorite meditations come from a company called iAwake Technologies. The science behind their technology is impeccably researched and I don’t think I have ever gone so deep into my practice as when I use their meditation tracks. Actually I bought so many and sent so many people to their website, they wrote to find out who the heck I was!”

~ Colette Baron-Reid, world-renowned intuitive counselor, psychic medium, author, TV personality, and radio host. They call her the Oracle.