book-reviewsNote: As a fairly avid reader of esoteric teachings, I offer these reviews in the hope they might be helpful (or even entertaining!) to others. If you have a comment on the review or wish to offer your own, please let me know!

Book: Power vs. Force, The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior

Author: David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.

This is the first book in a series of three published by this widely respected psychiatrist and spiritual teacher. The central theme of the book revolves around what Dr. Hawkins calls his "Map of Consciousness." The Map is chart of human emotions and feeling states that are ranked by their electromagnetic frequency (e.m.f.). For example, the feeling of shame or humiliation ranks lowest among all emotions, with an e.m.f. of 20. The state of courage or affirmation scores 200, while the state of peace or bliss logs in at 600. Each e.m.f. level is exponentially higher than its predecessor, which gives one an idea of the shift in power as one moves up the scale of feeling states.

Power vs. Force offers one of the most illuminating maps of higher consciousness I have ever read. It gives the reader a sense of the path to enlightenment, what it entails, and offers concrete steps toward the goal. The title of the book speaks to the dichotomy of our current world situation. The outward striving for what we normally call "power" comes from using force, often against others and our selves as well. This "power" is always temporal and superficial. It usually involves some for of resistance. Keeping this form of "power" requires constant vigilance, and feeds a deep, yet often unconscious, fear of loss. Most of us have experienced some form of this fear. True power has no temporal limitations and does not engender fear. It comes from within. Indeed, Dr. Hawkins makes it clear that the only power worth cultivating lies within one's self.

Dr. Hawkins is on the cutting edge of a new metaphysics that blends ancient wisdom with modern science. His description of chaos theory and attractor fields is brilliant and easily understood. In essence, he tells us that the electromagnetic frequency of an emotional state is its own attractor field. Chronically held emotional states hold the body in a vibratory field that either promotes health or disease.

It must be noted that a fundamental aspect of Dr. Hawkins's work is not without criticism. His "Map of Consciousness" is based on the use of "applied kinesiology," or AK, to determine rankings. AK is a form of muscle testing that can supposedly determine the truth or falsehood of a statement based on the muscle strength of the person being tested. With AK, a "yes" or "not yes" question is posed and a tester uses two fingers to apply light pressure on the arm of an individual. If the arm is easily moved downward, the statement is considered false. If the arm remains strong, the statement is considered to be true. The problem with the AK testing is its subjectivity. Some studies have shown that it ranks no better than chance correlations. Skeptics have dismissed it as "quackery" or "magical thinking." Clearly, more work needs to be done in the use of AK. Still, the lucidity and clarity of Dr. Hawkins's book offers the reader a wonderful sense of the potential for the development of human consciousness.