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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Simple Tools of David Hawkins... and more

David R. Hawkins is a modern mystic and spiritual teacher. I have referred to him many times on my blog, because I believe that there are no more profound spiritual teachings around today, than his. One of their greatest strengths lies in the teachings' practical simplicity.

It is easy to misread what Hawkins writes, especially if you don’t have much experience in doing spiritual self-work. But anyone who has explored the spiritual dimensions of mind with a true intention will readily recognise many of the truths contained in them. 

Some people get caught up in arguing the merits of Hawkins’ claims to be able to calibrate (measure) levels of consciousness. He says that by using muscle kinesiology he can give a numerical value to any given teaching, teacher or concept. Scientific testing fails to back up this claim, but I believe that it would be a mistake to dismiss Hawkins’ writings based purely upon this single issue. There is simply so much profound wisdom contained in his writings that any genuine spiritual devotee will deride great benefit from them.

In Transcending the Levels of Consciousness there is a very simple but profound summary of the qualities and attitudes required to make spiritual “progress” (progress is something of a misnomer, but I won’t go into that here). Hawkins points out that what is required on the journey is really very simple. One can be led astray by constantly learning more, becoming more knowledgeable, becoming more clever, more full. However, genuine transcendence requires an emptying, a letting go. This is where we tend to run into trouble, as the mind prefers to stay in control.

Here are the ten tools which Hawkins refers to:

1.       Be kind to everything and everyone, including oneself, all the time, with no exception.
2.      Revere all of life in all its expressions, no matter what, even if one does not understand it.
3.      Presume no actual reliable knowledge of anything at all. Ask God to reveal its meaning.
4.      Intend to see the hidden beauty of all that exists – it then reveals itself.
5.      Forgive everything that is witnessed and experienced, no matter what. Remember Christ, Buddha, and Krishna all said that all error is due to ignorance. Socrates said all men can choose only what they believe to be the good.
6.      Approach all of life with humility and be willing to surrender all possibilities and mental/emotional arguments or gain.
7.      Be willing to forgo all perceptions of gain, desire, or profit and thereby be willing to be of selfless service to life in all its expressions.
8.     Make one’s life a living prayer by intention, alignment, humility, and surrender. True spiritual reality is actually a way of being in the world.
9.      By verification, confirm the levels of consciousness and spiritual truth of all teachers, teachings, spiritual groups, and literature with which one intends to be aligned or a student.
10.  Accept that by spiritual declaration, commitment, and surrender, Knowingness arises that provides support, information, and all that is needed for the entire journey. (Hawkins, Transcending, pp. 335-336).

You’ll recognise these as being part of many of the world’s great spiritual and religious teachings. Besides their remarkable simplicity, it interesting to note the contrast of these ideas when compared with modern dominant cultures in developed countries, where the idea of being opinionated, powerful, controlling, forceful, and knowledgeable, dominates the harsh patriarchal societies right across the globe (i.e., you better be man, or at least act like one). Humility and the admission of “not knowing” are rarely valued. 

The other notable aspect of Hawkins’ list is item number nine, which is his exortation to confirm the spiritual truth or level of consciousness of a teaching or pathway before engaging it. There are a number of ways to do this, and I’ll just mention a few.

Exercise kinesiology is one which Hawkin’s champions for those still operating at the middling “rational” levels of cognitive development, where discerning truth from falsehood is extremely difficult. However, this tool may not be preferred by many. In Sage of Synchronicity I refer to another method called the Quick Check, which involves running a hand across a horizontal line on a page, and getting a reading of the consciousness level of a teacher/teaching, from zero to one hundred percent. This tool was taught to me by teachers in New Zealand a decade ago.

Numerous other divination methods are also possible; but one obvious tool is being able to quiet the mind and get an intuitive sense of whether the teaching is “OK” or “not OK” for you. Then, considering that we are all-too-fallible, after beginning to engage in that particular path, we should be alert for signs ego-dominated thinking or behaviour permeating the teaching or teacher. The most obvious signs are an over-inflated ego, attempting to inflate the ego of the student, or promising (or practicing) miracles. Even if the miraculous is performed, if it is used to attract followers, then it is an abuse of power.

Returning to Hawkins’ list, one domain missing, and which he writes little about is handling the emotional energy which emerges from the psyche as one deepens one’s awareness. Perhaps Hawkins’ did not have to deal with too much damaged emotional baggage in his time (he’s now in his 80s), but most of us will. The key is to allow the fear, grief, anger, shame and ego projections to express themselves in a healthy way. This means allowing a space in your life for opening the channel to the deep feelings to surface.

I recommend making a special space in your home where you can beat a pillow, scream into it, or just release grief when it surfaces. On days where the emotions begin to rise, you can spend some time alone there. A music system is recommended, to play music which matches the required mood (sad songs if you need to release grief, perhaps heavy metal if you want to release anger, and so on). The second use of music is simply to drown out any sound you might make, in case you feel uncomfortable allowing others to hear what you are doing. Nonetheless, if you are living with others, you will probably have to at least give them a general idea of what you are doing.

When it comes to spiritual development, simplicity is best.


  1. Great advice, Marcus. I really like that you emphasize the recognition of the hurt we all carry. All too often we are told to rise above it, or let it go, or other well-meaning but ineffectual processes. Only by recognizing it can we then learn to live with it in a healthy way.

  2. Unfortunately you can't "rise above" the emotional body, Nancy. I wish it were possible, along with most of the rest of the human race! One common misconception about developing psychologically and spiritually is that you will soon shift to some state of bliss where there is no more pain or hurt. In fact there is a requirement to become more emotionally vulnerable. Emotions are stored not just in the physical body, but in the human energy field. If left unaddressed, they can cause havoc. Unresolved hurt makes us easily manipulable (and manipulative) by others at an etheric level, as I outlined in Sage of Synchronicity.

    It is very challenging, though, learning how to deal with deep emotional pain - more than I can go into here.