20 July 2016

Winter – time to journey inwards; or go to Cairns

The seasons make for a clear cycle.

Spring offers new life, new hope, exuberance.

Then summer; warm, indolent, abundant.

Autumn comes and with it growth slows, even stops; the energy is turning inwards.



Then winter. Grey skies. Cold. Wet.

An invitation to stay indoors,
to turn the mind inwardly,
to reflect,
to regenerate
and prepare for the flush of Spring already promised.

So here we are.

Mid winter.

And a particularly cold and introspective winter at that.

While I love rugging up and getting out into the garden amidst the cold and rain, it is the natural time to be reflective.


Currently I have been reflecting deeply on cancer long-term survivors. What are their common attributes? Just how repeatable are “Remarkable Recoveries”? How best to help people overcome cancer and to get the best from what its many challenges can offer – both physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

If you are interested to hear me speak of all this on ABC radio, I was interviewed by Libby Gore recently – Click here.

Also, Ruth and I will be heading North in August for a series of presentations – some specifically on cancer and some on meditation generally. Details follow, but first




                Thought for the day

                     ... I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

                     
I do know how to pay attention,
                    How to fall down 
into the grass,
                    How to kneel down in the grass,

                    How to be idle and blessed,
                    How to stroll through the fields,

                    Which is what I have been doing all day.


                    Tell me, what else should I have done?

                    Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?


                    Tell me, what is it you plan to do

                    With your one wild and precious life?

                                 Mary Oliver from The Summer Day





East Coast Speaking Engagements  –  August 2016

Please share these details with everyone you know who may be interested, 
and Ruth and I look forward to reconnecting with as many of you as possible along the way :)

Cairns - Mind, Heart and Healing - Saturday 13th August

An inspiring and practical day seminar focused on peace of mind and accelerated healing.
For everyone seeking good health, healing and wellbeing.
                           
Date        Saturday 13th August, 2016      Starts 10am (arrive 9.30) to 4pm
Venue       Khacho Yulo Ling Buddhist Centre, 348 Severin Street, Cairns
Enquiries   Call  07 4041 5556    or email   info@yuloling.com
Bookings    Online, go to https://trybooking.com/MAWT 
            or call Rinchen  07 4041 5556
                     
Brisbane - Cancer Choices - Thursday 18th August

When faced with cancer, there are many choices to make. It is easy to be confused and maybe miss something crucial. Good decision-making can be learnt.
Ian reveals key strategies for gathering accurate information and then using the intellect and our intuition to decide what is appropriate for us.

Date      Thursday, August 18th, 2016 from 7pm (arrive 6.30) to 10pm
Venue   The Relaxation Centre of Queensland, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley      
Enquiries and Bookings   The Relaxation Centre   Telephone  07 3856 3733
              www.relaxationcentreqld.org
Flier       Click here

Brisbane - Meditation, Stillness and Bliss - Sunday 21st August 

Stillness and bliss are genuine experiences in meditation. They are deeply comforting, deeply reassuring; quite wonderful to encounter.
During this highly experiential workshop, Ian will guide you into experiences that could well transform your meditation practice, and maybe even your life.

Date        Sunday, August 21st, 2016 from 10am (arrive 9.30) to 4pm
Venue     The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane
Enquiries and Bookings    The Relaxation Centre  Telephone  07 3856 3733
                                                                           www.relaxationcentreqld.com.au
Flier        Click here

Sydney - Feed Your Body, Free Your Mind with Greg Fitzgerald  - Tuesday 23rd August

Today, it is more common than not to hear people complain that they simply do not feel well and that they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
This evening comes as the first of two seminars separated by 21 days designed by Greg and Dawn Fitzgerald to help you turn your health around and head into Spring and Summer with the energy, health and peace of mind which is your birthright.
                             
Date        Tuesday the 23rd of August, 2016, 7-10pm;
Venue      Doltone House, 223 Belgrave Esplanade, Sylvania Waters, South Sydney
Bookings and enquiries   Book online at www.healthforlife.com.au
                         or phone Dawn on 95401962 or 0424246847

11 July 2016

Coffee, tea and cancer – is it time for a re-think?

Over the years, most who take nutrition seriously for prevention and as a cancer therapy have advocated for no coffee, no tea, no caffeine. But is this correct? New research challenges the proposition and points to some surprising conclusions.

Highly referenced, this may be a post to share as so many drink tea and coffee and the facts have been rather murky of late.

So this week, we go Out on a Limb once more to examine the history and the evidence, but first




                Thought for the day


The most accurate thing we can say
About the future
Is that however we are experiencing things right now,
They will change

                                   IG



First lets examine caffeine as a cause of cancer, then we can consider treatment possibilities. There are some surprises coming…

PREVENTION or CAUSE?
Read some articles in the popular press and caffeine seems to be great for preventing cancer. Go to a site like caffeineinformer.com and they list 10 positive studies, concluding coffee is the anti-cancer wonder drug!

They then cover themselves by saying “while the coffee/cancer research isn’t definitive, it does reveal that drinking coffee is probably far more beneficial than harmful as long as the person can metabolize caffeine correctly and doesn’t suffer from a caffeine allergy or from excessive use.”

Moderate consumption is put at 4 – 5 cups a day, which for some of us might seem to be quite a lot.

However, selecting a few positive studies that support your argument is not the same as reviewing all studies, so let us look a little closer.

1. Coffee and decaf


For a long time, since 1991 in fact, coffee was officially classified as a possible cause of cancer.

However, the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC) which is part of the WHO, has recently reviewed the current evidence and suggested that moderate coffee drinking is not associated with an increased risk of cancer at the majority of body sites. Put simply, they concluded that coffee is non- carcinogenic.

This research suggests the possibility that coffee drinking may actually help reduce risks for cancers of the liver and uterine endometrium, and increase risks of lung and bladder cancers, but in general the effects if any are concluded to be minor.

Reference : The Lancet Oncology



However, get this… Another big study published in 2004 concluded “consumption of caffeinated coffee, tea with caffeine, or caffeine itself was not associated with incidence of colon or rectal cancer, whereas regular consumption of decaffeinated coffee was associated with a reduced incidence of rectal cancer”!

So if you have switched to decaffeinated coffee, you may well be reducing your cancer risk!

Reference : Michels KB Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 97, No. 4, © Oxford University Press, 2005. 

2. Tea 
More than 2,000 studies have found little or insufficient consistent evidence to suggest common tea consumption increases the risk of any cancer. Overall, drinking tea is more likely to be beneficial than harmful with regard to cancer risk, although the risk appears to be reduced only slightly.

Reference Click here

3. Green tea 
We hear a lot of suggestions that green tea is special and amongst its many health promoting properties it can help prevent cancer. However, a major review of 51 studies with over 1.6 million participants conducted by the Cochrane Reviews concluded that no firm recommendations could be made regarding green tea consumption for cancer prevention.

They suggest that while there is no clear evidence of benefit, drinking a moderate amount of green tea (up to 3-5 cups daily), is unlikely to cause harm.

Reference Boehm K, Borrelli F, Ernst E, Habacher G, Hung S, Milazzo S, et al. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer.

4. Very hot drinks
Judging by another recent major review, there is some evidence that drinking extremely hot beverages (above 65°C) is unhelpfully irritant and probably causes oesophageal cancer. The degree of this risk is still not clear, but best take your drinks on the cooler side.

Reference  IARC. Carcinogenicity of drinking coffee, mate, and very hot beverages. The Lancet Oncology. 2016. 
 


CAFFEINE’S EFFECT ON CANCER OUTCOMES
Is caffeine part of the cure or does it make matters worse?
Depends who you ask. Pretty well all the people who have worked intensively with nutrition as a therapy for cancer recommend avoiding all caffeinated drinks. This recommendation has been based upon what is described as clinical experimentation, or clinical observation. These specialists believe there are better outcomes when caffeine is avoided.

Disappointingly, when it comes to hard science, this is another area of nutrition where there is little research published. Of note, however, is a study published last year that was the first to examine an association between caffeinated coffee and the risk of colon cancer recurrence.

Strong findings! It seems coffee may be associated with significantly reduced cancer recurrence and death in patients with stage III colon cancer. This research found that 4 cups of coffee a day halved the risk of the disease returning – and increased the chance of survival by a third. Of note, common tea and decaffeinated coffee were not associated with positive benefits.

How could this be? One theory is that caffeine consumption increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin so less of it is needed, which in turn may help reduce inflammation – a well known risk factor for cancer. Scientists believe that the positive benefits were entirely due to the caffeine and not other components of the coffee.

Reference Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer: Brendan JG et al, JCO, 2015, 61, 5062

Of course, a healthy lifestyle generally cuts inflammation dramatically and so does meditation, so would you receive extra benefits from adding caffeine to that package? Personally, I very much doubt so.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. For prevention
Caffeine is a strong social drug.

Rapidly absorbed it has a multitude of effects including those on energy levels and wellbeing. People respond to it differently – some are super sensitive – and it can be addictive. Many experience significant withdrawal symptoms when they go without it for a day or two.

So if you are interested in a more natural lifestyle; and on balance, I am firmly of the view that being caffeine free is preferable. Maybe the occasional cup is OK, but I prefer for myself and those I support to use herb teas and things like dandelion coffee. It seems current decaf drinks are mostly OK.

2. When recovering from cancer
Here again I feel fairly clear. If you happen to have stage 3 bowel cancer, maybe you take the evidence of the one study to date and have 4 cups of coffee a day. Research would definitely be on your side.

However, if it were me, I would put more confidence in a healthy lifestyle. Anything the oral caffeine is likely to offer, my sense is the healthy lifestyle would do just as well if not better. And there would be no potential downside.

I continue to recommend being caffeine free through treatment and while recovering.

3. The special case of coffee enemas
We cannot avoid the elephant in the room.

It is easy to make fun of coffee enemas and several scare campaigns have been run by no doubt well meaning folk. However, many remarkable long-term survivors I have known have said they felt coffee enemas were a significant contributor to their recovery.

This “anecdotal” evidence is hard to ignore. Personally, I would love to see a proper trial done evaluating the outcome of coffee enemas – but I suspect it will be wise not to hold my breath. Pity really, as this is such a politically incorrect issue, yet one that seems to have helped many.

If you want information on how they might work, refer to my book You Can Conquer Cancer.

OVERALL CONCLUSION
There are better things to drink than caffeinated ones.

NOTICEBOARD

NEXT CANCER RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS

Mind-body Medicine and Cancer
Eight days specifically designed to help everyone affected by cancer.

Fully residential and including great food and juices, this program brings together the best of Ian and Ruth’s experience – gathered over several decades of experience and supported by the latest evidence.

    Understand the Mind-Body connection and how we can use this to accelerate healing and to build long lasting peace of mind

    A full review of therapeutic nutrition with all the latest findings

    Learn and practice meditation and imagery techniques specifically designed for healing

    Receive great tips for developing the emotions that foster healing and wellbeing

    Clarify any questions you may have regarding the components of a healthy, healing lifestyle, and how you can incorporate them into daily life

ALL THIS AMIDST THE INSPIRING NATURAL BEAUTY OF WANAKA, NEW ZEALAND




This program is organized and proudly supported by Canlive, a New Zealand cancer charity.

DATES   Thursday 3rd to Thursday 10th November, 2016

FLIER      Click here

BOOKINGS  Go to   www.canlive.org  or call  Stew Burt   +64 (0)3 443 4168 (NZ)


CANCER and BEYOND
This evidence-based program forms the Next Step in the on-going series of follow-up residentials at the Yarra Valley Living Centre. A wonderful opportunity to meet with like-minded people once again, to consolidate what you already know, to continue to learn more, to reaffirm your good intentions, and to go home refreshed and revitalised.

This program has been specifically designed for those affected by cancer who have attended a previous program with the Gawler Foundation, Ian and Ruth,
or a related program. Partners are welcome to attend irrespective of previous participation in a Gawler program.

    Revisit all the principles of accelerated healing, clarifying questions relating to the Gawler program. How much is enough? And what about the family?

    What does “Positive Thinking” look like over the long term? 


    Dealing with setbacks. What works best? 


    Sustaining your good intentions. This program is an excellent opportunity to rekindle your enthusiasm and reset priorities. 


    What is life like post-cancer, and what is most likely to help us to become long-term, joyful survivors!


This retreat will be highly regenerative, offering a combination of relaxation and meditation, 
instructional sessions, the fabulous Foundation food, juices, body therapies and great conversations.
 



DATES    Monday 14th November to Friday 18th November,  2016


FLIER    Click here

BOOKINGS The Gawler Foundation +61 3 59671730 or programs@gawler.org or www.gawler.org





04 July 2016

The-experience-of-the-still-mind

When our mind settles in meditation, we can experience its stillness. What is that really like?

For most, the experience of stillness begins with an absence of thoughts. Short, maybe longer gaps between the thoughts that otherwise dance continuously through our mind. Deeply peaceful, regenerative, healing – all good.

However, for some, something far more profound. Genuinely life changing.

So this week, a direct account. Jennifer attended our recent Deepening Your Meditation retreat where the focus was on experiencing the deeper stillness that is beyond the thinking mind altogether.

This is what a retreat aims to do. To create the environment, the atmosphere; to provide the teachings and the guidance that will lead into this deeper experience where we can come to glimpse the true nature of our mind/heart.

Jennifer’s account helps to explain what it can take to build towards such an experience, and then … , read on and be inspired , but first




                         Thought for the day

                               Quietly sitting, 
                               Body still, 
                               Speech silent, 
                               Mind at peace.

                               Let thoughts and emotions, 
                              Whatever rises, 
                              Come and go, 
                              Without clinging to anything.

                                               Sogyal Rinpoche



Jennifer writes …
I arrived home from the wonderful retreat on Monday and since then I have been swamped by life as happens but I have still managed to meditate, so not doing too badly.

I had an amazing last meditation on Friday morning. Having done my level best to soak up all Ian’s advice and teachings and the atmosphere of the Sanctuary plus the accumulated peace from noble silence over the week, I decided on that last meditation that I would take some time to reflect on why I was uncomfortable with this new process of watching my noisy thoughts come and go - running amok as I described it in the Q & A, but instead preferring to use what Ian describes as Cloud Busting and the quiet that provides.

I was pondering the aspects of my thought process, their being identified and then evaporating, or going into vapour land as I call it, when I had the splash moment of realising I was aware of them and I was just overtaken by this surge of understanding and calm that I was serenely observing them and what is more, knowing what was behind them, what strategy or objective was at play.

It was not a bells and whistles scene, quite the reverse, just dark quiet certainty filled with peace and trust. It is just so amazing and I am probably not the first to be unable to describe all of it adequately in words.

I am still a bit dazed or in awe by this glimpse/moment into what Ian has been explaining.

I am gobsmacked that this still mind, which now appears to be so powerful, has been so dormant or quiet or unnoticed by me all along! At the same time I am feeling very protective of or by (I am still trying to work this out) this still mind/true self.

When I came out of the Sanctuary I scribbled in my notes:
This Cloud Busting technique requires awareness from within the still mind and true self. This awareness is a real and powerful tool. Not just a best friend or ally but part of me/true self and this awareness knows – knows it all and is watching the thinking mind. Also this awareness is part of it all – creation! Amazing!

I was not disturbed that I could not discuss this with you, in fact I probably would not have made
much sense at that time. I was comfortable with my understanding of what I had experienced and I thought I would probably need time to process it all – which I have been trying to do.

However, in these early days I am still blown away by the reassurance, and yes, the  ‘knowing’ that this gives. I am also filled with the understanding that there is no going back, things will never be as they were, and that is all for the better…. I could go on and on and never really describe it all.

So I continue on with my meditation journey but with a much lighter spirit hoping to build or go forward from here. I had already put my name down for the Meditation in the Forest next April but now it seems so far away.

And following more reflection, three days later…

I have spent some more time reflecting on my experience, especially after my meditations. I accept that this is an experience that is not to be recreated readily if at all so I am just grateful that I have had this insight in my lifetime.


I do not know if trying to emulate it again is the way to go anyway, it seems more natural to just
accept the knowledge as a given and incorporate it into day to day life and meditation.


I have assumed myself a slow learner that started from the back markers but I had always been encouraged by the obvious benefits of meditation within me and that has been sufficient reason for continuing, so I am now humbled by this new understanding.


I also note the irony that it was at the end of an intense week (deliberately arranged to be so I now see) and at a moment when I had given up or succumbed (stopped striving so deliberately) that this all happened. There is a lesson in that on its own. So now I look to how to build on this and progress. Somehow I just sense that I will be OK.

I must also add that I really enjoyed the Noble Silence. It was my first experience of it and I found it just so powerful. I have attended several retreats as you know and listened and taken notes on all Ian’s sessions but this time it did all seem to come together, for the first time. This says most about my levels of learning and the layers that needed to be laid down and built on in practice to come to this point.

I would be pleased if this would help someone else.

Jennifer

Me too! I found this very inspiring and thank Jennifer for sharing her experience and insights.
Ian

NEXT MEDITATION RETREATS

Meditation Under the Long White Cloud -  22 - 28 October 2016, New Zealand

Just like the retreat Jennifer has been describing, in October, for our annual retreat at the wonderful Mana Centre on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, Ruth and I will be giving full attention to creating the conditions in which we can all experience the profound stillness of meditation.

Readily accessible for beginners and the experienced alike, well worth making time for - and we always welcome a good group of Aussies that come over -  details here

Meditation in the Forest - April  2017, Yarra Junction, Australia

Another favourite aspect of meditation practices to learn and to experience - contemplation.
With little written on it, and few retreats dedicated to it, this is one of life's most useful skills. How to think things through clearly, and how to access intuition in a way that is reliable.

This retreat has helped many people to gain major insights into their life - both in the practical, immediate sense, and the broader sense that is to do with meaning and purpose.

Again, readily accessible for beginners and the experienced alike, well worth making time for - and we always welcome a good group of New Zealanders that come over - :) -  details here

APOLOGY
Some will be confused ... by mistake last week's blog was resent, only to be cancelled and the new one posted. Enjoy...