Finding the Way: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Spiritual Connection
A psychologist’s journey to self-discovery
With over 33 years of experience as a Ph.D. psychologist, I’ve seen first-hand the transformative power of personal growth and spiritual development. Through my journey, I’ve learned that the path to self-discovery and fulfillment can be challenging, but if we open and ‘listen’ to our heart, it becomes much simpler yet much more rewarding. I’d like to share my story and offer hope to anyone who may be stuck and searching for a deeper sense of meaning.
I had a hard time growing up
Growing up in the 1950s, I faced numerous difficulties, including bullying, a strained relationship with my father, and low self-confidence. These challenges and feeling disconnected from my Jewish identity created a challenging childhood and a mindset of constantly needing to survive. Whatever I did, I never felt like I was good enough, even though I attempted to portray a cool image to disguise my pain and confusion.
After a near-death experience, I started my spiritual journey.
A car accident at the age of 20 was a pivotal moment in my life. I felt like I was catapulted out of my body, and I saw a review of everything I experienced in my life as if I was watching a video. This experience profoundly impacted me and shifted my perspective. I began to question: who am I, why am I here, why do I exist, and what is this life really about? These questions were the beginning of my journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth.
My journey brought me to Nepal, where I joined the Peace Corps and met a spiritual mentor who initiated me into a spiritual practice. I embraced a stringent vegetarian diet, engaged in regular fasting, and learned to meditate. These practices allowed me to gain mastery over my mind and purify my energy. However, later on, I realized that I had become excessively dependent on my spiritual master and exhibited cult-like behavior. This realization led me to re-evaluate my spiritual journey and strive for a more genuine spiritual connection.
I was still searching despite the distance I have traveled
Upon my return to the US, I got married and completed my PhD. I then dedicated myself to sharing mindfulness practices through mind-based methods in various community settings. I decided to cut ties with my spiritual master, recognizing the need to be in control of my own self-mastery and avoid relying on anyone else. This enabled me to develop further and establish my personal spiritual path.
I eventually came to the understanding that mindfulness and energy cultivation, although valuable, were not enough to bring me complete fulfillment.
My intuition told me that the spiritual heart was the key to what I was looking for.
In my quest for a deeper understanding of the heart, I met Irmansyah Effendi, the founder of Natural Way of Living. He taught me the importance of connecting with one’s heart, experiencing fulfilling spiritual enlightenment from my own heart, and enriching and deepening my spiritual journey even further.
From my own heart, I learned the beauty of trusting
All this time, I burdened myself trying to be perfect spiritually and didn’t realize how arrogant I became. I asked Irmansyah Effendi, “What is the best way to truly open our spiritual heart?”
“We are not capable of opening our spiritual heart. Only True Source* Love can open our heart.”
*I like how he refers to the Creator or God as True Source. True Source is the Source of Unconditional Love and the Source of our true self. I’ve been using this term ever since.
He went on to explain that perfection is not the goal and there’s no need to beat ourselves up. No matter how “good” we think we can get, our limitations can never be compared with True Source’s unlimited and unconditional Love for us. While this may sound like a shocking statement to hear, it was a phenomenally great gift for me to receive. I felt like I had waited my whole life to hear those words.
I didn’t have to continue pushing myself to strive for the unattainable. I just needed to let go and trust to experience unlimited and unconditional love from True Source. At that moment, every cell in my being sighed a breath of deep relief.
Opening my spiritual heart has transformed my life.
I have participated in various workshops organized by Natural Way of Living, where I have witnessed thousands of individuals from diverse backgrounds connect with their heart and True Source. By opening my spiritual heart and practicing Open Heart Meditation in my daily life, I could heal my emotional wounds, let go of burdens, stress and the past, and shift my outlook positively. I have learned to heed the wisdom of my heart rather than solely being driven by my own impulses, limited knowledge and emotions.
This could be your answer.
If you are interested in connecting with your heart and want to free yourself from stress, burdens and negative emotions, the Open Heart method of the Natural Way of Living may aid you in discovering the genuine source of happiness and fulfillment in your self-discovery journey.
Dr. Ed Rubenstein, PhD
A counseling psychologist with more than 40 years of experience integrating meditation into therapeutic approaches, founder of Heart Based Institute