Category Archives: Enlightenment

Beyond The Shadows Of Fear

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

My father was a combat veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He witnessed and participated in atrocities during the Korean War. He made life altering self-sacrifices and lived with horrors that were not entirely of his choosing. He was predisposed to violent and abusive episodes that he could not control, and inflicted a legacy of rage, vengeance and sorrow upon those who loved him the most. Overcoming the trauma of my relationship with him provided profound meaning and purpose to experiences which once seemed hopelessly tragic and senseless. The unique insights I gained into the primal nature of love and fear and how they function in the human psyche were life-changing. And it became my personal mission to help others solve their suffering by sharing what I have learned.

Childhood Trauma

As a boy I asked my father if he was ever under enemy fire. He replied that he once saw a torpedo pass the bow of a ship he was on in the south pacific. When I inquired about the blisters and open sores on his feet, which I later learned were from a severe fungal infection he contracted in the extreme cold of Korea, he said this was from his brother throwing firecrackers at him when they were kids. My dad would never talk about the Korean War and it was clear to me, even as a child, that a deep unrest resided within him about his experiences there.

When I was 7 years old, my family suddenly wasn’t Catholic anymore. I was abruptly placed in a public school and we began attending an Episcopal Church. A secret was passed from my older siblings that my dad had a wife and son in Korea, and that she left him because he beat her. My parents began having bitter fights. I witnessed my father lose his temper and become verbally abusive and physically violent with my mother. And it was only the beginning.

“Our family became familiar with an intimate and immutable fear that would continue to shape our lives for years to come.”

I was in the 7th grade when the last of his many merciless beatings of my mom occurred. I didn’t see that one but I witnessed most of them. Blood and bruises. Police. Hospitals. Neighbors. Embarrassment. Shame. Confusion. Something inside him would snap and he would explode. And afterward, he would act as if nothing had happened. That last assault landed my mother in the emergency room. She was finally ready to leave him and take us with her. I was brave and called my dad from a pay phone in the hospital lobby to tell him we wouldn’t be coming home that night—or ever. I was 12 years old. Like my sister and brothers, I too had been brutally beaten by my father. I still loved him though. We all did. But we were afraid of him.

The following days brought a divorce filing, the issuance of a judicial restraining order, and a sheriff’s escort to our home to retrieve necessities. My dad was in his study when we arrived. He was nonchalant but we soon realized he was not in total denial. The study and kitchen were intact, but the rest of the house was eerily empty; besides the furniture, the only personal belongings remaining were our clothes and shoes. There were no books, toys, trading cards, Tonka trucks or race cars, balls or mitts, hockey sticks or ice skates, albums or record players, stuffed animals, or musical instruments. My mother’s beloved piano was gone. In fact, all the tangible mementos of our life together had disappeared. When we discovered that he had burned most of those things in the incinerator in the basement, my older brother became so enraged he had to be physically restrained by the sheriffs—yet my dad remained passive. It was one of the most surreal events in my life and ushered me into a deep state of emotional shock.

Flashbacks

FlashbacksIn a poignant moment some years later, when life had moved on for all of us, my father finally revealed to me a little of what had happened to him in Korea. It was only the second time I ever saw him cry. But he still couldn’t really talk about it. There were only a few quotes like the one below, which he retched out like bile from the pit of his soul. He contracted a brain tumor and died shortly thereafter, and I was grateful for the estranged sort of peace I had made with him. I forgave him for all that had happened. But the impact of my father’s violence and abuse had not yet taken the measure of its toll on me. Shadows of that fear, in the shifting and malevolent form of rage, still existed deep in my heart. And year by year, as I emerged from the emotional shell that had protected me as a child, I would revisit my forgiveness of him in the specter of that ash-filled basement incinerator and its forsaken providence—his vengeful razing of the village of our family—again and again, whether I chose to or not.

“We didn’t know who we were fighting over there. The villagers would bring out food and fruit in baskets to the soldiers . . . and there would be live grenades hidden inside. My buddies were blown to bits right in front of me. It happened more than once. So we razed those villages. We killed everybody.”

The vestiges of my father’s violence overtook me in my forties. By then the conflicted emotions I suppressed as a boy had finally come to the surface, raw and often unchecked. It had become difficult to avoid angry and irrational responses in certain situations, especially those I perceived as threatening or inherently unfair. I lost my temper easily. I brooded and ranted and my moods were volatile. Indeed, the repressed rage had been tapped within me. And a disturbing pattern developed which left me in anguish each Christmas Day and on my birthday, when the intrusive recall of familial trauma and abuse was somehow triggered and I would grieve uncontrollably. I came to realize I was still afraid of my father, for he haunted my thoughts like a ghost on those days and I could not dismiss his threatening presence. I was also afraid of myself and what was happening to me.

Into The Light

The psychotherapists helped me understand my own post-traumatic stress disorder. Perhaps they helped me understand my father. But I did not change as a result of those traditional forms of therapy; in fact, I got worse. The flashbacks recurred with more intensity. The rage persisted and began to threaten the homeostasis of the life I had worked so hard to build for myself. My marriage suffered. And year by year, the dread of Christmas and my birthday gradually became intolerable. I found myself tormented by recurring thoughts of those incinerated childhood treasures and the memories attached to them—the beautiful yuletide festivities our family shared, the surprise birthday parties and celebrations, the special gifts and cherished times when we were together and all was put right in our troubled world—and I cursed my father for his desecration.

PTSDHypnotherapy was my salvation. I discovered the redemptive balance of honor, dignity and grace for my father’s life, and for my own. I stepped out of my tunnel of fear and the confluence of my life paths suddenly came together in a profound affirmation of my existence. After 25 years as a successful corporate restructuring professional, I left my career and went back to school. I graduated with honors from the world renowned Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Los Angeles as both a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master of Therapeutic Imagery. In 2011, I founded Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery in Chatsworth, California.

At the heart of my approach is the use of trance state healing to help people understand how love and fear function as the primary motivational forces in our lives. My journey has afforded me a unique understanding of the landscape of suffering and shame, the fundamental nature of rage and the various ways it can be triggered, and the innate power of compassion and empathy to transform lives and connect us to the deeper significance and intention of our being.

I am a therapist. I am an intuitive agent for change. I am an inspirator.  And I am a survivor. I cannot call my traumas war stories—those belonged to my father. My suffering was not his suffering; my terror was not his terror; my sacrifices were not his sacrifices. I was blessed with a vision of making his tragic life stand for something noble, and that is how helping people conquer fear became my mission.

©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.

Heart Entrainment: Connecting Our Love Energy

Heart Intelligence

The heart generates the human organism’s most powerful electromagnetic field and permeates every cell in the body. Compared to the brain’s electromagnetic field, the electrical component of the heart’s field is about 60 times greater in amplitude, and the magnetic component is approximately 100 times greater.

There are many familiar expressions that include the organic use of the word “heart,” such as: They had a heart to heart. She wears her heart on her sleeve. His heart is in the right place. They were heart-broken. Follow your heart. These are a few of the enduring idioms that demonstrate we have long realized the heart has its own special way of perceiving, experiencing, and knowing. And, of course, the heart ideogram ( ) is a traditional symbol representing the heart as the center of emotion, particularly love and affection.

Science is now illuminating this inherent understanding of the heart’s conscious properties and influence on our perceptions, interactions. and overall functioning. According to recent discoveries in neurophysics, the heart is an organ of far greater intelligence than previously thought, and evidence suggests a profound cognitive interrelationship between brain waves and the powerful electromagnetic energy signals emitted from the heart (see Examiner.com article here). These findings have lead scientists and physicians to conclude that consciousness is a function of both the heart and the brain, and that ethereal forms of sentience such as intuition, precognition, mood and disposition, and most certainly emotion, formulate and resonate within this realm.

In our innovative programs and practices for holistic health, Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery uses the trance state mediums of meditation, hypnosis, and therapeutic imagery to develop mindfulness and emotional intelligence. A key component to our approach is heart entrainment; this is a synchronized flow of energy between the heart and brain natural to the trance state experience that can be intentionally integrated into daily mindfulness practice. The intriguing facets of heart entrainment and its transformative qualities are explored in this article.

HEART INTELLIGENCE

Since 1991, the HeartMath Institute has researched and developed the science of bridging the connection between the heart and brain, and used these discoveries to help people connect more deeply within themselves and with one another. The HeartMath Institute pioneered the concept of heart intelligence, also known as “heart entrainment,” which is defined as:

” . . . the flow of awareness, understanding and intuition we experience when the mind and emotions are brought into coherent alignment with the heart. It can be activated through self-initiated practice, and the more we pay attention when we sense the heart is speaking to us or guiding us, the greater our ability to access this intelligence and guidance more frequently. Heart intelligence underlies cellular organization and guides and evolves organisms toward increased order, awareness and coherence of their bodies’ systems.”

The HeartMath Institute’s groundbreaking research 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.

This signaling process occurs as the heart generates and transmits a continuous series of electromagnetic waves, or pulses, which are distributed across the neural pathways of the central nervous system and throughout the bloodstream. In the brain, this relationship involves the pineal gland, “the mind’s eye,” which is sensitive to all magnetic fields, allows more blood flow than any other gland in the body, and modulates consciousness.

The Mind's Eye

The pineal gland is directly wired to the visual cortex in the brain and catalyzes our sensory perceptions into images, the language of the subconscious.

Studies using a technique called spectral analysis have 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. Negative emotions engender erratic, disordered, non-rhythmic heart beats. Positive emotions, on the other hand, create heart beat patterns that are smooth, coherent, and rhythmic. Brainwaves synchronize with the heart’s electromagnetic field, so during sustained feelings of compassion, appreciation, or gratitude, blood pressure and respiratory functioning, among other oscillatory systems, naturally entrain to the soothing rhythm of the heart.

HEART FIELD INTERACTIONS

There is remarkable evidence that the heart’s electromagnetic field transmits information between people, and that this is an innate function which starts inside the womb. According to the HeartMath Institute:

  • The heart of the fetus develops and functions before the brain, and naturally synchronizes with its mother’s electromagnetic heart field
  • The exchange of heart energy, which continues with infant and mother after birth and immediately begins developing with others, can be measured between individuals up to five feet apart
  • One person’s brain waves can actually synchronize to another person’s heart
  • When an individual generates a coherent heart rhythm, their brainwaves are more likely to synchronize with another person’s heartbeat
  • Individuals with increased psychological and physiological self-awareness are more cognizant of the information encoded in the electromagnetic heart fields of those around them

Social Structure

In a longitudinal study of forty-six social groups, data gathered only from the relationships between pairs of members was found to provide an accurate image of the social structure of each group as a whole. The global organization and collective consciousness of these groups appears to have been transmitted by a socio-emotional field of energy based on positive emotions such as passion, excitement, and enthusiasm that connected all members. Remarkably, this emotionally energized network encoded and transmitted information about the group’s social structure as parts of the whole, which is consistent with the principle of holographic organization.

Intuition & Precognition

Fascinating data from a rigorous experimental design also produced evidence suggesting that electromagnetic heart field interactions are conducive to transmissions from energy fields beyond the space/time continuum, accounting for perceptual aspects of consciousness such as intuition and precognition.

Intuition & Precognition

Holographic waveforms of energy encode systemic information in a nonlocal order that represents organization of the system as a whole.

The studies showed that while the heart and brain both receive and respond to information about future events before they actually happen, the heart appears to receive this information before the brain. This indicates that the heart’s electromagnetic energy field may link to more subtle fields of energy that contain holographic waveforms, i.e. those which encode systemic information in a nonlocal order that represents organization of the system as a whole. Considered by the late eminent brain scientist Karl Pribram, acclaimed theoretical physicist Stephan Hawking, and others as the spectral domain—a fundamental field of potential energy throughout which informational properties are spread—this refers to heart field interactions with what is known in the scientific community as the unified energy field. These compelling findings, which align with the evidence from the social field interaction studies referenced above, have profound implications and support holonomic brain theory and the concept of reality as a quantum hologram.

Intention

In a controlled study published in a 2003 report entitled Modulation of DNA Conformation by Heart-Focused Intention, participants were instructed to focus their intention on making DNA strands wind or unwind while holding a test tube containing a DNA sample. Individuals familiar with heart entrainment enhancement techniques taught at the HeartMath Institute were able to alter DNA conformation according to their intention, while individuals in the control group were not. The results showed cellular functions that could be affected included DNA replication, DNA repair, and the generation of proteins and enzymes. The HeartMath Institute researchers issued this statement:

“The results provide experimental evidence to support the hypothesis that aspects of the DNA molecule can be altered through intentionality. To our knowledge, this study was the first to correlate specific electrophysiological modes with the ability to cause changes in a biological target (DNA) external from the body. The data indicate that when individuals are in a heart-focused, loving state and in a more coherent mode of physiological functioning, they have a greater ability to alter the conformation [or shape] of DNA.”

This landmark research validates long held beliefs about the self-healing ability of the mind and demonstrates that our thoughts, beliefs and emotions can impact the immediate world around us. The findings also affirm the conviction that positive feelings and attitudes contribute to health and well being, and lend credence to other well known but often misunderstood phenomena such as the placebo effect, spontaneous remission in cancer and other diseases, and the power of faith and prayer.

For more information on the HeartMath Institute’s research and publications, please visit www.heartmath.org.

CONCLUSIONS

The electromagnetic field of the heart is the most powerful electromagnetic field generated by the human organism and permeates every cell in the body. Heart entrainment is the calibration of the heart and brain through physiological and psychological positivity, a state in which this field is in a smooth and coherent rhythm and synchronizes with myriad energy fields and wave frequencies along the infinite electromagnetic spectrum. The rhythmically pulsing waves of electromagnetic energy generated by the entrained heart create energy fields within energy fields, and manifest interference patterns when interacting with magnetically polarizable tissues and substances.

Heart Entrainment

Evidence demonstrates we can consciously affect our physiology and health through focused intention and heart entrainment.

The considerable research evidence presented herein demonstrates that by focusing our intention and practicing heart entrainment techniques, we can consciously affect our physiology and health. Yet these studies also invite deeper epiphanies, those about the transcendent qualities of love that connect us to the subtle, ethereal ordering of the universe enfolded in the energy fields surrounding us. The innate “wisdom of the heart” serves as the impetus for self-awareness and discovery, altruism, philanthropy, social grace, creativity, and spiritual identity. And it is our positive heart energy, our embrace of compassion, empathy, and the power of love that aligns our conscious intention and inspires a more meaningful understanding and life purpose.

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

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis 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.

Managing Life Change: Our Sacred Time Of Transition

Managing Life Change

The terms distress and eustress were coined in 1975 by endocrinologist Hans Selye in his landmark work on the effects of stress

The nature of change itself creates a certain degree of stress. Our reactions can be influenced by our perceptions, which include whether the change is chosen or imposed, and if the outcome is positive or negative. Life transitions we perceive to be negative cause distress, while those seen as positive cause eustress. In either event, however, as we consider the ramifications of moving away from our accustomed homeostasis, or comfort zone, the mind and body react primarily to the fact that a change has occurred

Whether positive or negative, expected or unexpected, life transitions result in leaving behind that which is familiar and facing the unknown. They require coping with mixed emotions such as vulnerability and excitement, anxiety and resolve, disappointment and relief, apprehension and inspiration, motivation and polarization.

Among the most stressful life changing events are:

  • Death of a spouse, parent or loved one
  • Marital separation or divorce
  • Serious illness
  • Marriage
  • Career change or retirement

LOVE & FEAR

The fundamental relationship of love and fear offer a profound and fascinating framework for inspiring and transformative thoughts. They are also critical to managing the life changes that ultimately challenge each of us.

Love and fear are elemental forces we are born with and experience throughout our lifetimes, yet they defy absolute comprehension. Certain psychological theories of the mind consider love and fear as our primary emotions, 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) 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.

“Every human thought, word, or deed is based on fear or love. Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, hides, hoards, harms.  Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, reveals, shares, heals.”

~Neale Donald Walsch

Fear often arises in false perceptions of threats that can turn small issues into big ones. Love frequently manifests as little things, intuitive gestures and kind acts, offered in response to larger challenges. Time factors into this dichotomy because many fearful reactions are rooted in our preoccupation with rehashing the past or worrying about the future, while the transcendent qualities of love can only be experienced in the present. This is one reason the ancient disciplines of yoga and meditation teach that tranquility and connectedness are achieved by being present in the moment, a philosophy that draws upon the sage and enduring concept of sacred time.

SACRED TIME

Time is also an elemental force that defies absolute comprehension. Time in the prevailing, linear sense is not a proven constant of the universe; in fact, it is a man-made convention. Perhaps this lends credence to the indigenous notions of time as a sacred, cyclical relationship to the celestial bodies, the cycles of day and night and the turning of the seasons, which are represented in various cultures by myriad depictions of the circle and wheel as universal symbols of life.

Celtic wisdom resolves the conundrum of time by contemplating it in two distinct aspects:

  1. Historical time as linear and consisting of the past, present and future; and
  2. Sacred time as circular and existing solely in the present.

Quantum physics considers time in the context of our relationship with the ever expanding universe. Certainly our individual and collective consciousness expands throughout our lives. We grow older.  And, hopefully; wiser. Mindful MemoriesTo the degree our memories consist of cherished experiences, footprints covered over by the course of time but which still imprint love in our awareness, we know happiness, fulfillment, and excitement. When those footprints are impressions of fear and regret, however, we can also know bitterness, disenchantment, and apprehension. Our emotional attachments to the past, both positive and negative, can create expectation for the future. By practicing being present in the moment—without resistance, judgment or attachment to outcome—we become more cognizant of anxious feelings in ourselves and others without being distressed by them, and realize how simple acts of love can diffuse that fear.

SURRENDER

Our lives are characterized by stressful transitions, events both expected and unexpected, that challenge our functioning, self-esteem and sense of purpose. As we endeavor to manage these changes, let us be mindful of the interrelationship of love and fear, and the importance of being present in the moment. The rich and storied history of our journey through the years—our relationships, vocational and avocational pursuits, health and well-being—provide the vital basis of our identity, which, in the absence of fear, lovingly surrenders emotional attachments to the past.

Even during times of grief, the tomorrow we build for ourselves happens today. Therefore, it is critical to let go of the feelings of regret and sorrow that naturally arise, which is accomplished by consciously investing in the here and now. Relinquishing expectations founded on what has gone before and embracing the challenge we have inherited; responding to the demands of the moment with compassion and empathy, both for ourselves and others; choosing eustress over distress; indeed, this is how life change catalyzes into spiritual growth, and becomes our sacred time of transition.

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

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis 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 Healing Power Of The Mind: Research Debunks The Snake Oil Mythos

Science does not yet have a way of explaining how thoughts and beliefs materially affect our brain and body. This is in part because traditional neuroscience is based on a materialist view of reality. Yet this view—the assumption that the physical world exists beyond subjective perception—has not been proven by mathematics or empirical observation. In fact, reality is known only through sensory interaction, the way our mind relates to light, sound, smell, touch and taste. From a materialist viewpoint, however, these conscious functions are considered secondary to the physical processes of the universe.

This limiting perspective greatly plagues Western medicine. In his book Irreducible MindUniversity of Virginia neuroscientist Edward Kelly notes that most scientists avoid the problem of how our subjective mind, or consciousness, acts on the objective physical body. He goes so far as to suggest that we cannot answer this question within the materialistic framework of our current medical system.

Nonetheless, Western medicine and complimentary therapy practices that rely on the healing power of the mind share many common facets. This is particularly self-evident in the controlled testing of new medications, which involves the use of placebos. But what exactly is “the placebo effect?” And what is the relationship of the placebo effect to the healing power of the mind?

THE PLACEBO EFFECT

Even though medical science utilizes placebos in conducting research, it doesn’t understand the phenomenon. The placebo effect is commonly defined as the known tendency for people to improve when given a treatment they believe will be effective. In clinical trials, a certain number of subjects (the control group) think they’re receiving the medication being tested, but are instead given an inactive substance, or placebo. The medication being tested must perform significantly better than the placebo to pass the trial. Yet this common aspect of medical research brings to mind an important question:

“Is the positive response to a placebo an inauthentic form of healing?”

Research on the placebo effect indicates that for many people, simply believing that a therapeutic approach or medication has healing qualities begins creating physical improvements in their body. This implies that thoughts and beliefs are not merely making us feel better, they are altering brain chemistry and physiology.

Some significant studies involving the placebo effect have shown the following:

  • A study comparing the effect of a placebo versus the drug L-Dopa in patients with Parkinson’s disease demonstrated that even when taking a placebo, the patients’ nervous system function improved and reduced the effects of the disease (see Huffington Post Article ‘The Placebo Effect: Harnessing The Power Of The Mind’ here)
  • A review of randomized controlled trials in which patients were given either antidepressants or placebos demonstrated that approximately 75 percent of the effectiveness of antidepressants was due to the placebo effect (see peer reviewed National Institutes Of Health article here)
  • A University of Colorado study found that participants who believed that they had received pain medication produced specific and measurable physiological activity within the neural pathways of their brains similar to taking the medication itself (see peer reviewed National Institutes Of Health article here)

While the placebo effect clearly demonstrates the healing power of the mind, let’s examine the considerable body of research on trance states and complimentary therapies such as hypnosis and meditation, which directly reinforce the ability of thoughts and beliefs to alter brain chemistry and physiology.

TRANCE STATES

Placebo & Trance State Healing

Research demonstrates that a common physiology underlies trance states induced by a variety of different procedures.

A wide range of experimental laboratory research on shamanistic practices suggests an operative connection between trance states and healing. Trance states are dominated by slow wave patterns of discharge from parts of the brain including the limbic system, frontal cortex, and hippocampal area, which are optimal for energy, orienting, learning, memory, and attention. A review of eighty-seven parapsychological laboratory studies (see American Anthropological Association citation below) indicates that trance states such as meditation and hypnosis induced relaxation, and that sensory deprivation significantly improved extrasensory perception and psychokinetic performance. These studies also demonstrate that humans have the ability to affect and heal a variety of biological systems through psychokinesis.

Meditation disciplines value trance states as providing the basis for a more objective perception of reality. Yoga traditions indicate that healing and other psychic abilities are a by-product of spiritual development which involve direct and profound alterations of consciousness. A large body of research exists suggesting that trance state healing and well-being practices are psychobiologically based. The empirical evidence includes the universal nature of such practices, the psychobiological characteristics of trance states, and the functional relationships and association of trance with the abilities of healing and divination. (See ‘Shamans and Other Magico-Religious Healers: A Cross-Cultural Study of Their Origins,’ published on behalf of the American Anthropological Association [PDF], here).

HYPNOSIS & MEDITATION

Numerous scientific studies have been published confirming clinical hypnosis as a viable and effective intervention for alleviating chronic pain with cancer and a variety of other conditions (see Medical Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy, Mayo Clinic Reports here). These randomized and controlled studies, along with medical reports, reviews, and a sizable amount of literature in the fields of health and alternative medicine, indicate the complimentary benefits of hypnosis in facilitating healing by countering stress, enhancing immune system responses, and empowering patients to actively participate in their wellness process.

The Mayo Clinic has used hypnosis for pain control and other medical applications for over a century. And since 1995, the National Institutes of Health have recommended hypnotherapy as a treatment for chronic pain.

“Hypnosis is safer than virtually any medication any of us doctors use.”  

      ∼ David Spiegel, M.D., Stanford University, School of Medicine

As for meditation, over 1500 studies conducted by more than 250 independent research institutes show the practice to be clinically effective for the management of stress, anxiety and panic, chronic pain, depression, obsessive thinking, strong emotional reactivity, and a wide array of medical and mental health related conditions.

Meditation & The Placebo Effect

Scientific research on meditation has shown enduring changes in baseline brain function demonstrating brain plasticity and its effects on the immune system.

Medical outcomes of 15,000 patients from the Center for Mindfulness Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts’ Medical School shows a 35% reduction in the number of medical symptoms and a 40% reduction in psychological symptoms (see Meditation Science Weekly article here).

(The findings of these and other peer reviewed research studies are available in my article: A Review Of The Significant Research On Hypnosis, Meditation & Trance States.)

THE SNAKE OIL MYTHOS

The placebo effect is inherent to medical research and reflects the ability of our thoughts and beliefs to alter brain chemistry and physiology. Trance state healing modalities such as hypnosis and meditation are alternative therapies validated by an impressive and ever-growing body of scientific research. In light of the considerable evidence demonstrating the mind’s influence on the body, one must question how and why derogatory terms such as pseudoscience, woo woo, quackery, and snake oil, among others, have become associated with the healing power of the mind. Where does this skepticism come from? And in what ways does it reflect upon the limiting and materialistic framework of our current medical system?

Historically, much of the disparagement of alternative healing practices, along with the outright opposition to all forms of health care outside the conventional health industry, can be traced to the American Medical Association. The article “A Symbiotic Relationship, The AMA & The For-Profit Health Lobby” published by Think Progress, explores the disturbing evolution of the American Medical Association into a lobbying giant and member services entity—one tethered to the pharmaceutical companies and deeply entwined in the profit-based health industry. Indeed, in 2015 the AMA was the third largest lobbying spender in Washington.

To what lengths do such self-serving politics go? Is it possible that the snake oil mythos, at least in part, is rooted in a disinformation strategy built on fear, uncertainty, and doubt (“FUD”)—one that negatively influences perceptions of alternative and complimentary therapies—thus preserving the interests of the health care industry and upholding its profiteering agenda? Alas, could a systematic and well funded FUD campaign constitute part of the limiting and materialistic framework of our current medical system?

The considerable and credible peer reviewed and published evidence demonstrating the healing power of the mind cannot be ignored, dismissed, or characterized as fraudulent. And perhaps it is medical research protocol itself that bears the most persuasive witness. The placebo effect is part of the efficacy of both Western medicine and alternative therapies, and reflects the power of consciousness to influence the regenerative processes of the human organism. Trance states merely function to positively reinforce this innate mind/body connection, effectively altering brain chemistry and physiology.

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

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis 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.

Our Global Ascension Of Consciousness

Global Ascension Of Consciousness

A new world community is evolving, one of diversity and connectedness with all of life. This is the manifestation of a global ascension of consciousness rooted in compassion, emotional intelligence and spiritual unity. Bridging the divisions within ourselves and letting go of limiting attitudes and beliefs anneals our divine connectivity. We perceive the ways in which learned prejudices have rendered us vulnerable to the intrigues of wealth and power. The politically driven machinations of fear and apathy become increasingly transparent, and we are drawn together in challenging our governments to better serve the interests of humanity and the environment.

These are some of the issues fueling this ascension of consciousness:

  • More than nine million people, the majority of them women and children, are hungry and impoverished in a world that can readily afford to feed and shelter them
  • Our precious planet and its wild and magnificent wonders are besieged by the ecologically unfriendly and sometimes devastating footprints of industry, despite the availability of greener and more sustainable options
  • The predatory pricing practices of pharmaceutical companies and their methodical discrediting of holistic practices and cures that can’t be patented and sold
  • The inertia of institutional economic dependence on fossil fuels which fails to entice energy companies into developing viable alternatives
  • The incestuous infrastructure of national governments, financial institutions, and investment exchanges

Awakening

Many now eschew the jaded visage of a corporate owned media that is no longer bound by objectivity or journalistic integrity—a media that propagates the profiteering agenda of the world’s wealth nexus by ‘selling’ carefully crafted and sponsored stories—and purveys fear by sensationalizing crime, natural disaster, and human suffering. Equally disturbing, and what has become painfully evident to everyone, is how politicians fail to represent the collective interest of their electorates due to conflicts of interest created by the dark money of special interest lobbying. These deeply embedded practices circumvent political ideologies and violate the basic social contract upon which democratic governments function, transforming them from a voice of the people into a commodity of the rich and powerful.

It has become obvious that such governance practices cannot sustain our planet or its populace. This is why our global ascension of consciousness is a source of profound hope and inspiration. Considering recent developments in civil rights based on tolerance of gender, race, and sexual preference, all of which have overcome historical cultural and institutional resistance, there is every reason to believe that political lobbying reform, equitable wealth distribution, uplifting of the impoverished, affordable and integrative medicine practices, and sustainability of our planet, are reasonable and attainable goals.

Transformation

The sea change lies within each of us to avoid entanglement in the fences that would divide us. We can accomplish this in the following ways:

  1. By discovering how to invite and nurture this collective spiritual awakening to our connection with all of life;
  2. By finding and giving love amidst the complex personal, ideological, and cultural conflicts that will inevitably arise along the way; and
  3. By kindling our endearing faith in human spirit and ingenuity to preserve the wonders of creation.

An emboldened future where all of life thrives with respect and dignity manifests singularly, within the hearts of each of us. We must reach out to those who resist and hold to the old paradigm— accept and embrace them as teachers instead of reacting to them as adversaries—and reverently understand it is they who will forge our greatest intention.

Compassion, emotional intelligence and spiritual unity do not spare hardship or ensure accomplishment of goals and aspirations; rather, they diffuse intimidation and polarization, thus allowing the rectitude of vision necessary for enlightenment. Ascension of consciousness begins not with answers but with questions—questions each of us must resolve within ourselves: Do we cling to apathy and the little-death of fear?  Or do we surrender to the nobility and courage of love?

Enlightenment

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Note: I was moved to write and post this article because so many of my clients, in one way or another, have shared their deep concerns about these and other issues plaguing our world. Most have also expressed the desire to find or deepen their spiritual connection. My motivational messages, therapeutic approach, and mindfulness training model resonate with the themes of compassion and love as the way to ‘be the change’ we wish to effect in our lives. I believe casting aside fear and consciously seeking the path of empathy leads to spiritual enlightenment. By enlisting love as our vessel and compassion as our compass, we successfully navigate the stormy seas of our individual and collective realities, discovering sanctuary for ourselves and others along the way.

©2015 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. and Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery

Light Of Winter

Winter Solstice

A WINTER SOLSTICE MEDITATION

(Note: The following article is from a presentation on MIndfulness Meditation given during the Winter Solstice service at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in Canoga Park, California, on December 20, 2015.) 

In this article and accompanying meditation (see the link below), we celebrate Winter Solstice in a very special way, as we join in mind, body & spirit to invite reborn light into the fertile depths of our individual and collective souls. We shall contemplate and explore the seeded darkness of our inner being; the transcendent mystery of midwinter and its promise of renewal wrought by the pale sun and cold earth; the ancient, echoed wisdom woven by countless seasons into bone and sinew and sense. We shall partake in the interconnected sentience of our living, breathing and enigmatically conscious universe. At this revered confluence of endings and beginnings, this holiest of all seasons beneath the turning of the Celestial Wheel, let us rejoice in ambient communion with the resplendent wonder of the sun’s rebirth in our hearts, and create a cradle of spirituality from which to draw inspiration.

Mindfulness

My practice includes teaching both private and corporate clients mindfulness meditation. There have been thousands of studies conducted by hundreds of independent researchers demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness meditation in reducing stress, managing emotional reactivity, improving focus and concentration, strengthening immune system function, and treating an array of medical and mental health related conditions. It is being widely used in business to facilitate healthy and productive environments and positive workplace culture. There are still skeptics, however, many of whom assign a degree “woo-woo” to the practice of meditation. Having meditated daily for nearly 40 years, I can tell you first hand that whatever woo-woo that occurs is not in the meditation itself, but rather in the experience of higher conscious. We shall consider this phenomenon in relationship to Winter Solstice a bit further, both conceptually and experientially.

I invite you to take 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.

     “Still yourself. Listen. Breathe.”

This is what is known as a mindfulness moment. The Zen of mindfulness, the bone and sinew of it, the essence of being truly present, is momentarily absolving oneself of intentional thought. And the most effective way to learn the art of mindfulness is through mindfulness meditation, which is a western, non-sectarian, research-based form of meditation derived from the ancient Buddhist practice known as Insight Meditation.

MindfulnessMindfulness meditation develops the skill of paying attention to our internal and external experiences with acceptance, patience, and compassion. The idea of enlightenment, of shifting and expanding perception beyond the realm of human intelligence, is grounded in this subtle and remarkable discipline of inviting a pure awareness that diffuses the habituation of fearful thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In mindfulness meditation, one of the oldest and most venerated practices for exploring the ineffable dimensions of consciousness, the seeded darkness of our inner being, has come of age.

Unity Consciousness

But let’s set aside ancient wisdom for a moment. Instead, let’s use modern science to embrace this old world perspective of the interconnected sentience of our living, breathing and enigmatically conscious universe. I quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, popular astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space:

“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth.  And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe.”

According to quantum physics theory, beneath molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, and quarks lies a singular unified field of energy, an intelligence from which all forces and particles emerge, a ‘conscious’ structural matrix that exists everywhere in the universe. This energy field is considered ‘conscious’ or ‘intelligent’ because it encompasses the basic behavior of all things within the functioning laws of nature. The scientific community calls this concept unified field theory, or unity consciousness. In his book, A Brief History of Time, Stephan Hawking refers to the phenomenon of unity consciousness as “the mind of God.”

This consciousness, or organic sentience, is foundationally influenced by the interconnection of the Sun and Earth, a transmission of galactic energy communicated through light and vibrational wave frequencies along the infinite electromagnetic spectrum (radio, microwave, infrared, visual, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma rays); much of which we cannot see or feel.

In his book, ‘The Social Conquest of Earth,’ pre-eminent Harvard biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson sets forth a stunningly vivid and succinct description of the limited aperture through which human biology allows us to perceive our world.

Unity Consciousness

The migration patterns of birds are a primary example of the ability of animals to sense electromagnetic fields

What is most fascinating and relevant about this account is not that technology can reveal realities to which we are insensate—colors we don’t see, sounds we don’t hear, energy fields we don’t sense—what is most compelling is that all of these are perceivable to biology, just not human biology. It is established biological fact that animals see colors we can’t see; hear sounds we can’t hear; feel vibrations we can’t feel; and sense electromagnetic fields.

All living things are comprised of energy that radiates an aura, a “bio-electromagnetic field,” which results from electrical impulses generated by the movement of electrons around the nucleus of our cells. The human aura includes physical, emotional, and mental/spiritual aspects, and represents this chemical, biological, and atomical connection to the living universe. Research utilizing infrared and Kirlian photography has demonstrated that meditation intensifies or “charges” this aura, which enhances its interactivity with the geomagnetic energy fields of the earth and the cosmos.

From this scientific perspective then, is it such a leap to conceive of creation’s wonder, the transcendent mystery, perhaps even divinity itself, as this conscious matrix of unified energy that surrounds and connects all living things? And is this conception not distinctly akin to what Unitarian Universalism calls “the Interconnected Web of Life?”

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice is the time to honor the transcendent mystery—the wonder of the seeded darkness and the beauty of light reborn. Celebrations of longer days to come and the turning of nature’s seasonal wheel have been common throughout cultures and history. Winter solstice is the promise of patient wisdom beneath the turning stars, a time to embrace the rebirth of the sun with great hope and compassion in our hearts.

Pagan author T. Thorn Coyle wrote that the solstice is:

” . . . a chance to still ourselves inside, to behold the glory of the cosmos, and to take a breath with the Sacred.”

For many people, the Winter Solstice season marks the only occasion all year they set foot in a house of worship. Indeed, midwinter’s confluence of endings and beginnings—the night of greatest darkness and the sun reborn in hope—stirs a searching of the soul’s belonging. It is a time of coming together in fellowship, of setting aside enmities and ideologies, of observing rites and rituals that allow us to glimpse the spiritual cradle of life’s miracle. It is a time of gratitude and wonder, of compassion and grace, of peace and goodwill.

I invite you to join me for a few minutes of Mindfulness Meditation, as we contemplate . . .

Light Of Winter

Winter Solstice Meditation

Light Of Winter Meditation

(click on the link, close your eyes, and enjoy the meditation)

©2015 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis 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. 

Story Medicine: The Medium Of Leaders & Heroes

Story Medicine

Storytelling is a healing art and mankind’s oldest form of psychology. Stories have the power to calm, heal, rejuvenate—to invoke deeper comprehension and reflection while inviting a shift in perspective. Ancient cultures revered storytelling, which was a sacred practice reserved for the learned and holy men, and served as a powerful medium for helping tribes and clans cope with the hardship of survival.

The Hero Within

On a psychological and spiritual level, we profoundly resonate with tales of crisis, conflict and transformation. We individually and collectively identify with the hero of the story, who overcomes insurmountable obstacles in a confluent realization of innate potential and purpose. 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.

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”           ~Joseph Campbell, from ‘The Hero With A Thousand Faces’

The metaphor of an unfolding adventure of discovery, one which presents confounding problems and challenges—each representing a threshold of realization and growth—subconsciously motivates us to reconsider the powers of faith and possibility in our lives, inspiring new viewpoints of ourselves and the world around us. Indeed, stories are how we make sense of ourselves.

Leadership Tales

There are three primary elements of story that play into the human experience:

  1. Identity: A context to interpret the past and anticipate the future
  2. Integration: A narrative for affirming life meaning and purpose
  3. Socialization: A dialogue with which to interact with others

Research in psychology has shown that people realize meaning and purpose in their lives through personal stories; this is especially true in tales of individual redemption through which pain and suffering are transformed into self enlightenment, and then conferred as a benefit to others. (See ‘The Redemptive Self’ by Northwestern University psychology professor Dan McAdams here). 

This is why storytelling is fundamental to leadership, especially the trial and redemption aspect, which provides the backdrop of crisis, conflict and transformation necessary to resonate with the listener’s inner hero. Incorporating these elements engages and motivates others to consider why they should change their world, while at the same time opening their receptivity as to how that might be achieved.

An effective leadership tale compels people to experience and examine their values on an emotional basis rather than as abstract principals, inspiring a calling to action of their own leadership qualities and ability. This personal inspiration is then integrated through social interaction to become part of the organizational identity, exemplifying why storytelling is one of the most powerful leadership tools of organizers and movement builders.

Therapeutic Imagery

According to research by psychology professor Jonathan Adler, PhD, therapy patients who experience themselves—rather than the therapist—as the focal point of the story, show the most improvement (see American Psychological Association publication, ‘Our Stories, Ourselves’ here). This is the fundamental principle of Therapeutic Imagery, which is a mindfulness meditation modality that facilitates imagination and visualization with all the senses.

A large and growing body of research demonstrates the efficacy of mindfulness meditation modalities in treating various medical and mental health related conditions. Therapeutic Imagery is particularly effective for wellness, mindfulness training, and personal development initiatives such as:

  • Increasing Emotional Intelligence
  • Managing Stress & Anxiety
  • Overcoming Physical Debility & Relieving Pain 
  • Resolving Psychological Trauma
  • Treating Autoimmune Conditions

Therapeutic ImageryThe predisposition of the subconscious mind to interpret imagery in story form, and the persuasive power of stories to dramatically shape thoughts, memories and emotional attachments, is the heart of this artistic and extremely client friendly approach. Universal symbols, mythological archetypes, and personal metaphors empower new and enlightened encounters with personal challenges, stimulating self-discovery and a meaningful rescripting of life stories.

Why The Medicine Works

Sometimes words such as ‘problem’ and ‘challenge’ elicit the need to visit our misfortunes. Stories help us stay positive and focus on the ways in which our struggles are born of personal choices. We learn to recognize attitudes and beliefs that are limiting and self-defeating. We begin reframing our narrative of self. Instead of pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps, we endeavor to climb mountains. The ability to inspire ourselves and others prompts us to take leadership roles and embrace opportunities to serve. Indeed, stories affirm that we each possess the innate ability and determination, the courage and wisdom, the compassion and force of will to be leaders and heroes in our own lives.

©2015 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. All Rights Reserved.

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis 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. 

Mindfulness Meditation: The Science Of Sacred Time

In teaching my clients mindfulness meditation, I emphasize the transformative nature of the present moment, which I reverently refer to as sacred time. So much of the stress and anxiety we experience in life is directly related to our preoccupation with rehashing the past or rehearsing for the future. The ability to pay attention to our immediate experience, to truly be present in the here and now, invites a pure awareness that diffuses the habituation of negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors that are obstacles to happiness and fulfillment.

Meditation is about raising consciousness, which can only be achieved in the present, as we notice and experience—beyond preconception or judgment—the intelligent energies of the living universe that exist beyond human thought. A personal sanctity occurs in this space, an empowerment of insight and meaning, a transcendence rooted in the physiology of focused breathing and the mind-body connection, that invites us into the spiritual ‘center’ of our individual worlds.

Dancing Circles Around The Sun

Like the practice of meditation, the concept of sacred time is ancient. The cycles of day and night, the turning of the seasons, the celestial system of astrology and ancient astronomy, are evidence of time being originally perceived as circular, and serve as a basis for the enduring representations from every culture of the circle and wheel as universal symbols of life.

In Celtic wisdom, time is contemplated in two distinct aspects:

  • Historical time as being linear and consisting of the past, present and future
  • Sacred time as being circular and existing solely in the present moment

Science reveals that the physical forces of the universe which function to create our perception of time are all cyclical. The prevailing viewpoint of time, however, is that of a linear phenomenon where the future is fundamentally different from the past, a perspective that has biblical foundations and corresponds to the evolution of written language and the recording of history. But science confesses to having trouble with time because Einstein’s theories of relativity rendered over a century ago disproved the idea of time as a universal constant. Consequently, the common belief that time is a temporal occurrence is not absolute in the learned minds of those who study the physical world. (See Discover Magazine article ‘Time May Not Exist’ here).

Sacred TimeThe earth spins at about 1000 miles per hour creating a gravitational pull that curves or ‘warps’ space-time. And with the moon in its orbital tow, the earth rotates in concert with eight other planets around the celestial fireball in the center of our solar system. No “past” or “future” exists in this circular equation of cosmic force; only the here and now. Akin to the mathematical conundrum of measuring the circumference of a circle, for which no formula is precisely accurate, there is also no true measure of time. Perhaps the most palatable theory comes from quantum physics and its contemplation of a constant increase in entropy—the continual expansion of the universe—which may be the origin of why we perceive time as always marching forward. (See Wired Magazine article ‘The Flow of Time’ here).

The Absolute Now

Timelines are man-made, visual constructs; they serve as a means of looking at what has gone before so that an ordering of the world might be conceived. Yet circles, like the divinity of creation itself, are infinite and therefore defy determinite resolution. Sacred time contemplates eternity as the absolute now. Practices such as mindfulness meditation expand consciousness in the present moment and enhance our ambient communion with a living, breathing, intelligent universe. Thus, when we embrace this subtle yet remarkable discipline and become present in the sacred time of our own lives, we are in-step with the entropic sentience of the cosmos . . . dancing circles around the sun.

©2015 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. and Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery


Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Cathexis 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. 

Finding The Psychic Science

  • Is it possible to actually read the thoughts of others, or somehow sense and influence the state of their mood or health?
  • Are there really such things as angels, spirit guides, or totems that speak to us or otherwise present themselves in our lives?
  • What about clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition and divination?

Certain answers to questions like these lie in the realm of quantum energy theory, which is gaining tremendous traction in the ever merging spheres of science and spirituality. The psychic phenomenon of psychokinesis is defined as the mind’s ability to influence matter, time, space, or energy by means unknown to current science. Interestingly, quantum physics shares this concept in its hypothesis of a universal energy field, also known as ‘unified field theory’ or ‘unity consciousness’, which contemplates reality as all life forces, all existence, interacting within a single, unified framework (see Huffington Post article Global Spirit: The Journey Toward Oneness here).

Organic Sentience

From a quantum physics perspective, psychic ability could be thought of as organic sentience in energy form—a sensory transmission of intelligence—an ambient communion beyond a linear time/space continuum. A primary example of this kind of communication occurs in nature, where very distinct and sensuous forms of ‘language’ exist to remind us that everything is alive, aware and interconnected. In these interactions with the natural world, receptivity manifests in all our senses as a joining of mind, body and spirit; at times we are even held spellbound, and can be moved to profound insights, heightened emotions and enlightened thoughts. Wisdom and deeper knowledge flash before us and we are often motivated to write down or otherwise record such inspirations.

Tree Of Life

The first prophecies were the word of an oak. ~Plato

The human organism is especially attuned to organic sentience. Eyes, skin, tongue, ears and nostrils are sensory gateways for negotiating the living world. We hear winged chatter in the trees, taste the tangy sweetness of wild-picked berries, feel sand between our toes, see lightning flash in the sky, and smell moisture in the air. Indeed, the wind, the rain, the mountains and rivers, the woodlands and meadows and all their inhabitants animate our psyche. Even in a highly mechanized and information-driven world, these communications call upon our elemental relationship with nature and stir deep empathic responses, luring us into altered states of perceptual possibility.

The Mind’s Eye

Unified field theory considers the electromagnetic field of vibratory energy as a structural matrix that exists everywhere, an organic sentience from which all forces and particles emerge. This energy field is deemed conscious or intelligent because it encompasses the basic behavior of all things within the functioning laws of nature. We individualize perception through our own mind processes, yet consciousness itself is the quantum stuff of the universe and represents the interconnection of all of life.

Therefore, as a manifestation of consciousness, we must deliberate psychic ability as involving the innate interaction between the body’s natural electromagnetic fields and the electromagnetic field of vibratory energy. Since the heart generates and distributes electromagnetic waves throughout the bloodstream, which includes the pineal gland in the brain, let’s take a closer look at the role of this fascinating organ.

Pineal GlandAs part of the endocrine system, the pineal gland is located between the two hemispheres of the brain and has many unique aspects and functions, including:

  • Detection of light (the pineal gland is directly wired to the brain’s visual cortex)
  • Allowing more blood flow than any other gland in the body
  • Regulation of circadian rhythms which affect our sleep/wake cycles
  • Production of melatonin and serotonin hallucinogens that influence mood and perception
  • Sensitivity to all types of magnetic fields

Historically considered ‘the mind’s-eye’ and linked to the sixth in the series of seven energy and spiritual chakras of the body (also known as the third-eye chakra), this tiny pinecone shaped organ is steeped in ancient spiritual symbolism and iconography. The interior lining of the pineal gland is composed of rods and cones—photoreceptors just like the eye—and is the only organ besides the eye that senses light. With the vast amount of blood and electromagnetic energy that flow through it, the pineal gland appears to modulate consciousness, catalyzing imagination, visualization and creativity to transform our perceptions into images, the language of the subconscious mind.

A significant body of neurochemical and anthropological evidence suggests that the pineal gland may produce a neuromodulator that enhances a state of consciousness conducive to psychic ability. This research further indicates the earth’s magnetic fields affect the functioning of the pineal gland, and that production and secretion of melatonin and endogenous serotonin hallucinogens impacted by variations in the earth’s magnetic fields could be conducive to the occurrence of psychic states of consciousness. The implications of this research are far-reaching and suggest the pineal gland functions as a neuromechanism by which psychic ability may interrelate with geomagnetic fluctuation. (See publication by Psi Research Centre, ‘Speculations On The Effect of Geomagnetism On The Pineal Gland’ here.)

Trance States

A discourse on physic ability or clairvoyance, even in the context of quantum physics theory, inevitably invokes images of fraudulent practitioners presenting themselves as psychic mediums. Thus, a certain degree of skepticism is warranted. An analysis of the considerable research conducted on the practice of shamanism, however, demonstrates that trance states have a functional relationship with healing procedures, divination, extrasensory perception and psychokinesis.

By virtue of its ancient roots in cultures across the globe, shamanism is distinguished from other magico-religious practices such as mediumship, spiritual healing, or prophesying. It derives from hunting and gathering societies and incorporates biologically based altered states of consciousness, including interacting with the spirit realm and channeling those energies into this world. Shamanism appears to predate all organized religions and has attracted the interest of anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, religious scholars and psychologists, who have produced and published books, academic papers and peer-reviewed journals devoted to its study and interpretation.

Trance States

The relationship of trance states to divination and healing ability has been demonstrated in a large body of research on shamanism published by the American Anthropological Association

A wide range of experimental laboratory research on shamanistic practices suggests an operative connection between trance states and healing and divination abilities. These trance states are dominated by slow wave patterns of discharge from parts of the brain including the limbic system, frontal cortex, and hippocampal area, which are optimal for energy, orienting, learning, memory, and attention. A review of eighty-seven parapsychological laboratory studies indicates that trance states such as meditation and hypnosis induced relaxation, and sensory deprivation significantly improved extrasensory perception and psychokinetic performance.

The use of trance states functionally circumvents normal cognitive processes to access subconscious information, which may be revealed in dreams, visions, or other intuitive or instinctive manifestations of cognition. Even if extrasensory perception is not involved, trance states may still facilitate divination by providing access to subconscious insight. These studies also demonstrate that humans have the ability to affect and heal a variety of biological systems through psychokinesis.

It has been demonstrated that a common physiology underlies altered states of consciousness induced by a variety of different procedures. Meditation disciplines value trance states as providing the basis for a more objective perception of reality. Yoga traditions indicate that siddhis (paranormal powers) including healing and other psychic abilities, are a by-product of spiritual development which involve direct and profound alterations of consciousness. A large body of research exists suggesting that trance state healing and well-being practices are psychobiologically based. The empirical evidence includes the universal nature of such practices, the psychobiological characteristics of trance states, and the functional relationships and association of trance with the abilities of healing and divination. (See ‘Shamans and Other Magico-Religious Healers: A Cross-Cultural Study of Their Origins,’ published on behalf of the American Anthropological Association [PDF], here).

Conclusion

Unity Consciousness

The Universe Is Alive, Aware & Interconnected

The cosmos itself is a conscious entity populated with other conscious entities, each of which is a quantum hologram, an enigmatic representation of the whole. Consciousness flows naturally from all living beings and shapes the electromagnetic field of light and vibratory energy that connects every organism in the universe. Our ability to ‘channel’ and direct this conscious energy stream is determined by our individual congruency of mind, body and spirit. Many variables effect this equation, including some that elude our comprehension; yet ultimately, everyone shares in an ethereal matrix of awareness which can manifest in transcendent forms such as intuition, instinct, extrasensory perception, and empathic or psychic ability. In ways as unique as the fractal geometry of a snowflake, each of us channels the infinitely mysterious sanctity of creation, this shared life force known as consciousness, in vast and varied ways that defy absolute definition and understanding.

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

~T.S. Elliot

Shawn picture-52

Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht.

Note: This exploration of psychic ability and unity consciousness is by no means comprehensive and is intended only as an introduction to the power of human potential. Ours is not a world of absolutes and the science of cognition, in particular, is still more about what is being discovered than what is actually known. Developing the ability to recognize and fully trust our powers of perception, to realize deeper wisdom and enlightenment, to experience profound insight and fulfill our journey of purpose, are ultimately endeavors of spiritual self-discovery. Unity consciousness involves opening up to the sacred bond of creation and inviting divinity in its many forms—these are functions of inclusion rather than exclusion, of being liberated from constrained convictions, of embracing infinite possibility rather than limited proof—and of connecting instead of dividing, both within ourselves and to the living universe.

©2015 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. and Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery

 

 

Mastering Mindfulness: A New Horizon In Coaching

Mindfulness Coaching

Mastering Mindfulness is an innovative and transformative coaching modality that cultivates emotional intelligence. The skills of presence, empathy, critical attending and reframing, and positive affirmation accelerate success by enhancing the inherent bounty of human connection.

Perhaps you have noticed how more people, especially those who have achieved a degree of the particular success they desire, have used a coach somewhere along the way. For many, a coaching relationship serves as the catalyst for achieving the growth and self-actualization they desire. A skilled coach can help you acquire greater objectivity and learn to view yourself and others in a more liberating light, free of judgment or criticism. In essence, you work on realizing how to expand not just your own self-image, but your vision of life’s infinite possibilities—to let go of limitations imposed by old attitudes and beliefs you may hold about yourself and the world, and to embrace a more profound sense of your unique value and worth within the broader context of human potential.

“Everybody needs a coach . . . every famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody who’s a coach . . . someone who can help them see themselves as others see them.”  ~ Eric Schmidt, Former Google CEO

Because coaching is an unregulated industry, many choose credentialed professionals as coaches. Athletes, sports teams, performers and professional speakers, among others, routinely employ clinical hypnotherapists to serve in this capacity. Trance state techniques such as hypnotherapy, therapeutic imagery and mindfulness meditation have proven track records as powerful mediums for motivation, focus, concentration, and for consistently producing reliable and measurable results.

Mastering Mindfulness®

Mastering Mindfulness® is a transformative coaching modality used in the meditation and mindfulness training for corporate leadership and workplace culture designed and facilitated by Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery. A combination of hypnotherapy, mindfulness meditation and therapeutic imagery—each applied to the individual landscape of your life—facilitates a keener focus and conviction for attracting a purposeful existence, one that vibrates with a deep and directed intention about the particular type of success you desire.

The disciplines, practices and interactive techniques of Mastering Mindfulness® teach you to pay deliberate attention to the current moment, without attachment to outcomes predicated upon past experiences or expectations for the future, so that you become more present in your own life. Negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors that serve as obstacles to achieving your goals are diffused, and you acclimate to a new mindset of positive insights and empowering realizations that reaffirm your motivation, commitment and resilience. You acquire new linguistic skills and tools that support a mindful framework for your personal and relational success, including:

  • The Cognitive Empathy Equation
  • Critical Attending & Reframing
  • The Art Of Positive Affirmation

By developing a better understanding of your own actions and feelings—and the motivational influences that undergird them—as well as an awareness of how those actions and feelings affect both you and the people around you, the connective and transcendent force of emotional intelligence begins to resonate in your life. And as you master the practice of mindfulness, your emotional intelligence develops into an enlightened and inspired consciousness. Your ability to perceive the behaviors, motivations and emotional states of yourself and others, and to positively negotiate conflicted interactions by acting rather than reacting, blossoms into a remarkable symmetry of poise, focus and self-possession.

Four Ways Mastering Mindfulness® Can Help You

1. Happiness & Fulfillment: It is not uncommon to feel at times that life has lost some excitement and hope; perhaps your routines and daily demands have left you in an emotional rut, or important relationships are presenting difficult challenges, or you have recently lost a loved one. Indeed, these are a few of the myriad reasons one might come to believe the luster and verve for living—the awe and enthusiasm and wonder—have somehow become elusive and fleeting. Just the act of finding a coach can shift this perspective and renew the conviction to seek a deeper meaning and purpose to your most trying experiences. A structured, one-on-one coaching relationship serves as a catalyst to understanding how the conscious energy of positive thoughts and self-dialogue, the honing of your emotional intelligence, forges the motivation and inspiration to overcome hardships and restore your faith and confidence in the ability to synergize the world around you in new and imaginative ways.

2. Love Relationships: Are you looking to solve problems you are experiencing with your significant other? Are you trying to attract a special partner or soul mate? Are you attempting to discover why you seem to draw a specific ‘type’ of person? Or are you perhaps trying to figure out why your romantic relationships follow certain patterns? A coach can lend invaluable insight into how self-perception, moods, disposition, and expectations affect your love life, both in the kind of people you attract and in the affection and gratification you manifest. Intimacy is a measure of self-awareness, and fostering the trust of another person in such a way that both continue to grow is the key in successful love relationships. An experienced coach can be critical in achieving the objectivity necessary for this kind of success and fulfillment.

3. Career Success: How might you actualize a career goal, such as changing professions or starting your own business, despite circumstances and practical demands that stand in your way? Maybe you are wondering if it is possible to find greater satisfaction and attract more success in your current profession? Or perhaps you just haven’t figured out the best way to combine your talents, desires, and resources into a rewarding occupational pursuit. These are some common questions you might ask when searching for direction or considering making changes in your vocational life. And quite often, it is at these critical junctures that limiting attitudes, beliefs, and self-defeating behaviors arise, perhaps preventing you from envisioning and enacting the steps necessary to realize your true potential. A coaching relationship is about challenging doubts and fears by bringing them out into the light, where they can no longer cast shadows on your ability to see and attract the infinite pathways of possibility. Mastering Mindfulness® instills the thought processes, habit behaviors, and motivation to sustain focus and direct consciousness toward fulfillment of your goal.

4. Body Image/Healthy Lifestyle: Many who struggle with weight problems have difficulty with diet and exercise; indeed, poor dietary choices and eating habits often seem to fulfill unhealthy needs, and exercise represents acknowledging this fact. Mastering Mindfulness® places emphasis on personal integrity and healthy body image, which includes acquiring a better understanding of how practicing mindfulness changes our biology in positive ways, and acceptance that regardless of individual circumstances, the equations for fitness and healthy living are similar for everyone. The accountability and encouragement involved in a coaching relationship, along with shifts in perspective brought about by trance state disciplines such as hypnosis and meditation, quickly result in a new ease of lifestyle choices that are restorative and affirming. The idea of ‘dieting’ gives way to a welcome regimen of daily nutrition and physical activity that is invigorating and stimulating, imparting renewed energy and drive for living life to its fullest.

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“The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind.”  ~Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 What Is Your Takeaway?

Many people experience a nagging feeling of not living up to their true potential, a sense of failing to answer a deeper and more meaningful calling in their lives, even though on the surface things may appear to be fine. Mastering Mindfulness® is a coaching modality aimed at overcoming reactive and self-sabotaging behaviors that are rooted in fear, and at developing and trusting your inner voice—the part of you which intuitively understands the connective and enriching qualities of compassion and empathy. You learn to be present in the present by separating unhealthy emotional attachments and by utilizing the executive function required to plan and accomplish the success you desire. Hypnotherapy, mindfulness meditation, and therapeutic imagery are proven and effective motivational tools that promote emotional intelligence, inviting you to discover your own creative ways of manifesting a more significant and gratifying life.

©2014 & 2016 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery 


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.