We are offering three nature retreats in 2024 at the Ecodharma Center.

Impermanent Sangha Retreats

Join our email list and receive retreat information as soon as it is announced:

For questions or to reach us:

Impermanent Sangha has offered low cost wilderness and nature meditation retreats since 2002. These retreats are a combination of formal Insight/Mindfulness meditation practice, deep Sangha (community), and being in beautiful and wild places where the Dharma comes alive. One new retreat this year includes a Nondual Direct Path approach.

We also weave Ecodharma into some of our retreats; working with the impacts and demands created by threats to climate, environment, and survival; and how developing appropriate responses can be integrated into our spiritual path.

For more on Ecodharma please read the introduction to David Loy's new book "Ecodharma". For a next step read "Declare a Climate Emergency Now".

Impermanent Sangha nature meditation retreats are affordable, and with scholarships available, no one is turned away for lack of funds. The emphasis is on appreciating the beauties and mysteries of outer and inner nature deeply and mindfully. Each retreat begins with guidance on meditating in nature, physical and emotional safety, and group cohesion and bonding.

Some physical activity is inherent to nature meditation retreats, but there is no intention to push or challenge physically, and reasonable health is all that's required. Participants on our meditation retreats have ranged in age from 18 to 80, and we welcome diversity of all types.

All our retreats are now held at Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. This venue allows us to do intensive nature practice in an incredibly beautiful place, with many sitting spots and hiking trails, and the option of being indoors during inclement weather. In 2020 we are offering several one and two week retreats, with the intention of facilitating deeper and more accessible practice. These retreats are offered with all of our love and wisdom, and we hope they bring you as much joy and insight as they do us.

The Buddha practiced in nature, awakened in nature, and taught in nature. Why not give it a try?

"If you love wild nature, and spiritual teachings and guidance shared with purity, integrity, and skill; the ideal way to get them is a retreat with Impermanent Sangha." 

                            - Eric Kolvig


Awakening to Our Nature, in Nature

According to the traditional story, the future Buddha was born in a forest grove, left home to practice in nature, awakened under a tree, lived and taught in nature, and passed away in nature. When Mara questioned his enlightenment, the Buddha touched the earth as witness to his realization.

Today most of us meditate in homes homes and retreat centers, separated from the joys and irritations of the natural world by solid floors and right-angled walls. This is certainly more convenient and comfortable, but has something been lost?

Spending time in the natural world provides inescapable lessons in the three basic facts of existence: dissatisfaction/stress, impermanence/change, and insubstantiality. It is almost always too hot or cold, too wet or windy, not to mention the insects and animals. Without indoor temperature control and lighting, the transience of conditions become much more apparent. And the interdependence of ecosystems demonstrates how the world is not a collection of separate things but a confluence of natural processes that includes us.

The ecological and climate crises we face now go far beyond the ordinary personal suffering that Buddhism has usually been concerned with. Traditional Buddhist teachings help us to wake up individually and experience our non-separation from the world. Today we must ask whether those teachings also apply to group delusions of a collective self. Isn’t our ecological predicament a larger version of the perennial individual predicament: the notion that we the human “inside” are separate from the natural world “outside”?

The practical issue then becomes whether we can use our spiritual practice to investigate the root causes of our present situation. On one level we have a civilization that has institutionalized greed and exploitation, deferring the environmental costs of fossil fuels and the unrestrained growth of population and consumption to the future – a future that is starting to be now. On another level, we have human hearts and minds that have difficulty restraining the drive for immediate gratification and pleasure, regardless of the harmful consequences to ourselves and to others.

A powerful avenue for investigating our personal and collective separation is being in the natural world for periods of intensive practice. With time and deep, mindful observation we can realize that in order to live in non-separation we must give up the illusion of being above or beyond nature—the illusion of control that technology and society have so deeply ingrained in us.

Being in the elements, exposed and present, can be uplifting and inspiring, but it can also be scary, uncomfortable, and disorienting, before it is ultimately liberating. It is one thing to wax poetic about the beauty of nature, another to be deeply feeling moment by moment the effects on mind and body of cold, heat, wind, water, sun, solitude, and the fears they can engender. Yet if we turn towards our experience with loving awareness, it can bring us back to our true home, opening us to absolute truth and love; and helping us realize our deep connection and oneness with all.

Since the natural world is unable to protect itself from our formidable technologies, the ultimate question is if and when we will realize our non-duality with it, to love it and be loved by it, and in that way come to embrace responsibility for the well-being of the whole biosphere, which is our only assured path of survival.

The hope for this is what motivates our offerings here.

David Loy and Johann Robbins