Michael Murphy (Part 3) – The Human Potential Movement Then & Now: 60 Years at the Leading Edge of Transformative Practice, Research & Action
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.”
Topics & Time Stamps – Part 3
- The magic of reading subtle cues and developing increasing discernment to the subtleties of one’s own internal psychic mechanism (02:26)
- Paul Ekman’s nonverbal cue study and how aging correlates with greater capacity to discern subtle social cues (06:03)
- The capacity for childlike wonder is one of the things Mike admires most (08:15)
- The human potential movement and the complexity of human beings (16:09)
- Spies, innocence, and transparency (19:08)
- Mike’s suspicions about developmental maps and schemes, especially in the spiritual world (23:37)
- There is no such thing as a single virtue: for example, you can’t have courage without prudence (28:38)
- Integral Transformative Practice: does it really work? Does it help us grow in virtue and character? (30:18)
- Mike’s calling to continue the inquiry: What’s going on on the other side? What is the truth about the subtle body phenomena? (32:33)
- Mike’s general advice: enough good habits, meditation, and tailoring your practice to who you are (33:59)
- The problem of suffering in this world is only going to be answered with an adventurous, experimentative embrace exploring what’s going on here (40:00)
Resources & References – Part 3
- Fritz Perls, well renowned German psychotherapist and psychiatrist known for his notable works on Gestalt therapy
- Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences*
- Frances Vaughan, one of the great pioneers of transpersonal psychology, psychotherapist, teacher, author
- Dr. Paul Ekman, Nonverbal Messages: Cracking the Code*
- Solomon Asch conformity experiments
- Bill Walsh, 49ers football coach
- Abraham Maslow, psychologist who created a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority and culminating in self-actualization (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs)
- Will Schutz, author and creator of FIRO Theory (Fundamental interpersonal relations orientation)
- Gordon Wheeler, clinical psychologist who pioneered Gestalt Relational Constellations, integrating Systems Constellations work with Gestalt-based client experiments
- Tanya Luhrmann, studying people who attend Esalen for unique characteristics
- Integral Transformative Practice: ITP-International, founded by Michael Murphy & George Leonard
- Thomas Merton, monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar of comparative religion
- Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and playwright
- Meister Eckhart, theologian, philosopher, and mystic born circa 1260
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov*
- Esalen Institute, a leading center for exploring and realizing human potential through experience, education, and research, Esalen’s Center for Theory & Research
- James Redfield, Michael Murphy & Sylvia Timbers, God and the Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution*
- Michael Murphy, The Future of the Body: Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature*
- Michael Murphy & George Leonard, The Life We Are Given*
- Michael Murphy & Steve Donovan, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation*
- Michael Murphy, Golf in the Kingdom*
- Michael Murphy & Rhea White, In the Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports*
* As an Amazon Associate, Deep Transformation earns from qualifying purchases.
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
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