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Contemplative Environmental Practice

Six people outside talking while sitting on a stone wall.

More Information

Setting and Agenda

“Contemplative Environmental Practice” will take place at the Lama Foundation, a retreat center in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Lama is a beautiful, off-grid community committed to sustainable and mindful living. It sits on 100 acres surrounded by National Forest land and draws its power from the sun, water from a spring, and much of its food in the summer directly from the garden. Lama’s funky, solar-powered, eco-laboratory has been a locus of inner work since Ram Dass wrote Be Here Now under its tall ponderosa pines back in 1971. At 8500 feet, it provides an ideal setting for reflection and engagement with contemplative environmental issues.

We will begin each morning with meditation instruction and practice, and weave in art exercises and other reflective practices into substantive discussions throughout each day. There will also be ample free time to deepen one’s personal practice, hike, participate in Lama community activities, or simply relax.

Accommodations at Lama are relatively rustic. Limited guest rooms are available, but most participants sleep in tents in a gorgeous campground close to bathrooms, showers, meeting rooms, and Lama’s historic library. For women who choose not to tent camp, there is a dormitory style yurt with beds, sheets, and other amenities. Those sleeping in the campground must supply their own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, and pad). (Arrangements can be made to rent these.) The weather is close to perfect in July. Three vegetarian meals are provided every day plus snacks. We see the natural setting of Lama enhancing the workshop goals.

People sitting outside under a shelter near a domed building

Families and Guests

Too often, our professional commitments take us away from our families and dear ones. In an effort to make the workshop more meaningful and sustainable, Lama welcomes guests. Guests are unable to attend workshop sessions, but can stay with participants on the mountain and take part in Lama community activities.Participants can eat with their families or guests, and spend time with them during unscheduled blocks of time. Please keep in mind that Lama requires small children to be supervised by a parent at all times.

Lama requests that guests pay a nominal daily fee for meals and accommodations.

If you are interested in bringing a guest or family member(s), please discuss arrangements with Paul Wapner. (Please note that, while your guests are warmly invited, the workshop is pretty all-consuming, so you might want simply to attend by yourself.)

solar panels

Institutional Support

The workshop enjoys the support of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. The Association is an academic organization focused on how contemplative practices can enhance teaching, inquiry, and scholarship. It encourages integration across academic fields as well as the mind, body, and heart, and thus invites workshop participants from the full range of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspectives including the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, and from all activist orientations.


The workshop also enjoys the support of the Global Environmental Politics (GEP) Program in the School of International Service at American University, Washington DC. GEP engages in research and teaching in a variety of issue areas focused around the challenges of global sustainability. The GEP program puts significant emphasis on engaged teaching and scholarship. Faculty and students actively work to make the world a better place. With such a normative focus, the GEP program invites workshop participants from all walks and levels of activist life, including those working as lobbyists, movement organizers, policy analysts, community agitators, and ordinary citizens committed to environmental lifestyles.