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Alex Crenshaw is the founder of the Zen Institute. At the age of 28 years old, he quit his job as a corporate accountant and began his semi-monastic training for seven years at the Rochester Zen Center in Upstate New York.  He then returned to the corporate world in Charlotte, NC where he worked in a petrochemical company for six years. While living in Charlotte, he completed his MBA from Wake Forest University. To better understand the problems affecting society, Alex volunteered for 2 years with homeless children with the organization A Child’s Place based in Charlotte, NC.

After completing his MBA, Alex decided to quit his corporate job and moved to California to continue his Zen training and to deepen his understanding of the subconscious as a result of his experiences during meditation. He trained at the San Francisco Zen Center for six months. After moving to Sacramento, CA he began an in-depth study of the subconscious by exploring tools such as the Enneagram applied to individuals and businesses, Human Design, and the Gene Keys -which is a new interpretation of the ancient I-Ching system.

Inspired by the teachings of the greatest Zen Masters to contribute to society, Alex volunteered for two years at the Sacramento Children’s Home, where he helped abused children. For a period of three years, he taught Zen practice and meditation at the Folsom State Prison – one of the oldest prisons in the United States. During this time Alex witnessed the positive transformation of the inmates as a result of their meditation practice amid the most difficult conditions.  After moving to Mt. Shasta, CA, Alex became a CASA volunteer, where he mentors children and teenagers at risk and became an Officer of the Court for the State of California.

Following the example of the ancient Zen Masters, Alex decided to create the Zen Institute to address the challenges and problems affecting society by sharing the wisdom of the Zen tradition with individuals, families, and businesses.

Alex collaborates every week on radio and television by sharing his knowledge of human potential, and by sharing topics related to mindfulness,  children, women's rights, how the subconscious mind works, and business. 


We as a society face many problems; one of them is crime, which affects every area of our lives. I have always been interested in understanding human behavior and what motivates a human being to behave in certain ways.


Anger, fear, greed, dysfunctional family patterns and economic problems are some of the leading factors behind a crime.


During my time as a volunteer with foster care and homeless children, I learned that most of them end up in prison unless they are fortunate enough to be positively guided during their early years.


We as individuals have a common responsibility to prevent crime in whatever form is more suitable in our lives. I felt motivated to volunteer within the prison system in order to deepen my understanding of human behavior and most importantly, to support these humans in their transformation process of recovery.


It is very inspiring and humbling to witness the transformation of these human beings who have a sincere commitment to rise above their limitations and circumstances internal and external, and find peace within themselves in the midst of very difficult situations.


“I want to say thank you for your dedication, guidance, and steadfast commitment to making us better people. Prison may have locked us physically, but through your teachings we were able to free ourselves mentally and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” 



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