Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What are the most important differences between BHI and positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and empathy? 
Response: Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that emphasizes the virtues of reprogramming the brain toward positive thinking, which results in adaptive and resilient neuro-pathways. Shawn Anchor in an important book The Happiness Advantage extols the wide range of benefits that accrue neurologically and experientially from a realized state of happiness. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Empathy is a state of feeling and sharing other people’s emotions and is frequently associated with acts of caring and altruism.
BHI combines and builds on the good work now being done in all three of these important areas but with these additional dimensions:
  1. BHI integrates within one (1) skill or core competency three separate bodies of practice: a. the cultivation specifically of the Heart as an open energy system*; the development of the Brain through a new and systematic roadmap to explore and to discover the interconnections among a wide ambit of fields and bodies of knowledge through “intertidal thinking,” resulting, it is hypothesized, in rapid neurological development; it couples the cultivation of these new skills and powers with their immediate and practical application in “paying forward” their benefits in order to reduce suffering and to increase the quotient of joy in the world. The integration of all Heart, Mind, and Hand in this way produces a uniquely powerful feedback loop.
  2. The development of BHI is supported by a New Architecture of Collaboration embodied in a Platform and Codex, guided by a Principle of Reciprocal Stewardship, which enables BHI to be learned and cultivated rapidly by large numbers of explorers, thus providing a means for communities and society as a whole to realize a “Big Heart Advantage”.
  3. BHI like positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and empathy is a core competency that together can upgrade the DNA of any organization. BHI is ideally suited to support experimentation and development of new forms of “hybrid organizations” that as Professor Julie Battilana of the Harvard Business School writes may be “an early step in a broad reformulation of the current economic order, which for all its successes has left many disenfranchised. Hybrid organizations offer a bold, sustainable infusion of humanitarian principles into modern capitalism.” For a detailed analysis contrasting BHI and positive psychology please see this in-depth Comparison of Positive Psychology & Big Heart.
“Open Energy System”—Most work in the exciting field of neuro-science has concentrated on the human brain, but leaving the heart as a silent and largely forgotten partner. But what if the “heart”—not so much your physical heart (which itself scientists are discovering has ~ 40,000+ neuro-receptors)-- but your “Big Heart” is actually an energy field to receive, transmit, connect, and transform two distinct forms of energy—called "qi" (in Chinese, “ki” in Japanese, prana in Sanskrit, and by many other names in traditional and indigenous societies throughout the world.) and love? What if you can verify this fundamental discovery for yourself in about 15 minutes of practice?