Hi Richard, I just wanted to let you know that I am continuing to practice what I have discovered seeing. I think what impacted me the most was the day I was walking and really saw that there was no "inside me" and "outside there". This has really changed how I think and perceive. I have also learned from reading material on non-dualism. The combination of physically seeing and mentally understanding and then just letting go of all of that and just sensing without describing, labelling is very helpful. I think I went a little overboard with information and I am just allowing it all to settle in. I am still experiencing a sense of inner peace and joy and that is most important to me. It is difficult to remember at times but that is the practice! Ronna.
I first experienced headlessness in the summer of 1991. I was 24 at the time and had been studying different spiritual paths intensely. I was actually reading a book called "20th Century Mystics and Sages" which had some of Douglas' experiments in it. I tried one after a hard day at work. I was sitting by the river and started to pay attention to my face and it happened. I fully recognized that I was awareness itself. It was now all so obvious. Awareness itself has never had a head. This body has, but awareness hasn't. It has always been empty awareness. That's what I have always been. I think I had some kind of samadhi and I went in and out of that blissful state for up to 6 months. After that I could never recapture that intensity again. Something just clicked the first time and I could focus completely on my facelessness. I could effortlessly observe all of my thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions, etc, while knowing that I was the space in which all of those events occured. There was no separation between the objects of consciousness and the subjective awareness within which they all existed. I identified with the space rather than the objects within the space, yet the space was the objects. The only way I could define myself - the space that I now was - was by the objects within that space. You know what I mean. After 6 months that was all gone and I've chased after it ever since. Almost 20 years now.
I was watching you the other day on Conscious TV. I loved the interview, even though it was funny how Ian McNay didn't get it. The other one with Richard Miller was better though. He seemed to get it. I thoroughly enjoyed your lucid and humble descriptions of being headless. Especially when you got on the topic of allowing a self to be there. Although, when I was headless, it was obviously fine that all that I considered to be my self was allowed to be there, but as time went on I started to wonder why my self wasn't dissappearing and this selflessness wasn't taking over more completely. After watching your interviews I think I see where I went wrong all those years ago. I believed the spiritual and erroneous concept that the self shouldn't be there. Your description of allowing the self to be there while still being aware of what's on top of my shoulders brought back glimpses of that intimate spacious wholeness. I also liked your comments on the "wow" factor. I see where I went wrong. Hey, I was young and the glamour of romanticised spiritual experiences impressed me. So, I'm slowly getting back to paying attention to my no-head. I love it actually. Bruce S.
I am glad you brought up the business about "deepening". I've never been comfortable with the statement that the first time you see it you see it perfectly. The awareness of Who I really am is nothing, and so nothing can be done to it. It can't be perfected. But the view can: it can become less distorted, truer, clearer, wider, or deeper. At least that has been my experience.
I would like to ask R., and those who agree with the statement that you can't see it wrong, what would you call it when somebody sees she is empty for the chair in front of her, but can't see she is empty for thoughts, too? Or she may see she is empty for thoughts, but not empty for body feelings? The latter may be "seen" as central, despite her having experienced them otherwise in the past. Or sometimes there is more or less identification, or more or less clarity. At different stages and days I have experienced all of the above. And there must be other examples. If I may say, C. gave an example of a perfectible seeing experience when he talked about his initial "headless" experience. So, what would you call these examples? If you won't say it is imperfect, incomplete or shallow seeing, then would you say it is not seeing? To me it is seeing that can be deepened, made clearer, etc. Regards, E.C. USA.
Dear E., It's my experience too that the view out can be deepened, become less distorted. This deepening is certainly important for me. It makes a difference in my life. As for someone who can't see they are capacity for their thoughts, or their body sensations - I'm not quite sure what "can't" means. I could understand them "not understanding" that their thoughts are not central, or describing it differently from the way I do, or overlooking the emptiness at that moment. Does it mean that they actually see their thoughts or sensations at centre? I don't understand that, can't imagine that. I think I need to know more from you about what you mean there.
I see in some situations and not in others, but I don't think I see better in some than in others, or deeper. Obviously I'm talking about the view in here. I also identify more with my body or my thoughts or whatever on some occasions than on others. I don't think this means I am not seeing necessarily. The view out is different, but not the view in.
I think deepening my understanding, letting the Seeing seep in and through my whole being, is vital to me. Thereby it comes to mean something in my life.
To say that the first time you see this, it is perfect, means a lot to me personally. It means that there is fundamentally no hierarchy of seers, no gradations of emptiness. It does not mean that there is not a lifetime of working it out in my life ahead, of applying it. To me it is the difference between the experience and the meaning. The experience of the essence is always the same, but its meaning in my life is always changing, always developing. The view in and the view out. The best of both worlds! Regards, R.L. UK.
When I first came into contact with headlessness and did the experiments it hit me like a rocket... bang... the stuff I had been searching for so long just at the end of my fingertips. Incredible yet true beyond belief. I practiced headlessnes as my second nature day in day out just because it was there.
Gradually I sensed that it was only part of the story. I couldn’t figure out what I missed but headlesness seemed to float at the surface inviting you in, but not being the inside thing itself (something like that). I kept using it because it gives you the right direction straight away, you just can’t go wrong. Actually it gives you the shift from “normal” bodily presence to a less or non-bodily awareness.
I now have found out that it’s not only our head that we are missing, in actual fact we even have not a single part of our body at our disposal in our lives. Everything that we consider our body is actually absent in the presence of awareness. This makes it far more easy to remain in this natural condition. Please give me your thoughts on this matter. I don’t wish to underrate any of your work, it helped me tremendously, but I do feel having no body at all is nearer the truth than only having no head. H.V.
I originally read Head Off Stress this April and did the experiments for a few months afterwards, but coming back to them I feel like I am going much deeper. Last night, watching television, I seemed to be disappearing altogether. It was just the television being watched. Chris.
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