meeting the wild

27th May to 10th June

A Nature Based Practice Retreat

This is a two week retreat with an emphasis on meditatively inhabiting the wild landscape which surrounds the Ecodharma Centre. It is part of our Nature Based Practice and Learning series. It brings meditation and mindfulness into relationship with wilderness immersion. It culminates with a 3 day solo period in the wild.

Our deepest nature is untameable. Yet, living in a world surrounded by the contrivances of the human mind, this can be hard to recall. Stepping out of the narrow dusty world for a while we can meet the deeper nature of things. Immersing ourselves in direct contact with wild nature, and deepening that connection through meditation, mindfulness, and reflection, can heal the wounds of alienation that are so present in our times. It helps us to re-connect with deeper aspects of ourselves and the world we inhabit – in a way that is enriching, empowering and transformative.

Yogis and forest renunciates, just like hunters and foragers, know that the places to look for nourishment are ‘off the path’ – through the thickets, amidst the trees, where people don’t tend to stray. So, Meeting the Wild takes us onto mountain ridges and into ravines, to meditate in caves and secret groves. It takes us to loll by streams and sit amidst the mossy oaks. In order to help us follow the path of integration and transformation more fully, this two week retreat takes us ‘off the path’!

As well as helping us to deepen our dharma practice, connection with wild nature is an important aid to developing an ecological sensibility and sense of connection with the web of life. This can support us in compassionate action towards a sustainable future for all.

This is a two week long residential retreat, for up to eight adult participants. During the retreat participants are helped to spend time, immersed in the wild natural environment surrounding the centre. There they will be supported to deepen their meditation and mindfulness practice. The centre itself will act as a base, and all the usual facilities of shrine-room, dining spaces, and accommodation are available to support the participants to spend as much time as is useful out in the wilds – without placing any pressure or expectations upon them.

Meditation instruction and advice, mindfulness training, relevant dharma study, and the study of deep ecological themes will be included in the program. Most importantly we encourage silent solitary time in intimate relationship with wild nature. We do this in a way that recognises the differing degrees of support that people require to make this kind of experience useful.

To help participants deepen their connections with their selves and the natural world, we will provide advice and training in basic outdoor skills and bush-craft; the creation of an environment in which participants can share expectations and experience; and the presentation of useful theoretical tools.

For more background to this event see our article on our Nature Based Practice and Learning series.

A kit list and other details will be sent out with applications forms for the event to anyone enquiring. Participants need to be in good health, but the event is suitable for people of a whole range of physical fitness. For an application form and more information contact us at info@ecodharma.com

Suggested contributions in the Dana Economy €400/€700/€1025 (euros). Make a booking.

Outline schedule:
Day one: arrival, introductions, settle-in
Days two and three: orientation and learning the lie of the land, building up a meditation practice, theoretical study priming dharma and deep ecology themes, meditation teaching for those who require it.
Days four and five: More development of meditation practice, mindfulness exercises, excursions into the landscape to scout out potential spots for longer time out, acquiring skills that can support participants to spend time in the wild, additional study sessions/workshops.
Days six to eight: Beginning to spend longer periods in silence and meditation, especially out in the wilds at spots participants have identified. Some overnight stays if appropriate. Opportunities to de-brief and evaluate ongoing experience and clarify what will support a deepening practice. Further study input. More skills acquisition if necessary. Mediation interviews and practicalities debrief.
Days nine to twelve: Emphasis on silent time in nature. Multiple days and nights out if appropriate. Organise food drops and other material support for those intending to spend several days and nights out. Study and meditation program also developed for those spending more time at the centre.
Day thirteen: Assimilation, sharing of experience, considering how to carry learning and experience back into everyday life.
Day fourteen: Closing circle and finish.

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