Wheel In The Sky

Spinning is a cyclical process innate to creation. Just as the moon’s movement through the heavens and the earth’s movement through the cycles of the seasons represent the cosmic order and nature of life, recognized by indigenous cultures throughout history in symbolic expressions of birth, death, fertility, and the continuity of the world. By various names, myths, legends, fables and rituals, our organic understanding of this phenomenon is characterized as the wheel in the sky.

Sadly, we have long forgotten the keen senses our ancestors possessed, abilities that signified an ambient communion with the living, breathing universe. Thus, part of the ecological trouble with our planet exists within ourselves―and our illusory perception of separateness. We are all, in fact, manifestations of one boundless field of conscious energy, both individual and interconnected, each existing in the center of an infinite geometric spin of energetic awareness.

Yet the philosophy and religion underlying western science still manages to portray mankind as a divine incarnation, ‘the image of god.’ Hence we separate ourselves on a fundamental level of belief. In so doing, we assume entitlements that include wasting natural resources and sullying the earth, all for ‘the good of mankind.’ Alas, one of the unique aspects of our ‘exalted’ genus is that we fail to live in harmony with nature.

There are species far older than we are that have evolved forms of intelligence we have not yet begun to fathom. They have seen our kind come and go. They have witnessed the rise and fall of our civilizations. Wisely, they maintain a distance from us, even as we encroach upon their natural habitats and threaten their existence.

The suffering of our planet reflects divisions that exist within each of us, in our attitudes and beliefs, our words and deeds, our apathy and our vain perceptions of creatures we know so little about―beings with complex social and family structures, etheric sentience, and communication and language facilities that elude our grasp. Ultimately, the healing of the earth must first manifest within our individual hearts and minds, for that is where the force of divine unity and boundless consciousness, the interconnected circle of life in all its magnificent forms and potentialities, will anneal our survival.

Indeed, we do not exist outside this sacred circle of life but within it, connected to all things, woven together in the wondrous fabric of time and creation―bound by the cosmic spin of the great wheel in the sky.

©2017 by Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All rights reserved.

A Candle-Lit Pathway

Wisdom is comprised of many things, not the least of which is a complexity of sadness. This represents the reckoning, the measure of our misfortunes, as opposed to the sorrow and despair of yielding to them. Of course, wisdom also includes knowledge, understanding, perception, experience, compassion and perhaps inspiration―yet it is this leveraging of our woes, the willingness to be present with the disappointment and pain of a meaningful life―that opens the doorways to enlightenment.

We are ultimately defined by our challenges; we either succumb, or we overcome. This is the difference between victory and defeat. We recognize the heart-rending nature of our existence and walk bravely through it, or we attempt to hide away in the depths of the psyche, where the fear of feeling sadness festers into despondency.

This complexity of sadness is acknowledgment of the human condition. We accept it or resist it. Wisdom does not exist in the dark cave of the mind; rather, it arises by entering that cave and lighting candles for the heartache that dwells there. Wisdom sheds not tears for the pain of broken promises and shattered dreams, but for the neglect of self that resides in that squalid darkness―the inner children that have been left behind, the joy and whimsy that has been withheld from the world.

Wisdom is empathy for lost innocence, and innocents. Instead of agitators and troublemakers and brooding malcontents, it sees child-like wonder and awe, wounded and bewildered, relegated to the shadows of subjugated grief and loss. Personas of aggression, sarcasm, cynicism and resistance are viewed as manifestations of the still dark walls of that inner cave, bastions of fear and disillusionment.

Recognizing and understanding the disenchantment of failed ideals and fallen idols, abandonment of hope, the volatility of subdued rage, and the anguish of isolation, are rites of passage within ourselves, inner journeys that continue to define us throughout our lives. Wisdom eschews the fearful fissures and grottos of the mind by courageously embracing hardship, however calamitous or ill-fated, with gratitude instead of disdain. Thus, an enduring character and self-regard―a complexity of sadness―is forged into a candle-lit pathway of existence, one that casts a warm glow into the shadows and welcomes those who linger there.

©2017 by Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All rights reserved.

The Hard Science Of Energy Healing

Energy Healing

How do the numerous cellular interactions between the endocrine, immune, nervous and stress systems in the body impact functioning? What are the scientific underpinnings of the connection of mind, body and spirit and its effects on overall health? How do the emerging fields of neurophysics, psychoneuroimmunology and biophysics document the impact of stress and relaxation on the physical functioning of the body? What is the scientific basis for integrating mental, emotional and spiritual functioning in the healing process? These are some of the hard question we will answer in this article.

The Holistic Paradigm

In confirming that chronic stress compromises health by creating an unremitting suppression of the immune system, hundreds of seminal research studies conducted over the last three decades have established that comprehensive health care must address not only the connection of the mind and body, but also the spirit. In this context, the physiology of spirit or spirituality considers and accounts for the existence of energy fields, both within and outside the human body. Specifically, this research documents how factors such as light, sound, electromagnetism, meditation, faith, prayer, and love translate into chemical and electrical signals that profoundly influence our physical health and mental well-being. These studies confirm a biological energy exchange consistent with ancient philosophical concepts and support alternative and complimentary modalities of energy healing. [1]

Brainwaves

Practices such as biofeedback, autogenic training and especially mindfulness meditation have shown that deep relaxation― deep enough to induce the theta brainwave state―leads to and maintains physical health.

Infograph: Meditation and its Effects on Brainwaves

Infographic courtesy of synchronicity.org. You may view the original post at: Free Infographic: Meditation and its Effects on Brainwaves

Studies demonstrate that theta brainwaves spawn cascades of relaxation hormones which substantially benefit physical and emotional health. These hormones include endogenous benzodiazapines, anandamide and other endogenous cannabinoids, melatonin, and N,N-dimethyltryptamine, a chemical thought to engender feelings of inner peace and spiritual enlightenment.

“The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt. It is typically a very positive mental state.”   ~Ned Hermann, Scientific American

Hormonal cascades resulting from the theta brainwave state provide a physiological basis for emotions and experiences that Western medicine has previously been unable to explain. [1]

Heart Intelligence

Groundbreaking research at the HeartMath Institute has revealed the heart as a sophisticated sensory organ that receives and processes information—an organ capable of learning, memory, and functional decision making independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex. Furthermore, numerous experiments have demonstrated that the heart continuously sends signals to the brain which influence the functions of perception, cognition, and emotional reactivity.

Spectral analysis has demonstrated that heart beat patterns change significantly as we experience different emotions, and that these changes correlate with the structure of the electromagnetic field of the heart. Brainwaves synchronize with this energy field, which is the most powerful electromagnetic field generated by the human organism and permeates every cell in the body. Negative emotions engender erratic, disordered, non-rhythmic heart beats, while positive emotions create heart beat patterns that are smooth, coherent, and rhythmic. During sustained feelings of compassion, appreciation, gratitude and love, blood pressure and respiratory functioning, among other oscillatory systems, naturally entrain to the heart’s soothing rhythms. Heart entrainment also occurs naturally during deep relaxation practices such as meditation, which induce the theta brainwave state.

These discoveries in neurophysics indicate that the heart is an organ of far greater intelligence than previously thought, and evidence suggests a profound cognitive interrelationship between brainwaves and the powerful electromagnetic energy signals emitted from the heart. These findings have led scientists and physicians to conclude that consciousness is a function of both the heart and brain, and that ethereal forms of sentience such as intuition, precognition, mood, and emotion may formulate and resonate within this realm. [2]

Integrative Biophysics

Biophoton emissions prove auras exist

Peer-reviewed scientific evidence of biophoton emissions supports the underlying precepts of energy healing.

Expressions for traditional Eastern concepts of vital life energy, such as prana, chi and aura, have transcended New Age esoterica and joined the mainstream lexicon, both in the general public and the health care community. A certain degree of this legitimacy, along with a growing move in science from classical physics and chemistry into quantum mechanics and field theory, is due to the pioneering work of Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp and his colleagues in the biophoton field.

The biophoton theory holds that biophotonic light is stored in the cells of the organism—specifically in the DNA molecules of their nuclei—and a dynamic web of light constantly released and absorbed by the DNA may connect cell organelles, cells, tissues, and organs within the body and serve as the organism’s main communication network and as the principal regulating instance for all life processes.

In his widely acclaimed book, Biophotons – The Light Of Our Cells, Marco Bischoff summarizes ninety years of peer-reviewed, published research in the biophoton field as follows:

“All living organisms, including humans, emit a low-intensity glow that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can be measured by photomultipliers that amplify the weak signals several million times and enable the researchers to register it in the form of a diagram. As long as they live, cells and whole organisms give off a pulsating glow with a mean intensity of several up to a few ten thousand photons per second and square centimeter, also known as ‘cellular glow’ or ‘ultraweak bioluminescence.’ These biophotonic phenomena could point to long-range interactions between biological organisms. This possibility is supported by observations of intercellular signaling mediated by biophotons via a field containing coherent states.”  ~Marco Bischoff

The holographic biophoton field of the brain and nervous system, and possibly that of the entire organism, may also serve as the basis of memory and other phenomena of consciousness, as postulated by renowned neurophysiologist Karl Pribram and others. The coherent ‘conscious’ properties of the biophoton field are closely related at a fundamental level to the properties of the physical vacuum and indicate its possible role as an interface to the non-physical realms of mind, psyche and consciousness.

The term integrative biophysics emerged from this groundbreaking work, which is a modeling of the organism based on quantum mechanics and the primacy of the unseparable whole. This addresses the essential interconnectedness within the organism as well as between organisms, and that of the organism with the environment. The foundation of integrative biophysics—contemplation of the existence of a pre-physical, unobservable domain of potentiality in quantum theory, which forms the basis of the fundamental unity and wholeness of reality from which the patterns of the material world arise—provides a new model for understanding the holistic features of organisms, such as morphogenesis and regeneration[3]

The Pineal Gland

The pineal gland, also known as the mind’s eye and the third-eye chakra, is the psychological interface of mind, body and spirit. This critical endocrine gland, steeped in ancient lore and mythos, functions as a liaison between our internal body systems and the external world, transducing environmental information into chemical and electrical signals within the body. Sensitive to all magnetic fields and directly wired to the visual cortex in the brain, the pineal gland catalyzes our sensory perceptions into images and modulates consciousness.

Pineal Gland, Mind's Eye & Third-Eye ChakraA more accurate understanding of pineal gland functioning has emerged in recent years, largely as a result of isolating the major pineal hormone, melatonin. Research presents convincing evidence that the pineal, and not the pituitary, is the master gland of the endocrine system. By converting light, sound, temperature and magnetic environmental information into neuroendocrine signals, the pineal gland regulates and orchestrates our internal clock, body functions, and influences a broad array of life rhythms.

As the energy transducer of hormonal and electrical signals within the body and modulator of consciousness, the pineal gland also processes enigmatic forms of awareness that transcend the five senses—such as heart intelligence, biofield signaling and brainwave states—which are actuated into thought, emotion and spiritual reckoning. In their book, The Scientific Basis of Integrative Medicine, authors Len Wisneski, MP, FACP and Lucy Anderson, MSW, postulate on the ways in which the pineal gland interfaces with the other energy portals of the body, or chakras, as depicted in Eastern religious philosophies and medical systems. Many energy healing modalities are reviewed and scientific studies presented, including the putative effects of prayer and meditation and the impact of spirituality on physical health. [1]

Complimentary & Alternative Medicine

The movement of life energy has been part of virtually every traditional healing system throughout history. Unfortunately, Western medical science removed the concept of “vitality” in the 19th century and as a result, still encounters resistance to these critical ideas which are fundamental to Eastern medicine systems. During the last three decades, however, Americans and Canadians have embraced the many therapeutic approaches offered by the proponents of these traditional healing modalities.

In the United States, energy healing or ‘energy medicine’ is officially recognized as a sub-specialty within the larger field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a center within the National Institutes of Health, is the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on CAM; its mission is “to explore complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, and to disseminate authoritative information to professionals and the public.”

NCCAM divides energy medicine into the following applications:

  • Veritable Energy Fields: Energy fields that can be measured for diagnosis and treatment, including mechanical vibrations such as sounds, electromagnetic forces including visible light, magnetism, monochromatic radiation such as lasers, and rays from other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Putative Energy Fields: Energy fields that defy measurement by reproducible methods. Putative energies are based on the idea that a subtle form of energy—vital energy or life force—infuses living systems, a concept that has been known in traditional healing practices by many names, including pranic healing, etheric energy, auric healing, fohat, orgone, Odic force, mana, and homeopathic resonance.

A generally hostile orientation of skepticism, some of which originates from factions of the health care industry with materialistic conflicts of interest, has cast aspersions on the CAM community and created confusion among the general public. Nonetheless, each year nearly half of Americans use some form of alternative therapy, often as a complementary modality to conventional Western medicine. Medical schools and hospitals now offer courses and programs in CAM approaches, many of which are rooted in the underlying principals of energy healing. [4]

Subtle Energy

Biofields & Energy Healing

The role of endogenous biofields in regulating living organisms is a guiding construct in new research on energy healing.

The family of energy healing modalities that have been widely practiced since antiquity contemplate biocommunication and energy transfer through endogenous biofield interactions. Evidence of endogenous biofields in living organisms now exists, and current theoretical foundations are being rigorously explored and developed. A review of biofields and related topics from the scientific community reveals an emerging body of knowledge regarding the underlying origin and principles of such fields, including macrolevel concepts of our planet as a complex, self-regulatory living system. The properties appear to be based on electromagnetic fields, coherent states, biophotons, quantum and quantum-like processes, and ultimately the quantum vacuum.

A growing acceptance of these endogenous biofields, which are commonly referred to as subtle energy, is the foundation of a new medical paradigm, an integral physiological approach uniting the enormous contributions of Western medicine with the profound insights of Eastern systems of health. Subtle energy bridges belief systems and offers a neutral ground of communication for people of myriad backgrounds to communicate about phenomena that science is still endeavoring to settle. Subtle energy not only steps beyond the connection of mind and body and validates experiences of an ‘intuitive’ or ‘spiritual’ nature, but acknowledges their influence on the natural self-healing abilities of the human body.

Consideration of the complex homeodynamic regulation of living systems through the lens of subtle energy is a harbinger to the hard science that is still emerging, providing a framework for dialogue and learning about the non-physical aspects of healing. Indeed, understanding how the human body interacts with and utilizes subtle energy is the new frontier in medical research. [1] [3] [5]


References

  1. The Scientific Basis of Integrative Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health 
  2. HeartMath Institute Research Library
  3. Biofield Science: Current Physics Perspectives, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
  4. Energy Medicine in the United States, Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine
  5. Biofield Science and Healing: History, Terminology, and Concepts, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health 

Mindfulness & The Eternity Of Giving

I start many of my presentations on mindfulness with a rhetorical discussion of love. What is it? What does it mean? How is it defined? Understood? Misunderstood? Characterized? Commonly depicted? How is love illusory? How is it enigmatic?

What typically emerges is a focus on the love that exists externally; the love which comes to us from others. Of course, we do share our love and in fact, that is the point of the exercise: to remind everyone that we all emerge into the world with love. Each new life, in every magnificent shape, form and fashion, is a miracle of connective awe and wonder, especially for those who bear witness. Thus we are reminded of the well-spring of love each of us carries within, and how this fundamental force represents the core mystery of life itself, the unifying energy of our living, breathing universe.

In being mindful of this elemental phenomenon, we cultivate and foster our innate “heart wisdom,” which serves as the impetus for altruism, philanthropy, social grace, creativity, and spiritual identity. Indeed, our embrace of compassion, empathy, and the power of love serves to align our conscious intention and inspire a more meaningful understanding and life purpose.

The Eternity Of Giving

 

©2017 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.


Cathexis Logo Pic MemeCathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email.

 


Video Attributions:

“Eternity of Giving” written and produced by Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery.

Music “Tumult” courtesy of Kai Engel (edited) http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/The_Run/Kai_Engel_-_The_Run_-_07_Tumult
Licensed via Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

Higher Law – An Inspirational Video


Written and produced by Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery

Music “Whispers” courtesy of Hyson (edited)

 http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Hyson/Soundtrack_for_the_Weary_Vol_I/Hyson_-_Whispers

Licensed via Creative Commons 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

Move The Mountain – A Mindfulness Moment

Mastering Mindfulness®

The essence of mindfulness is bringing the entire spectrum of your cognition—mental, emotional, and physical—into the present moment. This is accomplished through the discipline of focused breathing. Mindfulness moments help you step outside the rigorous demands of multitasking that occupy your attention, and invite you to inhabit a deeper and more meaningful conscious awareness, one that diffuses stress, enhances cognitive functioning, and quickens motivation.

Begin by taking a deep breath. Match your inhale to your exhale. Now repeat this deep, measured breathing and focus your attention on it. Notice the air moving. Touch your thumbs and fingertips together; wiggle your toes. Observe yourself in relation to the space around you. Just be present with yourself . . . in this moment. Let go of all resistance, expectation and judgment. Simply allow yourself to experience the here and now.


©2017 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.


Cathexis Logo Pic MemeCathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email.

Love Or Fear? The Motivation Equation

Where is the fear? And how can love diffuse it?  These are the questions inherent in almost all motivational challenges. By developing a deeper understanding of the fundamental relationship of love and fear and how they function in the human organism, we learn to graciously navigate emotionally charged thought processes and volatile perceptual boundaries, thus inviting profound shifts of perspective in real time.

The Primal Elements

Love and fear are elemental forces we are born with and experience throughout our lifetimes, yet they defy absolute comprehension. Behavioral philosophies and psychological theories of the mind commonly consider love and fear as the primary emotions of the reptilian brain, with all other emotions being secondary. Physiologically, love and fear are tied to our survival instinct and the release of the stress (fear) hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and their anti-stress (love) hormonal counterpart, oxytocin. On a mental, emotional and physical basis, love connects us—within ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us—while fear separates us.

Consequently, love and fear are also the primal factors of motivation. Love is the impetus for connecting to our world so that we develop and thrive, while fear compels separation as a means of protection for ourselves and our loved ones. Comprehending this innate relationship of love and fear as the motivational foundation of human behavior offers a tangible context for resolving conflict and inspiring transformation, both individually and collectively.

In our innovative programs and practices at Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery, we actively enjoin our clients in the mindful process of identifying separating behavior (fearful actions and/or reactions based on perceived threats) and responding with connecting behavior (caring gestures and acts of compassion). This serves as an effective strategy for breaking down complex issues into workable pieces that can be addressed in the moment, and empowers change as individuals, teams and organizations realize how compassion is the potent connective tissue in their internal and external relationships. We call this dynamic cognitive empathy, which is an important component of a larger skill-set known as emotional intelligence.

Excavating Maslow’s Pyramid

Any credible discussion of the psychology of motivation requires consideration of Abraham Maslow and his motivational theory based on human needs. So let’s examine Maslow’s infamous hierarchy of needs, which is archetypically depicted as levels within a pyramid.

Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs Criticized

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Is More About Self-Actualization Than Motivation

Maslow proposed his hierarchy of needs in a paper entitled “A Theory of Human Motivation,” which was published in 1943. The concepts have provided a framework for the psychology of motivation and have been widely utilized to conceptualize policy and practice in the social sciences and in business. The precept is that human behavior is motivated by the satisfaction or frustration of needs, which are arranged in a predominant hierarchy from physiological, to safety, to social, to esteem, to self-actualization.

Yet Maslow’s theory has its share of criticisms, the most significant of which are the limited scope of his research sample and the subjective methodology used in formulating the characteristics of “self-actualization.” The study was conducted by analyzing the biographies and writings of eighteen people, most of whom were highly educated white males. The subjects included Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, William James, Aldous Huxley, Gandhi, and Beethoven, as well as students from the top 1% of college populations. Although the study did include extraordinary women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Teresa, they comprised a small percentage of his sample. Thus, the validity of Maslow’s theory is questionable as to females, as well as individuals from lower social classes and varying ethnicities. It is also relevant to note that Maslow did not include children in his study.

The empirical and theoretical criticisms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs contemplate the following:

  • Cultural relativity and universalism
  • The validity and ordering of the original categories of needs
  • The lack of defined and measured variables throughout the model

Contemporary research by Tay & Diener (2011) tested Maslow’s theory by analyzing the data of 60,865 participants from 123 countries, representing every major region of the world. The survey was conducted from 2005 to 2010. The results of the study support the view that universal human needs appear to exist regardless of cultural differences. However, the ordering of the needs within the hierarchy was incorrect (see SimplyPsychology.org article here). While this and other research refute the existence of the original need categories and question the directional hierarchy that Maslow proposed, these studies do support the existence of lower and higher level needs, along with gratification and deprivation as motivators of self-actualization.

Motivation Is Human Connection

“None of Maslow’s needs can be met without social connection.”    ~ Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D., M.B.A.

In her astute Psychology Today article: ‘Social Networks, What Maslow Misses,’ Dr. Pamela Rutledge takes issue with the widespread assumption represented by the pyramid: that human connection is NOT a primary need or instinct, but occurs instead as an upward climb from food and shelter. She points out the collaborative effort required for basic hunting, gathering and protection from the elements, and illuminates how the drivers of social connection are intimately interwoven into our basic survival, even in a world shifting with technology.

Purely on the basis of definition, a persuasive argument exists that motivation and self-actualization are not one in the same. And, as you can see, a rigorous unearthing of Maslow’s pyramid uncovers a framework that is clearly about self-actualization—the process of systematically meeting human needs. In fact, one might even conclude that a better title for Maslow’s 1943 paper would have been “A Theory Of Human Self-Actualization.”

Our Wonder Years

A rational mind would consider food, water and shelter more urgent requirements than affection and nurturing. The mature individual would deem safety a priority over compassionate interaction. And pragmatic adults would agree that security in maintaining these basic necessities is more important than self-esteem and the sense of belonging.

Yet as infants, wrapped in swaddling clothes and safely cuddled in loving arms, nursing at our mother’s breast and having all our fundamental needs met for us, the opposites all hold true. Common sense, supported by thousands of research studies on childhood development, tells us that at this stage of life, when sentience is rapidly developing both psychologically and physiologically, love and esteem needs are primary—not a third or fourth tier priority.

Motivation And Formative Relationships

As infants and children, we acquire our vast repertoire of skills by studying the faces, voices and actions of others, beginning with our parents and primary caregivers.

The importance of early childhood development has been acknowledged by economists, behavioral scientists, educators, neuroscientists and biologists. Our formative years effect how we grow and develop through adolescence and into adult life. The most powerful external influence on all aspects of our development, resilience and adaptability to life’s challenges, is the quality of love we receive from our parents and primary caregivers.

Our formative attachment relationships determine our physiological functioning, cognitive perception and emotional awareness, development of language skills, and understanding of ourselves, others, and the unfolding world around us. The varying forms of separation anxiety experienced by all children, which can endure or recur throughout childhood, demonstrate both our innate understanding of the need for love, and our instinctive fear at the prospect of being separated from those who provide it to us.

The fundamental physiological need for emotional interaction with those who love and care for us is how motivation awakens in our lives. Love drives our desire to connect, learn and develop. When circumstances challenge our bonds to these relationships, we sometimes experience fearful reactions that we must learn to cope with. When these critical attachment relationships are non-existent or nominal, or if they are significantly compromised or severed during our childhood journey, traumatic developmental, emotional and psycho-social consequences can result—all of which are rooted in a deep and abiding fear of not receiving the love we need.

Connecting Or Separating?

Motivation is a quickening of inner awareness and self-possession based upon two factors: the drive to fulfill our basic need for love and all that we associate with it, and the experience of fear—the circumstances, situations and people we perceive as threats to that love, or to our own safety and survival. Cognition, curiosity, comprehension, exploration, discovery, affection, and affinity are among the developmental aspects of our formative years, and are all connecting behaviors primarily associated with love. Apprehension, worry, indecision, anger, aggression and aloofness are among the common childhood separating behaviors associated with fear.

Yet the primary emotions of love and fear are also conceptual in nature and as we learn more about how they influence our world, we manifest additional behaviors that reflect the broader spectrum of secondary emotions related to them. This brief Slideshare illustrates how love and fear function as powerful forces of motivation in our everyday lives, and reminds us that we can alter our perspective by being mindful and choosing compassion and empathy.

Our lives are filled with transition. Events both expected and unexpected impact our day to day functioning, self-esteem and sense of purpose. Growth and adaptation in a fluid and fast-paced world of technological, economic, political and personal challenges are prerequisites to our health, happiness and survival. The catalyst in how we respond to the trials and tribulations posed by these largely externalized factors, is motivation—an internalized, somatic phenomenon that is greatly influenced by our developmental associations with love and fear—and which, throughout life, continues to be shaped and impelled by our social interactions.

“Motivation kinetically embodies the desires, ambitions, revelations and trepidations that both consciously and subconsciously order our lives.”

Understanding the intrinsic relationship of love and fear helps us identify the underlying motivational factors in ourselves and others. We recognize separating behaviors that result from falsely perceived threats, and distinguish them from comportment rooted in deeper-seated fears. We also embrace the unifying force of love. By mindfully connecting with caring gestures, acts of kindness and compassion, and critical attending, we discover that fearful reactions can be mitigated and diffused. This is how practicing cognitive empathy negates the limiting aspects of fear and inspires us to address larger connective issues and fulfill needs that ultimately define actualized people—individually, collectively and organizationally.

 

©2016 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.


Cathexis Logo Pic MemeCathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email.

 

Love Is Not Always Tame

Story Medicine

“Aslan was gone. But there was a brightness in the air and on the grass, and a joy in their hearts …” ~ C.S. Lewis, from The Chronicles Of Narnia

Love and fear are our primary emotions. They are also the elemental forces of motivation. Love is the impetus for connecting to our world so that we develop and thrive, while fear compels separation as a means of protection from threats. The fundamental relationship of love and fear offers a profound context for inspiring narratives of crisis, conflict and transformation. At life’s fateful crossings of love and fear, our individual and collective strength and fortitude, our courage of conviction, are forged. This is why the ancient traditions and wonders of story medicine—the fantastical and heroic adventures of love’s triumph over fear—hold such sway.

HERO MYTHOLOGY

As observed by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung in their seminal work on the human psyche, and later expounded upon by renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell, the symbols of hero mythology appear to exist as archetypes within our subconscious mind. On a psychological and spiritual level, we identify with the hero of the story, who conquers fear and overcomes insurmountable odds in order to claim victory and salvation for loved ones. The storytelling traditions of our indigenous ancestors are the foundation of the hero’s journey, which evolved into the archetypal right of passage common to world mythologies.

“To acknowledge the power of myth is to realize that one lives amongst all these ancient tales. And is not we who make sense of the stories, but rather the stories that make sense of us.”

As the oldest form of psychology known to mankind, storytelling draws our truest sense of self into the tale in meaningful and insightful ways. The metaphor of an unfolding adventure of discovery, a journey filled with confounding problems and challenges, motivates us to embrace the power of faith and possibility in our lives. We are inspired to consider new viewpoints of ourselves and the world around us.

I was moved to study and master Therapeutic Imagery because it conjures this symbolic and mythical realm of adventure inside of us, where we find deeper and yet familiar realizations about ourselves and our challenges. As a trance state healing medium, it continues to teach me lessons through the transcendent revelations of my clients. These story-based experiences are profound at bringing new perspective to the trials of love and fear that occur in our everyday lives. We become unstuck. We move beyond limiting beliefs and negative emotional attachments that have held us back and undermined our well being.

THE GREAT LION

Aslan “the Great Lion,” who despite his loving and benevolent nature is not tame and can be both powerful and dangerous, has a particularly profound meaning for me. I read the Narnia stories just before the occurrence of a life shattering event. I was thirteen at the time and the subsequent loss of these books haunted me for years. Of course, I bought them again but the memory lived on as a reminder of the fragility and tragedy of our family . . . and of life itself. Yet Aslan remained steadfast in my heart. Courage was still possible. Inspiration welled up inside of me in music and the calling of songs. Love was bigger than betrayal. And I persevered.

Someone recently asked me why they should trust me to help them. It was a fair and honest question, and a challenge to my ‘license’ as a motivator and inspirator. I told them I am a survivor of childhood trauma and PTSD. I said simply that I understand the landscape of suffering and shame, and I know from my own life how it is necessary to vibrate from a place of love in order to overcome fear. I teach my clients that compassion is strong enough to change individuals, dangerous enough to challenge paradigms, and powerful enough to transform the world.

Indeed, just like the mighty Aslan, love is not always tame.

©2016 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.


Cathexis Logo Pic MemeCathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email.

The Temple Of Sleep: Communion With Our Mystical Otherworld Of Consciousness

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We spend a third of our lives sleeping. Our identities dissolve into a realm that exists beyond time, electronic stimulation and the demands of the waking world. Phantom presences swirl about as we drift through dreams. Where do these subconscious journeys lead us? And what are the benefits of a devotional relationship with sleep?

Sleep is a medium to which we are all bound, a profound and often mysterious relationship of mind, body and spirit—an ethereal connection with the conscious energy of the universe. Sleep is a sacred vessel we share in common, a circadian journey into uncharted territories of subliminal awareness and self-discovery.

Throughout history man has pondered the enigma of sleep. Many indigenous cultures hold that while sleeping, the soul transcends the body. It is believed that unencumbered by flesh and bone, the soul, or spirit, wanders to distant places or alternate realities and communes with divine powers—with angels and emissaries—giving rise to certain dreams and visions. This is akin to what is known as astral projection, a phenomenon acknowledged by science (see the article Understanding The Out-Of-Body Experience From A Neuroscientific Perspective here).

The hypotheses on sleep rendered by the scientific community over the years are numerous, yet in a profound departure from the purely physiological theories commonly preferred by physicians, Swiss neurologist and child psychologist, Edouard Claperède, observed that:

” . . . sleep has its significance not as a passive state, but as an active instinct, like all the other instincts of animal life.”

Claperède’s observation formed a valuable and influential contribution to science’s evolving theories on sleep, casting new perspectives beyond mere chemical and mechanical considerations. Many of the obscure and unexplained occurrences of sleeping, those existing more in the realms of psychology and the innate functioning of the subconscious mind, were contemplated in light of this viewpoint.

Our Dream Symbols

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Dreams have served as a portal to other realms for shaman, holy men, prophets, and medicine men from indigenous cultures throughout time, reminding us of the importance of this mystical otherworld of consciousness.

Symbols occur in dreams when events take place in our lives that we are subconsciously aware of but are not yet willing to acknowledge; consequently, the awareness manifests symbolically in the dream state. Symbols also recur in dreams, or the dreams themselves recur, sometimes in slightly varying episodes. Recurring dreams and dream symbols that invoke a similar emotional response can be rooted in a past anguish or forgotten trauma, or represent an attempt to compensate for some perceived defect in character or attitude.

Yet expressions of repressed emotions, memories, traumas, challenges of character, or events we are not ready to consciously acknowledge, are not the only basis for symbolic dreams. Indeed, certain elements of dreams commonly occur which are not necessarily particular to, nor derived from, the personality or individual experience of the dreamer. Sigmund Freud first observed such elements and called them “archaic remnants.” Carl Jung referred to them as “primordial images” or “archetypes,” and described them as:

” . . . mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual’s own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind.”

Jung connected archetypes across cultural boundaries and conceptualized them as fundamental, instinctual forces that somehow exist beyond our comprehension. He believed these archetypes represent mythical characters residing within the collective unconscious of people worldwide.

The Doorstep Of The Temple

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There is a difference between valuing and respecting sleep.

Science tells us that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and many other vital functions. Considering its restorative properties, psychological benefits, and overall value to our health and well-being, sleeping well is of paramount importance. Swagger, bravado, and false pride about not needing to sleep, which often go hand in hand with unhealthy lifestyles and the glorification of being busy, suggest an underlying lack of self-regard. And as for productivity, research studies show that we are far more creative and productive when we are well rested.

Sleeping well means dreaming well. We naturally hallucinate in dreams, where our thoughts, feelings, experiences, expectations, memories, and attachments are mixed together. This is a subconscious releasing and balancing necessary for emotional growth. Dreaming is imminently important in its psychological benefits. Many challenges of wisdom—assimilating, integrating and moving ahead with new insight and maturity—are related to dreams and their symbols. Dreaming is our primal and instinctive way of releasing the old and accepting the new. Not surprisingly, many who find themselves stuck in unhealthy patterns and familiar disappointing outcomes in life, practice poor sleep habits and suffer from sleep deprivation.

People routinely seek pharmaceutical solutions for sleeping problems. Yet results from studies on prescription sleep aids demonstrate the average sleeping time increases by only a few minutes each night, and the disturbing side effects of these habit forming drugs include amnesia and episodes of somnambulism (otherwise known as ‘sleep walking’). Most sleep medications function by blocking the formation of memories, which, among other negative aspects, interrupts normal rapid eye movement dream cycles and significantly alters or negates the intuitive benefits of dreaming. Users of prescription sleep aids commonly report waking up feeling groggy and unmotivated. The use of other sedative or narcotic prescription medication, drinking alcohol, or consuming illicit drugs can exacerbate this situation.

Equilibrium

The homeostasis of the total functioning of our bodies, including the critically important role of sleep, is maintained within the subconscious mind. This includes aligning our physiological and psychological processes—the relationship of our bodily functions to our attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and words—such as those about sleep. If we say “I don’t sleep well” or “can’t sleep at night,” we won’t. If we do not believe in the value of sleep or treat it with the proper reverence, we will not reap the rewards. If we disrespect ourselves around sleep, we will not manifest the inherent benefits of health and well-being associated therewith.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with sleep.”  ~William Shakespeare

The importance of dreams, in particular, cannot be underestimated. Indeed, as acknowledged by Freud and Jung, the founding fathers of modern psychology, dreams are a lucid gateway to the exploration of consciousness. Maintaining a healthy relationship with sleeping—and dreaming, involves a steadfast resolve in both actions and words. This requires being mindful about our thoughts and attitudes, our internal and external dialogue, and our behaviors related to sleep.

Here are some more helpful suggestions for sleeping well:

  • Exercise regularly and meditate or practice yoga to manage stress
  • Limit refined sugars in your diet, especially in the evening
  • Moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Turn off electronic screens for at least 30 minutes before going to bed
  • Read prose, poetry, whimsical tales or literary works steeped in metaphor before sleep (remember those bedtime stories?) to stimulate your subconscious mind

We spend a third of our lives sleeping. To sleep well, to rest and rejuvenate, to regenerate and heal, to learn and grow . . . requires embracing and respecting sleep in all its mystical and ineffable qualities. Revere it. Speak well about it. Avoid interfering with it. Practice devotions and rituals to cultivate a healthful communion with sleep, this hallowed and sublime connection of deeper consciousness.

©2016 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.


Cathexis Logo Pic MemeCathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email.

Inner Conflict: The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm Of Inner Conflict

INNER CONFLICT

Most models of conflict resolution address relationships and effective communication skills, which are important factors worthy of serious consideration. However, mindfulness training focuses on individual perspectives and insights that ensue as a result of the discipline and practice of being present in the moment. Mindfulness invites the recognition and avoidance of conditioned responses sourced in the past, which often contribute to the inner conflict we are experiencing. Consequently, as the dynamics of various challenges present themselves in real time, we are imbued with the prospect of utilizing this deeper awareness in the pursuit of enlightenment and self-possession.

In mindfulness training, we consider inner conflict in these three facets:

1.  Eye Of The Hurricane

In the midst of conflict, we experience moments of absolute stillness and reflection. This is the eye of the hurricane, where our vision is clarified. We witness how the wheat is separated from the chaff. In ourselves and others, we see where pretension is distinguished from intention. This sometimes means awakening from disillusionment, yet it is invaluable to discover the pitfalls inherent in certain situations, and to discern what we―and those around us―are really about.

2.  Infinite Force

Conflict conjures infinite force within us. This is the pure motivational energy of our survival instinct and provides a powerful impetus for change in our lives. We are physically, mentally and emotionally empowered. We may perceive a threat, which is the adrenalized energy of fear moving through us. We may be called upon to protect loved ones or to uphold our own self-regard, which is the oxytocin fueled energy of love and courage. And while we may feel victimized in certain instances, it is in overcoming these crisis that we manifest our own personal code of victory.

3.  Event Horizon

Resolution of conflict is a point of no return, an event horizon. Our clarified vision may seem like a wounded gift, yet once the storm moves within us there is no turning back. We are transformed forever. At this juncture, we recognize similarities and patterns in the kinds of conflict we are experiencing, which is also an opportunity to alter those behaviors. Even if we attempt to deny this insight, the recognition and awareness of the event horizon can never be completely subdued.

THE PERFECT STORM

Inner conflict occurs when discordant events create tension and controversy. It can result from external factors converging in unanticipated and untimely ways, or from circumstances that cause unresolved personal issues to surface. Inner conflict is a confluence of resistance and incompatibility―the innate and inevitable friction of existence―the tempest of human interaction that ultimately molds character and forges conviction. Learning to mindfully navigate and gracefully resolve  inner conflict can profoundly impact happiness, success and the fulfillment of deeper meaning and purpose in our lives.

©2016 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.


Cathexis Logo Pic MemeCathexis Therapeutic Imagery specializes in innovative approaches to workplace wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development. Via private coaching, presentations, workshops, training events, and our partnership in the unique online wellness community Your Wellness Room—used by Kaiser Permanente, EFactor and other notable companies—our nationally recognized programs and practices help people and organizations make positive changes. Please call for a free consultation at (818) 512-4371 or contact us via email.