Tag Archives: meditation

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.

Inner Conflict: The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm Of Inner Conflict

INNER CONFLICT

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

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

1.  Eye Of The Hurricane

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

2.  Infinite Force

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

3.  Event Horizon

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

THE PERFECT STORM

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

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


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

Healthy Body Image & The Inner Child

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Acknowledging and nurturing the inner child is critical to achieving a healthy body image. The framework of this relationship determines the degree to which our mind and body are connected . . . or disconnected.

Positive body image is more than merely how we see ourselves physically. It’s how we feel about our physical appearance. And more specifically, the ways in which liking our appearance differs from disliking our appearance, and how this translates to our relationship with ourselves and the world.

Genetic inheritance influences our bone structure, body size, shape, and weight. Consequently, we are all different. At the same time, the equation for weight and body mass is the same for everyone: the calories we intake each day versus the calories we burn. Yet if everyone ate the same and did the same amount of exercise for a whole year, we would not all look the same in the end. This has to do with body type and metabolic rate. And the fact is that liking one’s body, or disliking it, is not all about appearance. People of all shapes and sizes, even some with incredible physiques, suffer from negative body image.

The Silver Screen

The media is a powerful influencer in the body image scenario because it propagates cultural images and sells advertising space. Of course, this drives the movie and television industry, as well as industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, and yes . . . diet and exercise. In fact, weight loss and exercising products are particularly notorious for proliferating body image stereotypes.

Here are some relevant statistics:

  • More than 80% of Americans watch television an average of three hours each day
  • Children engage in increasing amounts of media use fueled by internet access through phones and laptops
  • Eight to eighteen year-olds are engaged with some form of media about seven and one-half hours per day

Even animated cartoons and children’s videos commonly emphasize the importance of being physically attractive. It is also relative to note that although sexually objectified images of females in advertising are most likely to appear in men’s magazines, the second most common source of such images are advertisements in teen magazines directed at adolescent girls. The sexual objectification of men— which is less frowned upon socially and receives far less negative attention, but is nonetheless impactful on influencing body image—is also popular in advertising and media portrayal.

While this is merely the tip of the iceberg, what we know is that body image is primarily formed during our upbringing and is heavily influenced by media. Of course, there are other factors that affect body image which can occur at any time in life, such as sexual harassment or assault, bullying or body shaming, and any of the many forms of discrimination that occur based on appearance. But what does that really mean on a deeper level? How do body image and the focus on being attractive effect our perception of ourselves and our individual reality?

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Body Image Mirror Mirror

Physical beauty is a powerful and influential imagery paradigm in our media-driven culture, one in which hearts, minds and dollars are deeply invested.

The concept of physical beauty is core to body image, yet it is a perception that can be false or ambiguous. Indeed, physical beauty is a highly subjective, cultural, equivocal, ever-changing, and historically trend-influenced phenomenon. Enhancement of physical beauty can be purchased in many forms. Physical beauty can be marketed, packaged and sold in dizzying numbers of ways. Physical beauty can be a mask and it can be masked. Physical beauty—vague, mercurial and moody—is even more difficult to define than love.

We abide externalized standards for physical beauty despite a deeper wisdom of diversity and empathy that considers it shallow and superficial, something which only goes ‘skin-deep.’ Some innate part of us knows physical beauty is only so relevant in the greater scheme of things; we understand that it is not the same as physical attraction, yet we still allow it to affect our perceptions of ourselves and others. Thus, if our life experiences, whether based on genetics, lifestyle choices, past traumas or a combination thereof, have led to negative body image based upon this volatile concept of physical beauty—if our self-esteem suffers because we have ‘bought-in’ to the idea that we do not meet socially accepted standards of physical beauty that serve as a prerequisite to love and acceptance—we are harboring false or ambiguous perceptions of ourselves which need to be reconciled.

What Love Has To Do With It

Negative body image is a manifestation of fear—fear that we will not receive the love and acceptance we need—fear that we are unworthy of love because of how we look. This fear reaction occurs on a primal, instinctive level which, in psychological terms, is commonly referred to as a trauma of the inner child. Negative body image underlies addictions, eating disorders and other self-destructive habits, and is rooted in a subconscious disconnection of the mind and body.

Thought processes, behavior patterns and lifestyle choices can emerge that reinforce this negative body image. These often include poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, and a general disregard of accepted wisdom on achieving and maintaining good health. Choosing to be unconcerned about such things is a manifestation of the mind/body disconnect.

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Denial of troubled emotions empowers the inner child to take possession of our personality at times, to hijack our ‘adult’ decision making process.

A common way we compensate for this underlying fear of being unlovable is with food. Eating can be thought of as self-love because it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain—it makes us feel good­—yet this can become a deceptive form of self-abuse and inner conflict, as we realize on a deeper level that that we are mistreating ourselves. Physical activity, particularly exercising, can serve as an uncomfortable reminder of this dysfunction; in order to appease this inner conflict, many adopt attitudes such as: “I don’t like my body anyway, so I don’t really care.”

Suffering from negative body image means we exist in a stasis of emotional apprehension and apathy; that we have adapted and become comfortable with a way of life which may include unhealthy lifestyle choices impelled by a subconscious fear of being unloved. In order to move ahead, we must begin utilizing deliberate acts of self-discovery, such as mindfulness training and practice, to recognize and alter these psychological, physiological and behavioral dynamics. Perhaps the most critical element in this process is learning to acknowledge and nurture a conscious relationship with our inner child.

The Inner Child

The concept of the inner child is traceable to Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and more recently, Eric Berne, among others. It is a basic principle used in therapeutic applications and 12 step recovery approaches. The idea of the inner child is well-known and accepted in popular psychology because it makes sense; it resonates with people. The concept commonly arises in the context of healing the psyche—of the inner child being wounded, stifled or otherwise emotionally compromised. Yet whether or not injury to the psyche has actually occurred and to what degree, there are many fundamental and holistic reasons to embrace our innate, childlike nature.

“A torn jacket is soon mended, but hard words bruise the heart of a child.”      ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Even if one is raised in the ‘best of families’ under the most ‘normal’ of circumstances, it is possible for a parent to have a challenged moment and say something like: “You’ll never amount to anything.” After all, parents are human and far from infallible. Yet statements like this, which undermine a child’s conviction that the parent loves and believes in them, can cause developmental setbacks that carry into adulthood. It is also common for parents to have expectations of children that either go unfulfilled or to which children grudgingly conform; this erodes self-esteem and creates the feeling of wanting to ‘leave childhood behind.’

Children in dysfunctional, impoverished, or circumstantially challenged families often take on adult roles such as cooking and cleaning instead of playing with friends. They may care for siblings or ill parents instead of having free time to simply be a kid. And sometimes, in more dire situations, a child may become hyper-vigilant to the emotional state of their parents or other adults in the household in order to protect themselves or siblings from neglect or abuse.

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In attempting to leave our child-like self behind, we become emotionally attached to the past. We diminish spontaneity and the joy of cherishing each moment with awe and wonder.

The inner child is deeply affected by the sense of being unloved, or unlovable, or both; this perception can readily transfer to poor self-esteem and negative body image. Experiences such as bullying, physical abuse, psychological abuse, abandonment, and physical or sexual assault are the kinds of events that engender shame, guilt, rage and resentment, and can radically traumatize the inner child. Any experience of being physically or psychologically violated, even when it happens in adulthood, can create this trauma.

The mind/body disconnect occurs when we endeavor to avoid, deny, or set aside feelings associated with troubling events such as these. The inner child is the part of the psyche where emotion is experienced, so when we try to block out fear, anger, shame, rage, resentment, guilt, sorrow, and disappointment, we also inhibit feelings of joy, love, happiness, compassion, empathy, and contentment. As well, we create negative associations and emotional attachments to the past that define us as victims, which is an identity the inner child experiences as being left behind or exiled. By attempting to protect ourselves from unwanted reminders of our trauma, we project fear into new situations that confuses our perceptions and divides our attention between the past and present. This phenomenon is known as emotional looping and is a symptom of what psychology calls “arrested development.”

Broken Crayons

Love and fear are the primal elements of human motivation. Love is the connecting force upon which we thrive. Fear is the dividing force that protects us from threats. Owning shame based on negative body image catalyzes fear founded upon an inaccurately perceived threat, which polarizes our love energy and creates a disconnect within ourselves and with the world around us.

In whatever ways the events of our lives have shaped us, we can only accept our fate and embrace our misfortunes as opportunities. While we cannot forget the past, it is important to acknowledge that change occurs in the present. This is why mindfulness training and the practice of mindfulness meditation have been a successful medium of transformation for so many people. By developing the self-possession and connective consciousness to actually be present with what is happening in the moment, we leave behind knee-jerk, defensive reactions sourced in the past and experience the freedom to reclaim our child-like trust and wonder.

colorful artistic crayons

It is only natural for some of our crayons to get broken along the way; in fact, we sometimes break them ourselves. But that does not mean the days of coloring vibrant meaning and purpose into our lives are behind us. Even with an entire box of broken crayons, we are capable or recreating ourselves.

It is this life force and energy of love—love that diffuses fear and invites empathy and self-possession—which is the foundation upon which healthy body image and a positive inner child relationship resides. Here lies the motivation of physical activity, the preparation and partaking of nutritious food, the sacred acts of caring and nurturing, and the exuberant, child-like outlook that stimulates and invigorates us. Indeed, this loving connectivity is how we pick up the broken crayons of our lives and carefully put them back into their precious boxes. 

©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.

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. 

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. 

Managing Stress & Body Weight

Managing Stress

Manage Stress & Body Weight By Regulating Your Blood Sugar 

The Simple Truths Of Blood Sugar

How does the body react to stress? What are the impacts of diet and exercise on this process? Stress is a fact of everyday life for most people, so it is important to know how to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally in responding to stressful situations.

When it comes to weight, the crucial element is understanding how stress impacts blood sugar. Our natural stress response involves the release of hormones that elevate blood sugar (glucose), which is needed by our brain to respond to challenges. But when blood sugar levels rise too high, the body begins converting the excess glucose to fat. Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates also elevate blood sugar, compounding this process. Therefore, it is imperative that we be mindful of our sugar intake during times of stress.

“Whole, unprocessed, single item foods that don’t require labeling of ingredients are the healthiest choices.”

During stressful situations we commonly feel hungry, so make sure nutritious choices are available. Include foods rich in protein such as lean meats, nuts, and legumes, and those high in soluble fiber such as fruits and vegetables; limit sweets and processed foods containing simple carbohydrates and sugars. The American Heart Association recommends restricting refined sugars added to our diets to no more than half of our daily calorie allowance. For American women, this averages about 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and for men, about 9 teaspoons per day (See American Heart Association article ‘Sugar 101’ here).

Exercise & Mindfulness Meditation

Exercise regulates blood sugar by burning calories and providing a physical release for the stress hormones in the body. Even in small doses throughout the day, physical activity counteracts the effects of elevated glucose levels and stimulates our brain chemistry to make us feel better. So remember to move around; avoid sitting for more than two hours at a time. And along with incorporating a regular exercise regimen to help achieve a healthy weight, invite activities into each day such as standing to perform certain tasks, walking whenever possible, and using the stairs instead of the elevator.

Mindfulness MeditationFinally, keep in mind that caffeine also elevates blood sugar and excess amounts actually make us feel more stressed. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent alternative as it boosts our energy in the best ways possible—calming anxious reactions that raise glucose levels, sharpening focus and concentration, and improving our mental and emotional outlook—giving us a positive and powerful coping tool for managing stress and maintaining a healthy body weight.

These links will help you learn more about stress management, healthy diet and body image,and wellness.

©2014 by Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & 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.

 

Right & Left Brain Balance

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Brain lateralization refers to the functional specialization of the two cerebral hemispheres. The left hemisphere of most adults is more active than the right during language production, while the reverse pattern has been observed during tasks involving visuospatial abilities. These findings are among the most replicated in neuropsychological research studies.

Brain Lateralization

In psychology, the theory of right and left brain function is known as ‘brain lateralization.’ The concept evolved from the work of neuropsychologist Roger W. Sperry, who won the 1981 Nobel Peace Prize for research indicating that each side of the brain controls different types of thinking.

Continuing research on brainwave activity and cognition has contributed to our growing understanding of the phenomenon. Studies now suggest that language, originally thought to be a left hemisphere function, is a split brain operation; tone and voice patterns are recognized in the right brain, while word meaning and order are processed in the left brain. Infants demonstrate considerably more activity in the right hemisphere than in the left when they begin communicating orally, which is instinctively understood by parents who use melodic cues and voice inflections, or ‘baby talk,’ with their children. Research further indicates that deviance in the childhood development of this right and left brain linguistic hierarchy may relate to Autism Spectrum Disorders (see Scientific Learning article here).

Scientists have also found that the left hemisphere shows a preference for interacting more exclusively within itself, especially in the regions of the brain linked to language and fine motor control. Conversely, in the right hemisphere, brain regions linked to attention span, spatial processing, and visualization interacted in a more integrative fashion with both hemispheres (see National Academy of Sciences article here).

Suggestibility: Right & Left Brain Thinking

29675543_sIn this context, the term suggestibility is associated with induction of the hypnotic state. Suggestibility is the way we learn, perceive, and assign meaning to information, and is determined by gauging whether one prefers right or left brained thinking. Dr. John Kappas, PhD, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, revolutionized hypnosis by pioneering his theory of the three types of suggestibility:

  • Physical Suggestibility: Characterized by responsiveness to literal suggestions influencing physical responses over emotions. The physical suggestible learns literally and is considered to be right brain lateralized.
  • Emotional Suggestibility: Characterized by responsiveness to inferred suggestions that influence emotions over physical responses. The emotional suggestible learns by inference and is considered to be left brain lateralized.
  • Intellectual Suggestibility: A sub-category of emotional suggestibility characterized by fear of being controlled by the hypnotist, as well as by analysis, rejection, and rationalization of suggestions. Intellectual suggestible subjects are considered to be severely left brain lateralized (80% or higher) and must be maneuvered into hypnotizing themselves.

According to this theory, predisposition to right or left brain thinking occurs in the formative years of upbringing in response to fulfillment of fundamental needs, and is influenced by an individual’s relationship with their primary caregiver. Dr. Kappas developed a comprehensive system of questions, instructions, and observations for equivocating the approximate degree of physical or emotional suggestibility in subjects as part of the hypnotic induction process. When used properly, this approach induces hypnosis in virtually anyone.

Synchronization Of Hemispheres

The physiology of brain lateralization occurs through an intricate network of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum, which connects the brain cells in the right and left hemispheres and acts as a bridge of communication. A unique characteristic of this ‘neurological crossover’ is that the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body, and the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. This also means that left body sensory data is processed in the right brain, and right body sensory data is processed in the left brain.

13322375_sAccordingly, during hypnosis a person’s suggestibility can be altered by use of right or left body ideomotor responses; common examples are fingers, hands, or arms raised in response to suggestive questions. The brain hemispheres are thus stimulated to share perception of a problem in a more balanced way, changing the mental processes and emotional reactions. For instance, a physical suggestible who is having difficulty getting over the passing of a loved one encounters the challenge from a right brained, emotive viewpoint. Ideomotor responses focused on the right side of the body lateralize their thinking process to the logical and analytical left brain. This hypnotic technique shifts the individual’s perspective from the literal pain of grieving to the inference of accepting the loss.

While ideomotor desensitization in hypnotherapy can alter suggestibility to particular problems, we revert to our familiar literal or inferred thinking in everyday life. On a long term basis, daily meditation and self-hypnosis, which engage integrative right hemisphere brainwave activity, have proven highly effective in achieving hemispheric synchronicity, particularly for individuals prone to left brain thinking and for right brain thinkers whose daily lives demand a left brained presence.

©2013 Shawn Quinlivan, C.Ht. & Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery