24 July 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: Poetry, Zen and cancer

This week something different. A fabulous poem to meditate upon – to do with awareness and travel which fits with me being on the road. Also, a link to Ruth presenting a wonderful interview with a Zen master, and a doctor adds to the discussion on prostate surgery.  But first…

Thought for the day

If I had known I was going to live this long,
I would have taken better care of myself.

Average life expectancies in different eras:      1820 – 26
                                                                        1900 – 31
                                                                        2010 – 67

Australia is 5th highest in the world – 81.2 years. What sort of old age will you have?

Jewels           Thich Nhat Hanh

There are jewels everywhere in the cosmos--
I want to offer you a handful of them this morning.
The diamonds I offer will shine through days and nights.

Each minute of our life is an individual jewel,
Containing sky, earth, river and clouds;
You need only breathe gently and mindfully
and all the miracles will be displayed.

The birds sing. The pines chant. The flowers bloom.
There is the blue sky and there are white clouds.

The eyes of the people you love shine
And your smile reflects your full awareness.

You who are the wealthiest person on Earth,
But have been going around to beg in distant
lands for happiness,

Do stop being a destitute person;
Come back and receive your heritage.

Let us offer each other happiness
and establish ourselves in the present moment.

We should let go of our sorrow
And embrace life in our two arms.


1. Ruth interviews a Zen master

If you still need a reason to join the Mindbody Mastery program, check out the quality of the webinars.

This month we are providing free, retrospective access to the latest Mindbody Mastery webinar for readers of my blog. This month features an exclusive and fascinating interview with Brother Phap Lu, a Zen meditation master at the European Centre for Applied Buddhism. Brother Phap Lu is a teacher in the tradition of the legendary meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh. Just his presence is worth connecting with. But as a bonus, in the interview he talks about his own meditation practise, and offers practical suggestions for how to apply meditation techniques in daily life. The interview was conducted by Dr. Ruth Gawler in Germany last year while we were co-presenting a meditation based healing retreat with Br Phap Lu at Thich Nhat Hahn's retreat centre.

You can see the interview at http://vimeo.com/45878830

2. Forty percent of 40 year olds have prostate cancer and probably need no treatment.

It is rare for me to bring a comment onto the blog itself, but I thought this one, following up on last week's research re prostate cancer and surgery was too important and maybe some readers may have missed it.

Dr Mary Pease has left a new comment on "Ian Gawler Blog: Who needs prostate surgery?": 

"I am a GP, and I recently attended a Medical Conference. One of the speakers, an Oncologist, commented that investigation of elevated levels of PSA can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. He cited a study of post-mortem findings of 40 year old men who died in car/road accidents. Of these men, a whopping 40% of 40 year old asymptomatic men had prostate cancer on post-mortem. The message he was making was that most of these men would never have developed aggressive prostate cancer if they had gone on to live out their lives. And yet it tells us that 40% of healthy 40 year old men have prostate cancer - the vast majority of whom will live symbiotically with their cancer, rather than be consumed by it. It is certainly true that prostate cancer is a spectrum of disease, not just one entity." 


  1. Thank you Ruth for your wonderful interview with Br Phap Lu. He is a living exemplar of the practice and and inspiration. Your questions helped reveal to us the depth, persistence and outcomes involved in his practice in a way that made them all seem very accessible. I hope lots of people watch the video and experience the benefits of seeing and hearing him live what he was discussing with you.

  2. Thank you for sharing that precious Interview Ruth conducted with the Zen Master. One can never be reminded enough of practicing what is most important in life. And thank you also for Thich Nhat Hanh exquisitely beautiful poem. Instant Bliss and the perfect travel companion to help with the challenges when one is on the road faced with a lack of wholesome food and suitable meditation opportunities. Stay safe and be well, much love Christel. ( who will also be in France in Sept/Oct. Unfortunately not in a retreat).