28 July 2014

Meditation, Images and Health

Deep natural peace. Profound insight. With over 50 years of leading meditation retreats and a wide variety of groups between us, Ruth and I invite you to join us for a 5 day residential program in the Yarra Valley this October that brings together the best techniques for personal transformation we know.

Meditation. Contemplation. Imagery. All well known. All speak for themselves.

But then there is the wonderful, gentle but incredibly insightful process that centres around the interpretation of drawings that is not so well known. So this week, more on understanding the workings of our mind, plus a journey into the metaphorical world of drawings, their symbols and their interpretation, but first

Thought for the Day

Psychology has traditionally supported people 
To move from minus ten to zero. 
What I love about positive psychology 
Is that it supports people to move from zero to plus ten.

               John Higgins, philanthropist

Our active, thinking mind is comprised of the conscious and the unconscious. Some liken the relationship of the two to that of an iceberg, with just the tip of the conscious in our ordinary awareness and all the activity of the unconscious going on underneath with major consequence.

Clearly our lives are dramatically affected by the unconscious. The unconscious stores our memories then brings them together to formulate our beliefs and hold our habits.

How often do we feel constrained from doing what we consciously might choose to, or consider to be in our own best interests, when we know what is really holding us back is the underlying force of our own unconscious mind?

How often are our relationships affected by these same unconscious forces, held as hurts or fears; emerging as needs or avoidance?

Clearly there is the potential for great personal liberation in coming to know our own unconscious more directly. With such knowledge comes the prospect of freedom from the past and the freedom of a more open future.

So how to gain insight into the unconscious? This is where it helps to understand that the unconscious has its own language – that of imagery. The unconscious converts our day-to-day experiences into images and stores them as such. We remember the past by drawing on these images, we think using images, we plan for the future using images. Our habits and our beliefs are all made up of images.

Imagery is the language of the unconscious. That is what makes the unconscious so accessible. Drawing is a process of recording images. Through a simple technique using 3 specific drawings, we can gain an incredibly clear window into the workings of our own unconscious.

Excited? This is a fascinating process that stands alone for being gentle yet powerful. There is no need to be an artist. In fact, often the simpler the drawing style the more useful these types of drawings can be.

This is a process I have led several thousands of people through over the years. We used to include it unheralded in many programs and curiously it was not uncommon for some people to be reluctant to enter into the activity. However, with gentle persuasion, it is true to say that almost everyone who did it found major benefit and very often people felt their lives transformed for the better through what they learnt and what the exercise led on to.

So these days as Ruth and I present more regular meditation retreats, each with their own particular theme (like Imagery for Meditation Under the Long White Cloud in NZ), we are offering this program for those interested in their own psychology, the influences of the unconscious and how we can be free to live more in the moment.

Meditation, Images and Health is a program of direct relevance to health professionals. It could be useful in gaining more understanding of your own processes; and the interpretation of drawings is a technique that I learnt initially from a senior Jungian analyst, then adapted somewhat to the group situation. It is a technique that can be used in individual sessions or in groups and this program could well meet the needs of professional development.

Meditation, Images and Health will have plenty of meditation – a little instruction and good time to sit together - along with the usual basic hatha yoga, walking meditation, free time, great food and meaningful conversation. But then we will add this extra dimension of the drawings and all that they offer.

More details and a flier to download can be accessed by CLICKING HERE; bookings are through the Foundation – call +61 3 59671730.

Retreat and go forward

This blog comes to you from Fraser Island. The world’s biggest island of pure sand. Blue sky. Almost warm. Very bumpy tracks that give our car the chance to know it actually is a 4WD, and a place that brings to mind that great quote :

To see a world in a grain of sand

 And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

              William Blake

Tuesday July 29th : a free evening public talk in Bundaberg
Wednesday July 30th : a talk for dementia carers again in Bundaberg
then Mackay on Friday 1st August and on we go to Cairns, Mt Isa and eventually Adelaide. 

Also, there are still 2 places left for anyone adventurous enough to join Meditation in the Desert at what is getting to be short notice :)


  1. Hello,really nice article.Meditation is thought to be ok for sound individuals. There have been uncommon reports that meditation could result in or worsen symptoms in individuals who have notable psychiatric issues, yet this inquiry has not been completely looked into.Individuals with physical limits will most likely be unable to take part in certain reflective works on including physical development.People with existing mental or physical wellbeing conditions ought to talk with their medicinal services suppliers preceding beginning a thoughtful practice and make their reflection instructor mindful of their condition.Best wishes.

  2. Thanks nelson, you raise some useful points, given that when people ask about thier conditions they talk to medical people who are qualified and experienced in this area. Not so many are and so there would be a need to find the right person. Doctors registered with AIMA would be good - they have a website for referrals .