The Founding of Heart Based Institute Part 2

By Ed Rubenstein, PhD

I came to realize that our heart is the key – the doorway to our deepest fulfillment, longing and wisdom. While this felt clear to me, I was limited in my understanding of how to directly experience my spiritual heart. I was still using my mind as the key or source to experience my heart. I began teaching heart based meditation approaches to the best of my knowledge and experience. However, after working on a book about, “listening, following, and cultivating our inner heart”, I felt that I hit a dead end, and did not know how to bring my limited experience of heart to the next level.

In January 2003, I  experienced another, even more profound paradigm shift after meeting Irmansyah (“Irman”) Effendi, founder of Natural Way of Living. Irman helped me realize that using my mind to experience the core of my heart was a limited approach. I came to realize that our greatest strength is not how good we can get by perfecting our mind as the mind is embedded with trappings of the ego. Instead, I directly experienced how our heart’s connection to our Higher Power is our greatest strength and our greatest gift. According to a recent 2018 Pew Poll, 90% of Americans report they believe in some kind of higher power.

By learning to allow ourselves to be properly connected to our spiritual heart, our mind automatically becomes a trusted partner with our heart, and they work together in harmonious alignment. This has a transformative effect on the quality of our thoughts and responses.  Our perception of reality shifts when we are no longer experiencing life with a dominant mind directing our reactions. Instead, the mind becomes happy to be in partnership with the heart and willing to be led by our innate heart wisdom.  To clarify, the heart we are referring to is non-physical, just as the mind is non-physical as neither of them can be found on an MRI.

Open Heart Group
Earlier days with Irman, my wife Paramjit and son Arun


Working with people and professionals over the course of my career, it became clear to me that there is an innate longing in the core of our being to feel profoundly safe and unconditionally loved. If you pause to reflect on what I just shared, I believe a part of you will also feel that this rings true to your heart. I have not yet heard any people, workshop participants or colleagues say, “I don’t want to be unconditionally loved.” Yet, many people frequently engage in misdirected attempts to find “completion” ranging from materialism, promiscuity, overwhelming desire to be in control, poor relationship choices, or to an assortment of addictive behaviors.

Our heart is the key to fulfilling our innate longing because the core of our heart has a direct connection with the True Source of Unconditional Love, or the name one refers to as their Higher Power. As we learn to feel safe and allow our spiritual heart to open, our relationship with our Higher Power becomes more tangible, personal and heart-felt, rather than a relationship based on a belief or mental construct. This allows us to listen to and trust our heart intelligence, heal our deepest wounds, and transform our lives.   


Through my diverse work as part of interdisciplinary teams with management and human service professionals, it became evident that many people are suffering from burnout, compassion fatigue and lack of fulfillment and are having difficulty managing their stress and emotions because their heart and mind are not working together as a team. They are carrying the weight of many problems and burdens while experiencing life through the colored lenses of their mind. Their mind is running the show without guidance from the wisdom of their heart. 

Continually operating from this mind dominant state not only interferes with the quality of one’s personal life but also limits the positive effects professionals can have on the clients they are serving and those they are working with.


Heart Based Institute was created with the mission of supporting people to realize and experience that our heart is the key to our ultimate well-being and deepest fulfillment.

Human service providers who attend our trainings report that using Heart Based Therapeutics with people result in high levels of personal and professional benefit. In a post-training Kirkpatrick evaluation conducted by Vaya Health, participants reported significant levels of positive impact on client outcomes as well as experiencing increased positive feelings, greater resiliency, enhanced well-being and job/work satisfaction, improved interpersonal relationships, and decreased burnout.

Participants shared they had therapeutic breakthroughs that they had never had before. People who were previously unable to relax or successfully meditate using mind-based approaches were able to quiet their mind and enjoy deep peace, calm, joy, and gratitude. Others who had experienced severe past traumas were able to find peace, defuse triggers, learn to regulate their nervous system, and enjoy their heart’s connection with the Unconditional Love of their Higher Power. It is through this heart connection that deep healing took place and wounds related to un-forgiveness toward oneself or others, anger/rage, guilt, shame, unworthiness, feeling unlovable, and other self-limiting patterns were dissolved – and often achieved in a short period of time.


After years of teaching mind-based approaches to professionals and people from all walks of life, I found that teaching them a heart-based approach was much easier and far more effective. At first, this can be challenging for those who feel and prefer to remain in what I call a “top-heavy” state or functioning with a dominant mind. This was initially an obstacle for me personally because my mind-based practices kept me in a detached witnessing state. That said, when someone reaches a point when they are willing to let go of their top-heavy status, they often come to find a level of peace, calm, joy, and gratitude radiating from their heart that they had never experienced before.

Another obstacle human services and other professionals sometimes have is equating opening their heart with increasing their vulnerability to pain or suffering. They associate being open-hearted with increasing their risk of being hurt or experiencing burnout. However, after they come to understand that opening the spiritual heart is not the same as opening their emotions to a person, they feel safer. When they experience firsthand how the heart and mind can effortlessly come into alignment, they develop heart-based resiliency and the quality of their thoughts and responses are naturally transformed. They are thriving instead of striving, and don’t react to circumstances in the ways they did when the mind was overly dominant.


I am continually inspired by how natural and easy it is for people to learn to enjoy their heart and how enhanced feelings of gratitude can profoundly and directly enhance the quality of their lives and relationships on every level.

Heart Based Institute is committed to teaching human service and other professionals how to support and guide others to experience the healing benefits that occur when we learn to open our heart. People suffering from unresolved issues and trauma can find great relief. Painful emotional patterns that they may have been suffering with for many years can be dissolved. When people learn to open their heart’s connection to the True Source of Unconditional Love – their Higher Power – non-conducive patterns can be transformed in a short period of time. Their heart connection becomes their greatest resource. It is not a coincidence that throughout time, Love is referred to as the great healer.

I deeply feel that the time is here and now for more and more hearts to collectively open to the Source of Unconditional Love, transforming us both on a personal and global level.