Tag Archives: stress management

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