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The American Soul RushEsalen and the Rise of Spiritual Privilege$
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Marion Goldman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814732878

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814732878.001.0001

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Esalen, the Soul Rush, and Spiritual Privilege

(p.1) Introduction
The American Soul Rush

Marion Goldman

NYU Press

This introductory chapter details the history and philosophy behind the Esalen Institute, its impact on society since its inception in the 1960s, as well as the background of research in exploring Esalen and its enduring influence. The Institute's founding generation had started lasting organizations and social networks that facilitated the development and spread of alternative spirituality and humanistic psychology in the twenty-first century. Esalen encouraged widespread enthusiasm for an enormous range of spiritual paths that offered possibilities for individuals to live joyfully and discover fresh truths about themselves and the cosmos. It democratized spiritual privilege by popularizing options that had once been available to relatively few Americans and made the religious marketplace more diverse and open. Esalen played a critical role in introducing and promoting esoteric spirituality so that it flowed into mainstream culture.

Keywords:   Esalen Institute, Esalen history, alternative spirituality, spiritual privilege, soul rush, mainstream culture, esoteric spirituality

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