Earth in Mind: Dharma, Deep Ecology and the Land with Rupert Marques


“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way,

on a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”

- Arundhati Roy

This retreat offers the opportunity to marry the practice of mindfulness and exploration of the Dharma with a deepening connection to the wider Natural world and contemplation of our place in the times we are living through.

At this time, we live with the possibility of ‘The Great Turning’; the movement toward social justice and ecological sustainability, of living in a mutually enhancing manner with the wider Earth community. We also live with the possibility of the ‘Great Unravelling’; the breaking down of many human and ecological systems we depend upon. It is a challenging time to be alive in and to hold, yet it is also a privilege to be awake at this crucial juncture in our collective story and to participate in its unfolding.


In this retreat we will take the time to slow down; to connect with ourselves and with the land in service of remembering with our minds and bodies what most deeply matters to us, and what we most deeply belong to. The quality of presence cultivated through a continuity of mindfulness practice unfolded through our days will be a primary support in meeting this life, one moment at a time.

During our week we will draw on a range of tools and practices woven through the daily rhythm of life at the Barn, including: silent meditation practice, Dharma teachings and discussion, Nature based ecopsychology practices, and a solo day on the land. 

We also draw support from coming together as a small temporary community, reminding us that we do not walk this path alone but are a part of a collective unfolding story, one that is made richer by our own presence.  This course is offered as an invitation to resource ourselves, to continue to courageously open our hearts to both the inner and outer landscapes we inhabit.




Themed retreat weeks have a tighter schedule and are more busy (ie allowing less free time) than our standard Six day retreats.

It is important that you are willing to participate in working on the land as part of your mindfulness practice (we can easily find suitable tasks for people with health difficulties) and that you can commit to all the scheduled activities during the week. This includes three 30-40 minute meditation sittings each day.

Note that we hold silence from 9pm to 9am each day, and all day Wednesday.

Barn themed retreat schedule

Sunday: Arrive between 14.00 and 16.00

16.30 Welcome talk, introductions and tour

17.30 Guided meditation

18.30 Light evening meal. Then settling in

21.00 Silence starts

Monday to Friday:

This is a generic guide and will be adjusted to meet each teacher's needs.

Mornings Afternoons
6.20 – Wake up 13.00 – Lunch
6.50 – Meditation 14.00 – Personal time
7.30 –  Household tasks 14.30 – Teaching
8.00 – Breakfast 17.00 – Meditation 
9.00 – Silence ends, house meeting (except Wednesday) 18.00 – Light supper prepared individually or in groups
10.30 – Mindful gardening (except Wednesday) 19.00 – Meditation (Some guided)
12.20 – Meditation (Some guided)  21.00 – House moves into silence until 9.00am the next day

Saturday:  As above until 8.00 - silence ends at breakfast.

Then room clear and depart between 9.00am and 11.00am

These retreats will take place at the Barn Retreat Centre, with superb views over the River Dart. They include full board with delicious home-cooked vegetarian food. Click here for directions.

Cost: £290-£340 plus dana*

Dana is the Pali word for generousity or donation. The teachers are receiving only a small payment for teaching at The Barn and are generously giving their energy and understanding to us all. Please consider giving a donation to teachers for themed retreats.

Limited bursaries are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Barn team for more details at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply - [email protected], 01803 732661.

Rupert Marques

Rupert Marques has been practising in the Insight Meditation tradition for over 20 years. He has a background in ecospychology, environmental and outdoor education.

He currently lives and teaches at Ecodharma, a pioneering community in the Spanish Pyrenees supporting individuals and groups working toward social justice and ecological sustainability.

A guiding interest for him is the exploration of how inner work finds its expression in sustaining and enriching our work for ‘the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible’.

Retreats & Events

All rooms are single occupancy.

How to book easily and securely:

If you've got any questions about this retreat, call The Barn team on 01803 732661 or email [email protected]

We’re not always in the office, so be prepared to leave a message saying when we could call you back.

Do check our Calendar to see and book for our events - or join our mailing list by clicking here to be kept in touch about Sharpham Trust news, retreats & events.