08 October 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: A pictorial essay

Another IT breakthrough! Following requests to add photos/graphics to “Out on a Limb” from time to time, and given I love photography, I have managed to work out how to add photos to the blog! Here then is the first pictorial record – of the recent travels and retreat. But first......

Thought for the Day

"If we instinctively seek a paradisiacal and special place on earth, it is because we know in our inmost hearts that the earth was given to us in order that we might find meaning, order, truth and salvation in it." 

                                                                                                                          -- Thomas Merton

Stopping over in Dubai – who is the biggest of them all? Ruth or the Burj Khalifa (829.84metres or 2723 feet).

Link to the earlier blog on this most extraordinary (as in out of the ordinary) of places.

Below, a couple of images from St. Petersburg, from where Ruth’s two grandfathers fled ahead of Lenin’s crackdown on intellectuals etc in 1921. Currently, anything here that will attract a tourist is being renovated; resulting in a very beautiful city, full of waterways and of course the hermitage Museum.

Russia is a land of contrasts - the beautiful and the extravagant palaces - and the rest.

We then travelled by boat to Moscow – a wonderful journey, stopping at villages and cities along the way. This is one of the typical churches – at Yaroslav.

At Kizhi - this is a more extraordinary church with its attendant buildings – all built from wood!

Moscow, and the Kremlin. We were told by a Russian that personal freedoms are fairly similar in Russia to those in the good old USA. In America, you can stand outside the Whitehouse and say “Down with Bush! Down with Obama!” and nothing much will happen. It is the same in Russia. You can stand outside the Kremlin and say “Down with Bush! Down with Obama!” and nothing much will happen!

Red Square. Nobody seemed keen to comment on what would happen if you criticized Putin.

Below is what is reputed to be the tallest building in Moscow; the old KGB headquarters. 
Apparently, it is so tall you can see Siberia from every window!

Next, it was on to Israel and Tel Aviv where I presented a day Masterclass on Mind-Body and Integrative Medicine at Beilinson Hospital – at the invitation of their very advanced Department of Integrative Medicine.

Some will know Dr Nimrod Scheinman (who works at the Hospital) from his previous visits to Australia. The good news is he will join Ruth and myself next year to present a residential training on the therapeutic application of language and imagery – for Doctors and all Health Professionals. More on that soon.

Jerusalem, that most Holy of cities, (Have you seen any of the excellent series on its history, currently running on SBS TV?), where every corner takes you into another story that is truly of Biblical proportions! Here is Ruth outside the Old City walls, just down from the Jaffa gate, overlooked by the Tower of David.

Here we walked the Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus took between his condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial. This walk is as meaningful and moving as any pilgrimage one can do.

The walk culminates at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

It is a wonderful experience to connect directly with the land and places from whence all the stories of the Bible originate.

Next, we had the good fortune to be invited to the Bar Mitzvah (the coming of age initiation ceremony for young Jewish boys) of one of the grandson’s of our old friend Rabbi Laibl Wolf, seen here on the left, (who remembers him speaking at Mind, Immunity and Health?) at the Western (or Wailing) Wall. Another deeply moving event to be a part of – in such an evocative and Holy place.

Then Bethlehem! But first we needed to find an Arab driver and guide who could help us cross into the Palestinian territories – a reminder of other aspects of this amazing area.

Now the chance to sit for a few minutes at the site where Christ was born. Profoundly moving!

Check out the earlier blog relating meeting and speaking there with a deeply devout and insightful Christian monk.

On to France with another change of pace. Love those French cafes flowing onto the street.

Just time in Paris to visit the Louvre where we paused in the room full of Rembrandts.

Then down to the south west; the home of Sogyal Rinpoche at Lerab Ling and the very traditional Tibetan temple he has brought together there.

Seven weeks of retreat for me – and more of that soon too.

Home via Alice Springs where my son Peter was married to the beautiful Kerrielee - great day!

A leisurely trip out to Hamilton Downs to check the site for next year’s return of the much requested “Meditation in the Desert”. We are finalizing arrangements for this and other events in 2013 and will have the full details for you soon.

Then home, just in time for the AFL Grand Final. I know, leaving the best for last!!! Well, if you are a Swan’s supporter anyway – but there cannot be many of them!

Finally, post-match Sunday at St Michael's church in the heart of Melbourne to attend their annual St Michael's day service and presentation of awards to the new recipients of the St Michael's medallion. Being fortunate to be a past recipient, I love the opportunity to be in this beautiful old Melbourne landmark and to listen to it's groundbreaking and deeply compassionate Minister, Dr Francis McNab speaking once again.
Here is a link to video of Dr McNab and the ceremony

Then really home, just in time for the Spring! What a trip.

So, feel free to comment. Is it enjoyable to have photos on the blog from time to time? I cannot imagine having so much to cover in one go again, but maybe when interesting things happen, I can add a few photos as well as comments.

Have your say by clicking on Comments below. In another triumph of IT wizardry, I only recently realised I can reply fairly easily to your comments on the blog. So apologies to those in the past I may have seemed to overlook; it actually was not rudeness or disinterest, just a technological handicap that is now in the past!


1. Two nice articles came out this week where I had the opportunity to discuss different aspects of meditation. Here are the links, with the intro paragraphs:

Nature and Health: Meet Ian Gawler by Wendy Champagne
“Dr Ian Gawler is a long-term cancer survivor, mind-body medicine pioneer, and articulate advocate for the merits of meditation.

Meditation, in some form, has long been part of man’s development. The practice of quiet reflection and stilling the mind traverses religion, culture and gender as a means to connect with ourselves in the most intimate sense possible. In Australia there is perhaps no one who can speak about the benefits of meditation more eloquently, sincerely and personally than Dr Ian Gawler.”

Redbubble guest blog: 

“Most of us have techniques for increasing productivity, overcoming creative blocks or just coming up with more awesome ideas. Some incredibly creative and innovative people swear by meditation as their tool of choice. The list of famous meditators includes names like Steve Jobs, David Lynch, George Lucas and Albert Einstein. Today’s guest post is by Dr Ian Gawler, one of Australia’s most experienced and respected authorities on Mind-Body Medicine and meditation. He has also produced an online, meditation based mind training program called Mindbody Mastery. Here he offers his thoughts on how meditation can enhance creativity.”

What is Redbubble? It is a fabulous, Australian based site for artists and buyers of art. In their own words: “Redbubble is quite simply the finest and most diverse creative community and marketplace on the interlink. There, we said it. With artists and designers hailing from every corner of the globe, displaying eye opening talent, skill, passion and enthusiasm for all forms of creativity there really is no better place for you to get your artistic kicks.

If you’re looking for unique and impossibly brilliant t-shirts, heart-stopping wall art, attention grabbing iPhone cases or any other beautifully designed products we’re here to present an alternative to the mass producing hordes rudely hawking your individuality back to you on the main street.”


Ruth and I look forward to meeting up with those who follow the blog, those we have met through previous programs and those we will meet over the weekend. We both enjoy talking through the breaks during the days, so do come and say hello.

Saturday, 20 October, 2012

When: 9.30am (for 10am start) - 4pm 
Where: Veterinary Science Conference Centre, Webster Theatre, Sydney University

Sunday, 21 October, 2012


When: 9.30am (for 10am start) - 4pm 
Where: Veterinary Science Conference Centre, Webster Theatre, Sydney University

Bookings Essential: Call Sarah Tail 0418 22 0590 or Tina Rae (02) 4294 8361
Register on line: at www.rigpa.com.au 


  1. Great idea, the photo essay, Ian. Thanks for the look into some of your trip highlights. Loved the comments on the Kremlin! Lee

  2. Great photos, Ian! You know the ol' saying: "...worth a thousand words". I do enjoy both..Thank You for what You do!

  3. Thanks Ian for sharing some of your wonderful experiences.
    Great photography and comments.

  4. Getting into the Palestinian Territories looks like the old Berlin Wall - round and around in circles we go.......

    1. The interesting thing was that we spoke to quite a number of people on both sides of the wall, and while there was a general sense of regret that it was needed, everyone we spke to was in favour of it as they said it kept the crazies from both sides out and as a consequence, life was more peaceful. No doubt it will be a delight to all when it is not necessary and comes down again.

  5. Thanks Ian, this is very inspiring. I dream of going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and this has inspired me to keep saving and start actually planning to do it.

  6. I've enjoyed your travels with you Ian.....you always tell a story well!

  7. Loved the comment " you can see Siberia from every window of the KGB headquarters "