Inner Nature/Outer Nature: Love and Awareness Nature Retreat
With Johann Robbins, Sylvie Rokab, Cornelia Santschi and Liz Reynolds
July 24 - 30, 2023
Inner/Outer Nature: Love and Awareness Nature Retreat
For this retreat all are welcome to attend. We will focus is on immersing in nature, being silent in the natural world, connecting our inner nature with outer nature, and dissolving separation. Each day includes plentiful time for sitting, hiking/walking meditation, as well as nature meditation instruction, dharma talks, and individual and group practice discussions. There will be a simple and easy one night solo opportunity during the retreat, which most people experience as an incredible highlight.
The overall intention is for deep silence, practice, and the joy and healing that comes with a profound connection with nature, and then integrating that into one’s life. Spiritual practice will be supported by instruction in a variety of nature meditation practices. There will be nightly campfire dharma talks, exploring how being-in-nature can be an important part of our spiritual path by helping to ground us in personal experience of non-separation from the natural world. The emphasis is not on meditative technique so much as developing direct awareness that can lead to a new integration of the internal (spiritual) and external (activity). There are no prerequisites for this retreat, and beginning meditators or first time retreaters are welcome and will be fully supported, while those with more experience will find lots of opportunity for learning and growth as well. Our larger teaching team makes this possible.
Scroll to see testimonials from past retreatants at the bottom of this page
This Retreat Includes
- Guidance and instruction for meditation in nature (both sitting and walking) to deepen our experience of connection with nature, while dissolving the sense of a fixed and separate self.
- Individual attention. Our large teaching team allows us to fully support beginners who attend the retreat, while not having to dilute anything for those more experienced.
- The joy and healing that comes with sitting and walking in beautiful wild settings.
- Free time for meditation and/or rest.
- Evening campfire dharma talks.
- One on one discussions with the teachers.
- Three wonderful vegetarian meals, including food for solos.
- Camp site or indoor lodging.
- Time for a one day and night solo in a place of your choosing.
- If you want to do this retreat and the one after it, the four nights in between can be a free camping self retreat. Please enquire.
About Immersion in Nature (Solo Time)
Being alone in nature is a rare opportunity for healing and connection. Abiding in a spot of your choosing for a day and a night is time to explore and relax: opening deeply to the power and beauty of the environment, with the freedom that solitaude provides. Over time, the elements, plants and animals become our teachers, the land our home, and silence our cherished companion.
The solo does not require any intense physical exertion, or even backpacking, you can solo in our campground near the lodge if you prefer not to go far. It is not a survival course or an ordeal, and does not require anything particularly challenging, except to simply be in nature, with one’s self.
There is ample instruction, preparation, support, and flexibility for the solo, so each participant can benefit fully from their experience. All necessary food is provided, with no cooking or stove necessary. Everyone can do their solo in a variety of locations, anywhere from next to the lodge to deep in the wilderness. Most past participants have found the solo a highlight of their retreat. If you are are physically or medically unable to camp during the solo, you can continue sleeping in the lodge for the solo. Otherwise plan on bringing a tent, sleeping bag, pad, etc. so you can camp out.
General Retreat Guidelines
- The retreats are designed to be enjoyable, not rigorous, but participants are expected to have a willingness to maintain silence, to help with yogi jobs, and to cooperate with the group structure.
- Some camping experience (car camping or backpacking) is helpful for the solo, but not necessary.
- Being in good health, able to camp and hike (at least the easier) trails at the center.
- Having the necessary clothing and equipment to enjoy being outdoors in a variety of conditions. We will be living and practicing outdoors, under the barn or another shelter in case of bad weather, including meditating, eating and walking.
If you are not sure about any of this, please inquire.
Time and Transportation
The retreat begins at 4:00pm on the first day, and ends about 1:00pm after lunch on the last day. If you are flying into Denver, the airport is about 90 minutes from the center, so you should plan on your flight arriving no later than 1:00pm to reach the retreat center on time. Return flights departing from the Denver airport should leave no earlier than 4:30pm, so you can get to the airport on time. Please do not plan on leaving the retreat early or arriving late. If camping you might want to allow some extra time to set up your tent before the retreat starts.
Please note that the center is at 8500 feet, similar to most Colorado ski towns. If you are concerned about acclimating from sea level, you might consider arriving a day or two in the Denver/Boulder area before the retreat.
You will be out of contact with no internet access or cellphone service during the retreat. Please complete all personal business before you arrive. The staff will have the ability to make and receive emergency calls or emails on your behalf, but phone and internet are not available for personal use.
Approximate Daily Schedule
We awaken at first light, hot water and coffee are available, and we meditate outside. Then breakfast is put out, and everyone eats and then packs their lunch. Daily activities include being out on the land doing sitting, walking, and hiking meditation, including meditation instruction, with teacher support including individual practice discussions. After dinner there is an evening meditation, followed by a dharma talk around the campfire, and then bedtime or optional practice when it gets dark.
Every effort is made to support a deep and fruitful retreat, and noble silence is a valuable part of the process. With exceptions for dharma talks and other modes of support, and special discussions and exercises in the afternoons of the first week, we will be in silence.
You may camp in a beautiful campsite, or stay in the lodge. Lodge rooms are for single individuals or couples or friends consenting to room together. If you reserve a space in a single room, you may request to change your rooming to a double, with another consenting participant. Your cost will be adjusted to reflect the cost of a double room. Contact Kathy at regis[email protected] if you will be rooming with another participants.
- $690 Camping
- $680|$1360 RV Camping
- $775 Curtain Room
- $910 Single Room
- $775 Semi-Private Nook (single) see more details on registration page
- $1660 Shared Double Room (2 single beds; cost for couples).
- $1660 Shared Double Room (1 double bed; cost for couples).
Cost and Dana
The cost of the retreat is set as low as possible by Impermanent Sangha and only covers expenses: renting the center, food, cooks, insurance, and staff travel. The teachers and manager are not paid, and are supported with dana.
It is our intention that cost not be an impediment to practice. If you cannot afford to attend without a fee reduction, you can ask for a scholarship on the registration web site, and then just pay the remaining amount.
Anyone with financial hardship is welcome to apply and will be assessed based on needs and fund availability. We ask that you request the lowest amount required to attend the retreat, so that we can offer support to as many people as possible. But do not let cost be an impediment to your attending; if you need a scholarship, please get one.
A non-refundable deposit of $180 is due at the time of registration. Full payment is due 60 days before the retreat start date; your credit card will automatically be charged at that time.
Cancellation, and Refund Policies
- If you cancel your retreat at any time, the $180 registration fee is not refunded.
- Cancellations received 60-30 days prior will get a refund of half of the final payment.
- Cancellations 30-7 days prior will get a refund of a quarter of the final payment.
- For cancellations inside of 7 days there will be no refunds.
Teacher Donations (Dana)
None of this cost share goes to the teachers or to the manager, who are solely supported by the dana (generosity) of the participants. In the tradition of the Buddha, teachings are offered without a set fee, keeping costs as low as possible, so no one is excluded due to finances. In turn, we ask that your donation be as generous as possible within your means. Please bring a check or cash. We are grateful for your support.
Please read the complete RMERC covid policy here. The Covid policy may change at anytime in accordance with the teacher’s discretion. These policies help us create a comfortable and safe sangha (community).
PRE-RETREAT. To ensure everyone’s safety, we ask that you wear an N95 mask during travel, especially while in planes and other public spaces, regardless of federal rules, and that you are really careful for 10 days before your retreat. If you have any COVID symptoms please do not come to RMERC until you are well.
To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, RMERC requires that everyone arriving at the retreat center provide a negative covid test result, preferably from a PCR test, taken less than 96 hours before the retreat. If a PCR is not accessible, we require two rapid home tests, the first taken the day before the retreat, and the second taken the day of the retreat, with 24-36 hours between the two tests. Those using home tests should take time-stamped photos of both test results. This proof of negative test results must be presented before entering the lodge for your retreat.
Food and Meals
Three simple vegetarian meals a day will be provided from dinner the first day through lunch of the last, including solo food which does not require cooking. If you want a snack between meals, or supplemental protein such as jerky or packaged fish, you can bring a small quantity of packaged unrefrigerated food. Tea and coffee along with milk and sweeteners are available before and during breakfast. Please do not bring anything that needs refrigeration (medicine excepted). Excessive snacks are unnecessary: if you need a boost, a little gorp or an energy bar is sufficient for most people.
To allow us to be out on the land we will be packing our lunches after breakfast. Please bring a plastic container or two with tight fitting lids to carry your lunch in.
Figuring menus and quantities, shopping, organizing, and cooking are complex and crucial tasks for a retreat. We provide simple, wholesome, natural, predominantly organic, vegetarian meals. We can accommodate common food allergies such as gluten, soy or dairy, but not preferences. Make sure to include on the registration form full details of any special allergy or health needs you have beyond basic vegetarian. If you have allergies beyond, nuts, gluten or dairy, contact Kayla and Lily to discuss if they can accommodate your allergy needs. 303-459-1012.
Helper (Yogi) Jobs
Some of the work necessary to support the group will be handled by participants during the retreat. You will be able to choose your yogi job, and will keep it throughout the retreat. Most participants find serving others in this way quite enjoyable, and a great opportunity for practice in action.
“An amazing experience that exceeded all expectations and left me feeling the most grateful I have ever felt in my life. I am inspired to live my life more fully!” Haley Dourron, Doctoral Student in Neuropsychology, UAB, Birmingham, AL
“A very full, rich, heart opening experience. Gave me the intimate connection with the natural world, from the outside in and the inside out, that I was seeking.”
“I came to this retreat knowing very little about meditation and less about Buddhism. David and Johann were incredibly knowledgeable and relatable for a beginner. They gave useful, practical tools that made the challenge of the work an opportunity for me. The solo was an event I will cherish for my life. This place and the teachings have helped me build a base for regular practice.” Chase Butala, Psychologist, LPC, Ranson, WV
“This retreat provided me with deep, deep connection to myself, the others in the sangha, and the land. I believe it will also help me deepen my connection to my life and the greater community of the planet. Words can’t adequately express my gratitude and appreciation for this retreat. Well done!” Cynde Denson, Mind
Johann started backpacking and meditating as a teenager, and deepened his spiritual journey on frequent solo wilderness trips. His passion is facilitating spiritual practice in nature: he has guided and taught wilderness retreats and workshops in various traditions for over 25 years, including as a Vision Quest guide in the late 1990s. Johann founded Impermanent Sangha in 2002 and has led dozens of Ecodharma and nature meditation retreats, including backpacking, camping, canoeing and rafting. Johann founded Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center in 2016 and is its Executive Director. Johann teaches Mindfulness Meditation, also known as Insight or Vipassana, with a modern secular approach. He has been meditating since 1974 and was asked to teach in 2008. He completed the two-year CDL teacher training program at Spirit Rock in 2012. His primary teachers include Shinzen Young and Eric Kolvig (who also helped found Impermanent Sangha and taught wilderness retreats for many years before his retirement).
Learn more about Johann Robbins
Sylvie is a certified nature-therapy guide, mindfulness teacher in the Vipassana tradition, and an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. By blending these three disciplines, Sylvie offers simple but powerful techniques that help participants find freedom from suffering, to access the healing, wisdom, and wonder that can only be found in mindful relationship with nature. Narrated by Liam Neeson, her film Love Thy Nature earned 27 awards and has helped viewers realize that the illusion of separation from the natural world is at the root cause of our dire human condition. Through her teaching, Sylvie helps participants rekindle mindful loving awareness, awakening to the power of nature to help transform their lives. They often share that they take home a renewed sense of belonging, joy, aliveness, and a desire to protect our spellbinding world.
Learn more about Sylvie Rokab
Cornelia (Punnya) Santschi is a neuropsychologist and meditation teacher. She is deeply committed to environmental conservation and social justice. At the RWJ Barnabas Health Institute of Neurology in NJ, she has specialized in brain-behavior relationships for over 20 years. Cornelia is a devoted student of Buddhism with a dedicated insight meditation practice since 2000. She completed yoga teacher training at Integral Yoga in NYC in 2001, and graduated from the Community Dharma Leader Program in 2017. As founder/president of non-profit Anatta World Health & Education Outreach, Cornelia has organized culturally sensitive health, education, and women’s empowerment programs in multiple countries, with local partners since 2006, and co-leads yearly meaningful travel tours in Nepal. Cornelia is co-founder/board member of Newark Center for Meditative Culture in NJ, where she serves as meditation teacher and insight community liaison; working to increase access to socially engaged programs within a diverse urban community. She is co-founder/vice-president of the Alegria Dharma Center, a meditation retreat center in Costa Rica, where she is developing a comprehensive EcoDharma retreat program.
Learn more about Cornelia Santschi
Liz Reynolds (she/her) Originally from east Tennessee, Liz began her meditation practice in 2010 while living and working in the Russian Far East. Her practice has accompanied her through living and working in Russia, Japan, Greece, Germany, several US states and through several Dharma study and leadership programs. In 2020, Liz became a teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, in central Virginia. She is currently in Upaya Zen Center’s two-year Buddhist chaplaincy training program and volunteers as a chaplain intern at UVA hospital, and is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. Liz believes that the dharma can inform a socially engaged life, and feels passionately about justice (and fun!) in all forms. She is grateful to the Mother trees, mountain streams and mossy rocks for supporting her life and spirit each day! https://www.liz-reynolds.com/
Learn more about Liz Reynolds