Notes on the Prehistory of the Human Potential Movement

The Vedanta Society and Gerald Heard's Trabuco College

by Timothy Miller, Ph.D.

Trabuco campus has been a center for spiritual life and growth for over 60 years. It is the site of an ongoing monastery. Several books and other pieces of literature were written there. Many persons earnestly seeking meaning were exposed to the wisdom and erudition of Gerald Heard and Aldous Huxley at Trabuco.

From its beginning in 1962 the Esalen Institute has been known as, among other things, a meeting ground between East and West — “something of a center-point for the translation of Asian religions into American culture,” as Jeffrey Kripal has put it. Some of the foundations for that reputation are fairly well known to those with at least a cursory familiarity with Esalen’s history and programs. That Esalen co-founders Michael Murphy and Richard Price were influenced — one might say inspired — by Frederic Spiegelberg at Stanford University; that they became involved with the nascent American Academy of Asian Studies, where they came into contact with other Asianists, including Alan Watts....

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