From Jeff: For 7 years now, I’ve been co-teaching this week-long “Contemplative Environmental Practice” workshop in the mountains of New Mexico. It is always one of the most mind-blowing and heart-opening weeks of my year. The location- the Lama Foundation – is magical, an off-grid eco-mystery school, high in the mountains of New Mexico, where Ram Das wrote his famous Be Here Now and basically changed North American culture. No words can describe the effect of this place on consciousness – it’s like coming home.
The retreat is for anyone who works in some way with the natural world, particularly educators, activists and professors. Basically the recipe is we get a bunch of switched-on environmentalists in one gorgeous location, make them sleep in tents, and then take them deep into different contemplative practices, exploring how the different practices feed our work, leading to more insight, resilience and connection. It is rich beyond belief, but you don’t have to be rich to attend.
This may well be our last year. If you are at all curious, I encourage you to come. This retreat attracts enormously inspiring people; we change each others lives, and then, as everything goes quiet, we watch the sun set over the mountains.
Click here for more information. Longer blurb below.
This has been a challenging year for environmental protection. How can we respond most meaningfully as educators, advocates, and ordinary citizens to intensifying environmental dangers? “Contemplative Environmental Practice” is a week-long residential workshop that explores how our inner lives can provide insight, passion, and sensitivity to our environmental engagements.
Set in the mountains of New Mexico, the workshop uses meditation, movement, conversation, writing, immersion in nature, and other contemplative practices to probe the depths of environmental challenges, strengthen the connection between our personal and professional lives, and facilitate self-inquiry, effective pedagogy, and meaningful activism.
The workshop will take place at the Lama Foundation, an off-grid retreat center that draws its power from the sun, water from a spring, and much of its food from its organic gardens. Surrounded on three sides by the Carson National Forest, Lama is an ideal place to integrate our deepest spiritual yearnings with our professional and personal environmental commitments.
No prior experience in meditation or other contemplative practices is necessary.
Paul Wapner, Professor of Global Environmental Politics, American University
Lena Fletcher, Professor of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Janice Pezzoli, environmental and social activist, peerless designer of permaculture-inspired gardens for schools
Jeff Warren, B-list writer who got lucky and gets to explore meditation with people with real jobs.
“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
– Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander