I think it's so interesting all the different ways "It" is experienced.
When I first made conscious contact I used the word "nothingness and
emptiness" to describe "It". Now "it" is so alive, full and vibratory.
All inclusive. Life. It tickles from within. And no matter what words I
use to describe "It", "It" doesn't change! Gratefully It's always here.
I am so appreciative of the simplicity of the Headless Way. I was listening to a well-known spiritual teacher's radio program on Thursday and the verbal pointers used made "It" sound so mysterious and difficult to "get". No wonder so many spiritual seekers don't find. I like the finger pointers best! Barbara.
Thank you for sharing what I have found so far to be the simplest and most direct way of experiencing Space, No-Self, Awareness, Capacity, whatever you want to call it. I have investigated many different approaches and find Douglas Harding's pointing to be the most effective and most uncomplicated. Some other approaches, if you will, end up engaging the mind, threatening the mind, observing the mind, trying to still the mind, going beyond the mind etc. etc. etc. and can end up being so full of effort and so complex, with one concept leading to another concept and even so called pointers seem to end up as yet another concept. It requires tremendous work to get beyond all the concepts. I find those approaches can be exhausting. I'm not denying that they can "bear fruit", however with simple pointing I find somehow the mind is not even engaged. There is an immediate experiencing of unlimited space and freedom that is so immediately apparent that somehow mind has no way of getting there first to distort or misinterpret what is occurring. Truly an effortless way. Thank you. Ingrid.
I'd like just like to say that I've read a lot of books on spiritual awakening, but few have even come close to the simplicity and profound clarity of Mr. Harding's work, which I'm so happy to have discovered just a week ago. His experiments are quite similar to the "pointing-out instructions" of Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen practice--but for me a lot more effective! I'm just amazed to see that losing face, dropping egoic self-image, is so volitional and so incredibly easy. The hard part, I know, is keeping with this all the time, till it becomes a naturally effortless state to abide in, but at least now I'm certain--I can easily, directly SEE, with certainty--what terms like "nonduality" and "enlightenment" are actually pointing to. And with each successive glimpse I'm finding, quite pragmatically, my usual level of shyness rapidly dissolving. This is a superb teaching! T.
I knew all the words before I ever read 'On Having No Head' and saw for myself what the words pointed to. I had heard of the famous Void. I knew the word. But I hadn't consciously seen it. It was a wonderful, all-inclusive concept, but it had no location in the world I lived in, the vast outside world. It was just a concept. And it seemed true, but I didn't know just how it was true. Seeing the Void, locating it in the physical world, made all the difference for me. From that point on, reading words had real meaning. The words weren't just concepts. They were pointing to things in the real physical world.
Douglas Harding said that people complained that his way was too physical. And he said emphatically: "I do not apologize for that!" Why should he? Without the experiments making "spiritual" concepts real and physical, concepts remain concepts, however peaceful and loving they sound. This is a way of the present moment. It's always all right here. Seeing makes the words real. Seeing goes beyond experiments. It becomes normal even when you're not thinking about it, even when you have no words for it, which is most of the time. The spaciousness and openness of reality is never hidden. The reality that the experiments show us is here 100% of the time. The words about this reality pop up only now and then. In the beginning, the words used in the experiments and in "spiritual" literature, point to a reality that had not been seen. But soon enough, the words celebrate reality. The words become poetry and revelation. They make a joyous sound. As we were growing up and being educated, words directed away from what we see ourselves to be and toward what others see us to be. Once we make them flip-flop from what others see us to be to what we see ourselves to be, the same old words reflect the world we see. Words no longer direct our world. They reflect it. Words themselves change. The dictionary is transformed. Words that once pointed to abstractions now point to physical realities. Jim.
I came upon the teachings of Harding on the internet to my great rejoicing. Instead of trying to break the mind with concepts like "Consciousness is all there is. None is the doer of any actions, etc." Harding simplified the approach to the most direct empirical experience of one's divinity. He is truly a genius. E. USA.
Having been on a spiritual path for many years, this is the first time that I have been presented with this very simple method of self-realization. How truly wonderful it is to BE in a boundless, vast and neutral state. So many paradoxes, I have to stop thinking and just merely BE. Thanks! B. USA.
I ran into Douglas one day in the gardens of High Leigh, where the summer school was being held. In the course of our talking he got me to stretch out my arms (he used no paper bags or mirrors in those days!) and asked me to say what I found, on direct first-hand evidence, between those arms. Well of course I needn't tell you the answer --suffice it to say that I "saw" immediately what Douglas was driving at. M.S. UK
My friends and I just spent the evening practising the experiments on your web page. We found them exciting and illuminating. I recently came upon the realization that all things rise out of a much larger context than my own small personal perspective. I now easily recognize this in my meditation where I'm much more interested in the context than the content. I, and my friends easily recognized the same thing in these exercises by Douglas Harding. This is definitely the most direct route of true perception we have come across. Amazing. But obviously the work is to break the habit of false perception. We will be practising these exercises together. P., L., & H. Sweden.
When I was officially "seeking", I must have scoured over a thousand books looking for the "answer" - every great mystic and saint from every religion... Zen Buddhists, Sufis, Christian Mystics, Taoists, Hindus, and lots of folks who fell outside of any definable group, etc. - strangely, I didn't find any Jewish mystics to read...the Kabballah and Zohar seemed way too complex - like you need a secret decoder ring, a great and erudite teacher, and many lifetimes to approach an answer!
Well, after finding Douglas and doing the experiments - I sat there stunned and in utter amazement - you mean it's always been right HERE and NOW, and I've been driving myself crazy looking everywhere but right where I AM. It did, however, make me appreciate all the great mystics, saints and religions in retrospect - I was able to honestly appreciate that most of them got it right, and now I was in a position to See for myself. What a gift Seeing is, and how wonderfully accessible, straightforward, and sharable it is.
Well, I've been immersed, fascinated, awed, and amazed ever since - usually, when you find what you're looking for, the wonder disappears. Well, when it comes to Seeing and consciously living from Who You Really, Really Are - the Mystery is endless, full of surprises, delightful even when it's quite painful if that makes any sense. B.K. USA.
When I was in India with my master, I had all these tremendous experiences of sat-chit-ananda, the divine omnipresence. I thought, "How on earth would I be ever able to describe this to anyone back in the West? How would I explain to my mother that she is not quite my mother, but my very Self!"
Then I found the teachings of B., "Consciousness is all there is. None is the doer of any actions, etc." But he is really very intellectual, a jnani. So to get where he is, much mental effort is necessary.
And then Harding, so simple and so profound! B's teaching was theory, Harding's is the practice. E. USA.
What substance have you found your own self to have? I mean you, where you are sitting right now. If you're like me, you don't find much, a couple of hands, parts of arms, I see a smidgen of leg, and that's it. If I close my eyes, all that becomes a rumor. Deeply asleep at night, no rumor. So, following the rule of least common denominator, I am nothing, really. Aware emptiness. D. U.S.A.
I took a look at myself just now to see what I could see
and based on present evidence, I didn't recognize me.
Without my past experience a nose could be a knee,
but knowing not a nose or knee I wonder, what could it be?
Yes, it is simple & clear. I had no idea how simple & clear. I had been studying Ramana & Nisargadatta & Tony parsons, etc., & I would occasionally get "glimpses" of a vague intuitive kind of this reality, but, nothing as "in your face" like what the headless way demonstrates. The headless way cuts thru all the dogma & BS & takes you right to the source (well, actually, you are already there, but, it's obscured by the BS & dogma, etc.). Instead of meditating or trying to figure it out or surrender or understand, one simply sees. It's seeing instead of believing. & seeing IS believing, no? D.C. USA
About 15 years ago I had a spontaneous breakthrough which was like a boulder being dropped in a pond. The ripples of that experience caused me to search for a way back and understand what was going on. Although I practiced in the Zen tradition for a while I have always gravitated towards the more non-dual, basic awareness teachings of people like Krishnamurti, Toni Packer, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisgardatta etc.. When I came across Douglas Harding I felt there was a ripeness there waiting to relate to what was so obvious. I still can't believe how ridiculously open and obvious the reality of who we really are is. I mean, on one level it's almost childish. Yet we make so many conceptual assumptions about what is going on. I've told some people about it, but either they think I'm crazy, a simpleton or they're just not ready. Also - different paths for different journeymen as well. J.
I first read The Little Book of Life and Death when I was hospitalized with broken bones in my arm and foot. I enjoyed it so much I burst out laughing in my hospital bed. That was 6 years ago already. Since then I find myself appreciating the sweetness of Vedic texts such as Bagavatam, Avadhuta Gita, Tripura Rahasia and Ashkavakra Samhita more and more. Love letters written in such humor and sweetness from Me to Me. Human heart, which is the heart of the mystery, can only be truly free when it knows itself. But the words get in the way when you talk like this. This knowing is more like intuiting. Just as Mr. Harding says, it's not for believing but for seeing. The famous Zen phrase, "directly see into your heart, find Buddha nature, become Buddha" is said with a twinkle in the priest's eyes, I'm sure. Y. Japan.
When I first met A. here in Sydney he told me about the time that he told a friend of his, someone extraordinarily erudite about all things spiritual, about the Douglas Harding techniques and the results as they had happened to him (A.). Apparently the friend looked down his nose and snorted "But that's very low level enlightenment!" A. often proclaims now that he is an exponent of "low level enlightenment" And I find that this has a very beneficial effect. It acts as an antidote to the idea that seeing is essentially a "great event". Often the most remarkable thing about "seeing" is its ordinariness. Often it is searching for something miraculous that is the great barrier to "seeing" what is here now. W. Australia
I have now read Head Off Stress. What really strikes me about the book, and the other Douglas Harding books I have read, is that it turns enlightenment upside down - at least compared to my previous view; It is not a distant goals I can hope to glimpse now and again through rigorous practise. No, it is accessible here and now, if I will just take a second to let go of the games I play. It is not just head off stress, it is as much head off pretense in spiritual practise.
I am very inspired with Douglas' approach not to eliminate stress from life, but to place it where it belongs, which is always 'there', not 'here'. I have been decapitating myself repeatedly every day since last summer. Seeing is readily accessible, though I am quite certain I don't grasp half the meaning of Seeing. That may come in the fullness of time and practise. Reading 'Head off stress' only served to strengthen my commitment to practise Seeing as often as I remember. Thomas.
For some reason, I had missed the experiments - of course, I couldn't understand it! I'm now starting to get it. This is really cool. I can't believe how simple it all seems; although, I imagine it takes some effort at least in the beginning to remember to see from "headlessness." Anne.
Hi Richard, Thanks for your email, and many thanks for the ongoing course on seeing. After years of seeking, much of which wasn't much fun, to come to such a direct and simple pointer to what I AM (really) has been a tremendous relief. The hardest part of which has been accepting the sheer simplicity of it all! Seeing thoughts and images as mere appearances in the space has taken most of the belief in them away. Simply relaxing in what I AM rather than shooting off into some drama has been an unbelievable discovery. Thank you for the pointers. Mo.
I have been steeped in mysticism and Buddhism for ten years now, and I must say, yesterday and today, Harding is in a league of his own. He just clarifies so much rubbish! Charlie.
When I first read "On Having No Head" I didn't really "get it" but was intrigued enough to go on to read "Head Off Stress" and to do the experiments. It was putting on the imaginary glasses that first made me "see" and the face-to-no-face which I find most helpful in day to day living. Such a simple thing - but what a difference it makes! All those years of searching and here was something practical, something which really worked in keeping the connectedness. I notice when I am forgetful of the two-way looking a certain "fed-up-ness", haste and even aggression comes into what I am doing but when I am "seeing" all is peaceful, present and loving. M.
I must say that I was quite astonished after reading Reflection nr. 5. To me it seemed impossible not to See after doing the experiments. In my thought everybody would see how extraordinarily obvious the whole thing is. But, as I’ve read, this seems not to be the case!
When I stumbled upon the experiments I just tried one out. I pointed towards some objects and then towards where my head was thought to be and like a rocket....beng.....it hit me. I just sat there smiling, joyful, not understanding yet knowing that I found somehing I’d been looking for. Maybe that’s the difference... I’ve had my experiences over the years and was always trying to return to the state connected to these experiences but could only do so by great and enduring effort (yoga, meditation, reading). Still it remained impossible to prolong the experience of openness and space. And now I had found the simplest of ways to go to, to find the exact experience that I recognised from previous occasions. To me this felt, and still feels, like an unimaginable gift.
Seeing that at my end everything is always still or unmoved took some more time. I started seeing this after I noticed that my view had changed. I now see the entire scene at once and movement of my head picks out that part of the scene that is focused upon.
Now whatever movement my head (or my eyes) make, this movement is always inside the entire scene and does not move the scene as such. When I observe in this way I can see that, when I ride my bike, there is a quick movement close to me and a very slow movement further away. If it were my screen of sight that was moving it would have to move at different speeds within the same scene and that’s not what is happening. There is just an area in which objects are seen that move at different speeds towards me depending on their distance from my focal point. I’ve found that changing the focal point will actually change the speed of the objects.
Now what I still can’t experience is what Mr. Harding describes in reflection 5. He says: “So all is yours, and from you, and to you”. Actually the part that says: all is (coming) from you, puzzles me. To me there are still things that are “out there”. I know that the objects require my seeing to become noticed but I do not feel that the objects “are born”out of my consiousness. So I’m here and the objects are there and they converge in my headless presence. I feel the objects do not belong to what I consider my headless self to be.
I do understand that this question doesn’t change a bit of what I am, so it’s not a case of life or death to me ... Anyway, I also wanted to let you know I’m very grateful for the work that you’re doing and that it means an awful lot to me. HV.
So far I find these experiments fascinating. Quite "the eye opener." I can find the "edgeless nothingness" and also the "single eye." I very much enjoyed the theory of how the eye really sees. I find these exercise very simple yet profound. There are areas I do not understand as yet. Sandra
The Headless Way has a beautiful simplicity beyond all the esoteric studies and meditative practices that I have been involved in over the many years. L.W.
When I was in Salisbury two years ago, I had a funny experience. In the afternoon I was lying on my bed, resting, and I heard the others playing and talking down there in the garden. I closed my eyes and I experienced in my hearing exactlly this what Douglas was talking about seeing. There was no "hearer", there were only sounds happening here, in me, I was the sounds, not one millimeter Distance. Now I always have this kind of non-dual hearing. With seeing it is no so obvious, it changes. In "Head of stress" I read two days ago that between objects (my finger and my foot) there is always a gap. But between my finger and my non-face there is No-Gap. This surprised me and I did the finger -pointing again. I did it so often before, but now there was a new quality in it. It seemed now that there really is nothing on my side and therefore no gap, but at the same time I seemed to surround this finger and this hand, I became the space in which the hand appeared. Douglas wrote: when you implode into nothing, you explode into the world. Well thats right, but it was not so spectacular, but so very very subtle that I almost overlooked it. Subtle but deep. T.H. Germany.
The experiments outlined on your website are fantastically simple and effective. The simplicity and clarity with which the whole thing has been explained is quite simply brilliant. Funny how, when I completely surrendered to whatever happened only 2 days ago, having failed enough times at creating the life I had previously wanted, I find a website such as this which answers my questions all in one go and sends me off on my way. Many thanks. A.
On going to the headless website I immediately tried the pointing exercise and ‘got it’ straight away. It’s absolutely amazing how extraordinary it is that such a simple experiment can bring so much. Later I tried the other ‘experiments’ with largely similar results. What also appeals is the lack of any ‘baggage’ attached to the seeing…. Just simply what is, as it is, and the pointing to the glaringly obvious. Having been involved in a spiritual teaching for many years that requires huge amounts of knowledge and study, I find this wonderfully refreshing. Steve.
I came come across the website many months ago, had saved it in my favorites, but my rational mind completely dismissed the experiments as silly. A few days ago I was again drawn to it, did the experiments and it blew my mind away. I have been meditating daily since the mid 1970s, studying Advaita Vedanta teachings for about 3 years now, and just by doing a few of the experiments, I was finally able to see the spaciousness, the clear Emptiness of the Awareness That I AM. What an incredibly simple, fast and effective method! G.
Since discovering the Headless Way some 5 years ago now, I have continued to enjoy seeing into the vastness that I am - the Self and all it's contents. This is likely the clearest proof of Advaita Vedanta teachings that there is. Years of 'enquiry' are swept away by the direct clarity of this perfect seeing of the timeless void, manifesting AS IS in the here and now. One thing about headlessness that I particularly enjoy is that this is either seen or it isn't; it's not a question of philosophical debate, the being or becoming discussion. On present evidence, I have no head. Indeed, where once there was a head, now there is only All. Steve.
I’ve done a ton of reading and this that is being presented connects more than anything I’ve been exposed to, to date. Robert.