Awe and Wonder: An Exploration Through Science, Contemplation, and Narrative
November 5–7, 2021
November 5–7, 2021
with Dacher Keltner and Mollie McNeil
Register Now

Awe is the feeling of encountering vast mysteries that transcend our current knowledge and understanding of the world. It is the feeling and the practice in appreciating the moral beauty of others, nature, the arts, and it is rooted in a spiritual understanding of life.  

In this new, paradigm-shifting workshop, we will uncover the latest scientific understandings of awe. By engaging in evolutionary and neuroscientific approaches to the mind, and using narrative and cultural approaches to the meanings of awe, we will begin to tease out where awe lives in our own minds and hearts and how to cultivate it more deeply in our lives.

Together, we will discover a number of practices to cultivate awe in our own lives and how to deepen one’s relationship to it. We’ll travel by way of reflective writing, using expressive writing principles and models from Contemplative Studies.

During our time together, we will:

  • Learn the latest science and scholarship on awe and wonder
  • Engage in contemplative practices related to awe
  • Learn about literary, poetic, and aesthetic approaches to awe
  • Learn to cultivate an awe-related writing and reflective practice
  • Cultivate an awareness of more everyday awe

Join us for this incredible opportunity to refresh your heart and mind in the incredible natural setting of Esalen and Big Sur.

Dacher Keltner

Dacher Keltner

Dacher Keltner, PhD, is a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, a founder and director of the Greater Good Science Center, and author of Born to Be Good and The Compassionate Instinct, among other books. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The London Times, Utne Reader, and elsewhere.

Mollie McNeil

Mollie McNeil

Mollie McNeil is a published writer who studied English and American literature in the doctoral program of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She taught writing there, at Mills College in Oakland, and at De Anza College in Cupertino.

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Workshop Schedule

Fri 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Sat 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm
Sat 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sun 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure, and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific pricing. Please note that not all types of accommodations are offered for all programs. Some workshops have additional faculty fees.

Sleeping Bag
Standard Single
Standard Couple
Standard Two Beds
Premium Single
Premium Couple
Premium Plus
Point House
Point House Plus
COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

All-inclusive Pricing