The Longing for Esalen

Last night I found myself looking at pictures of Esalen, dotted with the faces of people I admire and love. I attended a program at CIIS called Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. My alma-mater takes their annual retreat to Esalen. The program has its spiritual and intellectual inheritance bound to Esalen. I have greatly desired to join them for the past couple of years, but circumstances have lead me elsewhere.

Last night I felt a sadness. I longed to be in communion with these people and the land of Esalen. It calls to me. Every time I go I leave part of my identity there. In times I am alone I leave it. It stays with the bridges and the running water. It reminds me of my destiny in promises and in the wings of butterflies.

Sadness is a gift. The memories of past lives that will never recover – the feelings of inevitable impermanence deep with longing. Lost in memory the presence of experience finds passage, escape… and I feel some lingering feeling of doubt, as if I should not be starring. Who can stay so long in memory? Under its weight the body fails and demands attention. I have to piss or whatever.

This gift of mourning – mourning is a good word here – it brings me back to the validity of reality, of my demanding breath which is the constitution of my body. I am here, indeed. The longing for Esalen, for whatever gifts I perceive as not-yet, as with-held, as fore-gone, those unwrap into the power of duty and commitment to ones place.

My prayers have grown in power and attendance. I am sure Esalen has something to do with this because its memory is with me, I carry it. I hope in my return to its shores… perhaps it hopes in me…

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