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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.

Cynicism: When Fear Has Become Hubris

Cynicism & Skepticism

Those who identify themselves as ‘cynics’ and ‘skeptics’ commonly affect an aloof intellectualism and take pride in their cleverness and humor. Yet such posturing often serves as denial of an underlying fearfulness, especially of those enigmatic aspects of reality that defy logical explanation.

Skepticism is the application of reason and critical thinking to determine validity; it is the process of finding a supported conclusion. Cynicism is the awareness that people can be deceptive, untrustworthy and motivated purely by self-interest. Being both open-minded and critical when evaluating information, and adequately scrutinizing the qualifications and character of the individuals who present it to us, are healthy and useful applications of skepticism and cynicism.

Yet all too often there is an attitude of hostility attached to the skeptical viewpoint, a presumption of the worst in people and an unwillingness to consider ideas and concepts that defy convention or transcend the tried and true. There is also an element of insecurity familiar to the cynic, an anxious and easily threatened disposition that is quick to judge and hides behind highbrow comments and polarizing witticisms. And sadly, a certain amount of pride and self-satisfaction are common to this derisive and emotionally detached demeanor.

Fear Is The Elephant In The Room

Our training programs at Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery include teaching both private and corporate clients mindfulness and emotional intelligence through the incorporation of trance states such as meditation, hypnosis and therapeutic imagery. Thousands of studies conducted by hundreds of independent researchers have demonstrated the benefits of meditation and hypnosis 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. (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 evidence is overwhelming and, in fact, mindfulness meditation is being widely used in business to facilitate healthy and productive environments and positive workplace culture. Elephant In The RoomNonetheless, there are still many skeptics who assign a degree of “woo woo” to the practice of trance state healing techniques and the idea of mind over matter, or expansion of consciousness beyond mere thought. This speaks to fear; specifically, fear of loss of control in individuals who prefer the left-brained functionality and structure of analyzing and processing information. Yet this kind of cynicism also represents a quagmire of unbelief that exists in the world of human potential, a dismissive sentiment which undermines the value of holistic health practices and the spiritual aspects of self-actualization.

“Proof” is the vernacular of the cynic. Science speaks in terms of “evidence.” And the materialist view of reality—the assumption that the physical processes of the universe exist beyond subjective perception—has not been substantiated 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.

The core of emotional intelligence is understanding love and fear as the fundamental elements of human motivation. Love connects and fear divides. Pessimism, sarcasm and skepticism are rooted in fear because they ultimately express limitation and separation. And cynicism—the unhealthy compensation for fear that manifests as haughty and disparaging points of view—represents a cowardice of compassion, curiosity and unity.

Expanded Consciousness

Ours is not a world of absolutes. 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.

Expanded consciousness involves opening up to the sacred bond of creation and inviting divinity in its many enigmatic 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.

©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 orcontact 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.

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.