30 May 2016


To meditate well we need instruction from someone competent who we relate to well, and then we need to practice regularly. Many of us these days are looking to Apps for this instruction and support, but such Apps take a great deal of time and effort to develop and are very expensive.

The  Meditation Gateway App provides a solution. Three years in the making, just about to be released, this is a project my partner in IT Saurabh Mishra and I have been focused on for the last 3 years.

The  Meditation Gateway App has been developed as a platform to make it possible for individual teachers and meditation schools large and small to provide a technologically sophisticated App for their students - in a way that is affordable and easy.

So this week, the details - along with news of a major meditation event coming soon to Melbourne, but first

      Thought for the day

         If you forget to eat breakfast, 
         You do not give up there and then. 

         The next day, you go ahead and eat breakfast. 


                     Tara Tulku Rinpoche

Up until now, a technologically sophisticated App has been beyond the resources of most meditation teachers and schools. Many would like to have one, some do, but a really good one is commonly too expensive, takes too much time and energy to develop, and so does not get done.

The  Meditation Gateway App is designed to change all that. This technologically sophisticated platform makes it possible for meditation schools and individual meditation teachers to educate, support and interact with their own students using their own material.

The Meditation Gateway App provides a platform onto which the school or teacher’s own material including branding and logo can be uploaded quite simply. The App each subscriber will use will have all the look and feel characteristic of their chosen teacher/school. Then the teachings and guided meditations can be used in a variety of ways as summarised below.

This app has evolved out of our own on-line meditation program, Mindbody Mastery (www.mindbodymastery.net) that has been a testing ground to develop this technology. On average, users of the Mindbody Mastery program tripled their reported frequency of practice and maybe just as remarkably, reported that the satisfaction levels with their practice also increased three fold.

Mindbody Mastery will be one of the programs available through the Meditation Gateway App when it is released in a week or so.

How can this work financially? 
Users of each individual meditation App pay a modest monthly fee. This fee is then distributed on a revenue sharing basis – some going to Apple or the Android people, some to the meditation teacher/school, and some to us to keep the wheels turning. Simple. The meditation teacher/school has no upfront fees as we aimed to make this all very accessible.

Features of the Meditation Gateway App

1.   Readily accessible content 
Each meditation school will be able to upload its own content (including audio guided meditation sessions and mind-body exercises, audio/video clips of talks, and accompanying text) on our secure site, which the student will be able to access through the app.

Restricted access will be possible to certain material if preferred.

2.  User friendly design
The Meditation Gateway App has been designed to be very clear, very easy to use. After months of testing and further development from the original starting point, we are confident this design has been achieved.

3.  Progressive release of a meditation program
The material each teacher/school uploads can either all be made available as soon as a new member subscribes; or material can be released on a pre-determined schedule, effectively making a meditation course available via the App.

4. Daily emails can be synched to the other content
Again, if chosen, daily emails can be sent via the App to support, instruct, inspire and encourage subscribers to continue to develop their practice, and to practice more regularly.

With Mindbody Mastery, we feel these emails have been one of the very effective ways we have been able to support our users to meditate so much more often. Gentle, positive reminders.

5. Customised sessions 
Each individual App user also will be able to
a) Create his/her own customised meditation session using any of the guided exercises made available by that user’s meditation school in any sequence, with any amount of silent time before, in between, or after. We also provide the sound of meditation bells to add at the start and end of sessions if desired.

b) Access specific pre-customised sessions for dealing with anxiety, pain, insomnia, and other “states of mind” if the teacher/school chooses this option (content provided by Imageryworks and/or the meditation program).

6.   Customised imagery 
Imagery forms the basis of many powerful and popular mind-body exercises as well as traditional sadhanas. Examples include an exercise in which the meditator brings to mind images of very specific things from his/her life (good as well as challenging), and expresses gratitude for each in turn.

This app will enable the subscriber to use the Smartphone’s camera to take photos of the various images featured in the practices with the smartphone, for the App to show on-screen during the exercise at the chosen times.

7.   Virtual meditation group 
With this feature, the subscriber will be able to
a) Make a regular or one off time to meditate online with friends (daily/weekly, etc.) which automatically updates your smartphone’s calendar and sets an alarm.

b) Push a button to check-in before start of session to let others know that they are in (e.g. “Saurabh has checked in”).

c) Interact with the group outside of the sessions via text messaging.
Furthermore, the session coordinator can

a) “Prod” those who have not yet checked in (send an iMessage or trigger a predetermined alarm on their phone), and

b) Create and play a customised session that all participants hear simultaneously.

8.   Interactions 
This app will track usage as well as ask the subscriber for regular feedback about the quality of his/her meditation practice, which will be delivered back to the meditation program’s coordinator (subject to subscriber consent), to help them deliver support interventions.

9.    “Gaming” concepts to increase usage will be available if preferred – e.g. maintaining a leader board of the most consistent virtual meditation groups (each quarter the leading group gets some reward such as a personal audience with the meditation master/principal teacher associated with the program).

While not everyone’s choice, “gaming” principles have been shown to be highly effective in helping many people to establish new healthy lifestyle habits.

10.       The app will collect a monthly subscription fee (specified by each meditation program) from the user. This amount can be determined by each school or teacher.

11. The Meditation Gateway App also provides technical support for subscribers so this necessity is taken care of.

12.  Each quarter, a new feature will be added to the Meditation Gateway platform that will be accessible by all the individual app users. This will continue to build interest and to support ongoing usage. We have some great innovations already being developed for these free add-ons and will continue to respond to user feedback and requests.

So – excited? I am! This is the culmination of years of work and it is planned to be released within the week, thereby also making Mindbody Mastery available to you. 

Hope you like it and find it really helpful, and look forward to your feedback.

Once the Meditation Gateway App is released, we will let you know. Not long to go now….


Meditation Australia – Past, Present and Future

In her role as President of Meditation Australia, Ruth will be the MC for a terrific meditation event at the Deakin Edge in Melbourne's Federation Square on Thursday 16th at 7pm.

"Meditation Past, Present and Future", will feature a stellar speaker's list including Pauline McKinnon, Craig Hassed, Janet Etty-Leal, Ken Mellor and Kay Watts.

Booking soon is advised as I suspect this event will be fully booked. See you there?

For full details    CLICK HERE

To register    CLICK HERE

23 May 2016

Taming the tyrant of the mind

Just stop. Take yourself away from the busyness of life and stop for a while.
This is the delight that comes with entering into a meditation retreat. It just all falls away. The busyness dissolves, the mind settles, peace and clarity arise.

Just back myself from attend (yes, not leading – attending) a 10 day retreat mostly in silence, it strikes me yet again how reliable this process is. As the mind settles, thoughts come and go. Sure, some are turbulent, some peaceful; but with perseverance – the peace and clarity re-assert themselves. And so often, insights flow.

For me, this recent retreat provided another vivid reminder of how valuable it is to go on personal retreat. In fact, this one will inform, and transform how I present the next two retreats Ruth and I will lead, both of which have the intention of entering the deeper stillness of the essence of meditation.

Then too, a reminder of what can come from attending a retreat. So this week, a heartfelt sharing of a transformative experience involving releasing a tyrant within, sent from one who attended the last retreat we ran where the focus was on contemplation, but first

           Thought for the day

                A mind that is fast is sick

                A mind that is slow is sound 

                A mind that is still is divine

                             Meher Baba

Thank you very much for the great teachings and guidance you gave us all at the recent Meditation Under the Long White Cloud retreat where we focused on contemplation.

I would like to tell you that thanks to these teachings and quite a lot of dedicated meditation for many years, I have found a new level of satisfaction and peace with contemplation as a meditation technique. It has been truly wonderous in it’s capacity to transform my state of mind.

It had come to my awareness that recently I have had a “tyrant” taking charge of my active mind when I feel “too good”. This tyrant came in the form of my thoughts which became like the lashings of a whip constructed by my own mind to punish me for something like just not being worthy enough.

In the days before the retreat, actually for years now, this tyrant had been getting “stuck into me” pretty well as soon as I wake up. After the feelings of sleep had slipped away, it would start with all the “problems in the relationships in my family” and soon a deep, ancient sense of hopelessness and bewilderment pervaded.

This in turn created one thought after another that had the effect of disturbing me and giving me everything from mild longing, to severe felt-sense disturbance in the area of my stomach and solar plexus.

I am reminded that this is very similar to the dementia-ridden state of mind of my loving grandmother. Later in life, she could talk of nothing else, bar in a disjointed way, her sense of unhappy, fractured regrets about her long gone relationships. What tragedy.  At the end of her life she just wept all the time. She was totally in it all the time.

And there but for the grace of you, go I …

What has changed that is so significant? Since the retreat, I have started to use contemplation of the “thinking-mind” to manage these thoughts; and am very glad to say I am making some progress.

I want to tell you that it is really becoming a reliable technique for me to find inner peace and calm. I have been using the “thousand-petaled lotus” technique with alternating stillness periods, and consciously thinking through all these habitual things/patterns of my mind and taking breaks like you taught us to do.

And wow!

Now, after about 30 minutes of this conscious, deliberate, alternating of thinking and resting, a wonderful kind of stillness and peace emerges. All the solidity of the thoughts just kind-of “break up” and become dream-like. Yet, I feel grounded and as if “the tyrant” has been completely disarmed, even vanquished. Dissolving away like a morning mist. I can rest in what feels like natural Great Peace.

Where “refuge” was once “another place” I could go to get away from my agonising mind, somewhere I could escape to; it is different now. It is now like I can examine and explore this mind of mine and then I find it there…. the refuge is actually there in it; in my mind itself!

Thank you deeply from the depths of my heart for helping me to learn to take charge of my mind, and learn to contemplate my mind and find it’s true nature. I now understand why they say this is priceless.

With love and gratitude …

The June retreat, Deepening Your Meditation is fully booked

October 2016 Coromandel Peninsula New Zealand

April 2017 Yarra Valley, Australia

Meditation Under the Long White Cloud - Deep Natural Peace – NZ, 22- 28 October

Keen to learn more and deepen your experience of relaxation, mindfulness and meditation?

Good instruction, a conducive environment and like-minded people help create the circumstances wherein this breakthrough can occur.

        Take time out from the busyness of everyday life
        Indulge in a meaningful holiday
        Slow down, reflect, contemplate
        Regain perspective, clarity, vitality, and balance

Our annual New Zealand meditation retreat is both practical and regenerative, with optional yoga and Chi Gong. The focus of the 2016 retreat will be the profound stillness of meditation.

Dates     Saturday 22ND to Friday 28th October 2016

Venue    Mana Retreat Centre, Coromandel, New Zealand

Register with Mana Retreat at the online secure http://www.manaretreat.com/users/register.php

More details, CLICK HERE

Meditation in the Forest 2017 – Meditation and Contemplation – Yarra Junction

In 2017, the focus of this annual, pre- Easter retreat will be on the practice of contemplation. Because contemplation is not so widely recognised or written about at the moment, and very few lead specific retreats on this theme, I love presenting this material.

Learning and practising contemplation is so profoundly helpful, in so many ways – from personal transformation, to business, to life direction and meaning, to extra-ordinary insights.

Ruth and I heartily recommend this retreat.

You will learn how to think things through, how to overcome confusion, how to develop clarity and certainty in decision-making, and more - how to access insight, intuition and inner wisdom in a predictable and reliable way.

Date          4 pm Friday 7th April until 2 pm Thursday 13th April 2017.
Venue      The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Crt, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia  
Bookings    The Gawler Foundation: +61 (3) 59671730

More details, CLICK HERE

05 May 2016

Meditation on App

At last. After several years of hard work, my meditation – theory and guided exercises – will be available via App. The Mindbody Mastery program is just a few days from being launched. Hooray!

To celebrate, an excerpt summarising how to meditate – the Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation method - that is at the heart of the Mindbody Mastery program, and details of what the App can do for you.

Details regarding the release of the App, and how to access it will come soon, but first

           Thought for the Day

                   Seek the path

                     That demands your whole being


Many people used Mindbody Mastery in its downloadable form that was first created and made accessed via its specific website. 

The measured results were amazing. On average the system that went with the basic meditation program supported users on average to treble, yes treble the amount of practise they did, and perhaps even more amazingly, treble the satisfaction they reported with their practise.

However, many did find the download system a bit clunky. It took time, required a few IT skills, and was limited in what it could offer.

Enter the App. 

Designed to be ultra user friendly.

Developed to do everything you would hope a meditation App can do.

Easy and affordable.

It has been well tested, put together by an amazing team led by my partner in all this - Saurabh Mishra; and now it is ready for you to use.

I am excited!

The hope is that it will be very helpful...

The new App will make it possible for you to

1. Receive an initial 8 week meditation program. One session is sent to you each week and it will lead you through relaxation, concentration, mindfulness – focused and open, meditation, guided imagery and contemplation.
Ideal for beginners, and excellent revision for the more experienced.

2. You can access all the guided exercises from day one if you choose, or go to them as the weeks unfold.

3. It will be possible to simply use the guided exercises as provided, or create your own meditation sessions using any of the guided exercises in any sequence, with any amount of silent time before or after each exercise; plus you can add meditation bells to start and finish a session as you like.

4. In any imagery based exercise, you will be able to upload personal photos or images to complement the exercise.

5. Want to meditate with friends? The App enables you to create a virtual meditation group with recurring sessions (weekly, twice a week, monthly, etc.) and invite others; or apply to join a virtual meditation group formed by other people using the App.

6. The App will record how much practise you do - unless you prefer it not to – and you will be able to see a leaderboard of how different people and virtual meditation groups have tracked in terms of their regularity of group sessions and attendance of group members.

7. You will receive the daily emails and weekly SMS messages that proved so popular with the initial Mindbody Mastery program, and seemed to be pivotal in encouraging/supporting people to practise and gain more from that practise.

More details and where to access the App next time, and the Android version is in the final stages of being developed but is still a couple of months away; but for now

– an excerpt direct from the Mindbody Mastery program

How then do we do it?  Three of the four elements or steps, we have learnt already in our Mindbody Mastery program. We have already taken time to learn how to prepare well, to relax and to be mindful. Now, all we need to do is to add them together and when we do, they actually flow on quite naturally into the fourth phase, the deeper experience of meditation.

Step 1 : Preparation
We start obviously enough with our Preparation. Choosing a time and place, giving ourselves time, taking up our posture. As we do this, particularly as we get more familiar with the exercise, just by simply sitting with the intention of taking some time out to relax and to meditate, we do begin to relax.

Step 2 : Relaxation
The Preparation flows on into the second step, Relaxation. Now we relax a little more consciously. This phase of the meditation we adapt to suit our own situation and needs. Simply speaking, we do whatever we know will help us to relax in the quickest and most direct way, given the sort of day we are having, our level of experience, and what it does take to help us to relax most effectively.

So perhaps we take the time to go through the longer and more methodical Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise. Perhaps it is enough for us to use the Rapid Relaxation exercise. Perhaps we just take a few deeper breaths and feel ourselves letting go on the out breath. With a little time and practice it becomes easy, almost like second nature. We just know how much time to give to this relaxation phase, and what technique will be most useful.

The aim is to feel the ease of it all. To relax into the relaxation! To feel our body letting go and relaxing; to hold our attention on that feeling of relaxation and to allow our mind to go with it. The aim is to immerse ourselves in the feeling of relaxation. We feel the relaxation all through; through our body and our mind. We allow the relaxation to flow from the body into the mind.

Step 3 : Mindfulness
And as we feel this relaxation, again, quite naturally, we flow on to the next step, Mindfulness. As we relax, our thoughts settle a little and we just simply start to notice what is going on around us a little more clearly.

Perhaps it is the sounds we notice first. We notice any sounds that may be around about us. And we just notice them coming, and going. Maybe then we become a little more aware of the physical sensations in our bodies; and we choose to notice these things more non-judgementally.

We aim to let go of any sense of good or bad; right or wrong, and focus our awareness on just simply noticing what it is that we are aware of. We take up that stance of being an impartial observer; a non-judgemental observer. We are aware; we are interested, we are curious. What is happening right now? We are coming into the present moment with awareness. This is mindfulness.

Out of the thoughts - stillness.

What also becomes obvious is that as we settle a little, as we go with all this and become a little calmer, our thoughts do quite naturally slow down a little. Again, we do not need to do anything more than what we have been doing for this to happen. This is a process based on relaxation, mindfulness and natural ease. We just focus on doing the exercises, go with the flow as they say, and by doing so, we progress quite easily and reliably.

And as we do this and inevitably the thoughts do begin to slow down a little, a remarkable thing.

As we notice our thoughts more clearly, we notice how each individual thought has a starting point, a middle and an end point. Obviously each and every thought we have has to start somewhere, and to finish somewhere. And as we relax more, as we become more mindful, this fact just becomes more obvious. We notice when first we become aware of a particular thought, we notice it passing through our awareness, and we notice when it finishes.

Step 4 – The stillness becomes apparent 
And now, another really useful observation.  As our thoughts continue to slow and we notice them more clearly, we can come to notice that after one thought finishes and before another thought starts, there is often a small gap.

Now in the gap between two thoughts, there is obviously a moment of silence; a moment of stillness.

So now we turn our attention, our awareness, to noticing the gap between the thoughts. And again, when we do this mindfully, free of judgement, just with an open curiosity; not only do we notice the stillness but often enough it lasts a little longer; there is a bigger gap before the next thought comes.

But again we make no effort to force this, or to manipulate it. We just notice it. We are patient. We are the impartial observer. Just simply curious to notice what happens.

More stillness? Another thought? What is it? We take the attitude of a patient, curious, impartial observer and do just that, we observe. We aim to treat this stillness and the thoughts in just the same way. Non-judgementally. With curious awareness. So we notice the stillness. And we also notice if and when another thought comes. We remain aware and undistracted.




A unique opportunity to experience 
the deep natural peace and clarity of profound meditation

5 Day Meditation Immersion with Ian and Ruth Gawler

JUNE 2016 – Monday 6th to Friday the 10th

For details CLICK HERE



Our annual meditation retreat at the delightful Mana Retreat Centre on the Coromandel Peninsula.

October 2016 - Saturday 22nd to Friday the 28th 

Mana has much in common with the Foundation's Yarra Valley centre - beautiful landscapes, great staff, excellent, mostly organic meals - much from their own garden, and an excellent meditation sanctuary to practice in.

Well worth the travel from Australia, or from around New Zealand.

While this retreat will include ample instruction,
the focus this year will be upon direct experience;
finding and immersing ourselves in the deep inner peace,
the regenerative power and the clarity of our own stillness.

For details click here