02 April 2018


We all will have “retired” from many things. Many transitions. In fact, moment-by-moment everything is changing, so we could say we are “transitioning” all the time; even though we may not notice it so obviously.

Certainly, some transitions are way more obvious. How do we name them? Retirement? Moved on? Forced out? Found something new? Left it behind? Joyful change? Divorce? New Beginnings?

What is next???

My own life is in another major transition. Completed the last meditation retreat I will lead last week and am now moving into another phase. So this week, to answer the questions of those who are interested, and at the risk of sounding self-indulgent, a review of past transitions (not past transgressions!) and an outline of what is next, but first

        Thought for the day

The attainment of wholeness 
Requires one to stake one’s whole being.
Nothing less will do. 
There can be
No easier conditions,
No substitutes,
No compromises.
                                 Carl Jung

A list of earlier work related “retirements”…

1975   Retired as an equine veterinarian - having a leg amputated will do that

1984   Retired altogether as a veterinarian - to concentrate upon developing the Foundation, cancer programs and teaching meditation

1990   Took a year off to reflect on the work and planning the residential centre and programs

2009   Retired from full-time job at the Gawler Foundation

2017   Presented last cancer residential program

2018   Presented last residential meditation retreat

             Being sung to at the conclusion of the last retreat... 
          Amazing song; very warm :)

So why the change, and what next? 

The reasons I am stopping leading residential programs and retreats are multiple… For a start, at 68 my energy levels are not what they used to be. If, as in the old days, I was running the Foundation during this last retreat, while at the same time leading non-residential programs and preparing for another residential program in the next week or 2, plus all else I used to do; well frankly, I just cannot manage that level of activity at present.

But moreover, it is time to do more personal study and practice. I have attended so many great retreats as a participant, have so many incredible notes stored away; the time has come to study them and attempt to take them more to heart. And do more practice. Over the years, attempting to teach what I have learnt has been wonderful, but now it is time to go more deeply into all of this.

So the other things still on the go include the meditation platform App - the Meditation Gateway, and my personalised version of that which makes an online meditation program available in my voice - actually called My Meditation app - more of that next blog.

Then there is the writing - I am currently almost finished a new meditation book, and am considering writing on contemplation as it is so useful, and there is little written specifically on this subject that seems really clear and useful.

And the blog will continue - it feels like a good way to keep in connection...

However, on top of these things, there is a major project I have been invited to co-found by Martin Hosking. Martin is founding CEO of Redbubble, a dedicated meditator (has come to many of our retreats) and devoted Christian. Martin is keen to establish a Christian-based, reproducible meditation retreat centre and program that can provide something similar to what the Vipassana program accomplishes - a widely accessible meditation program that is available all around the world and rooted in Christianity rather than Buddhism as is Vipassana.

This project appeals to me greatly as while I do call myself a Buddhist these days, I still hold Christianity dear. Just because one has adopted something new, does not mean one needs to do away with the old. Integration is possible, and in this instance, very welcome. Martin has asked me to take a major role in establishing the program, so this is a big project and one with which I will need to manage my time closely.

Also, I am open to the occasional public speaking event or conference appearance. Considering a day workshop in Melbourne in December with 2 great meditation teachers from Europe, but more on that later.

Amidst all this, Ruth will continue with her own work - still seeing a few people privately and beginning her own new career as meditation retreat leader. She will be terrific at this. Ruth has been very happy supporting me over many recent years and while we have done many programs together, she is now ready to step forward. A big transition for her and one I am keen to support fully.

Interested in numbers?

Seems so far I have attended over 30 retreats as a participant - most around 10 days, longest 3 months. Led around 100 meditation retreats myself, along with around 250 cancer residential programs, 250 public workshops and 30 non-residential meditation groups and around 100 non-residential cancer groups.

You Can Conquer Cancer went into 13 languages and has sold over 350.000 copies. (It is now available as a spoken book on our website). On average books are read by about 4 people, so 1,400,000 people may well have read it. Peace of Mind sold over 100,000 copies, Meditation - Pure and Simple around 50,000 and the Imagery book - now renamed The Mind that Changes Everything, around 40,000. Meditation -an In-depth Guide that was co-authored with Paul Bedson has sold around 15,000; the latest has not sold anything ! - may be released in around 6 months.

On the personal front, it is great to be back at painting classes again and the garden is flourishing.

Also, despite having those 3 considerable areas of work to continue with, there is a clear sense of more time being available for the more personal things including more time with family and friends.

But overall, a greater emphasis on study and practice.

                                                                                Recent work in progress -foreground to complete....

So that is a snap shot.

Clearly not a full retirement, but definitely a major part of my life coming to an end.

I will miss the retreats. This last one was truly wonder full. Great people. Noble company. Noble conversations. And deep meditations together. The Yarra Valley Living Centre such a terrific venue. Great staff. Hard to leave behind but there is this clear inner knowing. As with all the other major transitions in my life, the inner knowing is clear. It is time for this next big transition.

        And throughout,
        the little transitions are constantly flowing.

                    Doors opening. Doors closing.

Life Changes - dealing with the inevitable


Ruth and Ian Gawler's webstore


  1. No words of thanks would ever be enough to thank you for our life today...I think the privilege of our life personally, was the integrity and knowledge that you passed to us and all those who followed in your footsteps ,your guidance and wisdom during residential retreats at the center are still with us today,and we attended over 20 years ago,we gained wellness and also in our case a cure from a difficult cancer with a prognosis we did not wish to consider ,without you Ian lighting our path we would not be here today ,may all you wishes for this new transition to your semi retirement, reward you in peace of mind,our most heartfelt thanks for being "you!"XO

  2. Many thanks Jenn for the kind words - and for all you and Ross have done for others, Ruth and myself over the years. Would have been a shame to have missed it Eh???
    :) Love to you both...

  3. Thank you Ian for all your wonderful years of service, support and teaching. All the best with the next stage. :-)

  4. Blessings to you too Ruth - and all the family that I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the years

  5. Hi Ian - for the record, I find out on a limb useful. It is a little bit of seasoning in my week that enhances the flavour. I particularly enjoy the practical stuff about meditation and mind. Looking forward to more reads. Best, Michael

  6. Thanks Michael, I expect to write more on meditation and its integration into our daily lives - seems one of the key things I may be able to offer :)

  7. Such a well earned transition Ian! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration you provided by way of your teaching and wonderful books. Your guidance has enabled me to have the courage to set up my own teaching practice and my own meditation room has become a sacred space for many. Kaye Ellis

  8. Dear Kaye
    it is a delight to know that you and others like you have carried this work forward. How fortunate are we to have learnt of all this - to help ourselves and to be of use to others

  9. Thank you for all your Contributions over the years.I have particularly valued your shared wisdom through contact via The Relaxation Centre in Brisbane with Bert Weir and Lionel Fifield and patients which i have referred to your courses over the past 30 years.This year I am approaching 75 in May but with Gods help I plan to keep on supporting my patients with Acupuncture and Naturopathy well into my later years Will keep in touch Kindest Regards Murray McCallum Toowoomba Queenslan

  10. Excellent Murray and well done on being able to help your people for so many years. Keep up the good work...
    be well

  11. Ian, on behalf of Karen, my late father and me, thank you for your efforts and teachings over the years. The other comments above are testament to your positive contributions and beneficial effects on the wider community.
    It was such a lovely experience attending your recent retreat. The entire retreat was special, but the two music evenings were particularly memorable for me.
    Good luck with your future plans; I hope you share the "Recent Work" once you've completed the foreground....
    Robert Boscarato

  12. Thank you Robert; the retreat was such a delight. In football parlance... went out on a high :)

  13. Great idea man thanks keep it up all the time. i am very happy to see your standard. we also provide best Spiritual Meditation Retreats in UK with affordable price. if you want more information so you can visit on our website.