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"Ways of Council: Mind, body, spirit and soul," Month-long Council Immersion at Esalen

with Adam Rumack

This month-long immersion is offered as an Esalen Institute Extended Study program.  Learn more here.


In this program, we will explore the deep listening and mindfulness awareness practices of council, and learn through didactic skill building, body-based awareness practices, contact with our personal and collective stories, and engagement with the natural world. As a collective practice of deep listening and mindful awareness, council promotes radical compassion and an experience of interconnectedness that can break down barriers to connection, reconciliation, and peace.

For more than thirty years, the way of Council has been shared in Ojai, Calif., and at places in need of peacemaking, community-building, and reconciliation – from prisons in California and Rwanda to multi-billion-dollar tech companies and social justice non-profits. We will use the four themes of mind, body, soul, and spirit to come to a holistic experience and understanding of the council practice, and deepen relationship with ourselves, one another, and the more-than human world, and gain tools to facilitate the process with others.

Together we will explore:

• Core intentions and forms of council
• Authentic communication and deep listening as practice
• Underlying values and principles of cultivating collective wisdom and emergent group leadership
• Group, dyadic (two person), and intrapersonal (one person) council techniques
• Models of mindfulness and compassion training in relation to council
• Relational embodiment techniques
• Council with the natural world
• The Wheel of Life (Medicine Wheel)
• Interactive games to build connectivity, trust, and energy within the group
• Storytelling around relevant prompts or questions
• Developing prompts and “reading the field” for responsive group leadership
• Bearing witness without judgment
• Co-leadership/transparent Leadership
• Self-inquiry and shadow
• Group soul, common purpose, vision and conflict

Please note: For participants interested in seeking certification as a trainer or facilitator from the Center for Council, this program will fill all requirements of a Council 1 training with much of the requisite practice time to participate in Council 2.


A packing list with items specific to this program will be sent upon registration.

Recommended reading: Zimmerman and Coyle, The Way of Council.