Meditating in Nature with Mark Coleman

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Coleman describes his surprising past when he was an anti-establishment anarchist and a punk to finding the teachings of mindfulness. He says both paths are revolutionary, “The Buddha talked about mindfulness awakening as also going against the stream of normative culture and views. And so, in that way, there was a confluence. Meditation is kind of a revolutionary act. Living a life of simplicity and letting go of the forces of greed, consumption, and violence can be a revolutionary activity. In a way, [rebellion and contemplation] seemed very, very contradictory… But they actually both have their counterculture, counter normative orientations.” After traveling to India and spending many years of experiencing the contemplative tradition, he discovered that meditation in nature reconnects us with the world around us, enhancing our spacious awareness. He often asked these questions of his students: How does the Earth wish to move through you? How is the earth moving through you? And, as you are a part of the Earth, what is an effective way to live your life that's an expression of care for the Earth, which is yourself? He acknowledges that there is much competition for our attention and going outside moves us from a self-referential world to one of being part of the living web that is the ecosystem.(hosted by Travis Glen Sebera)


Mark Coleman is a mindfulness meditation teacher who has been teaching Insight meditation and nature retreats worldwide since 1997. He regularly leads wilderness retreats through his organization, Awake in the Wild, where he introduces others to nature-based meditation practices. These retreats include a wide variety of contemplative activities like hiking, backpacking, forest bathing, kayaking, river rafting, cross-country skiing, rowing, canoeing, and more. Mark is also the co-founder of the Mindfulness Training Institute, where he co-leads yearlong mindfulness-teacher trainings in Europe and the U.S. He is also a senior meditation teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California.

Mark Coleman’s books include:

  • Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery (New World Library 2006)
  • Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic (New World Library 2016)
  • From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness (New World Library 2019)
  • A Field Guide to Nature Meditation: 52 Mindfulness Practices for Joy, Wisdom and Wonder (Awake in the Wild 2022) 

To learn more about the work of Mark Coleman go to 

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • How the young revolutionary Coleman stumbled into Buddhism
  • What is the difference between meditating indoors and outside in nature
  • How we can connect deeply with the natural world when we take note of the four seasons
  • Why it is important to reorient our attention from our many screens: TVs, computers, and smartphones
  • What is more important than the act of meditation are the qualities and presence that comes from it
  • Why embracing our sensory experience leads to open, spacious awareness
  • The experience of the natural world can happen on a park bench, or next to a house plant, or a walk in the rain
  • What is the practice of meandering in nature
  • What is the difference between seeing nature on a video screen and being directly in nature
  • How the dynamism of nature can evoke a whole range of experience including awe and fear
  • How the eco crisis seems abstract in its statistical reporting and the importance of going outside and experiencing the places we love 

Host: Travis Glen Sebera   Interview Date: 3/6/2024   Program Number: 3811

Music Playlist

From Album: The Meaning of Tea
Artists: Various - Music of Tea (Soundtrack)

Opening Essay: Track 01 The Meaning of Tea
Music Break 1: Track 02 Atlas Mountain Mist
Music Break 2: Track 03 Tea Piano
Music Break 3: Track 12 Wabi-Sabi