Mark is an inner and outer explorer, who has extensively studied in the Buddhist tradition since the mid-80s. He is passionate about sharing his nature-based meditation practices and has taught Insight meditation and nature retreats worldwide for the past twenty years. Mark’s journey with meditation began in his late teens in London as a punk rocker. He was drawn to the peace and clarity it brought. This path took him to India and the US, immersing in long retreats with renowned teachers in the Insight meditation including Christopher Titmus, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Sharon Salzberg, and later in the Dzogchen tradition with Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche.
But, it was meditating in nature that captured Mark’s heart. When he moved to the US he fell for the vast landscapes of the Rockies, Sierra’s, and the deserts of the South-West. An unabashed nature lover, he sensed nature as a perfect temple for mindfulness and began integrating meditation and nature as a path of practice for himself and later teaching others. He realized the joy, peace, wisdom and freedom taught in Buddhism was accessible meditating outdoors.
This led Mark to found Awake in the Wild, an organization dedicated to sharing the transformative power of meditation in nature. Through this initiative, he has led silent wilderness meditation retreats in California, Colorado, Alaska, Mexico, Peru, and New Mexico, taking people on inner and outdoor adventures that combine meditation with the awe-inspiring beauty and profundity of nature. For Mark in his own practice and teaching, he’s observed how the combination of meditation and nature is life-changing. In response to the covid pandemic, Mark began offering a daily sunrise meditation in March 2020 through Awake in the Wild to support people sheltering in place at home. It has now become a thriving global community that meditates daily.” Because of the power of this work and the interest others have in nature meditation, he leads year-long immersive Awake in the Wild nature meditation teacher trainings in the US and Europe.
Mark has a life-long appreciation for Buddhist teachings and underwent teacher training/transmission with Jack Kornfield. As a senior meditation teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Mark has shared his love of meditation with countless students over the years through offering Insight Meditation retreats there and worldwide since the late 1990s. In the early 2000s Mark realized that as priceless as Buddhist teachings were, they reached a limited audience. So he created the Mindfulness Institute as a way to bring mindfulness practices to more secular environments. Through the Institute, Mark offers training, consulting, and coaching to individuals and organizations, ranging from Fortune 500 companies like Proctor and Gamble and Ford, to non-profits like Trust for Public Land as well as in healthcare, education, and the justice system.
Similarly, as a way to continue to offer mindfulness teachings in society, Mark works as a consultant and trainer for Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a mindfulness and emotional intelligence leadership training. He has taught in a variety of organizations including Google, the U.N., and the Bhutan government.
As interest in mindfulness bloomed in the mid-2000s, Mark saw the need to train mindfulness teachers with depth and quality. In 2012 Mark co-founded the Mindfulness Training Institute with friend and colleague Martin Aylward. Together, they lead year-long, in-person, professional mindfulness teacher trainings in the US and Europe annually. The Institute has trained 300+ graduates in over 20 countries.
In order to work with people more closely, Mark trained as a Psychotherapist, Integral coach, and in Trauma Therapy. This has both given him a deep understanding of human nature and allowed him to see the power of integrating mindfulness into therapeutic work to help transform lives.
Mark loves to write both prose and poetry. He is the author of four books. His latest is A Field Guide to Nature Meditation: 52 Mindfulness Practices for Joy, Wisdom, and Wonder. His first book on meditation and nature is Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery. His comprehensive work about mindfulness is From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness and his work on the judging mind takes form in his book Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Help Free You from the Inner Critic. His poetry collection is called Awake in the Wild poems.
As a way to make meditation teachings more accessible Mark has contributed to many meditation apps, including Waking Up, Insight Timer, Mindfulness, WisdomLabs, RethinkCare, Grokker, and DharmaSeed. Mark also likes to share his teachings, particularly about nature and meditation through lectures, keynotes, podcasts, and other media. More information can be found here. When he’s not busy teaching or writing, Mark loves to spend time in nature. He enjoys hiking, biking, and kayaking, walking through redwood groves in the rain, and backpacking in the High Sierra mountains. Mark lives with his partner in Marin County and they have 2 adorable cats, Masala and Chester.