Institute of Mentalphysics – Joshua Tree, California - Atlas Obscura
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Joshua Tree, California

Institute of Mentalphysics

Located on 420 acres in the high desert, this spiritual center is dedicated to the "science of the future." 

For those seeking to understand the “physics” of their minds, or perhaps just to attain a higher sense of consciousness, the Institute of Mentalphysics may be just the thing they were looking for. Built by Frank Lloyd Wright and his son Lloyd Wright in 1946, the Institute of Mentalphysics sits in the high desert of Joshua Tree, California. Based on Enlightenment philosophy, the science of Mentalphysics purports to offer “a portal to your inner being.”

Mentalphysics was pioneered by Ding Le Mei in 1927. Born as Edward John Dingle, Ding Le Mei was a British journalist who spent 21 years living and studying in Asia, primarily Tibet. During that time, he was one of the first Westerners to study under a Tibetan Lama Master, and he used his experience to fuse the similarities between Eastern and Western religious philosophies into his own new creation.

Mentalphysics is a hybrid of meditation and breathing techniques which, when coupled with the sharp powers of the mind, can bring about a “Christ-like” transformation of consciousness. The philosophy borrows many techniques from Tibetan breathing exercises and yoga principles. It is commonly referred to as “The Super Yoga of the Western World.”

The philosophy shares little in common with the traditional, academic study of physics; rather unlike Einstein, Ding Le Mei believed that the mind creates reality. He concluded that through a series of self-realization techniques, practitioners could rapidly develop their spiritual awareness and expand their consciousness, even coming to control reality itself (à la Neo in The Matrix). Subscribers often refer to the philosophy as “the science of the future.”

The Institute itself is located on 420-plus acres in the Mojave Desert. It features the largest collection of buildings designed by Lloyd Wright and includes titles such as the Preceptory of Light, the First Sanctuary of Mystic Christianity, and the 700-foot-long Caravansary of Joy. Since its opening, roughly 225,000 students from around the world have enrolled to learn Ding Le Mei’s teachings.

Today, the Institute of Mentalphysics, also known as the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, features a variety of workshops dedicated to spiritual awareness and healing. Visitors can plan an overnight retreat, walk the Medicine Wheel, or experience the 15 “holy” spiral-shaped stone paths. Known as vortices, these structures are said to channel the site’s “natural energy” and help visitors find clarity–for a fee, of course.

Know Before You Go

Contact 760-365-8371 to schedule a retreat.