Cover of Common Ground magazine's August 2018 issue, featuring a futuristic robot sculpture at a desert festival, with a clear blue sky in the background.

July / August 2018

Summer 2018

Michael Murphy grew up in the 1930s in Salinas, where he experienced the comfort of membership in a prominent family as well as the rough and tumble world described in the novels of family friend John Steinbeck. After stumbling into a comparative religion class at Stanford and hearing the Sanskrit word “Brahman” uttered by Professor Frederic Spiegelberg he would never be the same—he lit up spiritually and never turned back. Within ten years he and Dick Price would go on to found Esalen Institute on his family’s bucolic Big Sur property. The interview outlines Esalen’s wide-ranging impact on the world; I know you will enjoy reading it. Personally I was riveted by Michael’s stories. Common Ground and Esalen have a long tradition together, having helped pioneer the Human Potential Movement among many other thought trends and modalities over the decades.

As is our tradition, we preview the upcoming Burning Man theme. Sadly, this is the last theme chosen by Burning Man founder Larry Harvey. He suddenly passed away on April 28th after suffering a stroke. The theme is I, Robot, which takes aim at the world of artificial intelligence, but in my opinion the main theme for the event is going to be Larry Harvey—and how he will be missed.

Summer has its own special vibe and nostalgia, which we attempt to capture with quotes and pictures in “Ode to Summer.” I personally relish this time of year and wish it would slow down. September and the frenetics of fall will roll up soon enough.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, Emily Rose Heard reminds us of the importance of summer hydration, as does Simone de Winter with regard to sun, sunscreen, vitamin D3, and overall skincare. Jon Bailey provides a fun memento of his family’s summer camp expeditions at the Lair of the Bear in the ’60s and early ’70s—made all the more amusing by its context of his later coming out as a gay man who is now raising teen daughters.

Susan Bauer provides a detailed examination of how modern teens are more familiar with their cellphones than they are with their own bodies. She makes concrete curriculum recommendations in her essay “The Embodied Teen: A New Vision for 21st Century Education.” I think we can all relate to an uneasy level of disembodiment in this digital era but parents with teens will especially relate and hopefully benefit.

We’ve a brief photo commemoration of the modern day hippie scene called “Bliss: The Neo Hippies” with photos by Steve Schapiro. Rebecca Williams reminds us of the contribution mindfulness can make, especially to those recovering from addiction, in her essay “Mindfulness and Recovery: Reducing the ‘I Would…Buts.’” Deborah Santana has penned a serious piece about environmental consciousness called “I Hear the Earth Breathing.” And we want to thank Ron Henggeler for his Green Scene photo essay documenting SF Pride on June 28, where politicians Gavin Newsom, Nancy Pelosi, and Kamala Harris participated along with many prominent corporations.

We look forward to seeing you at upcoming events and festivals and remind you to show your appreciation of Common Ground magazine by patronizing its advertisers. This is how we are able to maintain a free publication. And please consider becoming an advertiser yourself or recommending us to a friend or colleague.

In September we will have our Yoga issue.

Enjoy your summer and let the good times roll,


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