By Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D.
In my over 30 years working in the field as a psychologist, I have had the opportunity to work with people and institutions that I would characterize as having toxic relationship environments. It became clear to me that when we are able to be properly heart-centered, what we broadcast can help neutralize toxic interpersonal environments. For example, when we are feeling connected as an instrument of Unconditional Love, the quality of what our spiritual heart radiates can neutralize or calm down the reactions of people who were acting aggressively, enraged, panicked or escalating with overwhelming emotions. Using heart centered approaches, I have seen clients suffering from the severe effects of PTSD and unresolved trauma experience a major reduction in symptoms after just a handful of sessions.
But it was an incident that occurred when hearts and minds were not in alignment that inspired me to measure the impact of the Open Heart state.
While consulting at a rehabilitation facility a few years ago, I had a client who was a 55 year old resident with multiple sclerosis. He was only able to ambulate with an electric wheelchair. My client had unresolved anger that would sometimes escalate severely, especially if he felt staff was looking down on him. Whenever I was called to intervene, I was able to de-escalate the situation using a heart-centered approach, and the client was able to relax and joke with me. One day this man got into a confrontation with a nurse in the hallway outside his room. She took an authoritarian stance and demanded that he return to his room. He became triggered and said “’F’ you.” She insisted he go back to his room or else she would call the police. The police came to the facility and also demanded he go back to his room. By the time this occurred, his anger was severely triggered, and he said “’F’ you” to the police as well. This man – who was in his wheelchair – was tased with an electric stun gun and forcibly removed from the facility.
I was shocked when I received this news because I felt that this did not have to happen. I felt that if this man had been approached from a heart-centered position, the situation could have been peacefully defused.
I spoke to some fellow Board Members at Heart Based Institute about what happened. I suggested we find a way to design a research study that might be able to demonstrate that being in a heart-centered state can defuse a toxic environment. In the field of psychology and other social sciences, research is generally considered to be “soft science” because it consists of subjective rating scales, self-reports, and observations which can be easily influenced by human bias and expectations of the subjects as well as the researchers.
One of our Board Members happened to be a research scientist at a well-known institution and had a contact at a cancer laboratory at a University’s School of Medicine. She made an introduction to the scientist and suggested we meet.
The scientists were skeptical but willing to collaborate with us to design a study to measure the impact of the Open Heart state. An experiment was set up to determine if two different types of aggressive prostate cancer cells in petri dishes could be influenced when exposed to individuals experiencing the Open Heart state by enjoying True Source of Love Meditation (formulated by Irmansyah Effendi) for 15 minutes while seated approximately two feet away from the cell cultures. There was no channeling of energy, or intention for the cancer cells to change. The meditators simply enjoyed their spiritual hearts, effortlessly melting into the boundless Unconditional Love through their connection to True Source, the Source of Love and the Creator of our true self. The control group consisted of two volunteers seated the same distance away from the same type of cancer cell lines. They simply sat in front of the petri dishes for 15 minutes.
It is important to note that the scientists had no experience with True Source of Love meditation, or any heart based practice. The cancer cells from both the control group and the experimental group were placed in an incubator for 48 hours. After incubation, the scientists analyzed the cell samples to measure the cell migration or “spread” of the cancer cells. In short, they were amazed by what they observed. Just 15 minutes spent in the presence of the meditators’ Open Heart state resulted in a 40% decrease in the spread of the cancers cells when compared to the control group.
We continued collaborating with this research team for over three years, repeating the experiments on four separate occasions. In each of the experiments, the 15-minute True Source of Love Meditation reduced the spread of cancer in the petri dishes between 35 and 44% compared to the control.
The researchers continued to be amazed by the results but wanted to understand the molecular mechanism behind the reduction. They performed a microarray analysis on the DNA of the cancer cells and in doing so determined that in addition to a dramatic reduction in the spread of cancer, the Open Heart state also resulted in an epigenetic change within the two different types of aggressive prostate cancer cells. The name of the gene that was activated is called TIMP2, which has been shown to have anti-tumor and anti-ageing effects in other studies. It is primarily found expressed in umbilical cord blood.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that shows a “mind-body”, or complimentary, intervention could not only dramatically reduce in vitro cancer cell migration, but also create an epigenetic change involving TIMP2 in the process.
Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide and it is estimated that approximately 40% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Further study could support how the Open Heart state might be used to complement traditional drug therapies.
For us, what was so inspiring about this study was the power of Love. How incredibly profound it is that the Unconditional Love of True Source through the Open Heart state experienced when doing this meditation created an epigenetic change in cancer cells by activating the TIMP2 gene that is only highly activated in umbilical cord blood!
For myself, it is clear that our heart-centered state of being through our spiritual heart’s connection to True Source, the Source of Love, and the Creator of our true self, can influence and defuse toxic environments, whether that be interpersonal environments or the biology of cancer cells.
We were so grateful for the chance to participate in this research study and to be able to share the results with you.
We invite you to read more about our cancer study here and would welcome the opportunity to collaborate on further studies.