By Chet Yarbrough
Written by: David R. Hawkins
Narration by: Peter Lownds
David R. Hawkins died in 2012. He was 85 years old. At turns, Hawkins transitioned from agnosticism to atheism to belief in God. This progression seems correlated with education and experience but ends in philosophical belief. In each transition, Hawkins uses his intellect to form a philosophy that has appeal to many in search of life’s meaning. At times, Hawkins seems beyond reason but each step he takes offers insight to how one may live a more fulfilling life. Hawkins might be broadly characterized as a mystic. Even so, he was a formally educated, practicing physician, and psychiatrist.
Mysticism lies in Hawkins belief in human dualism, a belief dating back to Plato and adopted by many later philosophers. Hawkins dualism is belief in a distinct separation between mind and body. More precisely for Hawkins, it is a separation between mind and brain.
Hawkins becomes a mystic when he posits belief in a cosmic mind shared by all humanity. The power of this cosmic mind can cure all the maladies of humankind, both physical and mental. Hawkins implies this cosmic mind can cure physical disease manifested in the body. If you cannot see; if you cannot hear; if you cannot feel, your condition can be cured by a force of will that engages the cosmic mind.
This is a point at which Hawkins loses some believers. However, before one gets to a point of rejection, Hawkins offers wise counsel on how to live life and approach a level of what Abraham Maslow labeled self-actualization.
Hawkins argues that everything that happens in one’s life is because of the mind’s interpretation of the world. The mind gets trapped in Plato’s cave and only sees shadows of reality. Reality is obscured by what the human mind tells them. The mind’s interpretation of life’s events distorts reality. A child remembers a father’s or mother’s rebuke as an eternal judgement when reality may have been to protect a child from harm. The shadow is created and remains with the child for the rest of his/her life.
To escape the trap of Plato’s cave, Hawkins explains one must use their senses to accept the mind’s perception of reality and continually let it go until its negative power disappears. An example would be one who gets angry over some event or action and accepts the anger; looks at it, accepts it, uses the mind to understand why there is anger, where it is coming from, and then letting it go. In the process, one finds anger has no meaning other than what one’s mind gave it.
With continual use of this process, Hawkins believes individual minds tap into a cosmic mind that shows the world as it really is; not simply as shadows on a cave wall. There is wisdom in Hawkins’ perception of life and how one can more constructively deal with its vicissitudes. “Letting Go” is wise counsel for those troubled by emotional and/or physical trauma. However, the principle of a cosmic mind takes a leap of faith.