24 June 2013

Ian Gawler Blog: Why the Dalai Lama thinks you are so special - a photographic essay

It is a fact. Maybe The Dalai Lama has not even met you, but he is in no doubt; he thinks you are really special and has good reasons for thinking so. He made all of this very clear in Melbourne last week.

So let us go “Out on a Limb” once more, investigate how it is that the Dalai Lama could know you well enough to say he likes you so much, and share some great photos that convey something of the man and his message.

Also, a fabulously interesting new study from Herbert Bedson showing how the Relaxation Response alters genes for the good, and a reminder I am in Brisbane next weekend presenting seminars, then Coffs HarbourKatoomba and Sydney. If you are local, hope to see you there. But first

Thought for the day
Happiness is a skill,
emotional balance is a skill, 

compassion and altruism are skills, 
and like any skill they need to be developed. 

That is what education is about.
                                 Matthieu Ricard

Last week, Ruth and I along with nearly 6,000 others had the good fortune to attend the Dalai Lama’s public talk in Melbourne, following up next day with more formal teachings on the Heart Sutra and The 8 Verses of Mind Training.

So why is it that the Dalai Lama respects you so much and is so confident you are so special?

His answer is simple.

It is because in so many ways you are just the same as the 7 billion other people on this planet.

We all share much in common.

Physically we all eat, drink and … you know the rest!

He thinks it is funny too!

But then again, we all have emotions and minds that can be beset by one trouble after another, but we all (well most anyway) have minds that are coherent enough that if we decide to, we can train them and go beyond ordinary human difficulties and confusions and sufferings, and find long-lasting happiness.

However, of even greater significance, the Dalai Lama is in no doubt that as a human being what you undoubtedly share with the other 7 billion of us is that we all have fundamental goodness.

The inner potential for full enlightenment - as he would put it.

This is what he really admires in you.

Fundamental goodness.

This is what he sees in you.

This is what he bows to.

This is why he travels the world speaking wherever he can, and giving his life to teaching everyone who will listen.

For this message, when taken to heart, when realized, is a direct antidote to any personal misgivings we may have about our selves. A direct antidote to any feelings of low self-esteem or self-hatred. When we know that in our hearts, in our essence, there is this fundamental goodness, this intrinsic purity, then how can we do anything but respect who we really are?

My sense of it is that the root cause of so many of the current maladies that affect people, and I see this over and over in young and old, is low self-esteem. An uncertainty about fundamental worth. Confusion about "who I really am?" and "what I am really worth?"

With low self-esteem comes low self-love and then comes recrimination. Guilt, shame, self-abuse in both obvious and subtle ways. 

So much chronic, degenerative disease has low self-esteem at its heart.

With a healthy sense of self-worth comes self-love and self-care. How could you not look after yourself if you have a sense of this fundamental goodness? Dare I say it, this self-love is like having a direct and unshakeable sense of the sacred within. What follows has to be self-care. So much good health has high self-esteem at its heart.

But then of course there is a major bonus. When we recognise the essential goodness in our self, we naturally recognise the essential goodness in others - all 7 billion of them. While we also can recognise that on the outer level people stuff up, we stuff up, we know that in our hearts we are all pure and good; so there is a basic respect for the potential of each and every person. By finding peace in our heart, we naturally generate peace towards others and contribute to peace in our world.

Peace will never be imposed on the world. A peaceful world can only ever be made up of a world full of people at peace in their own hearts. Recognising our fundamental goodness brings "a peace that passes all understanding". Deep, natural peace.

How do we deal with the fact that we stuff up (well just occasionlly maybe)? How do we develop our own confidence in this fundamental goodness?

The Dalai Lama is clear about the answer to these questions as well: train the mind and practice meditation.

Of the specific teachings he gave, the Heart Sutra is a famous teaching that brings out the essence or the heart of the Buddha's teachings. Through the gradual process of cultivating wisdom, it points out that we can develop the ability to cut through delusions and understand the ultimate nature of the way in which 'I' and all phenomena exist.

The Eight Verses of Mind Training shows us how, through generating compassion, loving kindness and altruism, we can transform our ordinary mind into attaining enlightenment.

It being 2 years since his last visit, one of the first things His Holiness said in Australia was:

I’m very happy to be here once more, having the opportunity of meeting with long-time friends. So, two years have passed, I’m wondering, among our old friends, in the last two years, how many have progressed, in your mental quality? 

Physically we have become older and older, no force can stop that… so it is really worthwhile day by day, week by week, that there is some improvement to mental quality, so that our life can become more meaningful.

With thanks to the official photographer for the following picture with its insert
(for more official photos LINK HERE)

So there is the challenge: What have we done recently to improve our “mental quality”?

What have we done to train our mind? How much meditation have we been practising? This is one of the great benefits of a visit from someone like the Dalai Lama, he reminds us, he re-inspires us to do what we know is so good for us.

If interested, you can view the Public Talks and Sydney/ Darwin Teachings on the Dalai Lama in Australia You Tube Channel (There were some technical issues in Melbourne, but the audio is available) LINK HERE

If you feel motivated to support the Dalai Lama’s work and help the Tibetan cause, go to the Australia Tibet Council and see what inspires you: LINK HERE 

This will be my 30th year presenting at the Relaxation Centre in Brisbane.

Ruth and I love these events where we get to meet up with people we know, make new friends, to remind ourselves and others of what works and to share the latest in our field of health, healing and wellbeing.

Please do forward the details to those you may know in any of these places and if you live nearby, we hope to see you at one of the events. Bring your family (we had 5 members from the same family share a day seminar recently), come with a friend, tell your colleagues.

These seminars are interactive, a great way to review what you already know, to be re-inspired and re-enthused, and to learn exciting new things, like the latest breakthroughs in epigenetics, the neurosciences, telomeres and nutrition.

Something for everyone!

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

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

July 9; Day seminar: Health, Healing and Wellbeing

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

On enlightenment

Famous Harvard Professor demonstrates that the Relaxation Response positively changes gene expression – even in a single session!

Herbert Benson (author of the highly recommended The Relaxation Response) first described the relaxation response – the physiologic opposite of the fight-or-flight response – almost 40 years ago, and his team has pioneered the application of mind/body techniques to a wide range of health problems.

Studies in many peer-reviewed journals have documented how the Relaxation Response alleviates symptoms of anxiety and many other disorders and also affects factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption and brain activity.

In 2008, Benson and Libermann led a study finding that long-term practice of the relaxation response changed the expression of genes involved with the body's response to stress.  The current study examined changes produced during a single session of Relaxation Response practice, as well as those taking place over longer periods of time.

Both short-term and long-term practitioners evoked significant temporal gene expression changes with greater significance in the latter as compared to novices. Relaxation Response practice enhanced expression of genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance, and reduced expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress-related pathways.

The published results for the first time indicate that Relaxation Response elicitation, particularly after long-term practice, may evoke its downstream health benefits by improving mitochondrial energy production and utilization and thus promoting mitochondrial resiliency through upregulation of ATPase and insulin function.

Benson stresses that the long-term practitioners in this study elicited the relaxation response through many different techniques – various forms of meditation, yoga or prayer – but those differences were not reflected in the gene expression patterns.

"People have been engaging in these practices for thousands of years, and our finding of this unity of function on a basic-science, genomic level gives greater credibility to what some have called 'new age medicine,' " he says.

The full reference is : Bhasin MK, Dusek JA, Chang B-H, Joseph MG, Denninger JW, et al. (2013) Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcriptome Changes in Energy Metabolism, Insulin Secretion and Inflammatory Pathways.
To read it, CLICK HERE

17 June 2013

Ian Gawler Blog: Be still, and know that I am relaxed

Being on a yacht on an ocean means constant movement. Even when the sea is relatively calm, there is some rocking and rolling going on continually. Out of this experience comes another major meditation insight gathered courtesy of cruising recently on a yacht in the paradise that is Tahiti.

Also this week, advice that our next meditation retreat, Meditation in the Desert is nearly full; then eat well and receive a health insurance discount, plus what happens when an SAS veteran of Iraq stops long enough to consider his food chain, followed by an invitation to take part in a really cool experiment. But first

Thought for the day
In the practice of healing,
a kind heart is as valuable as medical training,
because it is the source of happiness for both oneself and others.
People respond to kindness even when medicine is ineffective,
and in turn,
cultivating a kind heart is a cause of our own good health.
                  His Holiness The Dalai Lama – who is in my home town of Melbourne this week!!!

Having recently returned from a couple of weeks with my elder sister and her husband on their yacht in Tahiti, I wrote a couple of week’s ago about the potential to be stressed or relaxed wherever you go.

In fact, Ruth and I had a deeply relaxing, wonderful time, but the mind’s capacity to make a hell out of heaven, or a heaven out of hell was very evident.

And then came another great insight to do with the importance of stillness.

When it came time to meditate on the boat, I noticed how challenging it was to feel into my physical body and to relax it deeply.

That continual rocking and rolling, whether when the sea was more turbulent or even more sedate, just offered a continual barrier to deeper relaxation.

It must have been a bit like many people new to meditation would find attempting to meditate amidst a lot of noise. The noise just gets in the way; takes the attention and becomes a real barrier to entering into that deeper silence that is meditation.

Of course, with practice and some training of the mind, an experienced meditator can find inner peace amidst noisy chaos, but it takes some doing, some practice.

So my insight came courtesy of this situation that was new to me – attempting to relax deeply and settle the mind with constant body motion. It was fun to be in such a new and different meditation environment, and it highlighted two things.

Firstly that it takes practice to get past potential distractions, whether constant motion, noises of any type, or our own inner thoughts and feelings.

But secondly, and even more importantly, I noticed in the first few days, as I was learning to adjust to the motion and to move past it, that when I could not do so the quality of my meditation was significantly lessened.

My sense is this reveals an issue that is particularly important for those using meditation therapeutically. A key to profound healing through meditation is that when we relax our bodies deeply, and accompany that with deep relaxation of the mind, we return to a state of deep, physiological rest. Deep physiological balance. And in that balance, the body is ideally poised to heal itself. Our biochemistry in balance, our physiology in balance, all our natural healing mechanisms in balance. Switched on, balanced, active and potent.

Natural healing arising out of deep physiological rest.

The point is, that to accomplish all this, we need to let go and to be still. Let go of any physical tension, let go of excessive thinking, let go of worry, anxiety, stress.

Let go and be still.

To do this as a beginner is helped greatly by a quiet environment and taking up a posture that enables us to remain physically still. Being on a boat highlighted this need. For many beginners, noisy neighbors highlight this need.

This is another reason why retreats are so potent in developing and deepening our experience and practice of meditation. Traditionally, meditators took to deserts and mountains for retreats. Places of solitude and silence where the outer environment supported the inner quest. Never heard of a meditation retreat on a yacht, but then again, maybe it would make for a powerful advanced practice!

Happy meditating, and do consider how you use your environment to support and challenge and develop your practice.

Tahiti's top 5 stress management lessons

Meditation in the Desert

Meditation in the Desert
This is a retreat Ruth and I only present every few years. We enter into the silence and the presence of the Central Australian Desert, spend 7 days meditating together, experience the outer environment and the inner peace, and then are joined for a few days hanging out with traditional Indigenous leaders of the area. Many find this retreat the experience of a lifetime. Be advised that there are only a few places left, so book soon if you plan to join us. For details, CLICK HERE

For anyone seeking to deepen their experience of physical and mental relaxation, the CD specifically designed for this is Relaxation for Everyone.

Be warned, the video link that follows could change your life but save the lives of others in the process.

Damien Mander spent his early years in the Australian Army SAS and then returned to Iraq as a mercenary. At 29 he stopped just long enough to consider where his life was going and what he was eating.

If you are game, watch what happened next as Damien gives one of the most powerful TED talks I have seen. Click here 

Vegetarians pay less for life insurance
Vegetarians are to be offered cheaper life insurance because, it is claimed, they are healthier and less likely to die early.

The Daily Mail in the UK reports that the Animal Friends Insurance (AFI) insurance agency has devised the Vegetarian Term Life policy to reward non meat-eaters with lower premiums. According to the Vegetarian Society, the risk of some cancers is reduced by up to 40 per cent and of heart disease by 30 per cent.

The new policy, offers a 25 per cent reduction on monthly premiums in the first year only but AFI is arguing for the entire industry to deliver long-term discounts to vegetarians. Epidemiological evidence indicates that vegetarians suffer less from chronic disease, but the insurance industry has not yet recognised this. Currently Insurance companies look at smoking, drinking habits and family medical history when deciding premiums. AFI believes that a vegetarian lifestyle should be given equal weight.

There are believed to be four million vegetarians in the UK, although some people who claim this status are not thought to be entirely faithful.

A spokesman for the Vegetarian Society said: 'This is an important first step. We hope insurance companies will take seriously the fact that vegetarians are less likely to die young from cancer and heart disease.'                        

Reference: Click here

RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY – what goes on in your head while you are being mindful?

For those within easy distance of Melbourne, here is advice of a very interesting research project any of you longer term meditators may like to take part in.

10 June 2013

Ian Gawler Blog: One remarkable man; one great lesson

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to meet and sometimes work with many remarkable people. This week, as I prepare to speak at Brisbane’s Relaxation Centre for the 30th year in a row!, along with workshops in Sydney, Coffs Harbour and Katoomba, lets go Out on a Limb once more and I will tell you about one of the most remarkable of all, Lionel Fifield, and of the one great life lessons I learnt from him.

Also, another really inspiring cancer recovery story, but first

Thought for the Day
If I were to wish for anything,
I should not wish for wealth and power,
But for the passionate sense of the potential,
An eye, which, ever young and ardent
Sees the possible.
                  Soren Kierkegaard

In the mid seventies, Fortitude Valley, adjacent to Brisbane’s CBD, had a well-earned reputation for crime, corruption, vice and sleaze. So when a new centre opened opposite the local Police Station with the then ambiguous title of The Relaxation Centre, it was not long before two burly plain-clothes detectives enquired.

All fresh-eyed and bushy-tailed, the man in charge, Lionel Fifield thought it best to introduce the said gentlemen to his best “girl”. With some anticipation, they were led upstairs to meet one Doris, champion stamp licker and letter poster at the tender age of 90 something!

This was a Relaxation Centre with a difference! Based on volunteers and an incredible ethic of service, the Centre has been providing self-help programs, personal development courses and so much good for the Brisbane community for nearly 40 Years.

In July I will celebrate with Lionel 30 years of annual presentations. In fact, Lionel was the first to ask me to present a comprehensive workshop – over a weekend in 1993. His style, enthusiasm, mentoring and on-going support for me, has, as with so many others, played a crucial role in how I work. So first, something of the man; then his great lesson.

Lionel Fifield began his working life as an accountant and made the most of the opportunity to experience many years of stress, fear, anxiety and chronic insomnia. At the tender young age of 30 he was warned that the way he was going, he could not expect to live for more than another 10 years. A range of severe illnesses rapidly followed, propelling Lionel to transform his heath and his life.

Inspired by what he found during his own recovery and now aged 34, Lionel, along with six others launched the Relaxation Centre of Queensland. Lionel has been at the helm virtually daily since and is the key person responsible for developing the Relaxation Centre’s wide-ranging programme. He has also presented numerous courses throughout Australia and in several countries overseas. I know of few who have done so much for so many others over such a long time.

One great lesson: Trust in abundance; focus on the need

Lionel first came into my life in 1983. While I had been conducting groups since ’81, the Gawler Foundation was just being established and big choices regarding how to proceed were being faced regularly.

I well remember Lionel calmly pointing out to me how many resources of every type were available in this marvellous world we live in. Logically, he pointed out how these resources were available to meet the needs of real needs. What we discussed at length were really the Laws of Abundance and Manifestation; not in some flaky New Agey way (although we both recognised much that was good in the so-called New Age) but more how these principles applied in the real world.

It was Lionel, more than anyone that convinced me to hold firm to my own belief that if in the Foundation we were to hold unwaveringly to meeting the needs of those people we set out to serve, then the finances, the people; all the resources we needed would become manifest. Focus on the service and the finances will follow.

In those early days I was often accused of flying “Faith Airlines”, believing in abundance and manifestation and expanding the work of the Foundation without any visible means of financially supporting the new service. It made for some tortured Board meetings and we certainly had our ups and downs, but the Foundation was built on this principle, the key words of which are eloquently stated in the Bible:

Ask and it will be given to you,
seek and you will find;
knock and it will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives,
and he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks it will be opened’      
         Luke 11, 9-10

People often ask Lionel how he has retained his enthusiasm for this work for so many years. He often talks about some of the changes, and almost miracles, he has seen happen for people when they have grasped the possibilities available to them and taken responsibility for their lives.

I share Lionel’s sentiment, and so here is another letter, a great example of what is possible, and this one offered as a tribute to my great friend, inspiration and mentor, Lionel Fifield.

Details of the Brisbane events, along with Sydney, Coffs Harbour and Katoomba follow. In Sydney, I will be presenting a weekend workshop at the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour - a wonderful venue for the occasion. Please also note, the Relaxation Centre has moved from the Valley, and is now at Alderley. See you there!


Kevin was diagnosed with kidney cancer after an operation in January of 2011 for the removal of his gall bladder. Here Kevin shares what unfolded.

On recuperating from the gall bladder operation I had scans for the spot on my kidney which revealed a 66mm cancerous tumour on my left kidney.  Within 3 weeks I had it removed. In early 2012 another scan revealed metastasized cancer to my lungs. After being referred to a lung surgeon, he told me there is nothing he can do for me and referred me to an oncologist that said the same thing.

The oncologist then said to me you will have years not months so go and do your bucket list. However what the oncologist also said was there is a really good book written by Ian Gawler ‘You Can Conquer Cancer’. I said wow funny you should say that my daughter is a naturopath and she has given me that book from a friend and I am reading it now.

I read You Can Conquer Cancer by Ian Gawler and other books, then my family said you should go to the Gawler Foundation Retreat. Well I said we really can’t afford it and my wife said is your life not worth $3,000?

I did the retreat and that was the best money I ever spent in my life. I was with 30 other people who were in the same boat as me; some were more advanced. We all learnt an immense amount of knowledge of how to live with cancer and I came out of that with so much life changing experience.

I will never forget my 10 days with the Gawler Retreat, I think it is probably one of the best memories of my life. Well I must say I really enjoyed every minute, however, I just can’t believe how much information that I absorbed and took home with me, but most of all put into practice.

As well as turning my cancer around with diet and lifestyle, I have cured other ailments that I used to suffer. I actually had an attack of diverticulitis when I was on the Retreat but I haven’t had diverticulitis since, although I used to get it at least 6 times a year.

I was perpetually living with irritable bowel syndrome. I haven’t had it since.

I used to get hay fever so bad my eyes would bung up and I would have a perpetual post nasal drip, I used to have to pay to get my lawn cut. I now do it myself, no problem, no hay fever.

I have been on proton pumps for reflux for over 6 years I no longer get reflux, no more medication.

But best of all I lost 30 kilos.  By losing this weight I have lost 90% of my arthritis pain.

From the knowledge I had learnt from The Gawler Foundation Retreat and put into practice - in seven months I had turned my cancer around. The next scan showed that the two largest tumours in my lungs had decreased in size very significantly and a cluster of smaller tumours had decreased very significantly.

My oncologist said it was amazing that I have shrunk my tumours without any mainstream treatment and that in all his experience as an oncologist this had only happened once before with another patient and that was six years ago.

All the best to all of you guys you will live in my heart forever.

Kevin Baker
Student from April 2012

Parking backwards and other positive acts

This will be my 30th year presenting at the Relaxation Centre in Brisbane.

Ruth and I love these events where we get to meet up with people we know, make knew friends, to remind ourselves and others of what works and to share the latest in our field of health, healing and wellbeing.

Please do forward the details to those you may know in any of these places and if you live nearby, we hope to see you at one of the events. Bring your family (we had 5 members from the same family share a day workshop recently), come with a friend, tell your colleagues.

These workshops are interactive, a great way to review what you already know, to be re-inspired and re-enthused, and to learn exciting new things, like the latest breakthroughs in epigenetics, the neurosciences, telomeres and nutrition.

Something for everyone!

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


BOOK: The Mind that Changes Everything – includes the principles and techniques of how to develop the Laws of Abundance and Manifestation

Lifestyle and Follicular Lymphoma (sometimes referred to as Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - NHL)

Several lifestyle factors (e.g., obesity, alcohol use, and diet) have been shown to affect the outcome of patients with NHL. A number of tumour molecular markers have been shown to predict the clinical course and overall survival  NHL.

In this study, high microenvironment expression of CD7 (a protein that can be aberrantly expressed in refractory anaemia and may confer a worse prognosis) was significantly associated with a dietary pattern high in fruits, vegetables, and starch (p=0.04), as well as more specifically a higher intake of carotene-rich vegetables (p=0.005).

To our knowledge, this represents the first report of the association of lifestyle factors on tumour markers/microenvironment in NHL and their collective impact on survival.

Evans A et al. Influence of Lifestyle Factors On Expression of Tumour-Related Microenvironment T-cells and Impact On Survival of Follicular Lymphoma. Link to the paper: CLICK HERE.

04 June 2013

Ian Gawler Blog: Tahiti’s top 5 stress management tips

Maybe it all began with the florid yet languid images of Paul Gauguin. But maybe it was the exotic tale of sailors in Mutiny on the Bounty risking all for the romantic allure of the tropical paradise known as Tahiti that lead to this boy’s life long yearning to visit.

So just back from fulfilling a dream, lets go Out on a Limb once more, share some amazing photos and learn what Tahiti can teach us about stress management. But first

Thought for the day
The mind is a universe 
and can make a heaven of hell, 
a hell of heaven.
                              John Milton, Paradise Lost

My karma with this particular slice of heaven finally ripened courtesy of my older sister and her husband who have been sailing around the world for the last 8 years. Tahiti seemed the perfect place to join them and to experience cruising around paradise. In the process of going somewhere so beautiful, so different, so warm!, some dramatic stress management lessons became crystal clear.

Tahiti’s top 6 stress management lessons

1. Wherever you go, stress is ready to greet you

Here I am floating around, all at sea.

Am I ? A. Blissed out – feeling totally enamored with the opportunity for a real holiday in such a divine setting. Aware of relaxing and letting go while floating on warm and tranquil water, marvelling at the amazing light as the sun settles, and feeling really grateful for the experience.

Or B. Freaked out - aware I am really unfit when it comes to swimming; preoccupied that I am way out of my depth, have just jumped over the side of a yacht well off any shore, am unaware of any currents or even my capacity to get back to the boat and am stressing out?

Many people think stress is an external problem, something that is caused by things outside of them; outside of their control. Going to Tahiti made it crystal clear, you can find the catalysts for stress anywhere and everywhere.

In fact, this is the human condition. If you are alive, you have the potential to be stressed. Sure, some environments, some people can provoke stress more readily than others, but even being in paradise can do it for you.

2. An untrained mind is at the mercy of the currents

Here is Ruth steering the ship (OK you nautical types, I know it is a yacht).

How often do you hear people saying “He is the cause of all my stress”?

“If only we were not so busy at work I would be more relaxed.”

“Once the kids are a little older, they are bound to be easier to manage and life will be OK.”

“ Once we pay of the mortgage, we can relax”.

A trained mind learns that it is how I respond to “her” that determines whether I become stressed or not; how I respond to the work, to the kids, to the mortgage.

There is no need to take stress personally, as if we are the only ones affected. We all have potential stress. What we need to take personally is learning how to manage it.

3. A trained mind learns how to navigate life
Here I am helping to repair a sail (best use of my veterinary surgical skills for many years!)

Imagine taking all the essentials from your house, kitchen, bathroom, laundry, bedroom etc and squeezing them into a long, fairly skinny caravan that floats. Then take it out on the ocean to be buffeted by wind and tide, to have corrosion eat at everything and to find yourself regularly in exotic places where few people speak your native tongue and parts are hard to come by for the regular repairs that not surprisingly are needed fairly frequently.

Sprinkle all this with incredibly joyful times when all is working and the wind is coming from the right direction in the right amounts, and you have the life of the ocean sailor.

You could easily be stressed or blissful. Or alternate between the two. Is it up to the external events? Or is it up to how you manage them?

4. Stress is all in the mind; well almost

Here is an image of peace and tranquility.

Holidays do make sense. It can be very useful to take time out, change you external circumstances if they are proving very difficult.

But while managing our circumstances as best as possible is a vital starting point for effective stress management, the key point remains, doing so does not guarantee a stress-free life - as I am sure we all know.

5. Stress management requires learning and practice – as I am sure we all know.

Here is the vanilla orchard, precursor to the vanilla bean.

Study botany and learn how to grow vanilla.

Study the mind and learn how to grow a stress-free life.

It starts with the knowledge, then we put it all into practice.

My guess is you probably know what to do. I came back from my holiday deeply grateful to Sue and Ross for the privilege of sharing time on their yacht, and more aware than ever that stress is all in the mind! Meditation anyone?


In praise of tall trees

Mindbody Mastery

Ruth and I love these events where we get to meet up with people we know, make knew friends, to remind ourselves and others of what works and to share the latest in our field of health, healing and wellbeing.

Please do forward the details to those you may know in any of these places and if you live nearby, we hope to see you at one of the events. Bring your family (we had 5 members from the same family share a day workshop recently), come with a friend, tell your colleagues.

These workshops are interactive, a great way to review what you already know, to be re-inspired and re-enthused, and to learn exciting new things, like the latest breakthroughs in epigenetics, the neurosciences, telomeres and nutrition. And we all get to meditate together!

Something for everyone really!

Thursday June 27; Evening Public Lecture: Health, Healing and Wellbeing
     Weekend workshop: A New Way of Living
Saturday 29th: Meditation and the power of the mind
Sunday 30th: Profound Healing and Sustainable Wellbeing

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


BOOKS  The Mind that Changes Everything

Meditation – an In-depth Guide

The online meditation program: Mindbody Mastery 

The brains of experienced meditators appear to be fitter, more disciplined and more "on task" than do the brains of those trying out meditation for the first time. And the differences between the two groups are evident not only during meditation, when brain scans detect a pattern of better control over the wandering mind among experienced meditators, but when the mind is allowed to wander freely.

Those insights emerge from a study which looked at two groups: highly experienced meditators and meditation novices, and compared the operations of the "Default Mode Network" -- a newly identified cluster of brain regions that go to work when our brains appear to be "offline."

"I think it's safe to say this is brain-training at work," says Yale University psychiatrist Judson Brewer, who conducted the study with psychologists from Yale, the University of Oregon and Columbia University.

"It makes sense," adds Brewer. "Anything you train to do, you do better."

Reference: Click here