By SHELDON BERMONT / Petaluma Towns Correspondent

Native New Yorker Charles Rubin had risen to the higher realms of the Madison Avenue ad/marketing game as an in-demand copywriter. What would cause him to shed his business suit, leave the rat race for a life of writing, channeling and numerology in suburbia?

Betty Bethards, an internationally known mystic, spiritual leader, meditation teacher and healer.

Rubin met her in 1988 at a Bethards lecture in San Jose, four years after leaving his wife and children in England. With his marriage on the rocks and his work search in a stall mode in 1984, he had accepted a “temporary” three-week copywriting assignment and never looked back.

He now operates the couple’s Inner Light Foundation out of a rambling home at the end of a Petaluma cul de sac and describes his work as a labor of love.

The foundation is the legacy of his late wife Betty, Bethards, an internationally known mystic, spiritual leader, meditation teacher and healer. Her bestselling “The Dream Book,” a glossary for dream images and interpretations, has sold more than 600,000 copies internationally.

Rubin became a regular participant at her lectures and when he had the chance to describe his dysfunctional transatlantic family situation, her instant reaction was, “Have you ever thought about divorce?”

Rubin now sees that cut-to-the-chase question as a pivotal moment in his life and the beginning of a symbiotic relationship that joined their lives. “I feel I was led to Betty and Betty was led to me,” he said.

In the 15 years they were together before her death in 2002, Rubin said it was only natural that he would absorb the teachings and methodologies she espoused. “Betty was an extraordinary person, a master, with no ego, amazing energy and a charisma that could ignite audiences up to 1,000 strong,” he said. After working together as a team, he has had to adjust to becoming “a solo act.”

Out of devotion to his late wife and respect for her body of work, Rubin continues to run the Inner Light Foundation, the spiritual education organization she set up to help people live full and satisfying lives by increasing their intuitive powers. He runs it according to Bethards’ original design and, according to the website copy, “All procedures are ‘Betty’ approved.”

Every Friday, Inner Light offers a two-hour session covering the principals in Bethards’ “Seven Steps to Discovering Your Intuitive Powers.” Clients work on releasing the past, facing their fears, creating and receiving prosperity, learning to know and love themselves, and building nurturing relationships. Many of Bethards’ theories are based on the premise that once we open the channels of communication between ourselves and the “Divine Source,” we can begin to strengthen our intuitive powers.

And since Berthards’ death, Rubin has begun to publish books. His first novel, “4-F Blues,” was published in 2002 and received a Pen Award. It told the story of a Hollywood gymnast/stuntman living and working in glamorous 1942 Hollywood. The military declares him 4-F (unfit for service) because of an imperceptible heart murmur, despite the fact that he’s using his athletic prowess daily to make a living.

“I love irony,” Rubin said about the plot line.

His next project had a different purpose. “Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You,” released in 2007, was a guide for parents of drug and alcohol-addicted children. He drew from his own experiences as a father, providing emotional and pragmatic release to parents dealing with offspring who had become substance abusers.

“When you have children that become drug or alcohol abusers, your view of parenthood is shattered,” Rubin said. “You find yourself involved in their lives to the point where you have given up your own. ‘Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You’ is a survival guide.”

He now publishes the couple’s books under the New Century Publishers imprint, which allows him to stay in Petaluma and continue the lifestyle he developed while married to Bethards.

Clients hire him as many as 12 times a week as a numerologist and a channel. Starting with nothing but the client’s name and birthdate to develop a blueprint of past, present and future life he is able to help them on their life journeys. He credits his wife with teaching him the process, saying, “It’s almost as if Betty is still shooting her energy through me, and many times I share my clients’ amazement at the results.”

As a licensed minister, Rubin also has performed more than 40 marriages, and as a musician, he plays piano in the Dave Brubeck style for his own enjoyment. And his painting of imaginary animals and beings were recently included in a two-week show of local artists’ work at The Petaluma Arts Association.

In case his resume seems not quite full enough, Rubin also tries to show up regularly at the Belrose Theater in San Rafael, where he brushes off angst-ridden, New York state-of-mind jokes as a stand-up comedian.

With a worry-free smile, Rubin said, “I’m just fortunate in that I now have the time to pursue what interests me.”

More information about The Inner Light Foundation and books by Charles Rubin and Betty Bethards can be found at innerlight.org.