WHAT IAN GAWLER RECOMMENDS
There are many different ways to learn and to practise meditation. Ian Gawler has been one of the pioneers who have brought meditation to prominence in the western world. Since beginning to teach meditation in 1981, through his public lectures and workshops, groups and retreats, Ian has introduced meditation directly to over 100,000 people. Having excellent teachers himself, Ian has written 5 bestselling books specifically on the subject. Based on all this experience, the main method of meditation Ian teaches is what he calls Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM). This is an ideal method for everyone interested in health, healing and wellbeing.
Click here to expand this section & display a brief explanation of the Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation method.
If you are a beginner, or if you are interested to learn Ian’s approach to meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM) is where he recommends you to start.
Ian has developed this method based on what he has learnt from his teachers (the main ones being Dr Ainslie Meares, the true pioneer of therapeutic meditation in the western medical world and author of Relief Without Drugs in 1967; along with the great Tibetan, Sogyal Rinpoche (the author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying), from his own personal experience, and from the shared experiences and feedback received from the many thousands of people he has taught and meditated with.
THE AIM of Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation is to learn to deeply relax the body, to calm the mind and to progress using mindfulness into the deeper stillness of meditation.
THE METHOD of Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation: There are four steps – easy to learn, easy to practise. Those steps are Preparation, Relaxation, Mindfulness and Stillness.
1. Preparation covers all the practical details related to where and when we meditate; along with the environment and the supports we use.
2. Relaxation – Here we learn how to consciously relax the body and the mind. To begin with we do this using the Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise. As we progress, we learn to relax more quickly and more deeply, but every time we meditate we begin by relaxing in a conscious and deliberate way.
3. Mindfulness – having relaxed, now we give our attention to practising and developing the capacity to pay attention to our present moment experience, free of any judgment or reaction. We learn to be more ‘in the moment’.
4. Stillness. Finally, having prepared well, relaxed and become more mindful, now we learn how to let go into the calm, the clarity and the stillness of deeper meditation.
Once the MBSM method is well established, you may benefit from learning more about other aspects of meditation that Ian teaches and which deepen and expand the experience and the benefits. These additional possibilities are briefly described later, in the section Expanding your Meditation.
RECOMMENDATIONS for BEGINNERS – or those new to Ian’s meditation style
1. Start by reading the book Meditation – An In-depth Guide, available in hard copy or audio.
2. Then, be guided in your practice by Ian and Ruth’s audio range.
Dr Ruth Gawler, Ian’s wife is a General Practitioner with a special interest in Mind-Body Medicine. Ian’s meditation Audio Range form a sequence that is numbered 1 to 5.
As a beginner, starting with number 1 is recommended – Meditation – A Complete Guide.
Many beginners find it helpful to follow through the full sequence of Audio Range, developing their meditation using the techniques that are introduced and led by Ian on the subsequent Audio Recordings.
RECOMMENDATIONS for the MORE EXPERIENCED
THE BEST MEDITATION BOOK TO BEGIN WITH: Meditation – an In-Depth Guide, co-written by Ian and his colleague Paul Bedson, is remarkably comprehensive.
This is a book to read, to re-read, to study, to be guided by.
THE BEST DOWNLOADS TO BEGIN WITH: If you are more experienced, Ian recommends the techniques on the first audio recording, Meditation – A Complete Guide for your regular meditation practice.
Then read the content of the other audio recordings and decide what will be most helpful.
Many experienced meditators find Meditation – Pure and Simple very helpful to take them beyond the distraction of excessive thinking and into the deeper stillness of meditation. But maybe learning more about deep relaxation via Relaxation for Everyone will be helpful; or learning more about concentration and mindfulness on Deepening Your Meditation.
IAN’s MEDITATION DVD
DVD – Meditation Live
If you find watching and learning via DVD useful, Ian has been professionally recorded giving a full day’s workshop (4 and a half hours in total on 2 discs) while teaching Mindfulness – Based Stillness Meditation.
Ian introduces all the theory, answers questions and leads all the key techniques. This can be used like a course over a number of days or weeks, stopping after each guided meditation.
IAN and RUTH GAWLER’s MEDITATION AUDIO RANGE – The full list:
Audio recordings are excellent if you find listening to the theory helpful, and most people find listening to guided meditations really effective – both when they begin, and if at any stage your meditation needs a boost. It is like having the meditation teacher with you, present each day, and we encourage people to use them regularly.
1. Meditation – A Complete Guide. This is the ideal starting point and the audio recording to support your regular practice. On it, Ian introduces the theory of MBSM and then leads the two key exercises.
2. Relaxation for Everyone. On this audio recording, the focus is on learning to consciously relax the body as well as the mind. This audio recording has been recorded with the sounds of nature in the background for people who find a natural setting conducive to relaxation. A series of 4 exercises will help you to learn how to relax rapidly and thoroughly. A feature on this audio recording is the track where the relaxing and lyrical harp of Peter Roberts accompanies Ian’s voice.
3. Deepening your Meditation. Here we move on to learn greater skills with concentration and mindfulness. The sound of the didgeridoo helps to hold the focus of concentration with the world-renowned accompaniment of Marshall Whyler. This audio recording appeals to teenagers as well as adults and contains some instruction from Ian and the use of the breath for focusing the awareness.
4. Meditation – Pure and Simple. Specific exercises are led by Ian that help you to manage a busy mind with lots of intruding thoughts! These techniques also provide a very useful starting point for people with anxiety or depression. This audio recording helps to create some space and objectivity with the thoughts and feelings, leading to a greater awareness of the mind’s activity and consequently a greater capacity to disengage from unhelpful patterns.
5. Mind-body Medicine. Here Ian introduces and leads two key imagery (or creative visualization) meditations, one accompanied by Peter Roberts on harp. These techniques are excellent for relieving stress, for regaining energy, peace and balance; as well as being highly recommended for those on the healing path or those who like to use their minds more actively in meditation.
6. A Woman’s voice – Mindfulness Meditations with Dr Ruth Gawler. On this audio recording Ruth gently and lovingly leads you through profound mindfulness meditations using relaxation of the body and awareness of the senses. Meditation has over 7000 research studies attesting to its many benefits for physical and psychological health, healing and wellbeing. Mindfulness meditation is reliable, easy to learn and practise. Here, Ruth Gawler, a medical doctor and authority in Mind-Body Medicine, introduces and then leads you through two key mindfulness meditations.
7. Meditation for Children – with Ian and Ruth Gawler. This audio recording has been made specifically with the needs of modern children in mind. Ruth and Ian, experienced parents themselves, recognize the benefit of the invaluable gift we can give children in teaching them meditation. On this audio recording, your child is guided by Ian and Ruth through the Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise (such an excellent lead in to deep relaxation and gentle meditation), the imagery-based meditation called ” Finding Your Tree” (kids love it!) and finally, a meditation based on the White Light Meditation for helping to clear away worries or illness – ideal to use in bed at the end of the day, like a bedtime story for a deep, natural sleep. There is also an explanatory introduction, along with instructions for an adult who may like to act as the child’s guide.
EXPANDING YOUR MEDITATION
There are many different kinds of meditation practised around the world and fundamentally they fall into three main categories. Once you have established a sound practice using the Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM) approach, you may well benefit from learning and practising additional techniques.
For details click here to expand this section.
EXPANDING YOUR MEDITATION There are many different kinds of meditation practised around the world and fundamentally they fall into the three main categories detailed below. Once you have established a sound practice using the Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM) approach, you may well benefit from learning and practicing additional techniques.
I) Meditation for Health, Healing and Wellbeing. This approach is what has been presented so far with MBSM. It combines relaxation, concentration, mindfulness and the deeper stillness of meditation. The aim is to relax physically and then settle the ‘thinking aspect’ of the mind; returning to a state of deep, natural peace; deep natural balance. The recommended technique is Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation as described above. What is helpful is to develop your skills by practicing the individual techniques set out in the sequence of audio recordings that cover relaxation, concentration, mindfulness and stillness.
II). Contemplation, Insight Meditation, or Analytical Meditation. This is where we use the mind more actively to investigate and understand an aspect of our lives, our consciousness, or even the stillness. This method has an aspect of inquiry. We are using the ‘thinking aspect’ of the mind to examine a question or idea. This is often effective for accessing our inner wisdom or intuition when used in combination with stillness. The theory and the practice of this method is presented by Ian on the audio recording Inner Peace, Inner Wisdom.
III). Imagery or Visualization. With this technique, we also use the more creative or imaginative aspect of the thinking mind. This type of meditation is explained and described in detail in Ian’s book The Mind that Changes Everything, and the key exercises are guided on the audio recording Mind-Body Medicine.
DOWNLOAD A COMPLETE MEDITATION PROGRAM
‘Mindbody Mastery’ is the on-line program Ian has developed with leading IT experts.
Each week for 8 weeks you receive 2 new downloads – one introducing the exercise for that week, the other the exercise you can store in your computer to use regularly or take with you to listen to anytime on your smart phone or ipod. Then there are on-going follow-up downloads, along with integrated support to help you establish and maintain your meditation practice, featuring daily emails, weekly SMS, webinars, social media support, FAQs, research and ‘ask the expert’ back up. In the second year, the program teaches imagery, visualization and contemplation skills; while the active support you will receive is on-going.
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