If we can stay awake when our lives are changing, secrets will be revealed to
us—secrets about ourselves, about the nature of life, and about the eternal source of
happiness and peace that is always available, always renewable, already within us.
Elizabeth Lesser is the cofounder and senior advisor of Omega Institute, the United States'
largest adult education center focusing on health, wellness, spirituality, and the arts. The
author of The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure (previously
released as The New American Spirituality: A Seeker's Guide), Lesser has lectured
extensively, penned articles for national magazines and newspapers, and made appearances on
radio and television. Formerly a midwife, she attended Barnard College and San Francisco
State University, and has studied and worked with leading figures in the fields of healing,
spirituality, and psychological development for over thirty years.
It is from a place of deep personal struggle that Lesser derives her passion for healing, a
process she describes as the "Phoenix Process." As she told What is Enlightenment?,
although she spent 15 years in a Sufi community under the guidance of teacher Pir Vilayat
Inayat Khan, she ascribes a deeper transformation to the period she got divorced and went
from living in a "big, beautiful home" to an apartment with two kids and no money. The lost
sense of self allowed her to find an "indestructible place of strength inside of me that
could, God willing, survive anything."
It is from this place that Lesser leads Omega Institute.
Founded in 1977, Omega derives its name from the writings of 20th-century mystic and
philosopher Teilhard de Chardin, who used the term to describe the final unity of the
evolutionary process which pulls manifestation towards the production of higher, more
complex modes of being. More than 20,000 people attend workshops, retreats, clinics, and
conferences each year at Omega's 140-acre campus in Rhinebeck, New York and elsewhere,
including St. John, the Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, and Austin, Texas.
Lesser has helped to steer the organization by taking on a number of roles involving staff
development, recruiting faculty, organizing conferences, teaching courses, and putting
together the annual Omega catalog, a 120-page guide to the most distinguished thinkers and
practitioners of our times, a list which has included David Deida, Ram Dass, Alex Grey, and
Lesser's most recent work includes the book Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us
Grow, which has already received rave reviews from such luminaries as Sharon Salzberg,
Jane Fonda, Tom Robbins, and Caroline Myss. The mother of three sons, Lesser currently lives
in the Hudson Valley with her husband, and has managed to find the time to be active in
environmental issues over the past twenty years.
Books by Elizabeth Lesser:
Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure
The New American Spirituality: A Seeker's Guide
Random House, 1999