|INTERVIEW WITH DR. DAVID R. HAWKINS
By Susanne Spitzer
David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD, is an author, spiritual teacher and consciousness researcher whose trilogy, Power vs. Force, The Eye of the I and I: Reality and Subjectivity, has won wide acclaim and readership. His background includes 50 years work in psychiatry including the groundbreaking Orthomolecular Psychiatry with Linus Pauling. Attend a workshop with Dr. Hawkins this June at East West Books.
Susanne Spitzer: What discovery underlies your work on consciousness?
Dr. David Hawkins: People have struggled with the enigma of what truth is and how to verify it. We have discovered an actual science of truth, which is verifiable and internally consistent. Through specific research techniques, we can determine truth from falsehood.
SS: How does your work help transcend the usual right versus wrong statement of most arguments?
DH: The central block to enlightenment is the ego, and in the Western world, it's really the intellect. The intellect is based primarily on the premise of causality, and the Newtonian paradigm of reality is based on the premise of causality. That's the whole basis of Darwin's theory of evolution. [However], things do not come about as the result of causality, which is the common presumption. They come about by virtue of manifestation. The potential becomes the actual. The unmanifest becomes the manifest. Creation is an ongoing and continuous condition.
The dualistic position is one of the more difficult to transcend. In other words, in the observer's mind, certain things become classified as right and other things become classified as wrong. Each position depends on the culture and the observer, not only the content, but local conditions, and then of course the field of context itself.
SS: From a Buddhist perspective, we could say certain actions are more skillful than others. It's just determining what those actions are and what a person wants to align with.
DH: Yes. We are all in the evolution of consciousness. All these things are expressions of certain levels of consciousness, which are in turn the production of the evolution of consciousness of mankind. So Christ and Buddha and other great sages who said to forgive people did so because the basic problem is only that of ignorance. This basic ignorance seems to be built into the human brain itself.
SS: How may we develop our brains? I would hope each person has the capacity to develop compassion.
DH: It does not seem to be so. To spiritual people it seems plausible, but the study of the evolution of consciousness reveals that there are people who are not capable. Those who cannot, are not even conditioned by Pavlovian conditioning. They put their hand on the plate, get it burned, then turn around and do it again.
SS: When you come to Palo Alto in June, what are some of the things that you will address in your workshop?
DH: First and foremost is how to tell truth from falsehood and how to apply this in a very orderly and well-researched style to get meaningful results. Then we will use this scale to discern spiritual truths and the obstacles to self-realization or spiritual evolution. We will try to understand the structure of the ego and how it arose over great expanses of time. We will also discover how to be friendly with the ego and dissolve it rather than reinforcing it by attacking it. Every time you attack the ego you reinforce it through guilt and shame. Attacking the egomaking it wrong and labeling it "sin"is not helpful. You can only transcend it by familiarity, non-condemnation, acceptance, and compassion for one's own ego. The high road to compassion is through understanding and acceptance.
Everyone is limited to varying degrees; it's just a matter of what degree. Each person is on a spiritual path, the evolution of spiritual consciousness itself, but just at different places along the pathway. The spiritual geniuses of all time have told us what is possible, but their numbers are few.
SS: Would you say that if we endeavor to be true to ourselves and align with truth as deeply as we can, just doing so is making a difference in this world?
DH: That makes a difference, although what was acceptable at one level now becomes the limitation of the next. At a lower level we want to forgive people because they're wrong, and at a higher level we stop seeing them as wrong. We begin to see things differently... as we evolve.