18 March 2023

Ian Gawler’s Easter Meditation Retreat – online and in person

Mind in Comfort and Ease – the essence of meditation; its theory and its practice

Having first taught meditation in 1981 – 42 years ago - and having studied and practiced meditation consistently throughout that time, one might hope to have something worthwhile to impart...

So this Easter I will be having another crack at it… 

Want to join in with what will be an urban retreat where you can attend in person or online?

Urban as in non-residential.

What will be featured

1.     A relaxed, balanced pace so you can gain from the Easter break, but still accomplish something meaningful and worthwhile.

2.     Very specific and complete instruction on relaxation, concentration, mindfulness, contemplation guided imagery and meditation, with plenty of time to ask questions and seek clarifications.

                                Suitable for beginners and the experienced alike

3.     Plenty of time for both guided and personal practice, all leading up to the direct experience of the inner peace, clarity and stillness of meditation itself.

4.     A thorough tour through the key elements of Buddhist psychology and philosophy that provide a framework into which the deeper experiences of meditation do fit; and which can help us to integrate and live by the profound View meditation offers.

5.     Time in noble company – time to contemplate and discuss with like-minded peers these key points.

                   Let your mind settle naturally and simply rest in pure awareness


I will be presenting from the Melbourne Rigpa Centre (a Tibetan Buddhist group I have been involved with for nearly 40 years) and online, while other in-person groups will be held by senior meditation teachers simultaneously at the following locations. 

So to be clear, you can gather with like-minded people online, or join us in person at one of these locations:

Adelaide: 310 South Terrace, Adelaide

Brisbane: 2/19 Enoggera Terrace, Red Hill

Melbourne: 803 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Sydney: 158 Australia Street, Newtown

Newcastle: Multifencing, Unit 18/26 Oakdale Rd, Gateshead 


Friday 11.00am – 6.00pm,
 Saturday 9.15am – 6.00pm
, Sunday 9.15am – 6.00pm,
 Monday 9.15 – 4.00pm

Also, as each day is fairly self-contained, partial attendance is possible. 

Obviously, attending the complete program is recommended…

Bookings: Essential – click HERE

Now, because meditation is so simple in its essence, to celebrate a post on this next meditation retreat, it makes sense – in a perverse sort of way – to prompt you to contemplate your motivation courtesy of what is the longest ever 

       Thought for the Day

Because we are not so good, we try to improve ourselves. 

That is our true nature. 

And we are aware of it

— we have some intention to improve ourselves. 

This intention is limited to human beings. 

Flowers come out in the spring without fail, 

But they do not make any effort; 

They automatically come out—that is all. 

We also try to open our flower in the spring, you know. 

We try to do right things at the right time. 

But we find it very difficult—even though we try to do it, we cannot. 

This is our human nature. 

We always try to do something. 

We always have some difficulties. 

But this point is very important for us. 

It is why we have pleasure as human beings

—because things are difficult and we are always making some effort. 

That effort results in the pleasure of human life, 

A pleasure limited to human beings. 

This is called our true nature. 

If you understand this true nature, 

You will find out the true nature within yourself and in every existence. 

Flowers have this nature. 

Even when it is cold, they are preparing for spring, 

Even though they do not know they are making a good effort to come up in spring. 

When we become aware of it, 

We will know that this nature we have is universal to every existence. 

Again, this awareness of true nature is limited to human beings, 

So it is very important. 

This is the awareness, in short, of trying to do something good. 

It is our spirit. 

We do not know why we should try to improve ourselves. 

No one knows. 

There is no reason for it; it is beyond discussion. 

Our true nature is so big. 

It is beyond comparison, beyond our intellectual understanding, 

So it does not make any sense. 

Those who are aware of it will laugh at you if you discuss about why it is so. 

“What are you talking about?” 

It is too big a problem to discuss. 

This is why we bow to Buddha.

    From the oldest extant recording of a dharma talk by Suzuki Roshi

              Given in Los Altos, California - 22nd July 1965


13 March 2023

Ruth and I are moving on…

Ruth and I have been incredibly fortunate to act as custodians for a small farm in the Yarra Valley these past 20 years; now it is someone else’s turn, it is time for us to move on...

So this is to pay pictorial homage to this wonderful place, its magnificent trees and the garden that has fed us for all this time. And maybe you might know of someone interested in a genuine lifestyle property: 40 McMaster’s Rd, Gladysdale adjoining the Little Yarra River and State Forest… , but first

   Thought for the Day

      There is no value in life

      Except what you choose to place upon it

      And no happiness in any place

      Except what you bring to it yourself

               Henry David Thoreau


For me it is the trees. Magnificent! 

Hundred year old Oaks, Elms and Liquid Ambers

Others prefer the intimacy of the forest paths

Still others, the towering Manna Gums, 

Messmates and other native forest trees.

Plus the Little Yarra River...

Some draw more joy from the landscaped flower gardens

Others, including us of course, 

have benefited from the rich soil 

developed in the vegetable beds over 20 years 

– will grow almost anything well now… 

The property has been managed using biodynamic and/or organic gardening principles for over 30 years. (It was fully BD for at least 10 years before we arrived). 

No domestic animals have grazed the land during our tenure.

We did make some enormous compost heaps

over the years... 

The orchard features most common and several uncommon fruit and nut varieties. A range of avocadoes and macadamias are highlights. 

There is a tree register recording all the significant trees – what they are; where and when they were planted.


There are many thousands of naturalised daffodils spread over around 1HA of the property 
– truly a field of gold in Spring. 

There are also many tulips, hyacinths and lilies.


The house is believed to have been built first in the 1920s and was one of the pioneering homesteads of the area. 

A significant extension was made in 1988, and renovated further in days gone by. 


We have rented out the single bedroom cottage to a series of excellent tenants. 

This quaint building was built by the Belgian Consul in 1956 to house some of their Olympic Equestrian team as they trained over the road at the Shirley Heights Equestrian Centre - which is still operating.


And there is the luxury of a self-contained studio 

where I do my painting.


The shed features one of my follies 

– a shadow board for tools I painted 

over a Christmas years ago. 

It also has electricity, lighting, water and a sink

And adjoins the glasshouse and 2 double carports.

The glasshouse also has electricity, lighting, water and a sink.


The property is blessed with multiple water sources that are very reliable.

i)               Roof tanks for house and cottage. 

ii)              There is a 200 litre stainless steel water tank that collects water for drinking. This tank also runs by gravity and has a bi-pass valve so water can be collected only when very clean.

iii)            Two megalitre domestic and stock pumping right from Little Yarra River. 

There is an old pumphouse and electric pump on the river bank.

iv)            A bore is linked to an extensive watering system that spreads throughout the garden, orchard and landscaping.  

v)             A substantial 4 megalitre dam is also linked by gravity feed to the watering system.

How does it feel?

Family, friends and others are asking how I feel about moving after spending so much time in this beautiful place, and having developed the gardens to such an extent?

It feels wonderful to have been here so long – the longest both Ruth and I have ever lived in the one place. But we never truly own anything – do we? We are just passing through… custodians for a while; with the opportunity to leave the place a little better than when we arrived. Hopefully, both the land, plants and buildings are all like that – a little better than when we arrived. 

So with gratitude, we are moving on… Very content with our time here.

Where to? 

Not exactly sure yet. We have a one bedroom flat in Melbourne that will provide a good interim, and once we have finalised things here, we can look to what comes next…

05 February 2023

An invitation to appreciate the Life of Dorothy Edgelow, OAM

There is difficult news to share, along with a warm invitation coming courtesy of my good friend and colleague Siegfried Gutbrod. Siegfried writes:

We have been notified by Dorothy’s family that Dorothy went to sleep in seemingly good health on Sunday, January 15. She did not wake up and was taken to the Angliss Hospital where she lay in peaceful rest, surrounded at all times by family members. She quietly passed away in the evening on Friday January 20th, 2023 at the age of 92. There was a close family ceremony held on Friday 27th and her ashes were scattered in the Dandenong Ranges. 

Dorothy’s family have asked the Gawler Foundation to arrange an Appreciation of Dorothy’s Life. 

You are invited to come together in Dorothy Edgelow’s memory on Thursday, February 9 from 2pm onwards at the Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction

Refreshments will be served from 2pm onwards and the formal part of the gathering will be from 2.30 – 4pm with refreshments again served after that. 

If you cannot be here with us you may like to join us in spirit by lighting a candle together with us at 3pm in Dorothy’s memory. The chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Gawler Foundation will be overseas on Thursday and sends his apologies.

As you may know, Dorothy has been deeply involved with the Gawler Foundation from its very beginning to the very end in various key roles as an early major donor and as the highly competent Catering Manager and course facilitator covering some of the nutritional subjects and countless other roles. 

She authored four cookbooks promoting nutritional health.  

Dorothy has touched the lives of so many people in remarkable ways with her warmth and tireless dedication, being of service and helping so many people.  

She began the Children’s Whole Health Foundation in 2004 which proposed that Children’s Whole Health involved much more than just mainstream medicine. 

She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2010 for service to community health. 

Dorothy provided services to the Gawler Foundation and subsequently to Brahma Kumaris literally up to the last week of her life.

Dorothy, together with Roger Hersey have prepared a booklet of the History of the Gawler Foundation which you can download here by copying and pasting the following into a Browser Search Bar:


There will be an opportunity for you to briefly share if you so want during the celebration any significant experience/s you may have had personally in interacting with Dorothy during her time of service. 

For catering purposes it would be very helpful to let us know by not later than coming Wednesday if you are planning to attend the Appreciation of Dorothy’s life via RSVP to the following email address: hello@yvlc.org;     Tel 0478777405.

Looking forward to meeting you,

Siegfried Gutbrod  - longstanding friend and co-worker with Dorothy

23 January 2023

Top 10 reasons to meditate

Here is something interesting; a new definition of meditation – courtesy of the The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Therapies in the USA: Learning to focus our attention and suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupy our mind.

There are many definitions of meditation, and often they relate to why we meditate. So this week, the top 10 reasons why people meditate, but first

       Thought for the day

             The next big movement

                  Is Stillness


Some people, meditate as a regular and key part of their spiritual practice. For others, motivation can be more practical amidst a busy life in a secular world. Top 10 reasons to meditate? Not necessarily in order of Importance or usage…

Stress Reduction

Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress levels and improve overall health. How? Regular practice allows our whole system to regain its balance, like hitting the refresh button. This regained balance helps reduce the likelihood of developing any chronic, degenerative disease such as cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. See the research summarized on our Allevi8 website. 

Stronger Immunity

Meditation supports and strengthens the body's overall immune response. 

Research has proven this and has also shown people who meditation regularly take far fewer sick days. 

Increased energy 

Take away stress and we take away wasted energy. It is tiring to be filled with physical or inner tension. Meditate and feel more alive, more energetic. Meditate and feel more interest in, and enthusiasm for life, even during challenging and stressful periods. 

Less affect from aging

Still more research shows people who meditate regularly actually age more slowly. The figure is quoted that regular meditators are actually around 15 years younger physiologically, as compared to their chronological age!


Meditation, particularly when it starts with a deliberate focus upon physical relaxation, leads to a deep sense of inner peace, calm and clarity. When we are relaxed, our body will be healthier, we see things more clearly, and we are much more likely to make good decisions and therefore have a better, healthier and more satisfying life. 

Better Relationships, Increased Understanding

When we are relaxed in body and mind, we also can be more open with others; less defensive, more capable of maintaining healthy boundaries, more loving, compassionate and empathetic. No wonder, many psychologists now recommend meditation as a powerful adjunct when helping their clients. No wonder schools and businesses are supporting meditation; it makes people easier to get on with, to become nicer people. Meditation also helps us to go beyond learned behaviours, biases and opinions in order to better understand other people’s viewpoints without anger or agitation.

Improved Concentration

Phones, computers, the pace of daily life – so many potential distractions… 

No wonder so many struggle with their ability to concentrate. 

Meditation helps us to learn – or re-learn - how to concentrate, to be clearer about what to concentrate upon, and then to actually do it – concentrate!

Improved Intuition

As we meditate more and the mind settles, we see things more clearly and we can access our own inner wisdom. When we are busy all the time there is so much inner noise. We can lose touch with who we really are and what is most important to us. Regular meditation helps us connect with that deep, still inner voice known as intuition, and by hearing and listening to that intuition, we are highly likely to make better and more effective decisions about our lives and its possibilities. 

Improved Performance 

With a clearer mind, more relaxed body, enhanced ability to make good decisions, focus and follow through, the reality is meditation enhances pretty well anything we do. As well as improving relationships, meditation is being used, and research shows it does have real benefit in sport, education, business; most things we human beings get involved with…

Getting to know the real me

Traditionally, meditation has been at the heart of spiritual practice in all the great religious traditions. 

These days, whether in a religious tradition or not, many recognize how meditation gives us the techniques to explore and gain personally satisfying answers to the 3 big questions of life: 

Who am I? 

What is life? (as in what is its meaning) 

Where am I going? (after I die). 

Thousands of years of experience tells us meditation delivers on this promise… 


Just do it!




My most recent meditation book, Blue Sky Mind, will be useful for beginners and the experienced alike.


Allevi8 has all the key practices to support a regular and effective meditation practice. 
The basic Allevi8 app is free with a pay it forward option, while you can pay a modest subscription and receive personal mentoring/ teaching from highly trained and experienced meditation teachers online.


If you are still old school, my website iangawler.com has downloads available...   







31 December 2022

A fresh look at making New Year’s resolutions work…

Another year is beginning… We could just go with the flow, take life as it is, and be ourselves. 
But then, feeling completely at ease with ourselves, and with the way our lives are unfolding, may be a step or two away. There may well be things we would like to be different… 
Time for another New Year’s resolution? If so, how to make it stick? 
This week, a new approach that really does work, but first 

       Thought for the day
Taking life seriously does not mean spending our whole life meditating 
As if we were living in the Himalaya Mountains or in the old days in Tibet. 
In the modern world, we have to work to earn our living,
But we should not get entangled in a nine-to-five existence, 
Where we live without any view of the deeper meaning of life.
Our task is to strike a balance, 
To find a middle way, 
To learn not to overextend ourselves 
With extraneous activities and preoccupations, 
But to simplify our lives more and more. 
The key to finding a happy balance in modern life is simplicity.
                     Sogyal Rinpoche
The wonderful thing about New Year’s resolutions is they always seem so sound, so logical. 
This year I will meditate more. This year I will drink less, exercise more, be kinder, more tolerant, more aware, more forgiving… all so sound, so logical; how could we not take up on any of that? Yet for many, a week or two into January, not only has the change not been accomplished, it is probably even forgotten!
So… how to actually make personal change? How to work with our mind? 
Having helped people with this for decades, many readers will probably be familiar with the Three Principles of Positive Thinking. These Principles have helped many people to set goals, follow through and accomplish them. Changing habits, changing environments, changing ways of relating – these 3 steps really do work. But in this post, a new take; another way of making personal change. 
(You can check out the Three Principles in The Mind that Changes Everything or You Can Conquer Cancer).
The fresh approach? 
Answer these 5 questions: What?, Why?, How?, When?, and How much?
1. What - Set Your Goal. Three important points:
i) Goals can come to us courtesy of whims, emotions, rational thought, contrariness, contemplation – or because somebody tells us what to do! 
Best be clear where your goals are coming from, and make a deliberate choice. 
Experience is pretty clear here; the best goals come from combining the use of the intellect and contemplation. Details are in The Mind that Changes Everything.
ii) A goal can be focussed upon an outcome or an action. Both are valid, but quite different. 
An outcome might be catching a plane overseas and as such is quite time dependant and uncompromising. The actions required to purchase the ticket and get on the plane may change over time and benefit from a flexible approach, but the time of departure is fixed. 
Many goals are like that; the outcome is fixed, the actions required to accomplish the outcome may well need to change to adapt to evolving circumstances and as such, are best to be flexible. Here, the goal is uncompromising, the actions are flexible. 
An action might be to meditate daily – no wriggle room there – you either do it or you do not. You may relapse and need to recommit, but basically, the aim is to be doing the action as intended. Here, the goal is the action and as such it is inflexible.
iii) Aim to reduce your goal to a few words, and express it as an affirmation – in the first person, present tense, as if it has already happened. And in a way that is joyful!
Example? Not I hope to meditate daily and with a bit of luck maybe I will some time off in the future, but it seems a bit unlikely, I have tried it before and it was pretty difficult… ; rather I really enjoy meditating daily, now. The mind responds to hearing this - first person, present tense, as if it has already happened, not the previous vague waffle.

2. Why?
Why is it time for this change? 
Example? Maybe you have been meditating off and on… Very common… But maybe it is becoming even clearer: when I do meditate everything seems easier, everything seems to work out better. Funny that… 
Maybe you do need to heal something? Maybe you do aspire to becoming a better person? Maybe it is time to get to know yourself a little more deeply?
The stronger the Why, the easier the How.

3. How?
What will it take to accomplish this goal? 
What do I need to do? 
Example? Meditating daily. 
If you have good personal discipline, you probably do not need to read on; just do it. 
However, many I have helped over the years did have good, clear goals, and yet they struggled to accomplish them. 
If this is you, you need to plan.
Consider supports like establishing a routine, setting up a good practice space, starting small and building, providing yourself with rewards once landmarks are passed, seeking contact with teachers and like-minded company you can learn from, share your goals and your progress with, consider writing a journal, record your practice and share your results with those close to you. What does it take?

4. When?
Some goals have a definite timing to them, like catching a plane; others are more flexible.
Unless the goal is time dependant – like the plane trip – it is preferable to keep the time for accomplishment open. This is not a cop out; some goals might take longer than planned, others be accomplished quicker. It works to keep the time open where possible.

5. How much?
This may well be the most important step to get clear. Is this goal, this new resolution, a matter of life and death? Will you do absolutely everything possible to accomplish this goal? Or is it a matter a little importance? If it works out, all to the good; but if not, who cares???
This question when answered brings the previous 4 together into an intention – that motivating force that can be casual or unstoppable depending upon how much you want it. 
I remember in my sporting days, training each day was a non-negotiable; it was what I did every day and all else needed to fit in around that. When I was really ill back in the 70’s, healing was my priority and all else needed to fit in around that.
When the goal is clear and the intention is strong, amazing things happen. “Miracles” happen. 

May 2023 be a year of personal miracles for you and all you care for and about…
Allevi8 App – free meditation practice app with options for online group teaching/mentoring
Digital downloads – Mind training