A/Prof Craig Hassed, MBBS, FRACGP
Former President Craig Hassed has generously accepted the invitation of the members to become the first Patron of Meditation Australia, a role suited to his many skills and talents. He will continue to be a major support for teachers and the public in spreading the benefits of meditation.
Craig is a General Practitioner and an Associate Professor at the Monash University Department of General Practice. He is regularly invited to speak in Australia and overseas on mindfulness meditation and integrative medicine.
He also teaches in the cancer support programs at the Gawler Foundation. Craig is a media commentator, writes regularly for medical journals, particularly in Philosophy of Medicine and has published two volumes entitled New Frontiers in Medicine (1 & 2). He has published 11 books to date including 4 on mindfulness – Know Thyself, Mindfulness for Life, Mindful Learning and The Mindful Home.
Board of directors
Paul Bedson, BA, BCounselling, BTCM
Senior Therapist at the Gawler Cancer Foundation and Yarra Valley Living Centre.
Paul has been a meditation teacher, counselor, and seminar facilitator at the Gawler Foundation for 15 years now. He is an advocate of an integrative approach to healing and wellness, and teaches Lifestyle Medicine to those dealing with a chronic illness.
Having previously practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine from1987-2001, he also teaches, Qigong, a moving form of meditation.
Paul teaches mindfulness-based styles of meditation, which develop wisdom and compassion through awareness of body, emotions, mind and spirit as one integrated Self.
Paul co-authored the book Meditation-an Indepth Guide with Dr Ian Gawler. Together, they created Mindfulness-based Stillness meditation.
With his wife, Maia, Paul leads Weekend Meditation retreats, Wellness retreats, and Meditation Teacher Training programs at the Gawler Foundation. His greatest sense of fulfillment comes from teaching meditation and training others to teach meditation. Over the years he has taught thousands of people the benefits and joys of meditation, and many hundreds of people how to teach meditation.
Stephen Penman, MAppSc(Res), GC(Tert Teach Learn)
Stephen is Executive Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Foundation, a health promotion charity, and a PhD Candidate at University of Western Sydney (UWS), developing an online comprehensive lifestyle change intervention. Previously, Stephen was CEO of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) from 2008 to 2013, a not-for-profit peak body providing representation, advocacy and postgraduate education for doctors in NEM.
Between 2004 and 2008, Stephen conducted the Yoga in Australia project at RMIT University for his Masters degree, while also working as a research assistant (investigating attitudes of General Practitioners and Nurses to complementary therapies) and a part-time member of the teaching staff (as Course Co-ordinator of ‘Wellness, Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Management’). During this time he also tutored medical students at Monash University in the ‘Health Enhancement Program’, focusing on stress management and mindfulness meditation.
From 2005-2008, Stephen served as Vice President and then President of Yoga Australia. He was also a member of the steering committee for the formation of the Australian Teachers of Meditation Association (ATMA). The turning point leading to his current career in health and wellbeing came in 2003 when he trained as a yoga teacher in the tradition of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (sVYASA), following which he taught yoga classes in 2004 and 2005. His approach to yoga can best be described as ‘Contemporary Classical’ with an emphasis on developing greater awareness through yoga and meditation.
Tim Whiting, BFA, Grad Cert Disability Studies
Tim’s formal practice of meditation began in 1999, when he started attending the Brahma Kumaris (BKs) Fitzroy centre. He developed a regular practice that he has sustained ever since.
Since then, Tim has coordinated BK meditation centres in Adelaide and Melbourne, he is presently based the Brahma Kumaris Peninsula retreat centre outside Melbourne. Originally trained in the Fine Arts, his practice of meditation led to a change in career direction. In 2001, Tim began working in the Disability Sector and continues to do so today.
Tim has travelled locally and internationally; speaking, facilitating retreats and workshops around themes of silence, happiness and soul consciousness. After more than 15 years he continues to study and teach meditation, integrating it into his daily life.
Director, The Stillness Meditation Centre
Founding Member and Past President of Meditation Australia
In 1983 Pauline published In Stillness Conquer Fear, pioneering public awareness of anxiety disorders and the value of Stillness Meditation as a successful intervention. At the invitation of Dr Ainslie Meares, (the ‘father’ of therapeutic meditation) she commenced meditation teaching with an emphasis on anxiety relief.
A growing community need led her to formal training in psychotherapy/family therapy while continuing to maintain Meares’ theories and principles throughout her work. In 1990 Pauline’s books for children prompted meditation in schools and the publication of the teaching manual, Let’s Be Still. She conducts a Stillness Meditation teacher training program and regularly gives presentations at all educational levels and to health and service organizations.
More recently Pauline has assisted in the development of a meditation course at the Australian Catholic University. With public interest at heart she was moved to initiate the formation of ATMA. Her lifelong interests beyond an expanding family include a range of creative and philosophical inclinations.
Paul Majewski, BA, Grad Dip Journalism
Director of Meditation Solutions, Partner in Meditation Events
Paul Majewski started his exploration of meditation practice in 1991. His main teacher at this time was Eric Harrison, director of the Perth Meditation Centre.
After a period of intensive practice in meditation centres in Thailand and Malaysia in 1993/1994, Paul continued to train at the Perth Meditation Centre, where he completed the Diploma of Meditation Teaching in 1997.
Paul worked as a freelance meditation teacher, mostly in community adult education, moving to Canberra in 1998 and Melbourne in 2002. In Melbourne he established his teaching business, Meditation Solutions, which now specialises in workplace training in meditation. This work has included the implementation of meditation programs for companies such as CSL, GM Holden and NAB and local government organisations.
In 2008, Paul partnered with Garth Stone and Matthew Young, the director of the Melbourne Meditation Centre, to establish Meditation Events, a niche events management business. Meditation Events programmed and organised the Meditate08 and Meditate09 conferences and the Australian Meditation Conferences of 2010 and 2011, as well as the two Music for Meditation concerts in 2008 and 2009 at the Edge Theatre in Federation Square. Meditation Events also organised the inaugural Yoga Teachers’ Assocation conference in 2011. Meditation Events continues to organise meditation-related events, including workshops with visiting international and interstate meditation teachers and the Meditation Salon, a meditation-related intellectual and cultural hub.
Paul continues to be inspired by the work of Eric Harrison and has also been influenced by the work of Lorin Roche and Jason Siff. He is very interested in the new ways in which meditation is being presented in our largely secular, health-conscious culture.
Janet Etty-Leal, B Ed
Mindful Meditation Consultant at Meditation Capsules
Author, speaker and mindfulness educator Janet Etty-Leal has taught creative, holistic mindfulness practices for more than 15 years. Her consultancy, Meditation Capsules, has provided mindful life-skill programs for corporate, health, sport and community organisations and more than 80 schools and educational organisations.
Janet did her initial meditation teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler and is mentored by Bob Sharples.
A passion to support children and the people who care for them has fuelled the development of ‘Meditation Capsules’ programs for children, from 3-18 years of age. She has facilitated training programs for teachers, therapists and youth workers.
Janet is a registered teacher with a background in Creative Arts. Decades of experience and study in the fields of meditation and life skills culminate in informative, engaging Seminars, Workshops and classes.
The ‘Meditation Capsules’ program is evaluated by Masters and PhD candidates in the Universities of W.A., S.A., and Monash and RMIT in Victoria.
Dr. Graham Williams, PhD, B Mus, Grad Dip Ed, Dip Concert (Paris).
Founder and Director Lifeflow Meditation Centre
Dr. Graham Williams is both a concert pianist and meditation teacher. The Lifeflow Meditation Centre offers a curriculum based on modern psychology and neuro-science along with a rich practice derived from the meditation tradition. It provides a jargon-free, integrated practice for physical and mental health, personal development and spiritual growth.
Graham trained for over 10 years in the both the Burmese mindfulness and the Tibetan Buddhist meditation traditions, and has over 35 years of teaching experience with local, interstate and overseas students. He trained in Paris as a concert pianist and has taught piano students at Adelaide University for over 20 years. Dr. Williams is also an adjunct lecturer at Flinders University in the School of Medicine.
His first meeting with the meditation tradition occurred when he was taken by a friend to meet the 16th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, in Paris. He realized that music itself was one of the few living traditions of meditation in our culture, and that he had been introduced to a tradition of training the mind and emotions which our culture did not have.
On completing his music studies in Paris he spent a full year in retreat in Assisi, Italy, received an ordination as a Lama from the Karmapa, and returned to Adelaide to take up the position at the University of Adelaide. He founded the Lifeflow Meditation Centre in 1981. It has a faculty of 9 teachers and provides courses from basic to advanced levels, retreats and teacher training programs.
Graham was a consultant for a national corporate psychology company for eight years, has published many articles and two books on meditation Life in Balance and Insight and Love, and released two music CDs. He is a passionate advocate for the preservation of Australia’s natural heritage.
Dr. Ranjit Rao, MBBS, FRACS (Urol)
Health and Wellness
Dr Rao graduated as a medical doctor in 1994 and subsequently as a Surgeon and Urologist in 2006.
During his third year of medical school he was exposed to meditation and yoga and upon completion of his internship he spent 1 year in India studying and practicing yoga, meditation and Ayurveda (India’s holistic medical system). He subsequently came back to Australia and integrated these fields as a General practitioner for 2 years.
Though he now works as a Surgeon, he remains open minded to a Holistic approach, and encourages patients to take control of their lives with proper diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, as well as establishing a sensible and practical way of living.
Dr Rao has written several very well received articles on a range of subjects such as men’s health; the busyness epidemic; judgment; and materialism. He is the author of “Meditation and Martini” which outlines how to integrate the spiritual and material lives.
The theme of his writing is to encourage people to make conscious choices and live a life of balance, rather than being swept away by the collective sway of society.
Joanna Joustra, Dip Events, BPsych current
Beyond her work with meditation Joanna has devoted her time to working towards positive change in the corporate sector. She specialises in implementing creative strategies that support growth initiatives. With experience in the arts, local government and the environment, Joanna is formerly the Business Development Manager of the Australian Solar Council.