28 November 2011

Ian Gawler Blog: Communication technology and a new recipe

How can we link IT with a recipe? This week we go “Out on a Limb” and present another healthy, fast food recipe as well as considering the changing patterns affecting the sharing of information, ideas and techniques.

Back in 1982, I received a call from a desperate man living in outback New South Wales. Recently diagnosed with an advanced and supposedly medically incurable cancer, this cattle station owner had heard of the work I was involved in, based on mobilising one’s inner healing resources with the aim of recovery. Problem was it was unfeasible for him to come to Melbourne to attend the once a week sessions we were running at the time. “You Can Conquer Cancer” was still over 2 years away and there were no other books on the subject available at that time.

On hearing his plight, I offered to record the sessions and send them to him. He was delighted; I made the recordings during actual groups using the crudest hand held cassette recorder you could imagine, copied them cassette to cassette at home and sent them off.

These recordings were so bad as to be close to indecipherable! But our NSW friend strained to hear every word and busily set about putting it all into practice.

Other people requested and more cassettes were copied. Eventually, in the later part of the eighties, I decided to make decent recordings and it turned out Johnny Farnham had a personal studio just behind one of my children’s schools. With only a little persuasion, recordings were made there that covered the content of each of the group sessions – directly onto half inch tape. With this technology it was very difficult to correct errors and so they needed to be recorded in one take as they say.

Next we move into the nineties and the dawning of the digital age and CDs. Now recordings could be edited more easily and people who used them began to expect good external graphic design to go with the material inside. Series of CDs were made for each of meditation, healing and wellbeing.

Mini Discs came and went with barely a murmur and videos passed me by unaffected, although I was persuaded to record a Learn to Meditate DVD a few years back.

Now we move into the days of the internet, apps, Facebook, Utube and other ways of using downloadable material. I must say it has been a real learning adventure to put together the Mindbody Mastery program that is now almost ready for final testing and should be available in a week or two.

So what about the recipe?

Baked tofu, brown rice and steamed vegetables.

This is another completely healthy, very quick and easy, delicious meal that has enough variations to make it a regular staple. It has three parts:

1. Baked tofu

Cut firm (not silken) organic, non-genetically engineered tofu into slabs about as thick as your little finger. Place them in a baking dish (anything but aluminium) with a little water. Sprinkle the tofu with organic, low salt Tamari and add a little of the same to the water. Grate fresh ginger over the tofu and place in a moderate oven. If you like your tofu softer, 15 – 20 mins is enough, if you like it firmer, leave another 5 mins or so.

2. Brown rice

Cook by the absorption method: Add about one and a half times the volume of water compared to the volume of rice. Bring to the slow boil with the lid on. The rice should be cooked as all the water is absorbed into the rice. With organic brown rice this can take up to 40 minutes.

3. Steamed vegetables

With a bit of luck you have an organic home veggie garden and so you steam whatever is ready to be picked. Alternatively you prepare what is in season for your area at the time of the meal. This is where the variety comes; you can change the combination of veggies you use a great deal. Mostly this takes step takes around 5 – 10 minutes.

Aim to co-ordinate the cooking so everything is ready at the same time. Feel free to experiment a bit to get this close to right. Once the meal is on the plate, adding some flaxseed oil and Tamari to the rice adds to the flavour and texture.

This meal is tasty, quick and very good for you and those you care about.

How does the recipe link with the communication history?

Is your health a matter of luck, or is it the result of a recipe? I suggest that to a very large degree your health and wellbeing is a bit like Baked tofu, brown rice and vegetables. If you know the recipe and follow it, you can be pretty confident of the outcome.

As an observation, my sense of it is that many of the people who obtained those early cassettes of terrible quality made more of them than quite a few of the people who buy CDs and the like these days.


Well one obvious thing is they needed a great deal of commitment to persevere through the poor technology! But then, maybe it is because we live in a time of information overload; a time when so much is available so easily. Rather than getting one thing, sticking to it and giving it a fair go, these days I hear of a disturbing number of people who go information shopping. They seek out the new, you beaut version of this or that, and do not give anything a fair chance. They keep searching for something new, something supposedly better.

So here is an important suggestion. It makes sense to search around and do research into what is likely to help you. But then there comes a time for action. A time to make a commitment and to give what you do a chance to have effect. Of course it makes sense from time to time to stand back, re-assess and make adjustments. It does not make sense to change constantly from one thing to the next.

So for those who over the years found helpful what I have produced by way of books, cassettes, CDs and DVD, I do hope the new technology in Mindbody Mastery will be helpful. There is a recipe involved.

Also, there is a need to respond to the times we live in!


Public talks in Melbourne and other Australian centres

Here is another great present that would be highly meaningful and is well worth considering to give to your self or someone you really care about for Christmas.

The Heart Essence of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

A glimpse of the Buddhist wisdom of Tibet, and its vision of life and death

Venue:   Genazzano FCJ College301 Cotham Rd Kew (ample parking; Tram no. 109 and No. 42)
Time:   Tuesday 20th December, 7.30pm
Tickets:   $25 full, $15 concession.   Book online at rigpa.org.au/tour    or    by phone on (03) 9877 6811

A transformative gift you could offer to friends and family

Enquiries:  Regarding the Pubic Talk, Courses and Meditation at the Melbourne Fitzroy centre (03) 9417 4488  Email:  http://www.melbourne.rigpa.org.au/


The Mindbody Mastery Program

Good food prepared quickly - Free spirit pasta and vegetables


Click here for details of the current material I have produced.

Mindbody Mastery will be available in a week or two.


  1. Hi Ian,
    I really like the analogy of sticking to a recipe, it makes such sense! It seems really useful as a way of staying on course, rather than getting caught up in the next exciting or enticing idea presented every time you come into contact with media of any sort.
    You mentioned road testing Mindbody Mastery, if you need a volunteer....! :)

  2. Just how predictable is a "healing recipe"? I have been following You Can Conquer Cancer for over a year and all has been going well, but my family and doctors seem to think it is only a matter of time before it all comes back again. They really put me off and I wonder what to say to them? Any suggestions?

  3. I strongly agree that there is need to stick to one thing of interest and try to improve it and bring the best outcome out of it. Although new innovations are welcomed especially during this low economic battle, we ought to concentrate on our well course of task.

    I like the way you have underlined the relationship between recipe and technology.