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Consciousness, Medicine, & Healing
An Interview with David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD — Part I

Interview by Matt Laughlin, Editor-in-Chief, Unified Health Magazine: A Clinician's Forum

© 2012 Nightingale-Conant Corporation


Matt Laughlin, Unified Health (UH): My vision was to spend an hour with you and ask some questions about the nature of your work and discoveries in consciousness research as it applies to the domain of health and medicine. For readers who might not be familiar with your work, if you could just begin by commenting on the reality and potential applications of kinesiological testing that you discovered and how that evolved into the Map of Consciousness?

David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD (DH): Well, I attended a lecture on kinesiology and tried it out on various people. It was quite interesting that the negative energy made the person go weak, and the positive energy made them go strong. The source of the energy did not have to be in physical contact with the body, just in proximity. So, it was obvious that we were dealing with an energy field and that somehow the human nervous system, autonomic system, was able to discern the difference. That was quite amazing.

I began to teach it to the staff at the clinic that I ran. And we were going to use some volunteers. Now, the volunteers were studying A Course in Miracles at the time; we had an Attitudinal Healing center at the clinic for people with hopeless conditions and diseases. I expected these students of the course to demonstrate the effect of negative energies, such as looking at fluorescent lights makes everybody go weak. Well, they did not go weak. In fact, they didn't go weak to any of the stimuli that made ordinary people go weak. I became curious about what is different about them; this led me into the study of consciousness. We were eventually able to evolve a consciousness scale.

We discovered that the level of energy of anything on the planet can be calibrated. We also discovered that it worked beyond time or place. It's a not a local condition; it's transmitted through the infinite field of consciousness itself. This was a rather startling discovery. The scale, which is now pretty famous worldwide, goes from 1 to 1,000 of varying levels of consciousness, which correlates with psychoanalysis and also spiritual reality, and the history of mankind, actually. It has many, many applications that are quite practical.

UH: I believe you have commented before that the significance of this discovery has yet to dawn on mankind. I remember your comments in a seminar that your inspiration to share this with the world as being akin to Alexander Fleming's drive to share the discovery of penicillin, which of course saved millions of lives.

DH: Oh, yes. When you discover something of value to mankind, you have a sense of responsibility, an obligation to share it with others, especially when you can see the very incredibly beneficial results of its use. You discover the cause of various illnesses. You can discover things that are not available to the limited, linear intellect. There are things that are beyond the reach of reason or logic or education. This opened a whole new field for investigation, which mankind has never really had before.

UH: This sense of responsibility to share these discoveries with others reminds me, too, of another comment I recall you making about how early on in your career as a physician you made an inner commitment to God and to your patients to do everything you could to help others, despite the risk of disapproval by your colleagues for applying holistic approaches.

DH: My dedication to my patients was that I felt that my responsibility to God was to utilize everything I felt was helpful to the patient and not worry about my colleagues' approval — that in the end, I'll be answerable to Divinity for what I did with my gifts. I was born with a high IQ and all kinds of talented abilities; that's what I am answerable for when I leave this planet. What did you do with the gifts that you were born with? I decided that my obligation was to the patient and to God and not to the approval of my colleagues.

The holistic approach is far more inclusive than traditional medicine. Traditional medicine is limited to the scientific paradigm of what is provable inside of the scientific methodology. That's scientific medicine. Holistic medicine goes beyond that and has a wider range of healing modalities, many of which are not necessarily validated by scientific research but are validated by clinical response. Many patients will respond to holistic measures that are "unscientific." To the patient and to the training doctor they are of extreme importance.

When I mentioned acupuncture to an internist I know, he poo-pooed it and said, "you don't believe in that do ya?" Well, acupuncture ... I was one of the first patients in the United States to have acupuncture. I had a hopeless, chronic, recurrent duodenal ulcer that was going to lead to the necessity for subtotal gastrectomy. It was in Washington, D.C., and it was scientifically very well observed. You had to bring x-rays and everything with you to prove your medical condition. At the conclusion of treatment, they repeated all the same diagnostics, such as x-rays. From the third treatment on, my chronic, recurrent, hemorrhaging duodenal ulcer was cured and never recurred in all these years. This was 50 years ago. Permanent long-term cure for something that I had for 25 years. I had psychoanalysis and everything to try and cure it. So it may not be scientific, but it works.

UH: You have also commented that you have a great love for animals and that early in your life you could have easily become a veterinarian.

DH: Yes. I would have been happy as a veterinarian. What inspires me is the relief of suffering. Whether you can do it by intellectual means, or holistic health, or whatever means. What inspires me is the relief of suffering, human or otherwise. Every night I pray for the relief of suffering of the animal kingdom ... including man.

UH: A central aspect of your work seems to suggest that when things are viewed in a larger context, seeming conflicts are resolved. In consciousness research, you have noted a difference between scientific medicine and holistic or spiritually inspired medicine. As I understand it, when seen in a different context, there really isn't a conflict between these approaches. Would you explain what is meant by that?

DH: The world thinks that there is. Actually they are two different paradigms. The scientific paradigm calibrates in the 400s, at 440. Holistic medicine calibrates five points higher at 445. But, when you're in the 400s, a lead of five points is a significant increase. And when you treat many, many patients, that increase has a profound effect on the number of patients who respond. The thing about holistic medicine is you are instituting the power of intention. As we know from quantum mechanics, the power of intention itself is what collapses the wave function from the potential or possible to the actual.

I noticed many years ago when I had a very big clinic that some therapists had a very high improvement rate and other therapists had a lesser improvement rate, even though they had the same academic backgrounds. I found that the person who was the most loving — in its generic meaning, loving not on a personal level but caringness and considerateness — made a big difference in the response.

UH: In the clinical outcomes?

DH: Yeah, and that's not something that is taught in medical school.

UH: The quality of consciousness of the clinician is one of the unnoticed factors in really all clinical or academic research?

DH: Yes. They just don't understand the nature of consciousness. Of course, one thing that hasn't been studied is the consciousness effect in collapsing the wave function. That's experimentally provable, but they've never considered the power of the consciousness of the observer. So, the observer increases the likelihood of the collapse of the wave function from potentiality into actuality. A person of a very high level of consciousness may have a far more profound effect and bring about the unlikely responses — that, from a scientific viewpoint, let's say, are unlikely. All they are saying is that consciousness changes it, but they are not defining what level of consciousness. Generally they are talking about scientific observation. They mean somebody who calibrates in the 400s will increase the likelihood of certain responses. But what if you had somebody who calibrates in the 500s? The 500s is exponentially far more powerful. So, caringness and lovingness on the part of the clinician means the number of his or her patients who recover will be considerably higher.

UH: The power of that energy field in the clinician who might calibrate in the 500s is not personal, correct?

DH: Yes. It has to do with the likelihood of a positive result increased by the level of consciousness of the observer. Again, this is just the power of intention. But the intention is really not to heal or to cure. The intention is not dualistic between yourself and the patient, as though there are only two people. The excellent clinician has a caringness about life, period. A caringness about life. So, it isn't as if it is a one-to-one, you know, giving love to the patient. It is more that that is what you have become. And because you have become that, your impact on all living things is far more powerful and more positive.

UH: So, a patient who is in the presence of someone like that might just walk out of a session not knowing where it came from but feeling a lot more hopeful and confident.

DH: That's true. So, caringness is not really taught in the university. There is a fear of a positive countertransference. There are various pseudo-scientific objections to caring for a patient because they think of it in a one-to-one relationship, instead of just an attitude toward life from which their patient benefits indirectly. Indirectly. I have had various illnesses over my lifetime, and I myself have experienced the clinicians that were, frankly, bad. They weren't too sharp with their medical diagnosis, and they were indifferent and callous to the point of almost being rude.

I went to a dermatologist not long ago, a new one, who had the office staff do all the questioning and everything. He walked into the room, glanced over the questionnaire, took a look at me as though I were a piece of wood. Absolutely no graciousness, no ambiance that would make you want to know him as a person. So indifferent, detached, and lacking in positive energy that it was almost bizarre. He was only paying attention to the record and the number of things that were checked off on the symptom list. I am sure he was doing his job scientifically, but as a person, a disaster.

UH: Speaking to this concern about a positive countertransference, ultimately a really loving clinician leaves the patients feeling more empowered within themselves and not necessarily dependent on the clinician ... correct?

DH: Well, they feel at first that somebody cares about their condition. It's the caringness that is significant to patients, that you are trying everything you can on their behalf as evidence of your caringness. A patient who has a positive transference is more likely to heal than one who doesn't. So everything a clinician does that makes the patient feel safe and secure and looked after by a responsible person trying to help him or her in every way the clinician can makes the patient feel more secure and cared for. And that certainly increases the likelihood of a recovery.

UH: You know, speaking of your dermatology example, a friend of mine recently had a cancerous mole removed on her face, and she commented that she was so struck by the tenderness and love of the clinicians who stood above her working gently for over an hour. It really moved her.

DH: Well, I think the same thing would be applicable to a veterinarian, you know. A veterinarian cares and loves his animals; the animals feel the love, and they are likely to have a better response than a veterinarian who is just mechanical. I think all living things respond to caringness and concern. Some gardeners, you know, no matter what they put in the ground, it proliferates. Other gardeners don't have such good luck; they have a hard time getting things to grow.

UH: Would you comment on the difference between recovery and healing?

DH: Well, recovery means that the specific illness or symptoms have disappeared. Full recovery would mean that you also understand the sources of it and have taken steps to heal the sources of it, whether it is anxiety or unconscious guilt, which is probably the biggest contributor to all kinds of illnesses. For instance, people who do A Course in Miracles or belong to 12-step groups are interested in healing the whole person and not just the particular disease. You know, what is there about me that has a propensity to bring forth an ulcer? Because I had one for 25 years, and I ended up going into psychoanalysis and looking into all kinds of things that could be causing stress, you know.

UH: Would you say more about unconscious guilt influencing disease?

DH: Yes. I think that it's operative because of the nature of human life. It's almost impossible not to collect some degree of unconscious guilt. Because you hold yourself responsible for every failure and you are looking at your life in a very linear, cause-and-effect relationship. Instead of seeing it more as a condition of humanness itself and that humanness is intrinsically imperfect, from an abstract intellectual view. We hold criteria for our behaviors that cannot be met in ordinary life. You know, it's almost impossible not to forget something that is relatively important. You feel guilty; how could you have forgotten about that? You miss the payment date, or whatever it is.

UH: Yep.

DH: And you berate yourself. You have to be more forgiving of yourself, more tolerant of human limitation. The less you berate yourself, the less you make yourself feel guilty, the better it is.

UH: Would you explain the difference between culpability and accountability in relation to health and disease?

DH: Yes, one can take responsibility and be accountable, and at the same time not necessarily feel morally responsible. Because everyone lives within, you might say, the karmic limitations of humanness and ignorance. One of the limitations of humanness is the nature of protoplasm itself. We've all inherited the limitations of protoplasm itself, which is relatively fragile, and has its own life span. You can't always berate yourself for what is really a limitation of our own organic nature. We're organic, you know.

UH: Things break down!

DH: Right. All you have to do is stand still and do nothing, and it starts to deteriorate.

UH: You can stand in front of the mirror and just watch it do its thing. .Another question I have has to do with your discoveries or research on the etheric body, or etheric brain, and the physical brain. I understand there is a difference in how these work above and below consciousness level 200.

DH: The physical body is a consequence of the etheric body. The etheric body is really the energy field that controls the development and the operation of the physical body. This etheric body survives the demise of the physical body; it's called the spiritual body. The etheric body, then, has within it the template of the physical body. The physical is the expression of the etheric.

The connection between the two is what has puzzled the scientists who are constantly trying to find the source within the human brain anatomically. What they don't understand is that the etheric brain, which is an energy brain, influences the physical brain by the phenomena of induction. Crick and Watson, winners of the Nobel Prize, and both atheists, were always trying to find the source of consciousness in the brain neurons, or something like that. What they don't understand is that the etheric brain is the energy field, and it energizes the neurons similar to Maxwell's relationship between magnetism and electricity. If you hold a magnetic field around an electrical wire, you induce a current. Or, if you do it the other way, put electricity down the wire, you induce a magnetic field around the wire.

The etheric body, then, activates the neurons by induction. What you hold in mind tends to manifest by virtue of the fact that you are holding it within your etheric brain, which then activates the neurons. Science still doesn't understand the connection between consciousness and the brain. It's comparable to Maxwell's relationship between magnetism and electricity. And it is very simple and obvious to see. If you check with kinesiology and ask if that's the answer, you get yes, that is the answer.

UH: As it relates to the map of consciousness, the more spiritually inspired or loving intention or image that one might hold in the etheric body or brain, the more it will have a more powerful influence on the physical brain. Is that correct?

DH: Yes. The physiology of the brain above the level 200 is influenced by what has traditionally been called kundalini energy. The brain physiology of people higher in consciousness is actually different from the brain physiology of people below 200. Below 200, the brain is primarily animal left brain and functions out of a linear causality. With spiritual evolution, there is the flow of the kundalini energy, and the person becomes more holistic and right-brained, intuitive and not just limited by linear logic and causality. The animal brain is what man tries to transcend.

UH: And the way information or events are processed in the brain, and the likely responses that follow, are quite different for people above and below consciousness level 200.

DH: Yes, and I have diagrams in a number of books on this. The emergency emotions from 200 or below activate an animal-type response in the amygdala of the brain. The energy field of that is quite low; it's a localized fear or adrenaline response. The person thinks in terms of fear and anger, animal survival. In the more evolved person, consequent to the kundalini energy, the response is far more holistic, and it calibrates much, much higher. The people above and below 200 literally experience life as two different worlds, and really live in two different worlds.

UH: The people below 200 exist but are not aware that they do?

DH: In the fullest sense, they are not aware of themselves as existence itself. They only have a very linear, animal description of themselves. And they don't understand that what they really are is really not definable in scientific terms.

UH: Would you comment on the healing power of the energy field of 540, as reflected in 12-step programs?

DH: Yes. Well, 540 and up is the energy field of unconditional love; it tends to heal whatever is brought into its presence. Therefore, in the 12-step groups, for instance, people recover who don't even believe in it. The saying in the 12-step groups is "just bring your body and go to the meetings." Because that overall energy will gradually bring about a healing that is not possible on an individual basis. The group energy is uplifting and has a healing capacity. Unconditional love tends to heal anything that you put in the field. That's the basis of the saying "just bring the body." Just bring the body, even if you don't believe it. Many people who scoffed at the whole idea of spirituality or AA or any of those things just go to the meetings and miraculously they recover. And the spiritual awareness comes later.

Other spiritual groups have the same affect. To just be in the presence, you tend to evolve more rapidly because of the overall energy field.

UH: In the context of addictions, the addict is not addicted to the substance itself, but to the experience of the presence of love within?

DH: They are addicted to a high energy field. The only way they know how to get it is via narcotics or drugs or alcohol. What the narcotics or the drugs or the alcohol do is suppress the lower energy fields, so all you feel is your own higher feelings, because the lower ones are sedated. Fear and anger and all those things become sedated due to the drug or the alcohol; naturally, you feel good because you are only feeling your own higher energy fields. With spiritual evolution, you begin to let go of the negative, and you begin to feel the higher energy fields without the narcotic. What the person is really addicted to is feeling euphoria, or feeling high, feeling mellow, or feeling good. They just don't know how else to reach it except to sedate the animal side of their brain.

UH: Reaching a higher level artificially has a karmic consequence — is that right?

DH: Well, that's true, because you avoided spiritual evolution and substituted a drug for it. As long as people are taking drugs, they will not evolve spiritually. In fact, the only way they do it, finally, is they hit bottom. And when they hit bottom, throw all caution to the winds and throw themselves wholeheartedly into a spiritual program, out of the wild — hope of a recovery. Much to their surprise, they begin to feel a happiness that they never felt before, and greater immunity to negative feelings. Of course, they also have the support of a group of people who are also loving. It's a whole new life; it's like being reborn when they join a 12-step group.

Continue reading part II...

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