Laura Huxley Profile

Photo by John Engstead

Carolyn and I met Laura Huxley in the early 1990s through our friend Oz Janiger. Laura was an extremely gifted psychotherapist, a concert violinist, documentary filmmaker, author, and lecturer, as well as a cherished friend and a great inspiration.

Laura Archera Huxley was born in Turin, Italy in 1911. A musical prodigy, Laura began playing the violin at the age of 10 and she had special magic; at the age of 14, she played before the Queen in her native country. Laura performed with her violin all over Europe and left for America before the start of World War II. In 1939 Laura performed a violin concerto by Mozart at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and she played in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra from 1944 to 1947 as a virtuoso.

Laura settled in Los Angeles. In 1949 she worked on freelance documentary films, and she was hired as an assistant film editor for RKO Radio Pictures in Hollywood. Around this time Laura’s close friend Virginia Pfeiffer became ill, and this had a profound effect on Laura. Laura donated her violin to another violinist, put her music study aside, and began training to become a psychotherapist. Laura pursued a lifelong interest in health, nutrition, psychology, and the advancement of human potential.

Laura first met celebrated British novelist and visionary Aldous Huxley in 1948, when she was pursuing an idea for a film, and although the film was never produced, this was the beginning of their legendary relationship. They were married in 1956. Laura wrote the revered book This Timeless Moment, about her experience with Aldous, who she was married to for the last 7 years of his life.

Laura had a number of mystical and transcendent experiences in her life, and she was outspoken about her beliefs. Between 1963 and 1987, Laura wrote three popular self-help books about getting through life’s difficulties, You Are Not the Target, Between Heaven and Earth, and One-a-Day-Reason to be Happy, as well as a book about conscious conception, The Child of Your Dreams. In 1977 Laura founded Children: Our Ultimate Investment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “nurturing the possible human.” The organization sponsored a four-day conference in the early 1990s that Carolyn and I attended.

In 1994 Laura participated in the roundtable discussion at UCLA that I co-hosted about the future of technology, along with Carolyn, Timothy Leary, Oz Janiger, John C. Lilly, and Nina Graboi.

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld and Laura Huxley

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld and Laura Huxley

Laura died in 2007 at the age of 96 in her home in the Hollywood Hills, with Valerie Corral, Dr. Paul Fleiss, and Carolyn by her side. Valerie Corral wrote this about her experience with Laura while she was dying:

“She closed her eyes. We sat in that vast silence. Suddenly Laura spoke. ‘Emptiness, emptiness, emptiness. It is emptiness.’ Laura laughed with weakened enthusiasm. With that smile still on her face she looked at me, ‘Tell Ram Dass, it’s all brand new. It Is All Brand New,’ in a soft, rich laugh. She began to speak about the things we all must face, uncertainty, longing, and pain. But there was no remorse or sorrow, only peace, and luminosity. She was stunningly beautiful.”

Carolyn had this to say about her experience with Laura: “I cherish our timeless camaraderie in the last years of her life, and the mischievous comments she loved to sprinkle into the mundane. She was my beloved mentor and friend and is forever in my heart. I have great memories of us walking around the Hollywood sign, and spending numerous evenings with her marvelous friends — the DiCaprios and her daughter Karin Pfeiffer — and of our dancing together, with scarves she would drop down to us from her perch on the stairs above.”

Laura wrote the introduction to Carolyn’s book The Alchemy of Possibility. Here’s an excerpt:

“Like all nature mystics, Carolyn has a symbiotic relationship with nature. “The Alchemy of Possibility” might remind us, not through statistics but through poetic prose, that the Golden Rule is to be applied to every tree, every rock, every creature, and every thing on the planet. The poem, “is you, is me,” says it all. There is a numinous presence in her identification with nature… In writing freely about her amorous, spiritual, and mundane life, Kleefeld offers… [an] effective intangible therapy for “surfing the waves of existence.” …  The Alchemy of Possibility is to be kept nearby and enjoyed slowly…”

I interviewed Laura in 1992 for my book Mavericks of the Mind, which also includes my interview with Carolyn. There was an old-world elegance and mischievous charm about Laura that I adored. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

David: What do you think happens to human consciousness after death?
Laura: I think and feel that it goes on. I can’t imagine that this extraordinary complex of feeling, thought, and whatever else, just vanishes. I believe that it goes on; but how is a mystery. Perhaps it goes on into vibrations, or into other bodies, or into something totally different and unknown to us.

David: I read the experience that you wrote about at the end of This Timeless Moment, with the medium and the bookcase, that suggested the possibility of contact with Aldous after he had passed on into the afterlife.
Laura: That was extraordinary wasn’t it? I never speak about that because I wrote it with such exactness. I think that if I were to speak about it, I would not remember the moment, the time, and all that exactly. What I have written is absolutely correct.

David: Have you had any other experiences where you felt the presence of Aldous after he had died?
Laura: I went to one or two other mediums who also gave me a very strong presence, but not like that one. That one was…

David: Uncanny.
Laura: That’s right.

David: What’s your personal understanding of God?
Laura: I think, I feel, that there is an immense power; something that is so incredible that we cannot even imagine it— it has so much more imagination than we have. So that when we imagine God, we just imagine as far as we can imagine. But our imagination is very limited when you think of all the flowers and stars. You think of a star, and you think of a cell, and it’s mind-boggling.

David: We can’t even grasp ourselves, let alone a supreme being of cosmic proportions.
Laura: Exactly. How can we grapple with God when we don’t even understand the simplest of things? I don’t even know what goes on when I speak to you, or how you hear, and how you interpret what you hear, and how this influences what I am going to say, etc., etc.

David: If you could sum up the central message that you learned from the time you spent with Aldous, what would you say that was?
Laura: He said it himself. I can do no better than what he said. It was at this important meeting of outstanding scientists in Santa Barbara. Everyone was very serious, and they said, well, Mr. Huxley, what is your final advice after all these years of inquiry? He said, “I’m very embarrassed because I worked for forty years, I studied everything around me, I did experiments, I went to several countries, and all I can tell you is to be just a little kinder to each other.”

by David Jay Brown