Interview with David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD

Written by on June 17, 2009 in Featured, Interviews

lg_05Talk about knowing one’s dharma: from the time he was a young lad, David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD has had a string of mystical experiences that compelled him to devote his life to nothing less than the upliftment of mankind. A sought-after psychiatrist for decades in New York City, Hawkins left his practice at age 38 after contracting a near-fatal illness. While praying for healing, a bliss state befell him—prompting him to leave behind his “personal self” and merge with “an Infinite Presence of such unlimited power that it was all that was.”
After seven years sequestered in a cabin near Sedona, meditating and studying, Hawkins reintegrated into society and has been astonishingly productive ever since. For nearly 40 years nonstop, he has been writing and lecturing around the globe about higher consciousness. At the core of his research is the radical notion that consciousness can be mapped on a logarithmic scale using behavioral kinesiology, nonlinear dynamics and particle physics. His seminal work, Power vs. Force, introduced the concept that truth is subjective and relative to one’s level of consciousness.
The following interview took place around the recent launch of Healing and Recovery (H&R), the eighth in a progressive series of books based on the revelations of Hawkins’ lifelong research. H&R offers clinically proven self-healing methods that can result in complete recovery from any disease. Hawkins, 82, states with certitude that this is his final book.

The Collective Shift

Gina Mazza: It’s possible for our calibration to change throughout our life experiences. My question relates to the collective shift in which we’re being called to the carpet about things in our lives that are inauthentic. We’re being given chances to wake up and change patterns that no longer serve us—or others. I’ve noticed that when certain individuals reach that that “golden moment”, as you call it, where the potential for a spiritual awakening is ripe, they instead slip into denial and blame.

David Hawkins: That can happen when someone gets the spiritual bug because they become more introspective and self-critical. There may be a period when they go down into guilt because now they’re feeling responsible on a different level than before. Before, it was just performance. Now they’re getting into intention. They begin to see the intention behind their various actions and getting more sensitive about their motives. This period of painful introspection can be unavoidable.

What if the person closes the door on that period of introspection? They say, “I’m not going there. I want to go to my job, go for a drink Friday night, the gym on Saturday, wash the car on Sunday” and they ignore the part that is yearning to open up. A crisis may crack open the door but the propensity is to keep it shut.

That’s correct. Those individuals may go through several lifetimes living on the superficial level. Introspection leads to guilt so they avoid it. A lot of people don’t want to look at themselves. If you’re seeing your psychoanalyst at $100 an hour, you’re very happy to look at yourself. When you’re on your own, there’s no point in it unless you’re devoted to evolution. When you’re devoted to evolution, you question yourself because you want to learn more about your motives.

The Economy

There’s no mistake that we’re going through a collective recovery as a nation. In fact, Obama’s plan is called a Recovery Package. The last time the US went through a recession in the ’70s, our nation’s level of consciousness was below 200. So it makes sense that we would be going through this current recession in an unprecedented way. Now that our collective consciousness is over 200, how does it relate to what’s happening with the financial markets collapsing, the banking and auto industries in peril, high unemployment rates?

Anytime there’s a shift of consciousness from one level to another, there’s a disruption. If you used to be a crook and you decide you’re going to become honest, you’re going to disrupt everything around you. What’s happening with our economy is a reorganization based on values other than just making money. The economy is really based on greed: every product is an effort to make money. And making money doesn’t infer anything having to do with responsibility. Now, we’re bringing up responsibility. As citizens, we’re asking, “Should these companies reveal what they know?” So there’s disorganization based on a current lack of clarity about values.

Integrity is the new gold standard and, as we evolve, it is becoming more important than the bottom line.

That’s the current headline—people testifying about the integrity of a company, its executives and whether their compensation is within expectations of financial integrity—and the fact that some are well outside the expected norms is causing a great upset in the media: excessive compensation for executives who not only didn’t do a good job but did a bad job.

The headline in this morning’s news is the AIG execs rescinding their bonuses. CNN just reported that AIG is taking the signage off their corporate headquarters in Manhattan due to hostile threats against the company. I can’t recall this sort of public outcry for corporate accountability in my lifetime.

A big part of it is the media bringing these things into our personal experience. We have instant reporting, instead of reading it in a newspaper—which is detached and intellectual. We can now experience a person’s personality and hear them talking live to us. So as an executive is testifying in Washington, the country is listening. We’re far more involved in world affairs that once were abstract. And the fact that [some corruption] involves taxpayer money and people’s personal investments, as in the case of Bernie Madoff, that makes it very personal. Accountability and personal responsibility are becoming quite primary.

Illness Requires Subconscious Guilt

You say in Healing & Recovery that illness is a form of unconscious guilt, and this is confirmed by scientific research. You say, “Our belief system…aggravates suppressed emotions….we have some sort of guilt about something in our past consciously or subconsciously.”

Yes, illness requires subconscious guilt, which is almost impossible to avoid because we’re only human and prone to error. Error leads to guilt. “Why didn’t I do better?” Even if you make a million dollars you say, “Why didn’t I make a million and a half?” Humans, even those who are quite obtuse, are always dealing with the hypothetical. “Why didn’t I avoid that?” “Why did I say that?” It’s very hard to avoid this critical self-observation. Our society is focused on winning and achieving. I’m sure those guys at AIG who got a $50 million bonus were saying “Why didn’t I get $60 million?”

Those individuals who close the door on introspection: are they healthier because they’re avoiding it?

They’re more comfortable [but] comfort is one thing and health is another. You can be comfortable and extremely neurotic. You can be dumb and glad of it! [laughs] Not looking at yourself brings about greater comfort but also a lack of self-awareness, so you’re in a different style of human existence. If you’re not self-aware, you’re not as evolved as a person who is aware of their defects.

And a self-aware person learns to let go of the guilt about things.

If we were angelic beings we’d be in a different realm. So accepting the purpose of human life—to evolve—takes away a lot of the guilt. You say, “I’m here to learn, I’m not a super angel.” I view human life as primarily purgatorial—not in the religious sense but experientially. It’s not heavenly nor is it hellish; It’s somewhere in between. We’re here to achieve good karma and undo bad karma, as the Buddhists say. We learn from our mistakes and try to evolve to a higher level.

From the outside looking in at a person who is not self-aware and not feeling guilt about what they might have done because they’re avoiding that guilt—that person’s life may appear to be smoother than the life of a person on a spiritual path, which can be quite chaotic.

Yes, indeed, because you’re facing guilt about defects that a person who is not introspective doesn’t have to face about themselves. They’re obnoxious and hateful and they don’t realize it. But they’re comfortable.

Definition of Healing

Let’s get into a definition of healing. You say in H&R that healing begins around 540 [and that] “gratitude alone brings healing”.

That’s true. The 12-step movement is a very good example. It brings about recovery from a hopelessly dangerous and progressive illness, so a great deal can be learned about recovery from anything and everything by examining the 12-step program. Another group that makes this very manifest in the physical is A Course in Miracles. So no matter what the illness is, look into the Course and the basics of the 12-step program. Between the two, you’ll have all the tools you need to recover from any illness.

A core piece of both is forgiveness.

Yes, forgiveness of yourself and others. We [have to realize that] we’re limited [and] created to be evolutionary. You are what you are and if you could be something else, you would be.

Because we have free will.

Some people confuse free will with magic. Just because you have free will doesn’t mean you’re going to be a genius tomorrow.

But we can create miracles, like how you tackled a weight problem by reprogramming yourself in only a few days.

Yes, if you make it your number one priority to do that, you can actually reprogram yourself in a matter of days.

Those who struggle with their weight would say THAT is quite miraculous.

It would be a miracle for that person, yes. I took off 50 pounds that way. I just lied down and whatever [cravings] came up, I allowed myself to experience it all. After three or four days, [the cravings] disappeared. I wasn’t driven by it anymore.

You used a process that you call “anticipatory eating”.

Yes, prophylactic eating! I would eat so that I wouldn’t get hungry. I would say, “Now it’s time for a cheese sandwich.” I still do it. I wait until 11am and eat a high protein meal—that’s breakfast and lunch. That holds me through until dinner. It’s now a habit.

Why do you think obesity is a national epidemic?

Advertising. The constant barrage artificially propagates desire and hunger. We are constantly being tempted and provoked. The media plays a large part in the human experience now, almost dominant. What people think or believe is dependent upon what they just saw or heard in the media.

And as you say, our existence is about what we hold in our minds.

Our minds are being constantly programmed. The media have great power. Those who control the media are the real power barons of today’s world because they’re controlling what people think is true.

Maybe the solution is to turn off the TVs and portable devices altogether.

I don’t think you can do that in today’s world. It’s everywhere. [By contrast,] when I was growing up in rural Wisconsin, billboards were the great influence. We’d drive in the country and read the billboards. I looked forward to the Burma-Shave ads, the ones that said “slow down / and savor / little shavers”.

Right! “Nobody knows / the stubble / I’ve seen.”

It was today’s television. Now we’re used to having our minds fed by constant imaging. We have to know the minute something is happening.

Getting back to the definition of healing, you talk in H&R about “letting go of resisting the sensory experience of an illness, not labeling it, not even using words at all.” Explain.

Today I wake up and my toe is painful. Right away my mind says “pain”. I let go and experience [that]. Then I only label it as discomfort. Then I stop labeling it altogether. It has no name and no definition. By not focusing on an illness or giving it a name, you decrease its influence and importance. So you’re not paralyzed and having to lie down. I can walk around and ignore it and go about my business.

Ignoring it is not the same thing as when you discuss in that same chapter about embracing the pain and going into it.

That’s a different technique. Instead of ignoring it, you allow yourself to fully experience the experience. But you don’t label it or resist. It’s just a phenomenon like the weather. You go about your business and pretty soon you’re not thinking about the weather because you’re too involved in what you’re doing.

You say in H&R to choose the energy field of love, which is healing. Are you essentially asking readers to be in a space of non-judgment?

Yes, that prevailing attitude allows you to handle other things. To be in a state of lovingness means that although you notice the defects of life, you’re not in denial about them. They are there. But you don’t allow it to interfere with your happiness. If the TV doesn’t work today I don’t spend the day being unhappy. I just accept that it doesn’t work and I go onto other things. The only thing it’s going to interfere with is your amusement. If you don’t have that amusement, you’ll find another. If the TV’s not working, it’s a good day to clean out the closet. Part of being happy is being flexible and not insisting that something has to be a certain way, like if there’s no peanut butter in the pantry, your whole day is ruined.

The Good News about Growing Old

Let’s talk about the aging process, which you also discuss in H&R.

Getting older is a period of great opportunity to sift out the relevant from the irrelevant. Once you know the relevant, you realize that all the things that are necessary for happiness, you actually have. First of all, you ARE, which is a big help, especially when you consider the opposite [laughs]. And if you have love, you say “I am and I have love; what else is necessary?” As you get older, the emphasis is progressively on what is important. If you have relative security, comfort and love, you really don’t need anything else—just a few basics, a peanut butter sandwich or something.

Unless you’re out of peanut butter [laughs]. And even love is not an external thing.

It’s not dependant on what’s out there, you become more independent of the world.

So you don’t mean to imply that we need to find someone to love—but rather, love is a state of being.

Yes, love is a way of being in the world. It’s being considerate of others. That’s all, just considerate, patient and kind. Being content and able to enjoy life in all its expressions is more important than anything else as you get older. If you’ve got Medicare and Social Security, what’s there to complain about?

How do you feel about life at age 82 versus 22 or 52?

I enjoy being alive far more at 82 than 22. Just existing is quite gratifying. At 22, you’re beset by all kinds of drives and needs, educational and vocational goals, trying to find a relationship that works. Life is a mess at 22! Life gets better as you get older. I have nothing to complain about, frankly. I guess that should be my main complaint—that I’ve got nothing to complain about [laughs].

You say in the chapter on death that a conscious person has very little work to do at the end of life—there’s no regret, no unfinished business, nothing on the table to deal with.

That’s true, a lifetime of spiritual work leaves very little to do at the end. If there’s anybody you didn’t forgive or if you’re still blaming yourself for past mistakes, you’ll have spiritual clean-up to do. But life gets better and better because you have time to handle all these problems and defects of character.

As an author, is there more to write or have you reached the end of what you want to share with others?

I’ve pretty much reached the end of the subjects that I want to share with the world. I feel that I’ve done what I can do as far as my contribution to society. The primary reason for my existence has been fulfilled. I’ve felt an obligation [up until now] to share the things I’ve discovered with the world. I’ve fulfilled that obligation so I can leave the planet without guilt.

AUTHOR BIO: Gina Mazza is a Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist/editor/writing consultant and author of Everything Matters, Nothing Matters: For Women Who Dare to Live with Exquisite Calm, Euphoric Creativity and Divine Clarity (St. Lynn’s Press 2008). Contact Gina at, on FaceBook, or by visiting
RESOURCES: You can order Dr. Hawkins’ books by calling 972-378-1211 or online at

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  1. Nobuko Schlough says:

    Your interview helped me a lot to learn more about David R Hawkings, MD and PhD. You chose very useful subjects and asked questions in a very effective manner. I received a great deal of benefits from it as a reader. I am grateful that you shared this great interview in internet. I am quite curious and hopes to learn a little more about significant mystical experiences he had in his childhood and in his adult life. Does anyone know where I can find such information? Nobuko Schlough, Wisconsin, USA

  2. Mark Doyle Jones says:

    I was a little disappointed to hear that Dr. Hawkins would not be publishing anything else, but that’s probably an addiction to novelty that I have yet to face (among a seeming infinitude of others). At any rate, not everhaving seen The Doc in person at one of his workshops, it was quite interesting to read about him speaking candidly about some of the things I have been reading about these last couple of years. Maybe that’s it. Always wanting see a new take on what he has already said with the hope that, maybe this time, all the truths that I have read over and over and over and have yet to “get” will make sense this time.
    I can definitely say this, I can’t imagine going another day without spending at least a little time (sometimes a lot) reading what I have already read, sometimes many many many times. And I always carry away at least a slightly better understanding than I did before.
    It sounds like I have exactly one lifetime (minus 41 years) of introspection and spiritual work left to do. It seems daunting at times, hopeless at others, and sometimes very confusing, but I feel as though I have passed the point of no return and that I am now being “carried” along the path, and the difficulty is in my refusal at times to let go and be carried.

  3. I was reintroduced to Dr. Hawkins back in Feb. ’09. Before that, I wasn’t ready to read past Power Vs. Force. All of it was way over my head. Since earlier this year, I had read every book since including Healing and Recovery. Be prepared to make some serious changes in your life as you’ll never be the same. Let’s just say that major jumps will occur while shaving off many lifetimes. LOL!

    Great Interview, Gina! Thank you, Dr. H, for greasing the groove for the rest of us. :)

  4. Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D. says:

    I am in debt to Dr. Hawkins for coming up with such an elegant way of measuring levels of enlightenment in the path of seeking truth. I have found his “Levels of Consciousness” incredibly helpful in explaining why some people suck the life out of you and why others inspire you!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  5. Stan Hess says:

    Dr David R Hawkins is my hero!
    Yes, after studying his teachings for the last three years, the above declaration carries means what it says.
    He has transformed my love of God from a duty, to a singular purpose of my life.

  6. Cheryl Davies says:

    Thank you so much for this excellent interview. And thank you to Peter from the Devotional Nonduality Google group for posting the link to it. Gloria in Excelcis Deo.

  7. Joan A. Trahan says:


    My husband, PJ and I have long been followers of the writings of Dr. Hawkins! We currently own and have read 6 of them and will add this one to our collection ASAP.

    I took the liberty of forwarding a copy of this interview to all of the people I care deeply for that I think would receive his words of inspiration, well. He is a magnificent human being and a “pointer par excellence!” I say “pointer” because he points the way, but WE are the ones who do the work to get there.

    Yours truly,
    Joan A. Trahan