Who is Elizabeth Lesser?


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 Byron Katie.

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
Villard, 2022

The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure
Villard, 2022

The New American Spirituality: A Seeker's Guide
Random House, 1999

Elizabeth has appeared on Integral Naked:

Broken Open: An Integral View on How Crisis Can Help Us Grow8/30/2022
Women's Integral Spirituality6/7/2022