Michael Murphy started the Esalen Institute in the early 1960’s from family land at Big Sur. It all began in a class of comparative religions where Michael’s life would change after learning about Indian mystics and philosophy. It captured him and he was never the same. It led him on a path to be the guru of self-actualization. These deeply religious and spiritual practices led into a strong environmental ethic and Esalen has been a base for permaculture, organic gardening and other environmental practices.