Authority  

I enjoyed your letter A. I thought, what great friends there are on this conference. I have lately been thinking about authority, and about this issue of whether Seeing is 'it'. Gurus get up on their hind legs and tell us left right and centre that we need to deepen our awareness of who we are - that's if we're allowed the apparent arrogance of seeing who we really are at all. The great joy of Seeing is that it is being home, fully, absolutely. If someone tells me I am deluded, it is for me to check that out. What is it like here? It is empty. Could it get emptier? I can't see how it could. Could it get deeper? I can't see that one either.  

But R. (me!), you are so obviously not an enlightened person. You are sometimes angry, you are sometimes afraid. That is true. But human beings are like that, and always will be I think. Here at the centre of R., though, and at the centre of all beings, is the One. No fear or anger here. This takes off the pressure for me. I don't have to perfect R. Perfection doesn't lie out there in R., only here at the centre.  

Who decides what 'enlightenment' is? Is it just for the few, just for those that are somehow born 'pure', or achieve it by great effort? That cuts out ninety nine per cent of the human race, including me. Who has the authority to decide for us that this is so? No-one has more authority on what it is like where you are than you, or where I am than me. When I look here I find, like A., that it is complete, and cannot be improved. I have arrived home. How wonderful that it is this simple and this complete. I hope this heresy spreads and spreads! R.L. UK.  

I lay in my bath last night and was so aware that my own true nature is my own secret. No-one else but I am here in this place. They can tell me all about my appearances, but they never get here, they have no authority here. And I thought, not even time gets here, and not even Death.  

I also thought, you can't see into the essence of other people either. They are their own authority there. And I don't need to look into their essence there! I have all I need in that department right here where I am. Ah, the glory of it! Who cares really if anyone agrees or disagrees! R.L. UK.  

It may be that I am an unusual case, but in my experience other people's teachings are validated only when they become real for me, when they are realised. That is why I am so unreasonable about all claims that are outside my experience. They may be justified, and I have never denied the possibilities, but as I have no way of sorting the wheat from the chaff I will not affirm anything on someone else's say so.  

In the case of headlessness I read the article 'On Having No Head' about 25 years ago. It described something very similar to a couple of consciousness shifts that had happened to me over the previous 3 years. It made a big impression and I remembered both the article and the author's name. I recall that I found it somehow reassuring that there was someone out there so convinced of this apparent absurdity that he was prepared to stick his neck out as it were. The value of the article lay in its apparent validation of my own experience.  

There was a gap of 18 or so years and then Douglas Harding appeared in Sydney. The full impact of headlessness resulted not from reading about Douglas's views about headlessness but from doing the experiments.  

I am not denying the authenticity of anyone else's experience. I also acknowledge that what I appear to be defending may be a fairly low level understanding compared to that of others on the conference. But what is real for others is just more concept for me until it happens here. I am pretty dogmatic about that I know but this is a field which is particularly susceptible to flights of imagination, wishful thinking, etc., and that is what I am trying to guard against. Maybe that's the fear that draws my sword of dogmatism.  

I appreciated your extensive comments I., particularly about the incompleteness of seeing. I have enormous uncertainty about it from a third person perspective but that evaporates in headlessness where I seem to be rather like R. in the bath. Thanks and best wishes to all. A.M. Australia.  

I've come to really appreciate the simple, direct language that Douglas Harding has used in his "headless" books and workshops. But more importantly, it is clear that when I look for myself, there is just this aware emptiness... no witness, no subject/object ideas, nothing to do or achieve, no levels to go through, and nothing to surrender. How marvellous!! Best wishes, C.W. Canada.  

Here's one from me prompted by R's reference to George Fox. I have always carried one famous Foxism around with me. I think it was a sermon in Ulverstone or Keswick, somewhere up there. He said something on the lines of "we say, Paul sayeth this and Isaiah sayeth that but what sayest thou?" Whereupon Elizabeth Fell or someone had a massive insight into the second-handedness of their spirituality. A.M. Australia  

Regarding the spiritual texts and quotations, I often feel inspired by them, and of course moved when they have literary quality. But for me, there is a necessary translation that has to occur before I can bring the text "home" to the point of my actual Seeing. The actual Seeing is always so much clearer, more immediate, than the metaphors and allusions of the sages. Does Headlessness really require justification and amplification from canonical sources, does reading these assist one in Seeing? J.H. USA

When "I" am aware of the Awareness of no head, there are no more questions and all is well..., just the peace that passes understanding... Then Douglas Harding comes along and seems to say this ineffable Awareness is God's awareness... Please, what is he trying to tell "me"? J.

I just spent one week meditating in a monastery in the South of France with a group of people and discovered that the scientific aspect of the headless way, that is to say discovering things for myself rather than believing an external authority, gives a personal strength, certainty, in my spiritual life that I did not use to have. Neverthless I still hesitate to share the way with others, being concerned that they might spoil the vision... which is in fact impossible. M.

I haven't shared this experience with anyone yet, I must admit. I feel it's because I fear that someone will convince me otherwise, or that they'll naturally assume I'm crazy.  Like Douglas say's though: "Dare to be your own authority". I guess I'm still working on my own doubts of this new experience. I continue to attend to my own headlessness, mainly by simply assuming the first person perspective.  Not anything particularly striking has come to me as of yet, nor any marvelous experience. However, one thing I do recognise is how incredibly relaxed I am after assuming the first person perspective for a time, and a slight giggle that erupts within me as I pass a mirror after a long while, as if I am seeing that face for the first time. That's fun. K.

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