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CTR Giving Opportunities

"There is no greater engine for evolution in the world than groundbreaking ideas. CTR brings together the best leading edge thinkers to accelerate our collective evolution by literally dreaming a new world into being."

—Stephen Dinan CEO, The Shift Network, author of Radical Spirit, and former CTR staff member

 Directed by Esalen Cofounder Michael Murphy and Professor Jeff Kripal, Esalen’s Center for Theory & Research (CTR) Esalen’s Center for Theory & Research (CTR) sponsors research, theory and action to promote positive social change and the realization of the human potential. Underwriting is needed for project research, facilitators, translators, coordinators, summary writers, occasional expert fees, travel and accommodations, and special outreach projects. Please see the list of our current projects below and please note the following.

Supporters at the $10,000 + level are invited to attend a CTR Conference of their choice, as long as donor seats are still available for the chosen conference. Housing arrangements must be made and paid for separately.

Esalen Institute is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.  Donations to Esalen Institute are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  Federal tax ID #94-6114235.

Please call 415-459-5438 or email Jane Hartford at to make a donation, or to ask any questions you may have.

CTR seeks support for the following invitation-only conferences:

Super Symposium 3: Beyond the Spinning: The UFO Phenomenon, Cosmology, and Eschatology
January 20-25, 2019
Facilitator: Jeff Kripal

This symposium is the third of a nine-year series of symposia sponsored by the Esalen Center for Theory and Research, generously supported by the Hummingbird Foundation, and led by Jeff Kripal called “The Super Story Series.”

The Super Story is a poetic device designed to capture all of those emergent mythologies and mystical currents that have been developing over the last two centuries in conversation with the sciences, including quantum physics, evolutionary biology and astronomy and cosmology. The January 2019 symposium will focus in on the UFO phenomenon as a classic example of that scientific and mythical complex involving astronomy, cosmology, and the countless encounter or abduction experiences of the historical record.

April 14–19, 2019
Facilitators: Michael Murphy, Loriliai Biernacki, Greg Shaw

From its beginning, the Center for Theory and Research has focused on the discoveries of science, mystical experience, and the actualization of supernormal abilities. These explorations, initiated at Esalen by Michael Murphy, may be seen within the trajectory of an evolutionary panentheism. In both Western and Eastern traditions, the realization of supernormal abilities has been imagined as the Incarnation of the divine, or the expression of humanity as self-transcendent. Incarnation, thus, may be seen as a telos of human existence, exemplifying our deepest yearning for what it means to be fully human. From April 14 to 19, leading thinkers from diverse fields of research will explore the significance of Incarnation, how it has been expressed in modalities of the body, traditions of the spirit, and what role it continues to play in the unfolding of our human story.

The One Network
April 21–26, 2019
Facilitators: Dulce Murphy and Ginger Thomson

We are bringing together a network of influential individuals from Russia, the North Pacific and China and the Middle East to address issues of global importance including environmental deterioration, nuclear armament, refugee crises, and the growing threats from cyber systems. Each group informs the other and offers not only the means to form friendships and alliances but also to tackle specific problems that the diversity of the One Network helps to solve in new and ground-breaking ways.

September 19–22, 2019
Facilitators: Dulce Murphy and Ginger Thomson

Led by Dulce Murphy and Michael Murphy since 1980, and in conjunction with TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy and colleagues in Russia, Esalen’s CTR is promoting Russian-American partnerships that are designed to improve the relationship between our two nations. This conference will be held at the Yeltsin Presidential Center and Library to establish goals and programs that can further promote improvement in the Russia-America partnership, reduce the threat of nuclear disaster, and move our two countries toward a peaceful relationship. (Visit and to learn about this work and the many dozens of programs we’ve sponsored to foster constructive engagement between Russia and America).

International Abrahamic Network (IAN)
November 10–15, 2019
Facilitators: Dulce Murphy and Ginger Thomson

Led since 2007 by Dulce Murphy and Joseph Montville under the banner of the International Abrahamic Network, (IAN) — formerly the Abrahamic Family Reunion — with original support from the Fetzer Institute, Adelaide and Andrew Hixon and many others, we have united and built common cause among hundreds of Abrahamic leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths. This work has touched over 250 theology schools, seminaries, and graduate schools in the United States and Canada and now extends into the Middle East.

Super Symposium 4
December 1–6, 2019
Facilitator: Jeff Kripal

Description forthcoming.

Spiritual But Not Religious: Pasts, Presents, Futures Conference
December 8–13, 2019
Facilitator: Jeff Kripal

“I am spiritual, but not religious.” Where did this expression come from? What does it mean today? And where is it going tomorrow? This symposium is designed to explore these questions, crystallize the scholarship on the same, and move the conversation forward.

We hope to tackle the definitional problem: the empirical and sociological data (from which the phrase most recently arose), the economic and political factors, the question of race, the questions of gender and sexuality, the nature of categories like “religion” and “spirituality” themselves. We also hope to explore the multiple pasts of this new moniker, that is, the various complex historical and cultural roots that have aided its formation and rise, from nineteenth-century Transcendentalism and the metaphysical movements of the early twentieth century to the counterculture of the 1960s and the New Age movement of the 1980s and 90s. Finally, we hope to explore some of this demographic’s possible futures.

Click here to learn more about past CTR initiatives.


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