Book review by David Lorimer
This is the most brilliant and extraordinary book I have read on the nature of subjective reality and the spiritual path. About three years ago, I reviewed a previous book by David Hawkins, Power vs Force, having been encouraged by friends to read it for nearly 10 years, and I found the book a revelation. This is the third in a trilogy, where the second volume is entitled The Eye of the I, and I bought it at the recent Beyond the Brain conference. The book mixes narrative text with answers to questions, and articulates essential spiritual themes with remarkable clarity and lucidity. An important item of background information is the calibration scale based on muscle testing developed by Hawkins, which effectively positions people, ideas and emotions on a scale of 1 to 1,000, although there are aspects of reality well beyond that. He explains that muscle testing provides a wormhole between linear and non-linear realms as well as giving instructions on its use. He also gives some background about his own spiritual development going back to early childhood and demonstrating direct insight into the states he later describes.
His distinction between linear and non-linear is a good place to start, as the ego and ordinary mind operate within a framework of form, duality, polarity and opposites while the nonlinear spiritual dimension, analogous in some ways to quantum physics, represents the formless, timeless and non-local. He explains that ‘the source of the universe and all existence is an infinite potentiality that is formless and innately Infinite Power. Out of the supreme Unmanifest arises the manifest universe as linear and non-linear realms. Form has locality and duration; that which is formless as nonlocal and outside time’ (p xxxv). Later he adds that ‘form includes the formless as its substrate and is not separate from it.’
The I of the title is the radical subjectivity of the state of Realisation or the manifestation of the Unmanifest as the Self. Critically, the Self becomes known by identity, by being it. Hence Hawkins’s argument that God can be known but not proved, which distinguishes between the direct and immanent approach of the mystic and the dualistic approach of theology searching to find proofs of the existence of a transcendent God. However, the Self is its own message and truth can only be realised, not explained. Enlightenment is defined as the linear observed from the context of the nonlinear – this transcends the experience, observer, witness and even awareness. ‘Enlightenment is the revelation of the Self when the illusion of the reality of a separate self is removed.’ (my italics). In the ordinary state, the ego is the content, whereas God/Self is context, while ‘the mystic knows, experiences and identifies the Self as both context and content, that is, context is the content. Science is the authority of a linear domain, while the mystic is the authority of the nonlinear domain.’ (p. 202)
The Self/God is the source of consciousness and our own experience of subjectivity, and, paradoxically, consciousness is revealed as impersonal. Consciousness is defined as radical subjectivity that transcends personal identity. The process of witnessing removes the personal illusion of awareness. The Self is the source of life and the subjective awareness of existence and it can only love because that is its essence – love is not a quality of God but God’s very essence, also implying Allness, Oneness and the illusion of separation, which is the basis of the ego. The Self is the ultimate teacher speaking through divinely inspired prophets in every age.
Hawkins explains that the powerful teacher can catalyse the transformation of information into subjective awareness. His or her aura is a carrier wave, so their teaching is on two levels as the carrier wave accompanies the teacher’s words and is a quality of the Presence as Self. Hence, ‘the true teacher does not identify with names or titles, for there is no person present’. This formulation is very similar to Beinsa Douno’s statement that it is always God who teaches while the function of the Teacher or Master is to act as an instrument and demonstration. In his own case, there is no name on his grave, only Love, Wisdom, Truth, Justice and Goodness.
Spiritual work is essentially letting go of attachments to thoughts, positions, opinions and memories, in other words deep surrender is the core in all pathways, whether of the heart, mind or action. This represents dying before we die, and the process is explained whereby ‘everything has to be recognised, then released and surrendered as an impediment to the clarity of the unobstructed awareness of the Self. Attention should be focused on the process of letting go: ‘surrender to God is surrender to the truth that nothing other than the Ultimate Reality is permanent – all that arises in form passes away.’ (p. 292)
Just like the ego, our collective life is shot through with duality, opposites and blame rather than responsibility, but everything is interpreted from the position on the spectrum – kindness can seem a weakness at a lower level, and Hawkins explains the different roles of Luciferic and Satanic energies in relation to the higher and lower chakras. The media provides a good snapshot of collective consciousness by exploiting emotionality and sensationalism to elicit sentimentality, indignation and outrage – in fact this is an invitation to reactivity. An expanded context gives a more detached view, and the spiritual aspirant is encouraged to give up judgements, expectations and sensitivities. Indeed, the language Hawkins uses about himself is third person and without an immediate sense of agency. His sense of self includes context and content, and action originates from the entire field. Here he has very interesting points to make about linear causation, which tends to ignore the complex overall context in which everything arises. For Hawkins, there is only one consciousness, there is no distance or space to traverse. In addition, ‘there is no doer of actions, the actions are the doer, actions and self are one and same’. (p. 223)
There is far more detail in the book than can be articulated in a relatively short review, but I hope I have conveyed some of the flavour and depth of insight with explanations of subjects that are usually hard to put into words. As a culture, we find it challenging to bridge the gap between ‘the linear reasoning of the mind and the non-linear reality of spiritual truth’, and are constantly trying to reduce the latter to the former, when deep understanding comes from the opposite direction where the linear is understood in terms of the nonlinear, and individual consciousness as an expression of the universal divine mind, which is also universal divine love. Serious seekers will find their understanding of spiritual reality immeasurably enhanced as well as finding valuable advice and guidance on the essential spiritual work of a human incarnation.
Buy I: Reality and Subjectivity here.