06 April 2013

Ian Gawler Blog: A New Way of Living

Five new areas of research that will change our lives, and how they inform the workshops I am presenting in the next few months.

I love good research. The sort of stuff that changes the way we look at life, or what we do in life. This week let’s share 5 major breakthroughs that are changing the face of medicine and how we can look after our own health, healing and wellbeing.

It is exciting to have started to share this information in "A New Way of Living", the round of workshops I am presenting around Australia and New Zealand this year. Ruth and I look forward to being in most capital cities and some regional areas in coming months. WA is first in April, then Melbourne in May.

So here are these 5 major breakthroughs with some of their implications, along with links to the upcoming talks. But first:

Thought for the Day
Today's children may become the first generation in history 
to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents
                                                 Richard H. Carmona, United States Surgeon General

1. Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity speaks of how the brain changes not only its function, but its actual structure, depending upon how we use it.

This new knowledge is revolutionising the neuro-sciences and the field of mind training.
Neuroplasticity tells us there is way more hope for brain regeneration than was previously thought following brain trauma and strokes. It helps us to understand how habits develop and what we need to do if we plan to change them intelligently. Fabulous and really significant new information.

2. Meta-inflammation
Meta-inflammation is low level, chronic inflammation. It is fuelled by poor dietary choices and unresolved stress.

It has been known for a long time that chronic stress creates biochemical changes that weaken the immune system and lay us open to most diseases.

However, new research highlights how the modern western diet is another driving force for low level, chronic inflammation that precipitates and aggravates most chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, MS and cancer.

What to do? The good news is that a healthy diet and meditation are both highly anti-inflammatory and highly regenerative. So here we have another rationale as to why a healthy lifestyle makes sense for disease prevention and rapid recovery from illness.

3. Epigenetics
This new field of study relates to how our genes express themselves in daily life.

Many people still seem to be of the mistaken view that if you have bad genes, bad things will necessarily follow. What is clear now is that genes are significantly affected by the environment they exist within – physically and mentally; maybe even spiritualy.

So good genes in a bad environment; the real prospect of poor health and illness. Bad genes in a good environment; the real prospect of good health.

The implication: genetic material is not set in concrete. Like so much in life, it is what we do with what we got that is the real issue.

4. Telomeres and Telomerase
Telomeres are the “dangly bits” on the end of our chromosomes. I have written a couple of posts on these earlier as they are of great significance. Telomeres protect the ends of our DNA from fraying as they divide and replicate within our bodies.

Recent research demonstrates a clear relationship between the length of our telomeres and the risk of developing and even of dying of many illnesses including cancer. The shorter the telomeres, the greater the risk.

Also, telomeres are directly linked to aging. Longer telomeres, more youthful. Very short telomeres, death.

Happily, the enzyme telomerase protects the telomeres and can even lengthen them, so the things that do activate telomerase are certainly worth knowing about.

5. Nutritional research
It is finally happening. For years, research into the impact of nutrition on cancer survival has been like a desert; very little there. We had plenty of clinical experience, but little research evidence.

Now there is a good body of studies pointing the way. There is certainly enough to completely dismiss the tired argument that there is no evidence to support the notion that changing your diet, eating for recovery, will affect the outcome of cancer. That is simply untrue.

And happily, as the evidence accumulates, it does reinforce the clinical experience, perhaps pointing to some things to give extra emphasis, some to minimize; but overall, adds confidence to what can be recommended and achieved.

One of the best aspects of this nutritional research is that it gives the basis and the impetus for more to follow. At last, this field of study does seem to be on the move, and I love being able to share all the new developments in this and the previous 4 fields of research.

So in the workshops I am currently presenting, I have added a section where this research is detailed and what to do about it thoroughly explained. This adds to the opportunity to have a refresher, to be reminded of what is valuable for our health, healing and wellbeing, to gather with like-minded people, to feel the benefit of meditating together and to hopefully go home a little better informed, inspired, and re-invigorated.

So when we come into your area, Ruth and I hope to meet again with those who know us, to make new friends and to spread this positive message of health, healing and wellbeing.

So help to change someone’s life. Please do share the links to the coming talks with your friends and colleagues. Come to a workshop yourself, bring the family, bring a friend, come with a colleague. Who knows, between us all, we may just help someone to find better health, a better level of wellbeing; maybe even save a life.

COMING WORKSHOPS with links to their details

April  13 – 14; Weekend workshop: A New Way of Living

April 5; Evening dinner and conversation for health professionals
April 6; Day workshop: Creating Health & Preventing Disease

May 4; Day workshop: Medicine of the Mind

May 11 – 12; Weekend workshop: A New Way of Living

June 27; Evening Public Lecture: Health, Healing and Wellbeing
29 – 30; Weekend workshop: A New Way of Living

Coffs Harbour;
July 6; Day workshop: Medicine of the Mind

July 9; Day workshop: Health, Healing and Wellbeing

July 13 - 14, Weekend workshop: A New Way of Living


1. A reminder; early bird payment for Meditation in the Desert closes at the end of March. 
Meditation in the Forest starts this week and is fully booked, so reserve a place or take advantage of the cheaper rates if you want to come and pay in full now.

While in New Zealand, Ruth and I are visiting the Mana retreat centre where the New Zealand meditation retreat, Meditation Under the Long White Cloud, will be held December 2 - 8.

2. New Zealand Cancer Congress in Auckland a great success
It was a pleasure to be speaking at this Congress last weekend. Over 250 people attended, apparently over twice as many as last year, and a good indicator of the interest in a broader, more engaged and integrated way of managing cancer.

Mostly doctors and other health professionals in attendance, but some people dealing with cancer and they were all at risk of being overwhelmed with the bulk and high quality of information on offer.

A treat for me was to hear Bruce Lipton speak for the first time. Bruce gave a masterful introduction to the field of epigenetics, and certainly added to my own knowledge in this rapidly evolving field.

3. Open Meditation in SYDNEY Monday March 25th, 6.30 – 8.30pm
provided by the Australian Teachers of Meditation Association

Meditate, Network and Support Each Other. ATMA is holding another free meditation and connection evening for all members of ATMA as well as other meditation teachers and interested people including beginners. The President of ATMA, Pauline McKinnon is planning to attend.

VENUE: Awareness Institute, Suite 1/20 Clarke St, Crows Nest, Sydney
DATE: Monday 25 March 2013
TIME: 6:30-8:30pm in the Blue Room
COST: Free

4. The Gawler Foundation has a new website – check it out.
However, the on-line bookshop will not be operating for another week or two, so be patient or telephone them directly on 03 59671730.

5. As Ruth and I are leading Meditation in the Forest next week, there probably will not be a new post for 2 weeks. Enjoy the break!

1 comment:

  1. All of these areas could be enhanced and improved with the practice of meditation - therein lies more ways of proving the "umbrella" type benefits of meditation - ie the study that those who practised meditation had longer telemeres - in theorey the potential to prove that nuroplasticity "techniques" could be improved with regular meditation - etc etc - using the western mindset that so often thinks in the singular to start joining the dots and develop a bigger and more complete picture of how to achieve health and prevent disease