Donna and David’s Favorite Teacher

By Donna & David

Our greatest teacher asks questions that make you think in a whole new way – in a way you’ve never imagined. She opens your mind. When she makes a point, she can evoke all the mystical, magical, thundering feelings of an ancient civilization, transporting you to another time and place.

She might slip in and out of different voices and accents, or even languages. But, she doesn’t just slip into modern Spanish or French. She recites Rumi in ancient Persian or quotes Asclepius in the original Greek.

Jean Houston is credited as the founder of the human potential movement back when the resources of psychology were geared toward mental illness rather than possibility. We recall the enthusiastic community of healers and therapists who tried to draft Jean to run for President in the 1980 election. Jean is simply one of the most powerful human beings either of us has ever met . . . or that anyone has ever met.

David met Jean while waiting for an elevator at a conference in 1971. By the time he reached his floor, Jean had invited him to a small gathering of their students in her and her husband’s hotel room the next evening. It was one of the most electric evenings he’d ever experienced, and Jean invited him to send her his future publications. This was back in the days of snail mail, but Jean always responded with an encouraging sentence or two. That was the start of a mentorship that has continued for the past 50 years.

Donna had been dazzled by Jean’s presentations at conferences and workshops, and she persuaded her close friend, Peggy Rubin, to attend one of them. Soon Peggy, a highly accomplished Shakespearian actress, was teaching with Jean in a collaboration that has become legendary. Donna had her first personal conversation with Jean when Jean and Peggy showed up at her door one morning to thank Donna for bringing Peggy into Jean’s world. 

Since then, both of us have had, with Jean, some of the most extraordinary collaborations we’ve been privileged to have had with anyone, from writing projects to teaching for her in her Mystery School to creating online programs to numerous media interviews. 

One of our favorite interviews was about all the luminaries Jean has known quite intimately, including, among many others, Margaret Mead, Joseph Campbell, Buckminster Fuller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Aldous Huxley, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. She even had a meaningful encounter with Albert Einstein while she was in elementary school. You can hear (or download) the audio recording of our interview here

Jean is one of the most generous, attuned, and humble people we know. When we were writing The Energies of Love, Jean, as excellent mentors do, met with us on her time to help us crystalize our vision for the book. A quality that everyone recognizes in Jean is her incredible use of language. 

After one of her inspired explanations of a complex idea, we both sat there open-mouthed. David posed a question he had often wondered about: “Jean, when you say things like that, are you channeling them from somewhere?” She looked surprised, thought about it for a moment, and then said with total humility, “No, I have to fight for every damn word!”

Jean has been the keynote speaker at several conferences we have organized or helped organize, and she has always hit it out of the park. We are thrilled that she will be streamed into our Diamond Inlay class next month (more on that below)! Her modest topic: “The Cosmological Implications of Donna Eden’s Diamond Inlay.” 

In 1988, Jean invited us to attend as her guest (in celebration of the publication and success of David’s first book, Personal Mythology), an event that only she could have created. She chartered 3 small boats and took some 40 of her students on a 3-week tour of Greece, where we were to retrace the steps of Odysseus. Not only retrace them, but to stop at each of the major spots described in The Odyssey and enact that part of the story and explore its meanings.

We ourselves were on Jean’s boat and would watch as she read the ancient hymn in its original Greek, preparing for the next day’s sacred adventure. And the following day, Jean would narrate the next part of the story with her booming voice channeling another world – like a Greek Goddess – distilling the timeless lessons from one of the world’s greatest mythic chronicles.

We were given a special gift on that trip. At the time, we were supportive of one another’s work, but our professional activities were independent of one another. When the group got to the healing temple of Asclepius, Jean and Peggy orchestrated a special ceremony for the two of us, with the entire group witnessing, that foreshadowed our future collaboration. We look back on that moment with awe and appreciation. It was like a second wedding! 

Filming Our Energies of Love Program With Jean

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Very grateful to listen to this wonderful conversation. So many of my own heroes and heroines! (Got to be in Gregory Bateson’s last undergrad class at UCSC). Until now I had not really known much of Jean, now suddenly a rabid fan– inspired by her -as well as you, Donna and David, to “show up” for all the days I have left in this hurting world, to do my part, while still embodied. Thank you !!!


Such amazing synchronicity. there is a saying that at the right time the teacher you need will appear, and I would say this is for sure what has happened here! Blessed be x


Donna, you may not realize this but you have been my favorite teacher because you opened the doors for me with alternative healing modalities back in 1978 when my dentist told me that he took a workshop with you. He used some of your Do-In methods and Touch for Health on me in the dental chair to allay my fears of an upcoming dental “event”. And of course David who opened my heart by giving me my first dog, Canelo back in 1980.


Very COOL !