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

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The birds have vanished into the sky.
And now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together the mountain and I,
Until only the mountain remains.
                                - Li Po

 

 

This retreat connects mindfulness and The Dharma with the natural world – at a time when the world urgently needs our care.

a teacher-led Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon

Elders within indigenous societies and contemplative traditions have long sought out the refuge of the wider natural world. These sages and elders of old deeply understood that the nature of their own minds was not separate from mountains and rivers and the great wide Earth.

We humans have become severed from a sensuous and intimate relationship with the wider natural world and our more-than-human relatives, with consequences for our own lives and those of the wider Earth community.

In this retreat, we explore the gifts of nature-based practice and contemplative practice, approaching our inner landscapes, deepening our intimacy with the natural world and experiencing how doing both deepens presence with life.

Meditation instruction will be offered around the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, alongside a range of nature-based practices drawing on an eco-centric model of human development that complement these foundations. Group inquiry and individual interviews will also be offered.

This retreat is offered as an invitation to resource ourselves, to deepen our gratitude for being alive on this Earth as well as to nourish and inspire us as we navigate our way into an uncertain future. This work is at heart about remembering what we most deeply belong to and offering our lives to that.

 

Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life
and wait there patiently,
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.

- Martha Postlewaite

 

Read on for more details on this retreat and click the Leaders, Schedules and Venue & Directions tabs above for further information.

a teacher-led Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon

 

 

This retreat is for you if you:


  • teacher led meditation retreats at The Barn at The Sharpham Trustwant to go deeper into dharma, with an experienced teacher close at hand
  • want to bring your attention and practice to focus on the Natural World
  • need resourcing in this changing times
  • want to live and work in community, preparing meals together and working in the gardens
  • are aged 18 and above

Retreats with residential teachers


Our retreats with residential teachers are similar to standard retreats with extra teaching.

There will be a maximum of 11 participants on this retreat.

There are periods of silence on each of our retreats.

Our programme of standard 6-night retreats at The Barn can be viewed and booked here


Daily meditations


There are approximately three 40-minute meditation periods each day, and it's important that you commit to them to deepen your practice and connect to the community here.


Working on the land


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.

Gardens at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust, Devon, England, UK

What you’ll experience on this retreat


During this retreat you’ll:

  • experience guided meditations and periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • be living in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including the making of meals and taking care of the house
  • have a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself
  • have access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in the kitchen
  • be able to explore the beautiful Sharpham Estate, set within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart

Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham


When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:

  • become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
  • pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
  • explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
  • Tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things

Click here to read our ethos and principles

a teacher-led Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon

What might you bring?


If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter. But you might consider the following:

  • Comfortable, loose clothing for meditation and movement sessions
  • Indoor footwear/slippers
  • Suitable seasonal clothes – it can get cold in the evening and in the winter
  • Boots or comfy waterproof outdoor shoes and a waterproof jacket are advisable for local walks
  • A journal or notepad for reflection during your time here

Find out more about staying at The Barn on our Frequently Asked Questions page

Food at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

Food & your dietary needs


We have a fully stocked organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time. Everyone takes a turn to prepare this meal in pairs (this will be organised at the Sunday welcome meeting). We have plenty of simple recipes for you to choose from, or we can direct you to one in particular. Some participants like to use their own recipe ideas.

We can accommodate gluten-free and/or vegan dietary needs. However, our kitchen is not gluten, dairy nor nut-free. We do not provide gluten-free bread, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Please make sure you include dietary restrictions and any food allergies on your Booking Form. We may need to communicate further with you about specifics. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.

Our water is provided from our own spring, UV treated and filtered.


Your physical and mental health


This retreat is suitable for you if you have some meditation experience, or you are seeking to renew or reconnect with your practice.

Although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.
 


See our Barn Covid-19 measures here


 

 

 

I found the space to reconnect with parts of myself I thought were lost. All thanks to the amazing coordinators, other retreatants, beautiful surroundings. If we all did this once a year, the world would be all the brighter for it….

 

View down the River Dart Valley at The Barn meditation retreat centre

 

 

Retreats with residential teachers have a tighter schedule and have less free time than our standard 6-night retreats.

Note that we hold silence from 9.00pm to 9.00am each day, and all day Wednesday.


Sunday

Afternoon
2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival
4.30pm – Welcome talk, introductions and tour
5.30pm –  Guided meditation
6.30pm – Light evening meal. Then settling in
8.30pm – The Barn goes into silence until 9.00am the next day
 

 

Monday to Friday:

This is a typical schedule and will be adjusted to meet each teacher's needs.

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up 12.20pm – Meditation (some guided) 
6.50am – Meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
  2.00pm – Personal time
7.30am –  Household tasks 4.30pm – Optional sitting meditation
8.00am – Breakfast 5.00pm – Teaching 
9.00am – Morning sharing and meeting  6.00pm – Light supper prepared individually or in groups
10.00am – Mindful gardening  8.00pm – Practice discussion
   

 

Saturday:  

As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. Then it's time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 11.00am.

A beautiful way to slow down, listen in and be in a welcoming and loving community. This has been an enriching week - stunning surroundings, lovely people, delicious food, very skilled and compassionate facilitators, and wise teachers.
 

This week at The Barn has been food for my heart. I feel calmer and more connected. The kindness of all the people here, the healthy food, the chance to be in nature were so helpful.
 

This experience was a long overdue gift to myself. It felt both restorative and gently transformative--a very special week.
 

Coming to the Barn is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, with your body and mind in the context of wonderful nature. It is immersive, and helps to blur the lines between body/mind, self/other, and human/nature.

This retreat takes place at The Barn, with superb views over the River Dart.


Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.

Click here to view and download directions and a map to The Barn

Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to The Barn

view of The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.


Phones and laptops
We ask all participants to turn off mobile phones and electronic devices for the whole of your retreat. This helps you and everyone else to disengage from daily life and live fully in the simplicity and quietude of a Buddhist retreat.


We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Sustainability


We take sustainability seriously.Meditation retreats at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust, Devon, England

Heating and hot water in The Barn is run from our log furnace and solar thermal panels. We supply as much food as possible from our organic gardens; the rest comes from Riverford Organic Farms and Essential Trading Cooperative. We also have two large photovoltaic solar panel arrays on the Estate and use biodegradable cleaning products wherever possible.

£350 - Supported Rate

The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income. The Supported Rate is for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate.

£425 – Standard Rate

Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards our running costs, supporting the work of The Barn and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access our retreats.

£495 – Benefactor Rate

If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, that means that you'll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Barn retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Barn, enabling us to continue our charitable work connecting people to nature and fostering mindfulness and wellbeing, as well as caring for the land, wildlife and wider estate.




Accommodation & facilities

Rooms at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

All rates include all meals, bedding and towels. All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with a shared bathroom.

All rooms are randomly allocated, unless you have medical needs relating to your room allocation. If you have such a need, let us know on your booking form before the retreat begins. 

Hot drinks are available 24 hours in the kitchen.

The Barn is on the Sharpham Estate, set in a stunning hillside location overlooking the River Dart within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Bursaries

Limited bursaries are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Contact the Barn team on the number or email below at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here

 

Rupert Marques

Rupert Marques

Rupert has practiced in the insight meditation tradition for nearly 25 years in Europe, America and Asia. His primary teachers have been Christina Feldman and Joseph Goldstein. The work of Toni Packer and John Tarrant have also been influential in his practice and teaching. He teaches at various retreat centres in Europe and beyond. For the past 4 years Rupert has lived and worked at Ecodharma, a contemplative retreat community in the Spanish Pyrenees dedicated to exploring the role of the Dharma in the movements for social justice and ecological sustainability. At Ecodharma he directed the Nature based Practice strand of their work that marries contemplative practice with a range of approaches within the field of experiential ecopsychology in a wilderness setting.


Retreats & Events

All rooms are single occupancy.

How to book easily and securely:

  • online on this page
  • by phoning 01803 732542

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.