Movement

Whilst jogging this morning, I decided to walk a while backwards to watch that beautiful sunrise over the Alpines. And suddenly, surprise, surprise (ok - maybe not for you "longtime seers" but for me!) I realised how the road floated out from here, how the space here gave birth to the hills over there, to the mountains, the sun ....... how creative this space is, how, how...... AMAZING! S.C. Germany.

My flat is full of doorways and I often have to go from one room to another. It occurred to me to wonder whether anything actually goes through the doorway when I do this ( as it obviously does when I have friends here ). I watched very carefully, but could never detect anything going through. What did happen was that the empty space of the doorway rather suddenly became much larger and its boundaries disappeared. Then there was a different view, looking curiously serene and beautiful. A.R. UK

In the workshop there was a man on my right who several times said how important being still whilst the scenery moves was to him. I was very touched by him. I got the participants to do the spinning experiment - and let them do it for ten or fifteen minutes. It was a strong experience for many of them. How simple and accessible, how shareable, this headlessness is. One of the participants went home after the Friday evening and showed his wife. R.L. UK.

I was one of those participants that did the "spinning experiment - for ten or fifteen minutes. It was a strong experience for many of them, including myself. I was struck my the fact that after spinning in a circle for such a long time I had no experience of dizziness whatsoever! The body/mind lost its domination over where I look out of. This happened several times, during several experiments which brought me back home. G. USA

I'm living in Amsterdam. I came across the headless way about 3 years ago when I attended a two-day seminar Douglas gave near Nice, in the South of France. The finger-pointing exercise literally blew my head away, and the closed-eye one finished me off. I hadn't expected anything from the seminar. The name Douglas Harding was familiar: I had read something about him in a book by Colin Wilson called "Beyond the Occult". Wilson quotes the famous passage from the beginning of On Having No Head and then goes on to say that that's all very well but its probably the kind of emptiness and simplicity experienced by cows in a field! Well, I thought perhaps I was in for an entertaining lecture on Zen Buddhism. I was in no way expecting to be literally decapitated. It was difficult not to burst out in peels of laughter during the rest of the seminar. That night, and every night for about the next 3 weeks, I found the in-seeing - awareness of oneself - to be so interesting and absorbing, so perfect and complete, that going to sleep seemed an absurdity. I lay awake for hours - just staying with the seeing and the realisation of what this all means.

Since then, seeing has become less intense but has remained constant. It took a little while to 'get' the assertion that it is the world and not I that moves. Now its a tremendous thing to cycle around this beautiful city and see, beyond all doubt, that it's Amsterdam that flies by while 'I' am this awake unmoving stillness. The way close objects like the road beneath ones feet flash by and more distant things like buildings and trees float past gracefully is a spectacle I never tire of. This has certainly become my favourite exercise. J.R. Holland

We did the test in which you point at yourself, and spin around your own axis. This reminded me of an experience I have with aikido (a martial art). Two or three times a week, I practice aikido. At some moments, I had two difficulties during my practice: one was that, when I trained with some people, I felt a kind of fear when somebody 'attacked' me, so that my body became tense and stiff, which hindered carrying out the technique. Another problem was that I sometimes became dizzy, because there is a lot of tumbling around in aikido. These problems vanished into thin air, when I reminded myself of the Void I am. When somebody attacked me, I felt relaxed, because who was there to attack? When I had to tumble around, I did not feel dizzy anymore, because there was no one here to feel dizzy, and besides, there was only a stillness in which the world turned around, not me. M. Belgium

On the way home, driving the van in and around the town's streets, aware of the traffic and the road lights, concentrating. Then, down the slip road and onto the quiet of the motorway. No street lights and at this time of the evening not much traffic, just gently cruising along, watching the white lane markers come and go, in and out of the area lit up by the headlights.

Nothing's coming the opposite way. Or, maybe there is - I'm just concentrating on a patch of darkened road just ahead of the beam of my lights. My mind's in an 'automatic pilot' mode. The gentle green glow of the dash lights soothes my eyes and highlights my hands on the steering wheel leaving the remainder of the van as a backdrop of dark velvet.

Driving along a relatively straight section of the motorway requires little movement and leaves me feeling relaxed, which after a while leaves me with only an awareness of my hands, giving the feeling of being disembodied or disassociated from them. Maybe they're someone else's!

This stillness of my self within me contrasts with the mesmerising hurry of the road, coming rushing into the pool of light from the front and blurring, flowing, around the van and past me. I have no awareness of my body, just my hands. There is just 'me'. Looking out. Like viewing the world through some 3-dimensional window, protected from the environment outside. A third party. Stillness is me, with my awareness looking out.

There you go... that's an attempt to describe a particular experience I associate with 'headlessness'. I.K. UK

Swings

Swings are fun,
swings are free,
swings go high,
swings go low,
swings go high,
and never I.

Rosemary, aged 7.

Last weekend Catherina organised a workshop. I participated (a Dutch headless workshop). We did the turning experiment, with one arm pointing out to the room I started turning round and round and round. (Before I discovered my true identity, I used to get quite sick when I had to turn.) Now, doing the experiment(s), I kept noticing who is moving, the room or I? Well, it certainly wasn't me! I could turn and turn and turn without getting sick or dizzy. The room, and the other participants were moving all the time, and I was standing absolutely still while turning. This seems like a child's play, and it's fun to do. But to me this means so much more. It shows me that where I stand, there is a quiet peaceful place, no matter what other people are doing or asking me to do. There is always a place for me, right at the spot where I Am. Hilde.

I often try to pay attention to my headlessness when walking through the streets. I'm doing especially the experiment of turning the direction of my looking 180 degrees inward, and the experiment of watching things moving past me while I'm staying in the same place. Only at few moments I experienced this seeing as joyful. It was the experience of a total coincidence with myself. The thought came up: "I never want to quit this place again!" But it seems one falls back into the old habit very easily, the habit of treating living beings as mere objects. M.

See Spinning Experiment

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