13 May 2019

What is meditation? Introducing my new book Blue Sky Mind

Your mind has two aspects. There is the familiar active, thinking mind with all its attendant emotions, and then there is the still mind, renowned for its innate inner peace and clarity, loving kindness and wisdom.

While meditation and my new book, Blue Sky Mind do focus upon getting to know both aspects of your mind better, more particularly they provide a reliable way to become familiar with the still mind.

Meditation enables us to move past distractions and the pre-occupations we often have with our thoughts and emotions, and introduces us to the still mind with direct certainty. It then helps us to function with confidence from its centre wherein all the qualities we aspire to as good people are to be found.

So this week, more of an introduction to meditation, Blue Sky Mind and its genesis, but first

        Thought for the day

The aim is to experience meditation 
Practice and life as one.

The aim is to continue 
The mindfulness and awareness 
Of the meditation into daily life.

As we practise 
And these qualities 
Begin to become a reality for us, 
We begin to see more clearly 
The way to do things 
In a connected, effective and caring way.

                                          Ian Gawler

Blue Sky Mind is intended to be a highly accessible introductory book to meditation; something that everyone will find informative and useful for establishing and deepening their own meditation practice.

The inspiration and starting point for this current book was Peace of Mind, my first meditation book published in Australia in 1987 and one of the first books to be published on meditation in that country.

It provided instruction on how to relax deeply and enter the simple stillness of deeper meditation as well as a comprehensive introduction to the use of contemplation and guided imagery.

Peace of Mind was followed in 1996 by Meditation - Pure and Simple.

This book was written in response to many requests that flowed out of Peace of Mind regarding what to do with an active mind and the many distractions and frustrations an untrained or unskilled active mind can bring into meditation.

Then followed a more complete expose on guided imagery - The Creative Power of Imagery in 1997.

In 2010 there came the more explicit and extensive book on the techniques of meditation, contemplation and guided imagery - Meditation - an In-Depth Guide co-authored with colleague Paul Bedson.

The Creative Power of Imagery led into and was replaced by The Mind that Changes Everything in 2010.

So now in 2019, to reinvigorate the “beginner’s book”, the best of Peace of Mind and Meditation - Pure and Simple are being combined with a good deal of original material into one fresh new book, Blue Sky Mind.

My wife Ruth has played a major role in developing this work and has brought her love, care, sensitivity, experience, wisdom and insight to all facets of the book’s writing and production.

The understanding of meditation reflected in this book has grown through my personal contact with many people and books. There has been great good fortune in being able to learn directly from many great masters of meditation. The two most significant are Dr Ainslie Meares and Sogyal Rinpoche.

Dr Meares was the true pioneer of therapeutic meditation in the Western world.

His first book on meditation, Relief Without Drugs was published in 1967, translated into many languages and sold over one million copies around the world.

His insights were pivotal, informed this work and are as relevant to current times as they were to the sixties.

Since 1985, the Tibetan lama Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and master of Dzogchen meditation has been my main teacher.

Rinpoche has helped deepen my understanding and experience of meditation by his presence, kindness, knowledge and patience.

Also, gratitude is offered to Zen Master Hogan-San for his knowledge and insight. And what a blessing to have known and learnt from that extraordinary Christian mystic and scholar Father Bede Griffiths along with many others who have shared the experiences of Christian Meditation.

But then this book is also the product of many years working with great staff as we helped so many people learn to meditate. There is a debt owed to them all - the staff and those who learnt with us - for their shared experiences, responses, feedback, failures and successes. It is a privilege to have been able to work in this way.

And while all these wonderful people and books have helped a great deal, in meditation the real answers lie within. There is a profound appreciation and gratitude for the experiences and the knowing that comes from listening and waiting in silence for the still voice within.



      MIND-BODY MEDICINE     May 17 - 21

   with Dr Ruth Gawler and Prof Sanjay Regav

                                 Activate your own inner healer 
                  Support the one you love to heal

We all know healing is a combined effort. It makes sense to benefit from the best of whatever modern medicine has to offer, along with any relevant supportive therapies. But then there is our own side to the healing equation. How do we get the best from our own innate capacity to heal?

What better than to learn from two senior doctors who along with their medical specialties, specialise in teaching and supporting people to activate their healing potentials and recover. This program also specifically addresses the needs of carers - how to look after yourself while supporting the one you love on their healing journey.

This program addresses the basic requirements of how to give the body and mind the best chance to heal. Therefore it is directly applicable to a wide range of illnesses and health disorders including, but not limited to autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, degenerative diseases, mental health issues and chronic stress. 

Join an inspiring and practical program. Interact with like minded people all committed to the healing path, and learn from two amazing doctors!

This I highly recommend!

DATES :  17 - 21 May.   The program will be repeated   29Nov - 3 Dec   2019

VENUE :  The Yarra Valley Living Centre, Rayner Crt, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia

WEB LINK :  Click here

ENQUIRIES and BOOKINGS :  Contact the staff at The Yarra Valley Living Centre

             Telephone :      1300 651 211 

              Email :            ClientServices@gawler.org

              Website :         Click here

MINDFUL RELATIONSHIPS     9th - 13th September 
with Dr Ruth Gawler and Murray Paterson

Take time out to address what is at the heart of life - relationships

When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world,
We lose connection with one another – and ourselves.     Jack Kornfield

For better relationships with your self, with family, friends and colleagues

Mindfulness practices cultivate greater internal and external awareness
and change our relationships for the better. 

Murray Paterson has a rich history in corporate relationships and mindfulness. Together with Ruth, they can gently guide and support you to a new way of being within relationship.


Dates         Monday 9th at 11.30am (arrive from 9.30) to Friday 13th at 2.00pm, September 2019.

Venue        The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction, Victoria.

Enquiries and Bookings   Call 1300 651 211   or   Email  clientservices@gawler.org


  1. Ian, I have attended courses at The Gawler Foundation and am grateful for your pioneering work. In this newsletter you mention your Teacher, Sogyal Lakar and describe how Rinpoche has helped deepen your understanding and experience of meditation by his presence, kindness, knowledge and patience.

    In light of the findings of an Independent Investigation into his behaviour,surely common sense should prevail and influential Teachers such as yourself should no longer publicly offer support for this now-disgraced Teacher who hid for so many years behind the facade of a "crazy-wisdom" Teacher.

    Some students of Sogyal Lakar (who were part of the ‘inner circle’, as described later in the report) have been subjected to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse by him; and

    b. there were senior individuals within Rigpa who were aware of at least some of these issues and failed to address them, leaving others at risk.

  2. I speak from 35 years of close personal experience. And I notice you prefer to remain anonymous...