Dr. Ed Rubenstein Answers the Most Common FAQs on Experiencing Our Heart and Shifting into Positive Feeling

By Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D., HBI’s Director of Education

From the perspective of personal or spiritual growth, what is the most important skill for us to learn?

In my role as a psychologist, if you ask me what the most important skill to learn is for having a happy, productive and fulfilled life, it would be how to shift into positive feeling easily and effortlessly at any time.  If you can do this, you can have a very successful and fulfilled life. If someone doesn’t know how to easily shift into positive feeling then life may seem like more of a struggle than it needs to be, as if certain aspects are just being lived in survival mode.  Life will not have an ongoing quality of peacefulness, calmness and joy, but instead, will likely be filled with an ongoing list of problems and burdens that seemingly keep surfacing day after day.    

What is the key to learning to shift into positive feelings easily and effortlessly?

Our spiritual heart is the doorway through which we can easily and effortlessly learn to shift into positive feelings in each moment.  Our spiritual heart is the key because it is the center of true heart feelings such as peace, calm, gratitude, expansiveness, joy, and love.  These true heart feelings are the natural expressions of our heart, and this is very different than the emotional expressions we create when our mind is dominant.  Our heart is also special because it is the key to fulfilling our innermost longing to feel safe and unconditionally loved.  It is through the doorway of our heart that we can experience being loved unconditionally by True Source, our Creator, the Source of Unconditional Love and the Source of our true self.  The reason is that our spiritual heart is the key connection for accepting the Blessings and Love of True Source.

How do we know our spiritual heart is real? 

People don’t question that they have a mind, but yet you can’t find the mind under an MRI. When we make a mistake or goof up on something, very often we convey this by bringing our hand to touch the side of or center of our forehead. Just as our mind and our thoughts are non-physical, we have a non-physical or spiritual heart. When we use the terminology, “opening our heart”, we know that our physical heart isn’t actually opening.  It is the field of our non-physical heart that opens.  As previously explained, our spiritual heart is the center of true heart feelings such as peace, calm, joy, and love.  Opening our non-physical heart is the key to experiencing that we are more than a boundary of skin and bones with an internal ego running the show. It is the key to rediscovering our deepest connection with True Source, the Source of who we really are.  

Opening our spiritual heart is the safest place to be and it is the key to awakening our genuine and authentic self and learning to be guided by our innate heart wisdom.  It allows us to experience profound gratefulness and fulfillment.  If you have any concerns about opening your heart, such as thinking it’s unsafe or too vulnerable, please read our 4-part series: Our Heart is the Safest Place to Be.

Is learning to shift into positive feelings on command all that’s needed to be happy and fulfilled?

Learning to shift into positive feelings is an important first step and it’s actually very easy to do. It is much easier than we might imagine, even for those who have struggled with trying to relax and calm their mind.  And learning to shift into positive feelings is only the beginning of the developmental process of living a heart-centered life. The bigger goal or the bigger picture is to actually learn how to be grounded in our spiritual heart’s connection with True Source, so we can live more and more naturally in the experience of our true heart feelings. Then being peaceful, calm, joyful, and grateful can become our predominant state of being and our new normal.  We no longer react or get triggered by people, events or circumstances like we did in the past.  So, in a way, it begins to feel that we are living in a different reality.  Through our heart’s connection, being unconditionally loved and cared for by our Source is not just a theory or belief—it becomes our lived experience.

We learn to feel peaceful and calm even in situations that we previously experienced as stressful while becoming more open to accepting the experience of being and feeling profoundly safe and unconditionally loved.  Our life can then be filled with gratitude, which we are able to express even for the smallest of things.

Do all forms of mediation lead us to a heart-centered life?

From personal experience, I can attest that for many years I thought I was heart-centered…but I was really mind dominant….thinking I was heart-centered.  I spent many years practicing meditation at the level of the mind.  In 2003, I met Irmansyah Effendi and came to realize that we can only experience the spiritual heart from the level of the spiritual heart.  Visualizing, using intent, reciting a mantra or belief and affirmations are mental functions.   Learning to be a witness or mindful of our thoughts is a state of awareness, but being the observer is not the same as the experience of being truly heart-centered.  I know this may be a challenging statement for those who practice other types of meditation that are more mind-based.   From my experience of diligently practicing meditation modalities beginning in 1975 when I lived in Nepal and India, it is clear to me that there is a difference between mindful awareness and the opening of our spiritual heart. 

1976 with Peace Corps Nepalese family
In 1976, Ed with the Peace Corps and a Nepalese family

Some people follow their emotions and confuse this as being the same as following their spiritual heart.  As our heart awakens and its true nature is revealed, it becomes obvious to us that this very, very different than following our emotions or being the witness of our mind.

From my experience, the opening of our spiritual heart is not something that happens through self-mastery or through the perfection of a mental process.  It happens through a direct relationship with the Unconditional Love of True Source.  And this can only occur through the doorway of our spiritual heart, not our mind.  It is based on allowing, accepting, feeling, and embracing our relationship with True Source, and it is not something we ever have to do, earn, or perfect.    

Can experiencing our heart really be that easy?

I know it may be hard for some to believe, but learning to experience our spiritual heart is not only natural but easy.  People from all walks of life including those who have dysfunctional or traumatic backgrounds can learn to enjoy their spiritual heart.  Within a very short period of time, many people who have had challenging lives are able to experience true heart feeling such as peace, calm, gratitude, and joy.  Even those who have tried many stress management or meditation techniques and found them to be limited or have hit a plateau in their practice and felt they were no longer progressing are able to feel how easy it is to experience the beauty of true heart feelings. An intimate relationship with whatever terminology you prefer for describing God becomes more and more tangible and enjoyable.  If you feel like experiencing a different meditation approach, you can check out Open Heart Meditation on YouTube which also provides an opportunity for the Unconditional Love of True Source to cleanse our limiting emotional patterns. You can also participate in a free one-hour 5 session zoom course, Open Heart for Everyone.  I trust that you will enjoy all of the profound benefits that await us from our spiritual heart’s connection to True Source.