Artwork for podcast Deep Transformation
Michael Murphy (Part 2) - The Human Potential Movement Then & Now: 60 Years at the Leading Edge of Transformative Practice, Research & Action
Episode 595th January 2023 • Deep Transformation • Deep Transformation Podcast
00:00:00 00:49:34

Share Episode


Ep. 59 (Part 2 of 3) | 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.”

(For Apple Podcast users, click here to view the complete show notes on the episode page.)

Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2

  • What are the practices that are the most important to Mike? (01:07)
  • Exploring what happens after we die and the richness of the subliminal mind (02:57)
  • The nature of thoughts, their texture, their capacity to take over (06:28)
  • Mike’s crap detector, his favorite skeptics, and his skepticism about reincarnation (09:29)
  • Reincarnation studies at Esalen (15:39)
  • Tacit knowing: Mike reads the “algorithms of his heart” (18:16)
  • Agnosticism is a practice in the face of empiricism (20:38)
  • The nature of the subtle body and building fellowships around this at Esalen (24:40)
  • Central to what goes on on the other side is “degree of agency” (29:59)
  • Merging the gnostic and agnostic at the same time (32:31)
  • We need more language describing particular aspects of mystical to understand what’s going on (33:00)
  • Back to reincarnation: yes—but it can be scary (34:03)
  • The most surprising things that have happened to Mike over the years: people’s need to play the Game of Thrones (40:50)
  • The Russian front, American hypocrisy, and Yeltsin’s conversion in 1989 (45:04)

Resources & References – Part 2

* 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



More from YouTube