Here is the transcript of a workshop Douglas Harding gave in London in 2000. For the transcript of a workshop Harding gave in Sydney in 1992, go to Sydney Workshop.

The One Behind The World          

Workshop with Douglas Harding
Given to the Ramana Maharshi Foundation,
London 17 September 2000

I apologise for having half the act missing. Catherine [Douglas Harding's wife] would love to be here, but is a little bit under the weather. Anyway, a very warm welcome to this get-together, especially to new friends, those I haven’t met before.

As I see it, my job is not primarily a religious one at all. It has religious consequences and repercussions, but it is about something other than religion. It is about, I think, attention ; about noticing and waking up to what’s going on in our life. It’s about being conscious, really. I don’t find anything really “religious” about the kind of things that I am in the business of being conscious of.

For example, I have come to you this morning from Ipswich by train. What intrigues me is the behaviour of the - they’re not telegraph poles, but poles supporting the wires - the behaviour of those poles. Now is there anything religious about the behaviour of poles, you know, going by, tchch, chch, tchch? I don’t think that’s a religious thing at all, is it? Another example of the kind of thing I’m in the business of sharing with you today, is what we’re looking out of. When I put on my glasses, I find two of them, but when I have them on I’m looking out of a monocle! Just one! Now, what’s religious about counting the lenses in your monocle or bicycle, or whatever you call it?

I’m also in the business of seeing where the colour and texture of my shirt front disappears; where I can’t trace it any further. I draw a line - a boundary here - between what has colour, and what seems to be colourless. Now, can you tell me what’s religious about observing where colour fades out into no colour? I don’t find anything religious about that, or about other things which seem to me very important to be aware of, and not to edit out of one’s experience.

Nevertheless, for the past half century I suppose, it has been my job to look at these simple ordinary everyday things, and really notice what’s going on, and not gloss over it and deny it. Although it’s been my business to look at these very non-religious things, I think that what I have discovered, and what my friends have discovered with me, is of enormous consequence for what we call the spiritual life, and ... the religious life.

Today we shall be doing a series of little experiments or experiences or tests to see what is really going on in our lives. It seems to me quite important, exciting, interesting and fascinating, to take a fresh look, and to see if it is true, what a number of eminent psychologists, psychiatrists and others, have been telling me, that the function of society is to funnel fictions into one’s consciousness. When we join the human club, we agree to see not what we see, but what society and language and convenience permit us to see. To belong to the human club means to indulge, I think, and I think you will agree, in hallucination - really, in illusion, I would say.

This is not so bad if it is an ordinary illusion, but if it is an illusion about our very nature, this can be very sad, I think - very sad. Psychologists have warned us about this. I’m thinking about one eminent American psychologist whom I knew, who had a nice way of putting it. He said, “We are all born princes and princesses, and the business of society is to turn us into frogs.”

Well, that is a picturesque way of putting it. That was Eric Berne, the transactional analysis man - a very brilliant man, actually, whom I worked with for a time. Eric Fromm, another neo-Freudian American psychologist, Jewish and also brilliant, said what I said before - that the business of society was to funnel fictions into consciousness - to just lead us up the garden path and tell us things which are not true. So should we bother about being truthful about what we’re experiencing, rather than suffer from these hallucinations and convenient social fictions? And why should we seek relief from these social fictions?

I think, for a number of reasons; you see, something has happened to you which is extremely precious and astonishing, and I think very much overlooked and disregarded; some enormous privilege which you are enjoying, and I am enjoying, and that is, that one has actually happened. One has OCCURRED.

If you think biologically, of the chances of just you occurring, they are billions to nil, aren’t they! You happened. It seems to me, that having happened, it’s such a shame not to have a look at it. To live and die without bothering to see who’s doing so, seems so chicken hearted, really. Having happened, let’s have the guts, let’s have the thrill and the joy of really working out what’s “happened”, and, by taking leave from social fictions, just have a simple look at it.

That is what we are going to do today. The first reason is, we’ve happened, and we’re not going to live and die without having a look at it FOR ourselves, not at what big brother and language and society tell me I am, but at what I am actually experiencing. Reason number two is that, as I read it, all the great spiritual traditions, six of them - in the East three, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, and in the West three, Judaism, Christianity and Islam - each one of those great spiritual traditions has come up with an extraordinary story; an amazing, and crazy story, you might say. Admittedly the story has been suppressed and denied, and people have been barbecued for telling it, for speaking out of turn, rather too often. Each of those spiritual traditions agrees with the others on this one point, this staggering proposition: that although you look like a human being, and indeed you are a human being, at your very centre, where you’re coming from, your Home Base, what you are looking out of, isn’t human at all. It’s very different.

Who you really really, really are, at the centre, your inmost nature, your awareness itself, is not a product of the world. It is the origin of the world.

It is the mystery behind this fabulous universe, that you are not a little bit of that divine fire, not a spark of that divine fire, but the flame, the fire itself, all of it present in you, in what you are looking out of, nearer to you than the guy in your mirror, nearer to you than everything else. Who you are, what you really are, is none other than that IN FULL STRENGTH! and flourishing in good nick. You don’t have a little miserable version of it here, and a splendid version where Alan is, and an even more splendid version where Jane is, and so on, you know, various kind of sparks from that fire. Each of us is SEIZED with the whole mystery.

All the six religions have said this, in their own tone of voice. Of course, their languages have been different, and the popular versions of them are wildly different. I’m not talking about the popular misconceptions of these six great faiths. I’m talking about what lies at their secret heart. And it is this proposition, that right now, in this room, what you are looking out of, is not human. It is Divinity itself. It is the One behind the world.

Now, one can tackle this proposition via one or other of the great religions, and I think that is indeed, the proper way to do it. All I am saying is, it is not the only way. There is another way, which I would say is not religious at all. It is this way which I propose to share with you today - as a kind of “number seven”. Number seven is not a religion at all, but - what should I say? - attention to what is given. And it is what we are going to have a go at this morning.

So there are two reasons so far, for bothering to look into this question of our most basic experience of telegraph poles, of spectacles and of simple, ordinary, common or garden things, to see whether we’ve got it right. The first reason is, it’s been told by the great mystics of all religions, that we’ve got it wrong, and that society is a fictional device for deceiving us about who we are and what we are. The second reason, which is in fact the first for me, is “having occurred, I’m damn well not going to live and die without having a good look at it for myself, without reference to holy people or holy books or anything else. I’m going to have a go at DARING to look for myself, at myself.”. And when I do that, and I hope to share this with you, I see that everything is the opposite of what I have been told.

Now, it isn’t that I turn out to be somewhat unlike what society advertises me to be, just a bit different you know, a bit funny, a bit off the human pattern. It isn’t that I’m a LITTLE bit unlike the story I was told about myself. When I dare to look, when I have the guts and the interest to look, I find that I’m the exact opposite in all important respects of what I’ve been told.

Now I find that amazing. I’m the exact OPPOSITE of what I was told I was. And I find this not by searching in the holy scriptures, which is a very fine thing to do, and I’m not denying that. What I’m saying is, that there is a way, which we are going to share today, of just having a look, and seeing, and checking out what Douglas says, and is absolutely and deeply convinced of, that I am in all important respects, as First Person, at Centre, where I’m coming from, as who and what I really am, the precise, spitting-opposite - can you have a spitting-opposite? - the opposite in all important respects from what I happen to look like.

Now, you’ve got what Douglas looks like, and that’s your problem. You know, beard, and stuff ; old, ninety-one year specimen, archaeological specimen - you are in receipt of that, that’s your problem. But HERE, you see, it’s different. I mean, I look to you as though I’m looking out of TWO peepholes in a meatball, don’t I. Well, I think we shall see that it ain’t like that at all. And to you I look very solid, indeed too solid, a bit too bulky and all that. And really I appear to be kind of opaque ... But when I look from HERE, I find transparency going on for ever and ever and ever.

I look as though I came here from Ipswich. I look as though I walk around the room. But I find that I don’t walk around the room, the room walks around in me. In the train, I notice that I’m not moving, it’s the telegraph poles that are doing all that stuff. It’s the trees and the houses, and the little hills of East Anglia. They are doing all the moving. Everything is the exact opposite of what I’ve been advertised to be. And when I look HERE, the news is Good News.

You see, the third reason for having a look at this, is that it is Good News. For me anyway, it is Good News. I find that the social fictions that I have been invited to endorse and take on trust, are miserable, really. They tell me that my shelf life at ninety-one, is what, days? months? I don’t know. I don’t want to make it to a century, but it could be, I suppose. That’s the story. What I look like, is somebody whose shelf life is very short, and who is very small and very limited and very human, and a billion miles in all respects from the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory behind the world.

But when I look HERE, and dare to be my own authority, and really see what’s going on, I find everything is really the opposite of what I’ve been told. This is Good News, because what one discovers is a sheer marvel, a joy. It puts things right. The other wonderful thing is, that what I see here, when I approach it from a completely secular, and non-religious point of view, endorses and underlines what those six great traditions have been saying about my true nature. This is the final reason for having a look, as we are going to do today, at what’s HERE.

It’s practical. This is what we are up to, today. As you see, I have brought a bag of tricks here. We are going to rely today not on blah-blah-blah - I’m doing the blah-blah-blah now, I’m doing the talking, but words will convince nobody, I think. They will go in one ear and out the other. Words do not convince in this territory. But what I think does convince is what we can actually see clearly and directly for ourselves. That means non-verbal experimentation. Now don’t get worried, because the experiments we are going to do are not embarrassing at all. They are very simple, very direct, not complicated at all, and not a tiny bit embarrassing. But the experiments are what the day is about. The blah-blah-blurb is necessary of course, to introduce the non-verbal experiments. What are these experiments about?

The experiments utilise gadgetry. What I find is, you see, it’s INCREDIBLY difficult to see what we see, because of the power of language and the power of big brother in society. We are bulldozed into believing things which are not true. And society, bless its heart ... we must belong to the Club - we cannot resign from the Human Club; we owe everything, or most things, to the Human Club; but the price we pay for membership is too darned high! So the purpose of these experiments is to find a way of being better members of the Human Club, while withdrawing that crazily heavy and absurd subscription. And what is the subscription to the Club that I propose that we withdraw? It is this: that I am HERE what I look like to you.

This dictum, or principle, is really implicit and written in very small print in the form, registering our membership of the Human Club. If I want to know what I am, I look in the mirror - that’s Douglas in the mirror, that’s me, and what you see is what I am, and what I see, I see it in the mirror over there, but it is really HERE. And I am what I look like. Well, I promise you, as I said before, that I am, thank God, just about the opposite of what I look like, and so are you.

Now, I have your appearance, for which I thank you, because it takes years and decades off me, and I am so grateful for it! I have your appearance. And I would suggest that your appearance is my business. And your real business is not your appearance, which you leave to me and others. Your business, at least today, is your reality; where your appearance is coming from. Do you get it?

You see, you have Douglas’s appearance now. And that’s very important. I’m not putting it down. Our human appearance is enormously important. The question is, where does it belong, and TO WHOM? My appearance is not here at Centre. My appearance is off centre, isn’t it? If you come right up here, you lose me. So to find me, you have to be off centre. To have Douglas’s appearance, you have to be at least a metre away from him, don’t you? Then you pick up his appearance. And that belongs to you. That’s yours. I’m sorry for you, but there you are; that’s your problem. You have my appearance at this time, and I have yours, for which I am grateful. Of course, it is also rather good business, because I lose Douglas’ appearance, and I get in exchange about twenty other appearances, which is a good profit, really. My business is to enjoy those appearances in my reality here.

So I suggest that today, as far as possible, you leave your appearance to me; I’ll look after it - and I’m very grateful to you for it, I think it is delightful - if you’ll leave that to me, and attend to where you are coming from, and what is giving rise to your appearance, where you are; what you are looking out of. That is not your appearance. That is your reality, central to you, and what is alleged to be not human at all, but - as I said - nothing less than the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, behind this fabulous world.

Don’t believe a thing Douglas says. I’ve not come here to be believed. I think you should doubt everything I say, but do me the favour of testing it, to see if it is true for you. Subject it to the most rigorous tests that you can devise.

Well, that’s the Introduction to the experiments we’re going to do, and rather a long one. Now, just a word about these experiments - I’ve got gadgetry here. What these experiments consist of, is looking at ordinary and common-or-garden things and situations of life, in very uncommon, indeed unique contexts; to look at our ordinary non-religious humdrum day to day life, old things like coming here in a train, sitting in your chair and looking at Douglas, whatever, in the context of a new shape, a new environment, a new instrument you are employing. My experience is, and I think yours will be, that what was so difficult to see in the ordinary context, becomes a piece of cake, becomes so easy to see.

For example - and we’re going to do this presently - you look at me now, and you see Douglas’s face. This is a face to face situation, isn’t it. Ha ha! But society says it is! Every language says it is a face to face symmetrical situation, and that you and I at this moment are face to face like that. When every language says that, and our whole society is based on this, and never questions it, how can we get out of this? How can we check this?

Now just to look at one another and ask “Is it face to face?” is not that easy, is it? or to check whether it is a face to face symmetrical confrontation. And I think this question has not therefore been tackled. Not only is it taken for granted that you and I are face to face; nobody ever suggests that we should investigate or check it - almost nobody. We are checking it today. How do we get out of the language trap which says there is no escape from this confrontation?

We look at each other in a different way. We look at each other through a tube. And I’ve got these darn tubes here, and we’re going to do that. And I would suggest that, since it’s a matter of life and death, and really thrilling, exciting and important, and the secret of incredible joy and astonishment, that we really, really have a go. The tube is like a magic tube, which enables us to see what is so difficult to see outside of it, whether we are indeed face to face, or whether it is on the contrary, absolutely impossible to be face to face with anyone in your whole life, you never for one millionth of a second have been face to face with anyone in your whole life.

If we should find that it is a most incredible lie that we are confronting one another, in such a basic area - the area of personal relationships is ninety percent of our life, isn’t it? - if that’s wrong, then our life is mucked up, it is crazy! To get that one right is really important. Isn’t it possible that the great majority of our most severe problems arise from sheer stupid lying about what is obvious, once we dare to look? - especially with the help of a few little harmless gadgets here, in my secret package. Let’s launch now into this experiment with the tube.

If anyone is really completely in the dark as to what I’m talking about, and would just like a bit of light that I could throw, please do come up with it now, before we do the experiment?

Douglas, I keep coming and going to this. I seem to get it and then I seem to lose it, and then I seem to get it. What I’ve come to, is to sit here, a bit like an oak tree cut off at the shoulders, and then my perception of all this comes in. Is that a fair way of ... ?

Yes. You belong in the paper bag - in the tube. You have got the answer without the benefit of being in the tube, and I congratulate you.

Oh no, I’ve been to two of your workshops.

Well, anyway, the tube will endorse what you have just told me. You have experienced the tube before, perhaps? Well, congratulations on taking the message.

Sometimes it comes and sometimes it goes.

Well of course, this is our human condition, isn’t it. This is normal and to be expected. It is a ding-dong between the two views. This ding-dong I think, is absolutely appropriate. You’ve got two poles really, like a Duracell battery, you know, the Divine and the human. And the Divine and the human are totally interdependent. Without the human the Divine is not divine, and without the Divine the human is not human. They are like the poles of a Duracell battery. How do you get light? - not with one pole, or the other pole. You only get light by the interchange, the process between the two poles of the Duracell battery; so you need both. And it is, as you say, coming and going all the time. Well, we’ll see! Thank you. Shall we move on now to ... ? I’ve been talking far too long, really. Alan, will you take these and give them out?

The Tube, or Paper Bag Experiment

We have one of these (tubes) between two friends, two people. So can you identify your partner? And if we have a friend without a partner, I will take that friend on.

Now, I think it is very important that you get really close to your partner, otherwise you are going to lean over and get indigestion. Get as close as you can. I’ve explained that the experiments are the important part of this workshop, and not the talk. Therefore, I’m going to lay down a few rules, if I may, about the discipline with which we conduct the experiments, because otherwise they won’t work. We have to be careful to do the experiment in a kind of scientific way.

The first thing is, what are we looking for? When we go in the Tube, are we looking for nice feelings? No. Are we looking for “a mystical experience”? a peak experience? No. If you are looking for those things, you are perfectly entitled to, but that is not my purpose in setting up the experiment. What I am inviting you to do, in going in the Tube, is to see what’s on show; to see, simply to attend - just as in a laboratory you would see what’s happening in a test tube or a condenser. The purpose of going in the Tube is to see what’s on show; not to have nice feelings about it, or understand it, or have a peak experience, or all those things. Of course, if you do happen to have a lovely time in the Tube, well, congratulations, but that’s not what it’s about. It could in fact I think, divert us from what it’s all about. We’re going in there to answer some very simple questions, which you are invited to answer, for yourself, silently.

If we should have mystical experiences, or happen to fall in love with the person opposite, it’s not to deny that this would be a very nice thing, but it’s not what the experiment is about. The experiment is about something which is absolutely basic in what we actually see, what’s on show. The reason for this is that Seeing - what we clearly perceive - is absolutely basic in our lives, and our feelings are very much less basic because they vary all the time, and cannot be commanded. Whereas, what we SEE, we can really set it up so as to attend to what is given. We can always SEE what’s on show, but we can’t always feel what we should like to feel. So Seeing, or perception, is absolutely basic.

We are not going in the Tube to have a lovely experience, or to fall in love with our neighbour or to understand something deep; simply to answer some questions. You see, out of my compassion I have arranged a sophisticated air conditioning system... So, we have arranged the ventilation at the top and the bottom, not at the side - also, I shall let you out of the Tube from time to time, for a breather. So don’t worry, you won’t be suffocated in there.

Oh yes, and there’s another thing. We go into the Tube with open eyes please, not closed eyes. It’s about Seeing. I have to say this, because some people get their eyes closed. The second thing is, you don’t have to stare into the other person’s eyes. The nose and the mouth, or the forehead - any agreeable feature will do. So it’s not a staring, eyeball to eyeball competition in there, you know. And let me emphasise, this is NOT about having a wonderful experience. It’s simply about answering some very simple questions truthfully. So, in we go, please.

Now, there’s one thing that we can all do - even BIRDS can do - is count. And the first thing we have to do is simply to count the number of faces in the Tube - the number of faces on show, in the Tube. Just count them. One? or Two?

And the second question is somewhat related. Is there any similarity, on present evidence, between what you find at the far end, and what you clearly find at the near end? - what you see there, and what you see here.

Third one follows, really. Is it face to face in the Tube? or face there to space here? face to space? Face there, and space for taking in, being aware of, that face there.

Isn’t it absolutely obvious that never for a millionth of a second in your whole life, have you ever, ever, been face to face with anyone? It’s always been like this? Doesn’t this show what an extraordinary basic fiction our lives are founded upon?

Now, just continuing to look at our friend in the mirror, just lower the Tube for a few moments, continuing to look at our friend. Isn’t it just the same now, without the benefit of the Tube - face to space?

Are you not busted - on present evidence - busted wide open? for that one? - not because you are a nice person, or a generous person, or an open person, but you’re built now aren’t you - actually built to disappear in favour of that one. Disappear without trace! at this very moment, looking into the face of that one.

Now, we should like to love one another, wouldn’t we - really love one another. How can we love one another as we should love one another, and could love one another, if we persist in this extraordinary damaging fiction of symmetry here, face to face. What a damaging, incredible, stupid lie it is.

I repeat: Have you ever been face to face with anyone? And this doesn’t depend on how good you are, how generous, how stupid or how intelligent. It’s just that you are made like that. We are built open for each other, you and me.

Now, don't believe this. Is it true for you? Alright, let's go in again now.

Look at the colours there, the subtle palette of colour at the far end. How could you take in that palette of colours if you had any colour whatever, if you were not totally and utterly colourless?

Look at how the far end of the Tube is bunged up with that object, that opaque thing? how it’s a cul de sac? It stops there, doesn’t it, like a cork in a bottle. And there, that opacity at the far end with the transparency at the near end - doesn’t this transparency at the near end go on indefinitely, for ever and ever, in all directions? Does it have any limits?

You may tell me that you can see what’s at the far end, but you can’t see what’s at the near end. I think this is wrong, and I’ll tell you why. When I look at the far end, my friend at the far end, I think I see him, and I think that at the near end I can’t see anything - I don’t see what’s going on at the near end, but only what’s at the far end. That’s what we think, isn’t it? And I suggest to you that this is utter nonsense, and that the opposite is the truth. For when I say I see my friend there, what do I mean?

Now, starting at the forehead and working down, scanning from side to side, trying to take in every detail of that face at the far end, how much do I take in and how much do I lose? How much do I remember of the little that I am taking in? - the lines of the forehead, the hairs of the eyebrows, the immense complication of the eyes - I scan back and forth, missing a million things, glimpsing, getting a general impression, glimpsing this and that, forgetting it almost immediately. I work down to the nose and cheeks, scanning from side to side, again missing so much, forgetting even that, until I come to the mouth and the chin. And when I’ve got to the chin, all the upper part has gone obscure! I’ve lost the forehead, haven’t I?

Now, that’s not seeing. That’s glimpsing. I don’t see my friend. Why? Because she or he is too complicated, immensely complicated; and what I did take in took quite a long time to take in. So I really - to be honest - can’t say I see my friend. I glimpse him or her.

Now compare this with the clarity at the near end, with the transparency at the near end.

Isn’t this instantly, timelessly, on show? Isn’t it perfectly seen? I can’t see a spotty version of this transparency, or an incomplete version, or a limited version.

I don’t know about you. Maybe you don’t find what I find. But I can tell you that I find that the near end here is a transparency which goes on for ever and ever in all directions. And more than that: a transparency and emptiness which is aware of itself as empty, as void, as capacity for taking in that scene, that friend.

Now another thing. The friend at the far end has a certain age, a certain sex, old or young, middle-aged, whatever. On present evidence, what is the age of the one at your end, the clearness, the clarity, the awake, unbounded transparency? What is the age of this one? What is the sex of this one?

Isn’t this one free of all limitations, ageless, indeed imperishable? Why? because in this clarity, this transparency, on present evidence, is there anything to age or to perish?

Isn’t this a totally asymmetrical situation? And in the Tube isn’t it obvious? all so obvious? Now, once more, let’s lower the Tube and keep looking at our friend. Look at the contrast between the immense clarity at your end, so vividly on show, so awake really, taking in that friend, and disappearing in his or her favour.

You know, all beings are like this. I suggest to you that this is the real nature of the world, and indeed of the origin of the world.

You know, the world is a very - what should I say? - confrontational, rough scene. The truth behind it is so different, isn’t it? - each giving her or his life for the other, nothing less; to disappear without trace is really to die for the other, and experience resurrection as the other, if you wish. Can’t we say we are built for loving?

Well, let's go in again for the last time.

You can call this Tube almost a magic tube I think. What it does, is to separate the stuff that is in the Tube, and shove it to the far end, with the consciousness of the stuff concentrated at the near end. It separates the stuff from the awareness of the stuff. The stuff goes to the far end, and the consciousness of it goes to the near end. It’s like a centrifuge or cream separator, isn’t it. And the contrast between these two is absolutely total. Spirit at the near end, matter at the far end.

You say “Wait a minute Douglas. This is terrible. This won’t do. Your friend at the far end is awake and aware!” We know that. You are quite sure that your friend is aware as you are awake, conscious. Alright. The question is where shall we locate the consciousness of our friend?

Now, what we normally do in our socially crazy way, is to look into those black holes there, when we dare to look in, when we get up the courage to look into those pupils. What we do is to , in a funny kind of way, postulate a couple of goblins or fairies or demons, I don’t know what, peeking at us through those black holes in a threatening fashion. Look at those black holes now, really just as they are, and see they are just black holes, and not any more threatening than the nose or the mouth. We can look into those eyes as comfortably now as we look into the rest of the face.

OK. “OK,” you may say “but the question still remains unanswered. Where, oh where, is the awareness in my friend? I’ve got my awareness here which is timeless, eternal, boundless, wide wide awake. But what about my friend’s awareness?”

Well, when I attend carefully to the awareness at my end of the Tube, does it have any labels on it as “mine” - as my private, private property? I can’t find that the awareness at my end of the Tube belongs to “Douglas” as distinct from anyone else! It has no personal “labels” on it. It has no surface to which any label could be stuck.

What I find here is absolutely - perhaps more than Impersonal, Superpersonal. Isn’t this awareness at the near end big enough, on present evidence, and awake enough, and super-personal enough, to do for your friend, and yourself, and indeed all other beings whatever?

So we can conclude this experiment by saying, that what is on present evidence at the near end is what those great six scriptures I talked about, or traditions rather, that back of the world, back of you and me, is the One awareness, is the indivisible awareness in all creatures, the One consciousness which is our real nature, call it atman brahman or god or allah, or whatever name you like to call it, Buddha nature. Isn’t this awareness now brilliantly on show at the near end of the Tube?

You are the authority. Don’t let me talk you into anything. What is the case? And can you not now perhaps finally say to your friend “There I have your appearance. Here, I am you. Here I am our common reality, the Power, the Kingdom and the Glory behind the world.”

So let's lower the Tube for the last time.

And let’s hold the hands of our friend, like this, and just look at where your friend’s arms are coming from. Are they not coming out of shoulders and a face? And your own arms are coming out of the One. These are the arms of the One, of the One that is the spirit, heart, reality of all beings. See how your arms are coming out of that One. And now perhaps finally, briefly you might like to share with your friend anything that has struck you in this experiment, and express your gratitude to him or her in your own way. Thank you.

Well I wonder if you would care to share some of the things you’ve been talking about? something that we should all look at? something you found interesting, and would especially like to draw our attention to? Or some problem you have with it? Some doubts?

I have a problem. What goes on in the stuff out there is very unpredictable.

Yes. Oh, very.

If all the consciousness is here, how come I don't know what to expect over there?

Well you see, I think you have to distinguish dear, between consciousness and the content of consciousness. Consciousness is the same, the same, the same, the same in God and Jesus and you and me and the Buddha and everybody. Consciousness is One and indivisible and the same, the same, the same. I think this is the proposition that all the great religions come to in the last resort. Now, on the contrary, the content of consciousness is the exact opposite of consciousness. It is changing all the time. It is born, flourishes, disappears. It is limited in every respect. So consciousness has two aspects - consciousness itSelf, which is all it has been advertised to be, and the content which is the exact opposite.

So, my consciousness now is unchanging and so on, but we’re speaking, and I look over there, it’s changing all the time, you see, isn’t it. Content is changing all the time. Consciousness itself, no.

The problem is, then I have this fantasy that there is this whole world going on in the head over there, which then sort of pops out with these unexpected statements or whatever.

Well, I think that’s so, really.

You think that's so?

Well, the head over there is part of the changing world. It’s a certain age, a certain sex, beautiful or less beautiful, all that stuff. In every respect, the object is in contrast to the subject.

And then I get the fantasy that what’s going on over there is the same as what’s going on over here.

What’s fundamentally going on where you are, I would suggest, and the paper bag makes this fairly abundantly clear, is the exact opposite of what’s going on at the far end; and they come together in perfect unity. The space and the filling fit marvellously. In Zen Buddhism I think this is celebrated very nicely. Nirvana IS samsara. Samsara IS nirvana. The world and the awareness of the world fit together like paper on the wall.

OK. Thank you.

It’s neat. (chuckles) It really is neat.

Can I ask a question following on from that, Douglas? Are you saying then at the end, when you talked about Zen, that though you distinguish between the consciousness and the content of consciousness, they appear to be different but are in some sense the same?

They are absolutely distinct and opposite, and for this absolute and paradoxical reason that they fit together so perfectly. Now if there were any similarity between the consciousness and what fills it, they would never come together. It’s because of their total contrast, paradoxically, that they come into perfect unity.

You see, you can put it like this, I think. At this level, which we’re investigating here, everything is paradoxical. By paradoxical I mean it’s contrary to ordinary “common sense”. They come together because they are so different. A mirror reflects YOU because the mirror and you are so very different. They come together because they are so different.

In what sense do they come together?

Well, where you are now, you are consciousness. Your consciousness happens to be filled, visually anyway, with these flowers, and Douglas, and this board, and so on. The difference between the consciousness which is taking it in there, and what is being taken in here, is total. But they come together, don’t they? Perfectly.

I can't see a division somehow, between the two.

What you’re taking in, is the opposite of what’s taking it in. What’s taking it in, is what you are there, which is permanent, unchanging, boundless, timeless, attention. What is taken in is ever changing, being born, dying, and everything else, including the one in your mirror. And they come together. They’ve got to be totally different in order to fit so well. Put it like that, if you wish.

I think this is for SEEING, not for trying to figure out too minutely. You see, that you and I are (raps fists together) - we’re not like that, are we? We are trading - trading faces, if you wish. You and I are not face to face. You’ve got Douglas’s face because there, where you’re supposed to have a face, you don’t have a face, but you have capacity for receiving this face. You’ve got the consciousness there for taking in this thing. I have the consciousness here for taking in that thing. So we are delightfully trading faces.

The difficulty is — you were saying it’s paradoxical — I’m thinking of some fellow called Hwang Po who said, apparently, “Gentlemen, do not forget that the perceived do not perceive.” He seems to be saying our ordinary way of thinking is that you are perceiving me and I am perceiving you.

Well, at a certain level I accept that. But at a more fundamental level I just see what is plainly on show, and that you are for me, a face in my space. I am space for you at this time, and you are space for me. Well, primarily, I would say that I am space for you. And this space is in total contrast with what it is taking in. That face is coloured. This has no colour. That face has a shape. This is shapeless. And so equally, you are taking in Douglas’s face now because you are space for that. If you had a face there of your own, you couldn’t take in Douglas’s.

You’ve got to disappear in my favour in order to receive me. Otherwise you’ve got two faces, and each would be getting in the way of the other. You and I now have a One-face situation. You’ve got my face and I’ve got yours.

It appears to be a One face situation…um.

You see, what we have to do is to be childlike enough and simple enough and naive enough really, to just take what is clearly on show, like a little child. I’ve GOT your face, and I’ve disappeared in its favour. You see, we can - what shall I say? - theologise and theosophise about this until the cows come home, quite inconclusively. What we have to do, at least what I have to do, and I suggest you have to do, is just RELAX into simple vision that your space is now filled with these friends, and that you are space for them. I think if you go on seeing this, these doubts and so on will dissolve somehow.

The perceived here is a little Douglas. I see a little Douglas over there, a different one to the one you see. That’s the perceived. He’s not perceiving. The real Douglas is perceiving. The Infinite is perceiving. So that little Douglas over there isn’t perceiving. I see a little Douglas, you see a little Douglas, lots of little Douglases, but that’s not what is doing the perceiving. The Infinite is doing the perceiving. Something like that.

Thank you. Thank you, Robin. I think we just have to be so simple about this. If we go on seeing it, I think, these intellectual questions will dissolve. But if we say, before I relax into disappearing in favour of my friend, I’ve got to understand the metaphysical and philosophical and theological ins and outs of it, I think this is really a way of resisting it, postponing it, you know. I think also, the fact is that we all have a huge resistance to this. We ALL DO. Douglas does. Every one of us is attracted to this vision of who we really are, and also has a built-in contrary fear of it.

And why? For a simple reason: when I look in the mirror, I’ve got old Douglas, you know, an ancient and decaying bod there, but at least he’s around. He may be alzheimery and all sorts of things, but there he is. And he’s around! Whereas here there’s nothing. My God, that’s terrible! That’s obliteration, that means - that’s the end.

But of course, there is nothing here, and the nothing is awake, to itself as everything. So the nothing here is not a threat at all. But it reads as a threat, until we dare to take it on board and live it, sincerely. And then we find that the nothing is everything.

Douglas, one thing you said last year: "You've got to behead yourself.

Well yes, but why, it's already done!

I was suggesting it might help…

The Between The Ears Experiment

You see, I think he would say, and I think many friends would say, OK, but What about This? (clasps cranium in both hands, touches features) - surely, I’m feeling this, aren’t I? How can I - this beheading oneself is nonsense. I’ve got it here. What am I feeling now? And I think we should do a little experiment about beheading. I don’t use the word “beheading” too much. Let’s get our head on our shoulders again. Let’s work at it. We feel this darn thing. Let’s be honest here.

OK. Now, hold our ears please, and look at what Douglas and our other friends have got between their ears. Look at what Alan’s got between his ears, a pair of spectacles, nose, mouth, eyes and so on. And our other friends are similar.

Now on present evidence, what have you got between your ears? - ON PRESENT EVIDENCE!

Well, I’ve got between twenty and twenty-five friends here, and trees and sky, flowers. At night I can have a million stars between my ears. So OK, I can say, I’ve got a head here, but WHAT a head!

So beheading is alright, but you know, we have to be ready for answering those friends who say “Come on, vision isn’t the only sense, what about what I feel here? And then we do the ears thing. What have you got between your ears? And I’ve got this fabulous world between my ears, whatever is on show.

And you say, “Well, I don’t believe you, Douglas.” So I say, “Alright, come here and see. Come here, taking photographs all the way, and you will find Douglas is visible there, but here he’s gone. If you bring your camera up to here, you’ll find nothing. If you turn your camera round and look out with me, you’ve got everything. You can check it with your camera.

You need to really keep attentive to that when you’re outside, because the power of conditioning just pulls you back, so strongly.

I know! I know! You see, this is a bit of cake to see, especially with the benefit of the Tube. It is so easy to see, it’s so obvious, so natural. All this is by way of being really honest and natural and simple and childlike - not childish but childlike. But how difficult this is, to be in the world. It is the easiest thing to see, and it is a very very hard thing to live. We never said - I never said that living from this is a bit of cake. But I would say ultimately living from the opposite lie, which is “I am what I look like” in the end is going to be harder still, isn’t it REALLY hard. In fact, disastrous.

Sometimes I find I am TRYING to live from that. This defeats ...

... resist the obvious, which is not “trying” at all, but giving up this busy-ness and relaxing into what is given to us for free, for free, and with proof on proof on proof piled up, about our true nature here. Our opposition to this is extraordinary isn’t it, the way we rubbish it or neglect it, deny it.

What has it to offer? Everything our heart could possibly desire - eternal life, joy, peace. Love. Love as in tennis, really. Wimbledon love.

It's really a baby's condition, isn't it. A baby is like this all the time.

It’s like that. We’ve all been there. As Eric Berne said, we are all born princes and princesses, and society turns us into frogs. Yes. We were all living from this - not too consciously, but we were all living from this. Then what happened, Alan, is, instead of being centred here in our guts, we went up here and were heady, and went out there and said “I am - HERE - what I look like there.” So I became eccentric. And now the whole art of life is to become concentric again.

And it’s a definite movement, isn’t it? The amazing thing is, that to be truly physical I say, is truly spiritual, and to be truly spiritual is being truly physical; and this return from being eccentric to being concentric, is a return journey of one metre - quite short - about one metre from what I look like, to what I am. And the human condition says “I am what I look like” - which means to be off centre, and to miss out on everything that is of value really. The joke is - if I can call it a joke - black joke - that all of us regardless, are living from WHO WE ARE anyway. We’re all doing it right! We’re all living from here! We couldn’t live from that place !

We’re all living from our Centre. We’re all established firmly in who we really are. It isn’t a case of achieving this vision. It’s a case of ceasing to rubbish it or reject it.

We are all Centred. All beings are living from Be-ing, with a huge B.

So when it seems like I’m competing with it, or if it feels like there’s struggle or competition, in truth I’m not competing at all, I’m Being That - competition or whatever - in that moment.

In that moment. Yes. Yes. What we have to do is keep coming back to the place we never left in fact; until we get a habit of Home-coming, so that we are more at Home at the Centre than we are out there.

Nevertheless, the humanness is important. We are not putting down the human. We are putting out the human. Our human-ness is enormously important, but it is off centre, and the art of life is to keep coming back from the peripheral human to the Divine Centre.

In a way, it's a kind of joke; because we never left the Divine Centre.

And this is INCREDIBLY good news, isn’t it? Our very Being is established, in all perfection, now. So who you are, and what you are, is in REALLY good nick. We have a feeling that perhaps all is not well, you know, inside. Who you really are is very, very, well.

I find that little Robin keeps doing things. He tried to get here this morning, for instance. He felt he had to catch a train. But the train just arrived. I watched him running down the stairs. Then I remembered that the stairs were ...

…were running up you!

and the train arrived. I thought I was catching it. I struggled to get here. That’s the absurd conditioning that this little man keeps ...

Well, I think you must allow Robin his game of Robining. I think we should be amused and tolerant about our Douglasness and Robin-ness. After all, I think the analogy of the duracell battery is quite useful. You don’t get light from the Divine pole of the battery, or from the human pole of the battery, but from the ding-dong, from the commerce between them. It is the game not only of Robin and Douglas to be Robin and Douglas, but if you like to put it this way - it’s God’s game really, to pretend to split up into Herself, into many selves.

Can one also say that "I" am the Centre of the Universe?

This is absolutely true. And what’s more, Einstein would agree with you. He says - as I understand him - that the Centre of the universe is exactly where you care to put it. And the only place you can really, HONESTLY put it, is to say, right HERE.

Actually I can prove this to you now in this room. I’ll do that in a moment. But I think we need to add that it’s not you as “Bob” who is Centre of the universe, but you as who you really are, that’s Centre of the universe; and “Bob” is a metre away from the Centre of the universe. There’s Bob - and here are you, at the Centre of the universe. Bob doesn’t come here and establish Bob HERE, any more than Douglas does. You are the Centre of the universe nevertheless.

Experiment: The Parallel Lines Meet In Infinity

Now the proof - and this is a very nice one; I don’t think I’ve ever done it in a workshop before, I hope we can do it here? - to prove to you really physically, that you are the infinite Centre of the universe - now, this building here, speaking as an architect, is not falling down, it’s fairly substantial. And the vertical lines here don’t seem to be out of plumb like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They don’t seem to be collapsing - the corners of the room, and the jambs of the window, frames and so on - they’re all vertical, aren’t they. Would you all agree? Yes.

Well, I don’t know about you, but when I was at school, the definition in geometry of parallel lines was, that they met at infinity. Do you remember that? You know, you have parallel lines here and you have infinity there. Of course, they went on and on and on. They didn’t meet to infinity, but they met at infinity. Now are you the infinite Centre of the world? We’ll try it out.

I think what you do, is to hold your fore-arm like this, your elbow near your chest. You move round a bit, shut one eye, and take an alleged vertical line in the room, like I’m taking the corner of the room. Take any vertical line you like, and align your fore-arm with that line. And I think you will see your fore-arm as you bring your hand at the end of it down, lines up with that vertical line, doesn’t it? quite nicely.

Now try another alleged vertical line. It’s going to converge on you equally, isn’t it? as you bring your fore-arm down, aligning it with that line.

Every alleged vertical line in this room is centred in you.

Get the corner of the room, just kind of project it, continue that line down your arm, and I think you will find that it terminates in you, more or less in your chest. That line is fanning out from you. All the vertical lines in the room are in fact centred on you. Have you got it? Yes?

Are you thinking of a plane are you, going from ... ?

What I’m saying is, these lines allegedly vertical, and indeed vertical, are, just as you were told at school, coming together at Infinity, and you are that Infinity. Am I making myself clear? Look! Just get that line there. That line. And that line. That line. That line. They all fan out from yourself, don’t they?

Douglas, can I put it one way. I’m looking at a vertical, and a line in my arm to it, then it comes down to a certain extent. Well, it’s as if I’m drawing an absolutely straight line and I continue to draw this straight line down my fore-arm to where it comes to here. It is simply continuing this straight line down the arm.

Exactly, Jane. Continuing the straight line down your fore-arm to your chest. And you take all the vertical lines in the room, they are all fanning out from you as First Person. You as First Person are indeed that Infinity where allegedly vertical parallel lines meet. They meet at Infinity, and you Jane are that Infinity. I think that’s a very nice simple...

I think it’s very helpful to realise that, because we were always shown parallel lines meeting in Infinity “out there” somewhere. But this is showing, really definitely showing the meeting ...

You ARE that Infinity. This is one of proof on proof on proof - the number of proofs, so to say, demonstrations of your Divinity as First Person - not as your appearance, but as your reality at Centre - is amazing. In a court of law, a tenth of these proofs would be substantial, would decide the case, you know. A tenth of them. What is the cause of this? Our huge resistance to our joy. Because this is joy.

Anyway, that was a little demonstration. You can try it out. Perhaps I didn’t explain it properly, but Jane did. Shutting one eye, and lining up your forearm (elbow held to chest) with any vertical line, you will see that any allegedly vertical line will find its Centre in you as First Person. I haven’t done this in a workshop before. I’ve talked about it in an article.

The point about our experiments, and we do have a repertoire I suppose of twenty or so - twenty-five, maybe - the point about these experiments is that any ONE of them will take us to Who we are, and we don’t have to employ all of them. We can say “I don’t like that one, Douglas. I don’t go along with that one.” OK. One is enough! And we’ll be doing some more after lunch. Jane, what time do you want us to have lunch?

(Discussion of culinary arrangements. Food to warm up in kitchen.)

The strange thing is that all creatures are living from this; but man and man alone, as I see it, has found a way of dodging it somehow - evading it. And I would suggest that whatever we are doing with our lives, whatever our calling is, whatever we seek to do well, whatever it might be, we’re going to do it badly from a mistaken identity, and we are going to do it much better when we get our identity right. And what is our identity?

I suggest that your identity is Divine. And your pseudo-identity is human, but that is important too. And if we want to do any job well, like playing golf, perhaps, or snooker - I don’t care what it is, so long as it is kind of legal, and not doing people harm, you know? - whatever your job is you enjoy, (like Jane’s art work which is superb. She can do it a lot better when she does it from - but she does, obviously, from Who Jane really is) - we’re going to do it better, aren’t we? In other words, this is practical! And there’s another thing about this. Living from an eccentric position is enervating and tiring and exhausting, I would say. You can be exhausted at thirty, or twenty-five! You know, it’s terrible, isn’t it. Why is it exhausting? Because when I’m living from there, I’m having to adjust Douglas here to what you might require, and you, and you and you; and I’m in a constant state of fuss and bother and anxiety about whether I am going down well over there, and how I have to adjust to this situation and that situation. I’m OUT THERE, looking at Douglas from every direction critically, and very unhelpfully, and so on. And this is thoroughly exhausting, trying to cope with all these external critics and requirements.

When I come Home, here is the source of all energy, isn’t it? All energy comes not from the periphery, but from the Centre. And when we get to the Centre, we unbottle. We take the cork out, we take the champagne cork out of the bottle and... surprise... surprise.

So I would put in a plea for the practicality of this, and for the FUN of it! the interest, the excitement of it, discovering - I mean, this is discovery, isn’t it? Surely these things are of interest? to discover that you are the Infinite Centre of all the parallel lines, all the vertical lines of every room you’ve ever been in, I mean, that’s as interesting as the football results, isn’t it?

We're just so conditioned to think that we're not.

You talk about the human, and say the human is important; but we are so practised at being “human”, we spend our whole time imagining that we’re human, if you like, and we don’t practise being divine. And how important is it that we are human? Obviously yes, but it is also important that we are Divine; which we forget all the time. You remind us with these little ways. But when you talk about being practical, it obviously IS practical, but then my mind goes back to It’s OK to be human, and I can go on being human, which some of us can do better than others; and I don’t want to go on being reminded that I’m human. I want to be reminded that I’m Divine.

You get too much of that one. But the joke Robin, surely is this, if “joke” is the word I want. The joke is that the way to be REALLY human, is to be Divine! And I think we’re not really, properly HUMAN until we’re Divine. If we want to be natural, childlike, in the loving sense, with such creative energies as are given to us, we’re at our human best, when we say we cannot do anything “from the human position”. It can only be done “from the Divine position”. And I think that the people I admire so much, the real Saints of the world, are not less human, but more human - truly human.

Likewise Douglas, if you wanted to be good at a particular - like for instance, golf. To be truly good at golf, you almost have to give it up. You get the basic skills. Then if you’ve seen Who you really are, when you’re playing golf, you’re not playing golf with the idea of winning. You’re playing golf because you love it so much you just play golf for playing golf’s sake.

Absolutely. You don’t really get it ‘till you give it up. That is absolutely true. You put in all the practice in the world, and then get out onto the golf course, and forget all of it, and do your thing in the simplest possible way.

This will probably go likewise for any skill.

It’s about trust, isn’t it. It seems to me that the Seeing is something you do or you don’t. It’s a hundred percent or nothing. It’s all or nothing. But the trust is something that gradually grows - the trust in This One. I came here in the train thinking “What shall I talk about this morning? I really don’t know what we’ll do.” And - give up. Just give up. Let it all hang out. You don’t know what you are going to do, and you trust in Who you are; then I think you begin to speak with an authentic voice.

I’m beginning to find something like that myself. It’s almost like what they mean about humility. It must mean that I have to get out of the way, for real stuff to happen. Does that make sense?

Well, see that you ARE out of the way! We don’t have to be “humble”. It’s rather a ceasing to do than a doing, isn’t it? a ceasing to resist what is so strongly laid on.

Yes, it’s there anyway. Seeing is enough.

Yes. Well, I think what we could do now, in the kitchen, is to continue our experimentation, and to have a look at who tastes the flan, or whatever it is that we are tasting. Where is the taste? Who does the tasting? I mean, there are two kinds of eating, aren’t there - there’s the kind of eating which goes into a tooth-lined slit, and the food is really rather insipid, isn’t it. But when food goes into - you know - this end of the Tube here, (whispers) delicious! Alright?


On Poles, Moles, Holes, Wholes, Holiness, and N.D.E.'s

Well, to do a very, very brief re-cap, the proposition which we are investigating is that nearer to you than all else, where you are coming from, your Centre, who you really are, WHAT you really are, is none other than the mystery and the Power behind the world - whatever name you give that Mystery - that Power.

Now, how can we check this? How can we make sure of it? We are notoriously prone to wish-fulfilling ideas, aren’t we? It’s a lovely thing to imagine to be true, but what guarantee have we that it is true?

Well, we have to proceed by doing two things. One is, to have a pretty good idea what it is we’re looking for, what this mystery or power is, and the second thing is, simply to take a look, just simply to look and see, whether we find precisely that at our Centre. So, the first of these two things is to take the specifications of this One which we are said to be - to put this together, to build up an Identikit of God. Treat God like a criminal, you see? If you have a criminal, the police produce an identikit of this offender, don’t they? Well, let us do God the courtesy of doing the same thing for Her or Him, and build up an Identikit on the basis of the experts in the great spiritual traditions. And I think we can do that. We can build up an Identikit of this One. And I will give you six characteristics, as I see it, of the One we are looking for.

What I am looking for is BOUNDLESS. It hasn’t got any fence round it. It’s infinite. Boundless. It’s big. It’s Bigger than big, it’s endless. Boundless. Point One.

Second: IMMACULATE, pure, clean. Innocent, empty, void, or whatever you like. It is clear. I love the German word klarheit, clarity. I love those words. Point Two.

Thirdly, just because it is so big and so empty, it is not empty for empty, it is empty for FILLING. And it is immediately filled with whatever is on show. So it is all-exclusive, in the sense that it is completely clean and empty, and all-inclusive, inasmuch as that emptiness is empty for filling with whatever is on show.

So we have boundless, pure, empty, full.

Number Four is IMPERISHABLE. It doesn’t come and go. It doesn’t change. It is steady. It is imperishable, it is undying. It is deathless. That is an essential ingredient of the pudding, isn’t it? - of the God-pudding, if you wish.

The next one is STILL. It doesn’t move around. It doesn’t chase its tail all over the place. If it’s boundless, it can’t. There’s no other place for moving around it. It is still. It is stillness. Number Five.

And above all - I think we could have put this in the beginning - it is WIDE. Wide awake.

So, these six characteristics are the advertised characteristics of the Origin of our origin and the Source of our source. These are the advertised peculiarities of this One. Now, in order to find a thing, you have to know more or less what you’re looking for, otherwise you won’t find the darn thing, will you! If I said “Alan, in the garden here I’ve lost something quite valuable - please help me find it,” and you say “Yes Douglas, we’ll all help you find what you’ve lost. What was it you lost?” - “Well, the trouble is, I’ve forgotten what I lost.”

And you would all laugh at me, wouldn’t you. You’d say “You can’t look for a thing unless you have some pretty good idea of what you’re looking for.” Well, what we’re doing in this get-together - workshop, horrible word - what we’re doing in this get-together is to find out our true identity, I suppose; to wake up to what we are and who we are. And we DO have a good idea of what this One has been advertised to be, over the last three thousand years. We have a VERY good idea of what to look for.

So when you say, in the Tube, “I don’t know what’s here, but I do know what’s there,” it seems to me other way round: “I KNOW what to look for. It has these six characteristics.”

Experiment: Pointing

Now, I don’t want to put you in the Tube again, but I would remind you, that in the Tube these are exactly the characteristics you found at your end - or at least, that I found! Whether you found them or not, I don’t know. But I certainly find these characteristics here. Just so as to remind ourselves what was at our end of the Tube, instead of the Tube, let’s use this thing. (finger) and just point. Please, let’s all point to what we are looking out of. Just point to your ha-ha face.

Now, what you’re pointing at I suggest, and I can only say what I find, but I’m asking you whether you too don’t find that you are pointing to a space, capacity, no-thingness, emptiness, ROOM, which has no boundaries; which goes back and back, and up and down, and sideways without limit.

Continuing to point - and don’t look at me, look at your finger, or rather at what it is pointing at, not at me, please - what you’re pointing at is not only boundless, I suggest, but really clear. Really empty. Really pure. Immaculate. And not empty for empty, but empty for filling with the scene in the room or outside the window if you like to look there. So, empty for filling.

So, boundless, empty, full, and always filled with something or other, however nebulous.

Now, everything “out there” - and you can see a lot of things out there including Douglas and the wall and so on - everything out there on the side of your finger is perishing, isn’t it. I mean, even stars perish. Galaxies perish, planets, not to mention people, everything perishes. Everything has a shelf life. And why? It is because they are things.

What you are pointing at, I suggest, is no-thing.

Precisely, no-thing, which is the container and indeed the source of all things. So that’s the next one, it is imperishable, that’s Number Four. And Number Five is the Unmoved. The unmoved One.

Now, that is a difficult one. What we ought to all do now is all stand on our hind legs and start turning round. And I don’t feel energetic enough after that lunch to do it, and I don’t know about you; but I would ask you when you leave this place, to look out of the windows of the bus or car, or if you’re on a bicycle just look at what’s going on around you; and I think you will find, as I found coming down here to London from Suffolk, that I didn’t come down here from Suffolk. London came to me. Everything was moving in my stillness.

One of the biggest hallucinations we suffer from when we join the human club, is that we go round chasing our tails, rushing around, in a still world. You’ve only to present your camera to what’s going on outside the window - and what do you get? You get a whole scene which is being stirred up like a bowl of porridge.

Well, the final pointing - please now, the final pointing. Beyond the unmoving One, the unmoving Mover of the world, the final pointing is, surely, to the what is awake, wide, WIDE awake.

Now those six characteristics, boundless, empty, full, imperishable, the unmoved mover of the world, and wide wide awake - this is a description as near as it needs to be, I think, of what is variously called in the great traditions, Atman Brahman, Buddha Nature, Yahweh, the Tao, God, Allah, whatever. This description is a pretty good one.

Now, try and give a description of Douglas which is equally clear. You know, the joke is that I thought I knew what a human being was. I thought I knew what Douglas was. And God was a mystery, and rather obscure and nebulous you know? And I thought this for a long time and for many years. And now I’ve come to the exact opposite conclusion! I haven’t a clue what Douglas is! To know Douglas, I have to know the whole darn world! - because he’s conditioned at every level and in every sense. He is a product of - think of what I depend upon. At every level one is a product of conditioning - genes and chromosomes and language and sex and the fact I’m English and not French, and a million million other things at superficial levels - and the deeper levels; you know, in order to know Douglas I would have to know the world, the cosmos. Douglas is UNKNOWABLE! Which is very nice. I like being unknowable as this old Douglas. It is rather refreshing.

I really, really don’t know what Douglas is. But I know what God is! Six characteristics. You say well come on, do you mean to say that ? - Islam produces a hundred, what shall I say - descriptions of His Majesty, doesn’t it? Well, these six, which are pretty good, will do, for identifying. A police identikit doesn’t have to have an endless list of characteristics, just enough to identify the darn man, the criminal. Equally, to identify His Majesty, or Her Majesty, (conspiratorial whisper) all I need are these six, and they’ll do!

And I find them lurking here, ALL OF THOSE SIX, on show, at this end here; what I’m pointing at, and at the end, this end of the Tube.

So I say, I haven’t a clue what Man is, but I do know what God is. And you say, “I hate the term ‘God’. Euuk.” Well, alright, produce your own synonym for His Majesty. I - I like the term ‘God’. It’s short. It speaks to something in me, something early and basic. But pick your own synonym. “I know what God is and I haven’t a clue what Douglas is.” That is a nice way to die; because then you don’t die.

So this by way of a little re-cap of what we’re on about. And of course we’ve only done one experiment - well, we did do a Pointing, didn’t we. We did do a Pointing. But we were talking just after lunch, about how we see. I could say, adding to the Divine specification, adding to the Six, one proposition which is allied to one of the others. I could say what at least some of the very great Eastern religions have said - not only Eastern ones, but Islam too - “ONLY GOD SEES”.

Only God is awake. There is One Seer in all beings, say the Upanishads, six hundred years before Christ. Buddhism says the same thing. We don’t see with our eyes. We see with our Buddha nature. Some of the great Sufis, like Rumi, talk about God as the One Seer in all beings. Now, if you go out into the streets of this city and ask people what they are looking out of in their own experience, I think you will find everyone, or virtually everyone, saying “In my own experience, I’m looking out of two eyes at you.” And there’s an example of what a dotty, crazy species we are! We really live a life of multiple hallucination and illusion. And then we complain about problems!

Experiment: Putting On Spectacles

You know... in these experiments, we have to be prepared - we have to come to the experiment with an open mind, and a willingness to learn and to change our minds. And there has to be attention to what we are seeing. It is not a matter of feeling. It is not a matter of thinking, or of understanding. It’s a matter of simply registering - perceiving, instead of what we are told to perceive, by language and convention.

So may we please - if we have a pair of glasses - hold them out there, like that. And if we don’t have a pair of glasses, make up an artificial one (forefingers touching thumb-tips, brought together) like I’m doing, and hold them out there. And don’t look at me. Look at those two windows.

Each frames, rather charmingly, a different view - a little picture. And if you move them around, you can get rather a nice little picture in each one of them. And the division is very marked, isn’t it? It’s certainly a pair of glasses. It’s two - a very distinct division.

Now, spectacles are not much use out there. They are precisely for putting ON, aren’t they. So that’s what we do. This time, we’re going to put them on in a different way. We’re going to put them on with full attention, to see what happens. We don’t do that normally, but we’re going to do that this time. We do so, very gradually... put them on. And I think that when they get to a certain point... the two merge... into one.

Now put them RIGHT on - and I think you will find you are NOT looking out of a pair of glasses, but out of a monocle. And those of us who wear glasses normally, are looking out of a monocle! A monocle! and we didn’t notice it! Isn’t that extraordinary?

Now, how big is this so-called Eye that we are looking out of? Let’s put our hands up here again please, and frame the monocle ; and then see that the monocle is a big one! And the Window - if I may call it that - that you are looking out of, is endless. It goes on and on and on, doesn’t it? It’s as WIDE as the world - in fact, wider!

Could we use our hands, just for exploring the extent of this Single Eye? that’s as wide as the world. Now, that is NOT a human eye. I mean, come on! We can’t proclaim this is a human eye, can we? That’s silly! This is not a human eye, this is the Eye of the One. This is THE VERY EYE of the One Seer that the Upanishads go on about ; and those other great spiritual traditions and masters.

You remember that what they call Liberation, or Illumination, or Enlightenment, or whatever - I hate the word “enlightenment” - liberation is what I’d rather say - has been equated with the opening of the Third Eye. Did you ever look out of anything else but the third eye? Did you ever look out of anything else but that Eye?

That’s enough, isn’t it! We can all go home now, and just SEE. SEE.

You know, I think that the dear Lord is so humorous and so kind, that She - He - piles proof on proof on proof of our union with Him. What is the purpose of life but union with our Source - conscious union with the power and the mystery of the source of the world? You remember St Thomas Aquinas, the great philosopher of the Catholic faith? He wrote those magnificent Summa of the Catholic philosophy. At the end of his life - a fairly short life - he said “Well, it’s all straw really, all straw. The only thing that matters is union with God, the blessed vision, the beatific vision”... complete union with our source; and to look at the world out of the very Eye of the One responsible for it, is quite something, isn’t it?

Well, I’ve been doing this many times, but every time, it is more astounding, I think. Do any of us have any difficulties about this, or doubts?

Just a question really. It seems like there’s an edge to - you call it “boundless”, but if I take my finger, look at my finger, at a certain point it seems to disappear, or it comes in to fill the view. Isn’t that a kind of edge?

This is the edge where your finger disappears, but does your Eye disappear? The Eye is space for - the finger’s a thing, isn’t it? The Eye is a kind of no-thing, isn’t it? Your finger disappears because it’s a thing, but the Eye is a no-thing which takes in all those things. It’s a kind of funny no-thing which takes in all the funny things. And therefore the no-thing is bigger than the things.

I don’t think we have to - well, what do we have to do, to see this? To start off by seeing that there is just One - that we can do, can’t we. They do come together, you would agree to that? And you would agree that it goes on for quite a long way? - a long way - it really is big. I think that will do. So let’s just kind of rest in there. And if there are doubts about little details, I don’t see they’re going to spoil the general delivery, are they?

I think this is inescapable, isn’t it?

A word that keeps popping up for me, is “omnipresent”. There’s a Number Seven!

Omnipresence, yes! Well, I wish I had a stick, a long stick. Omnipresence. Oh yes, Jane? Alan? do you have a walking stick? anything? (rolled up umbrella is offered) Ah yes, that will do. Well, you and I - let’s go into this together, shall we? (long pole is discovered by the garden door) Oh that’s a beauty isn’t it! Or is it too big? too dirty? No, I think this is very good, I think this is super!

It's rather muddy.

Well, having taken our shoes off, we’re now bringing all this in. Now, look. Will you get over there? Now, everyone can see that we are ten or eleven feet apart, right? This is a reliable, though dirty, measuring rod. We’re all agreed about that? Would you agree that this is a reliable instrument? And would you take what it presents to us, seriously?

Very seriously.

Alright. Well, will you hold one end to your eye; and I’m going to hold the other end to my eye. Now, how long is it for you and me?

Very short, actually. You're just there, really.

It’s very short, isn’t it. It’s really nothing. Now, if you could stretch a bit of string - pull it tight between you and the furthest galaxy, it would read this way, wouldn’t it? My dear, you are omnipresent. And this dirty but efficient instrument is proving it. Would anyone else who doubts this, like to share with me?

You know, you are omnipresent; exactly omnipresent. Don’t tell me that a human being is omnipresent. WHO YOU REALLY ARE is omnipresent. Here’s evidence! How we resist this, is extraordinary, isn’t it? I think we’d better return this to the door before we make a muck of it. But thank you for using that word.

We've got seven, then?

Well, omnipresent means boundless, I suppose. Omnipresent is a beauty. But there’s another one which is connected with divinity, and that is All-knowledge. You say “Well, I may be omnipresent, but I’m damned ignorant.” But you see, what is omniscience, or knowledge? What is it, to know everything? Is it to know the situation of every sand grain in the Sahara desert?

That’s not All-knowledge. A God like that, would be a divine apparatrick, wouldn’t She - an incredibly sub-human, rather than human Person. No. To know all things: when you see who you are, you have direct access to the inside story of every sentient being in the world; because at root we are the same, the same, the same, the same. When I see Who I am here, namely these seven characteristics, I don’t see into “my own” nature, I see into yours and yours and yours - everyone - the trees, the dog, the cat, E.T., everyone.

So we have omnipresent proof of our divinity, omniscience, a REAL knowledge, God’s knowledge of who we really really, really are. Omnipotence is where we miss out. We lack in the department of omnipotence, don’t we. I don’t get what I want. I wanted Catherine to come here today; and she can’t come. I wanted - what else did I want? - lots of things; and I don’t get them. I’m not omnipotent.

But wait a minute! I think there are different levels of will. And it is open to me to say Yes to what happens to me. It is open to me. Here we have Dante Alighieri saying “His Will is our peace.” And it seems to me that the heart of the spiritual adventure is surrender to the divine providence. Islam is all about that. So when I say Thy Will be done - God’s Will be done, tummy ache, Douglas on his deathbed, Catherine not very well, a million other things, if I just say Yes, then paradoxically, having no will, surrendering to the Will of God, is to share in the divine Omnipotence - by Grace! - not as Douglas, but as Who I really really, really am.

So we have these three characteristics or powers of the divine nature. You started the whole thing by talking about omnipresence. Now we have omniscience and omnipotence, the three. They’re all rather paradoxical, but all very very real.

You know, the news is very Good News, isn’t it? Isn’t this a happy - a happy thing? No other joy but this, I think - real joy. And I think that every joy is a diminution of that supreme joy of Who we really are.

I’m sure you’ve got lots of things to say about that one. It wasn’t at all what I intended to say, to talk about today. You started it! it’s your fault.

Alan and Jane, I’m looking at you. Have you any... ?


It seems to me that we have a new angle on old truths, which is so secular, so common or garden, so ordinary, so available, so sharable, so simple. And in some ways it is very much the product of our time, and of the West; and it is extremely precious. When you have this - which is the latest - you know, all this stuff here, and we have a lot of experiments which I haven’t unloaded on you - when you have those, endorsing in such detail the great spiritual traditions of the world, to resist the combination of the traditional and this latest angle - the first and the last, really - to resist their combined message is to be one’s own enemy, isn’t it? It is to be unfriendly to oneself, giving oneself a bad deal.

You haven’t raised the question of free will, have you Douglas, which is your ...

Free will? Oh Robin, help us on this subject!

Well, when you call us gods, God, then “my will” is being done. Is that right? You wanted to be here yourself. You wanted to be here this morning, so you get some things you want. You wanted Catherine to be here ...

Yes. Douglas wanted Catherine to be here. Yes.

So which Douglas are we talking about?

I think it’s a case of levels of will, Robin. It’s as though I have a Douglas-will, which wants all sorts of things; and rightly so, too. It goes with being Douglas, to want certain things; like being in reasonable physical shape, and to get rid of those damn moles in my lawn, you know, and all of those things, without killing them, and a million other things. That goes with being Douglas, and it is absolutely proper. But that’s the human pole of the Duracell battery that one is. And you can’t get rid of that. That really goes with being Douglas, to want this and not that. To pretend that I love those moles, and the havoc they are making in my front lawn is just beautiful - or that this sort of Himalayan thing is just as nice as the old thing - I can’t do that. It’s awful! Douglas feels badly about the moles, although he refuses to kill them.

Well, that’s Douglas. But there’s the other pole, which says “God’s will includes numerous molehills - thirty, forty molehills in my lawn.” One has to accept the polarity here, between the human and the Divine. And I think the last thing one wants to do, is to deny the human or to become unnatural. Surely, what we are on about this afternoon and this morning, is about being natural, and the way we are, not being funny or special peculiar people, but being in the best sense, ordinary. Being that natural and ordinary, means saying “There is this double thing.” And after all, you find this in Eckhart, you find it in Paul, you find it in the great Christian saints, who say, “In us, two men...” (Of course they were mediaeval, so they talk about “men”, and please excuse the chauvinism) - “In us are two men, the old man and the new man; the earthly man and the heavenly man, he outer man and the inner man, the slave, the servant, and the aristocrat.” And that bi-polarity gives LIGHT! Light.

You can’t get it without both poles. That is why, as I see it, the human is so important. And for my money, and I’m not going to defend it here, the Divine needs the human as much as the human needs the Divine. And the mystery of the Incarnation is for me, very precious.

Free will? There’s a wonderful thing in the Book of Common Prayer. It talks about God whose service is perfect freedom. The slave of God, in Islam, is the Free One, the paradox.

It’s mostly in the future, isn’t it? —free will. You could go back and kill the moles.

I could go back and kill the moles, but I don’t think I shall. I’m not going to - at least, at the moment that’s not my intention. I can see no end to this business, because they really have made a mess. No, this bi-polarity isn’t something I’ve invented. There it is, empirically, as the way it is. But instead of saying “Oh dear, that’s a dualism,” or something, the poles come together in a unity which is so marvellous. The unity is not the unity of deadness. The unity is the unity of light and contrast and drama and the story. (gesture, no-face and reflection of face in hand-mirror) There’s a story and there’s drama and there’s light because of the bi-polarity being contained in the One, incredible, Divine comedy, really.

Douglas, other people who have seen Who they are, do they say that this duality goes on through their life? It’s not a case of seeing Who you are, and it’s all finished — the little guy is dead? It’s continual?

Ooh NO! Absolutely, yes.

So, because, you know, in C.S.Lewis, the little guy is forever trying to unseat the big guy, so to speak, the Devil is trying to talk about “I really do these things” or “trust in ME” — trying to take credit for what happens naturally.

I know. Well, we'll muck it up if we can, won't we? And we do.


And I think the beautiful thing is that AS Who we really, really, really are, now, at our very Centre, everything is extremely right, and finely planned, and functioning perfectly. This is something to rest in. If Douglas had anything to do with it, you can be sure it would be a nonsense and a muck-up. And thank GOD - God looks after God - in me, so to say.

It seems like when Tony wants to do something, it’s thought out, it’s mischief, it’s worked out in the future, or it’s about a past event that’s manipulated. But the NOW thing — seeing Who you are NOW - it doesn’t get a look in. The little guy doesn’t get a look in, because it’s seen - seen through. Does that make sense?

Well... you see, I think the little guy (no-face to hand mirror face) is a crucial ingredient of this Divine Comedy, or the battery, or whatever. The human seems to me to be utterly precious. Take you, for instance. You have never occurred before. Your face is an absolutely unique phenomenon - not only your face, but everything about you: your job, and your personality - everything about you is a unique ingredient of the Universe. Remove you from the Universe, and the whole thing would collapse! You are the essential ingredient of this Divine pudding. Well, I think this is not for putting down, it’s for putting out. (Hand mirror/palm one metre away) I think one should develop perhaps a sense of humour about that one - there he goes again, you know - and so on. But humanness is for taking extremely seriously. Here is where William Blake is so good, you know. He talks about “the human form Divine”, and he goes on about that; and the mystery of the Incarnation and the Descent of the Divine into the human, and vice versa. It’s just a marvel.

Yes. It adds to your human-ness.

We’re so apt, aren’t we, to go to one extreme or the other. We’re all Humanists, and God is all packed up, and all that spiritual stuff is really imagination. We’re all Humanists nowadays, and we’ve gone crazy in one direction. And the opposite craziness is to say “the human is a disaster” and to sit in funny clothes and funny postures, behaving in a funny way, and be all - celibate, and all sorts of other crazy things, you know - the human is rubbish stuff. That for me, is equally disastrous - perhaps more so.

In fact, there is a Scripture, and gosh, I can look up who it was, but I’ve forgotten - he said - I miss the exact words. Something like this: “To look only outwards is a disaster. To look only inwards is a greater disaster.” It’s the combination.

Oh, right, so we have to find a middle way of ... a bit of both.

That’s why I say this is the pattern (asymmetry, no-face to handpalm/mirror) - not this, and not that, (hand OR no-face) but that (both). And this gives you a reverence. What do you love about people? What is so charming and beautiful, about people? Well, primarily it is their faces. They are so charged - they are miracles of expression of what’s going on inside, aren’t they? Our faces really - we can’t hide anything. Everything is on show, if we have eyes to see it. They’re marvellous really. From HERE.

I think the human irradiates the Divine and vice versa. And we are built to die for one another. Built to die. Because that is the very nature of being.

Well, I didn't intend to do anything like this, today. What would you like us to do?

Did you bring the Card at all?

Yes I did. Shall we have a go at the Card?

Yes, I think that's a wonderful one.

Alright, we’ll have a go at the Card. Incidentally I brought one or two books in case anyone wants one. Yes, we have a Card each, thank you. (Each Card has a big oval face-size hole cut out of it, and a small oval hand mirror glued on beside the hole — the Big One and the little one.)

Experiment: The Card

Well, before we start this experiment, may I remind you of the purpose and rules of all our experiments. The purpose is to see what we SEE, instead of what we’ve been told to see. The rules are that - in this case particularly - we attend to what is given here in the Card, and we don’t look at each other and we don’t look at Douglas. We look at what’s going on in these places here. And we don’t look there in order to understand anything, or to have feelings of one kind or another. You can see this equally, if you are euphoric or somewhat dull or even sad, depressed. It is equally visible, whatever your mood. And this is incredibly valuable. To have something I can do when I am feeling AWFUL is very precious.

So, I’m not saying Please feel awful, but IF you feel awful, it is STILL on show. That’s what so much of its merit is: that it’s available when I need it most. Which is when I am totally, very off-colour. So it’s not about our feelings. It’s about our perception. If we have nice feelings, well good luck to you, but that’s not the point.

What else? Attending to what is going on here. There are some more things, but I can’t remember. What are they? Just attend to what is going on here, what is seen. And we start off with the little guy in the mirror. We need to have a look at the little guy in the mirror, very carefully indeed. Joining the club, we made all sorts of funny assumptions about that little one, which we are going now to investigate and check.

In order to keep that little one in our sights, we might have to just keep our elbow in our other fist, otherwise the arm is going to get very tired. So we look at the little guy over there. And the little guy is OVER THERE, isn’t he, or she? And such a long way away, which is rather strange, really. When you really think of it, how far this thing is away, we have identified with something that is over there, a long way from HERE. And just to emphasise and underline how far it is away, put it on the ceiling, will you? Right there, on the ceiling, up there... or on the floor, looking up at you from the floor... over there.

That is a very strange thing, to identify with what’s so far away. But we do identify with this, don’t we? to an incredible degree. Please keep looking at it. You know, if someone were to walk into this room without a leg or an arm, several fingers missing, who would care? Who would notice, almost? Maybe there is someone in the room without a finger or two. I don’t know. In any case, it would cause no alarm or difficulty. But suppose somebody came in here with half a face! And that sort of thing does happen, in war and car accidents. Half a face. A mashed up face. Nothing could be more horrible, could it?

I had a woman in a workshop once, who was doing this experiment, who said she had given birth to a child with no face. Can you imagine that? Nothing recognisable as a face - absolutely awful. So we have identified with this to an incredible extent. And rightly so, too. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; but we have. But it’s so far away! That’s very strange - to identify with a thing that’s so far away.

But you may say, “It isn’t far away. It’s really a mere reflection of what is in fact at the near end of our arm.” So I say, Alright, let’s put it where it’s supposed to belong. So please - and you should be looking at your Card all the time I’m talking, don’t put it down - please keep looking at that little one, or the Big One as the case may be, throughout this experiment. Well, we’re bringing on the little one now, please, very slowly. Very slowly.

We’re losing as we do so, the chin and the upper part of the head, aren’t we. And the nose and the eyes are getting bigger, and the mouth. We get to within, say four inches of the Card, and stop there. Now, if we COULD put it on now, this would be awful, wouldn’t it? It would be on the wrong way. It IS the wrong way, isn’t it? It’s the wrong way round.

Well, at this point let’s take off our glasses. We have to take off our glasses if we are wearing them; and we see if we can put it on here. And we might have to turn our face a little to the side, as we bring it RIGHT on, as far as it will go... and I think... we lose it.

We lose that face when we try to bring it HERE. And if we could bring it here, it wouldn’t do, because it would be the wrong way round. Therefore it doesn’t belong here, I say. It belongs over there. So, let’s put it back, please, to where it belongs. And keep looking at it now.

Well, I don’t know about you, but this is very good news that it doesn’t fit HERE, that it doesn’t belong here, that it won’t come here. WHY is it good news? Because it is dying. It’s a death’s head, really. It’s a terminal case. And I find that Death is held at arm’s length. Death cannot get to me HERE. This death’s head, this dying Douglas, cannot share his mortality with what’s at Centre. The dying is out there, not at Centre. That’s good news. So he is there, off-Centre, dying.

...It won’t fit on my shoulders, but there are other shoulders in the room. So, let me try this head which won’t fit on my shoulders, on the shoulders of my neighbour, one of my neighbours, and see if it fits on her or him.

And I don’t know about you, but it fits perfectly. It’s the right way round, and it is pretty convincing. So my head fits on your shoulders, very neatly, I would say. I don’t know about your head on my shoulders, but my head fits on your shoulders. WHY? BECAUSE IT BELONGS TO YOU! My head fits on your shoulders because it belongs to you. It does not belong to me.

And when we were very little, we gave our faces to everyone. We didn’t claim those darn things, did we, when we were very little. The charm of young children is that they give you their faces. They don’t give a damn whether they are brown or black or yellow or I don’t know what; or handsome, or homely; they give their face to you. And when we grew up we committed theft and larceny. We took that face - which doesn’t belong to us, it is OUT THERE! (taps mirror) - and doesn’t belong to us, which we can’t GET anyway - we took that, and in imagination brought it here. And we committed theft and larceny! And you know what the punishment is for this? Capital punishment! Really. It is a very serious offence.

Now we give our faces back to the people they belong to. And this is GOOD for your face! You know, it is real beauty treatment. If you want to be more beautiful, and all of us would like to be a little more beautiful, wouldn’t we? well, don’t claim your face. Give it to people. Let it belong to the people it does belong to. Your face is their property. It fits beautifully on them! And when we were very little, we lived it, and now we have to relive that innocence. Yes? Very nice.

Well, this one won’t fit on me. You know, that little one there is fine there, but when it comes here, it becomes a parasite. It’s as though the little one in the mirror is a dangerous - it IS a dangerous specimen. And what do you do with dangerous specimens in path labs? You keep them in bottles, don’t you! Glass bottles with lids on them, tight. And this one (taps mirror) is behind glass here! You see, what happens is, when we grow up a little bit, the darn thing escapes from the bottle in the path lab and TWHHHRR-RLLL-D-D-D, runs up my arm and infects me here, and I have become parasitized with this darn thing here. And what do parasites do? They weaken you, and they kill you. That’s a parasite. So, get rid of the parasite, and put it back to where it’s not a parasite, where it is your friend really, your friend, in the bottle behind glass. It’s safe in there. It’s a parasite here. And it DOES weaken you, and it does sap your energies, really. If we want to deploy what energies we have, I’d say put the parasite back in the parasite bottle (taps mirror).

Well, so much for the little one. And this one is not me, at Centre. This one is me peripherally, as Douglas; and I’d better be careful not to disown Douglas. Douglas I NEED. Douglas is very important. He is one pole of the battery. (taps mirror) But by himself, at centre, he is awful, parasitical, and a disaster. However, there IS an alternative.

And now we turn our attention please, looking at the Card again, and not at me - we turn our attention from the little one to the Big One. And it might be useful to keep the little one in sight, in the mirror, while looking also from that, to the Big One, and noticing how different they are. The mirror - the little one there - has got your face, and is full of your face, and the Big One is totally empty of your face. It is absolutely, in itself, right here, just a hole, isn’t it? Just a hole in the card - absolutely empty.

Let’s get a feel of the emptiness, shall we? (investigates hole with fingertips) Just stroke it and feel the emptiness here. It really is clean and clear, speckless, spotless emptiness. So empty. But just because it is so perfectly empty, you see it is full immediately, of whatever is on offer. It is full of the scene. We can get trees, we can get these flowers, we can get our friends round the room, we can get our own tummy and legs. Let’s do that - get our own tummy and thighs and feet into the whole thing.

Now all those things are ever changing, small, moving, perishing, dying, ever changing, being born and maturing, getting old and decrepit, dying. They have a life history. All the things there are mortal - even galaxies. But itself is not. Itself is imperishable - WHY? - because in itself it is empty.

Now, isn’t this getting a bit like our specification, our six or seven-fold specification of the power behind the world? Surely it is. To be the Unmoved, to be the Empty, Immaculate, Boundless container of all the things that perish - how marvellous that would be. This would be having your cake and eating it, wouldn’t it? Having the best of both worlds.

But we are not yet there. Keep looking at the space, not me. We’re not yet there. Why aren’t we yet there? Two reasons, or three. This space in the Card is over there, not here. It’s at arm’s length. Secondly it’s rather small. It’s not big enough. It won’t do for me, will it. It is surely not limited space that I AM - but this is very limited. But above all, this hole in the Card, this Space, is sleeping. Certainly unconscious, unaware. So - too far off, too small, and too insentient.

Now let me correct these three limitations by doing what we did - what I did - with the little one; which is to TRY IT ON, for size, etcetera. What we do now - and we have to do this with enormous attention, with honesty, simplicity, attention and openness to what we may find - is, we bring it on very slowly, as if it were a mask .. watching for the marvellous moment when the hole suddenly expands to infinity, the Card disappears, and at that very moment the Space we are looking at, becomes the space we are looking out of.

Put it right on. Right on. Haven’t you become again, this infinite space .. that we found at the end of the Tube, and that we were pointing at?

And you know, one of the great problems of the modern world is that in this immense Universe, the billions of galaxies, and even on our Earth seven thousand million humans like dust grains circulating round this terrestrial dust grain - aren’t you lost in the world? totally meaningless and insignificant in this vastness?

But now look round the room. Keep the Card on please, and look round the room. Look at those funny people. Playing Belgian nuns, are they? How funny they look. But do you look funny? Are YOU like that? Are YOU not unique, in this room? as First Person - as Who YOU are - are YOU like them?

Now, if all those seven thousand million humans were gathered together in this room, ALL playing Belgian nuns, wouldn’t YOU still be the only ONE? who is not playing Belgian nuns, and doesn’t look funny, and whose Hole in the Card has expanded to infinity and become Awake?

And if all the sentient creatures in the Universe, every one of them, subhuman, human and suprahuman, were gathered together here, playing the same game, YOU would still be the only ONE who wasn’t playing this game. Why? Because of who YOU ARE. You are that One.

You are the unique One, not as the one you see in the mirror. You are through to who you are, as Who you are, not as a human being. And if I had a mirror here - which I do have, actually - I would find that Douglas too is playing Belgian nuns. There he is! - silly old Douglas playing Belgian nuns. He’s doing it too! I AM through to Who I am. He isn’t! Douglas is not through. But Who I really really really am, is through. And Douglas looks like a marmot in the Alps you know, in his little hole, squeaking at you. Yes.

You are the unique ONE in all the world, the ONE, the only ONE. There’s an Upanishad called the Kaivalya, which is about this, about being the ALONE. And Plotinus, the great Greek philosopher, talks about the flight of the alone to the alone. And you know some of us are very lonely, aren’t we. What is the cure for our loneliness? Paradoxically, it is to be the Alone. If we are lonely, let’s be the Alone, and then we won’t be lonely any more, because our Aloneness will include the world.

But just look round again at your charming friends, and notice how different YOU are. This difference is for taking seriously.

Well, something else now, rather briefly?

Do you want to have a tea break at all, Douglas? Do you want a tea break at any point?

It's three o'clock. When do we finish, Jane?

Four, I think, four-thirty? Four-ish?

I think - give me another ten minutes, and then we'll have tea. Yes.

I’d like to talk about the Four Stages of our life, with the benefit of the Card. I think we can fit this in before tea. Quickly. The First Stage is the infant, when we are tiny, for others a little tiny baby. For ourself, are we a tiny baby, a limited, tiny little baby? ‘Course not. One is boundless. One is the space that we see at our end of the Tube. One is none other than this capacity for colours and smells and sounds and all this stuff - little things coming out of our space, into our space, rather - and one is centred, living entirely from Here, from Who we really are. So, the little baby is really Home and dry. It’s a wonderful First Stage, but of course very temporary, and not brilliantly aware of itself. That is the First Stage of our life. Number One. (the Hole in the Card)

The Second Stage of our life is when we grow up a little bit, we are surrounded by the faces of siblings and mother and father, and all the rest. And among the faces around us, very very important, is one rather odd face, behind glass here. (taps mirror). And that is our friend, that’s our little friend. That is Baby in the mirror. Never does the very, very young child say “That’s Me”, or identify itself as that one. It’s always adults which come along and say “That’s you. That’s you, Douglas, that’s you Douglas, that’s you.”

Now some of us catch on to this very quickly, and it takes very little time to persuade us that this is so. Others it takes ages and ages, and in some cases, is never really completed. We vary so much. We have to allow for these huge variations. But never, never does the young child naturally say “This is ME”. Nevertheless, the adults go on and on and on - they HAVE to. It’s their job. They’re not being naughty or wicked there at all. They keep saying “No, that’s you Douglas, there in the mirror”.

So, what happens? Well, I think what normally happens is that one accepts in a kind of way their decision - for social purposes, in order to become a member of the club, you know - not to be left out in the cold, one says, “OK. That’s me.” Especially when one has been naughty or under criticism, or having to learn table manners. One says “Yes, that’s Me.” (tapping small mirror). But a healthy child of five is still this One - is still as wide as the world (hole in Card)... still immense - a marvellous time of our life. I think that period of our life is just so superb, when we have joined the Human Club, but we have not yet paid the full Subscription. And for some of us, this goes on a long time, and for others it is very short. We vary so much. But it is a marvellous time in our lives.

And then of course, we grow up, and we come to our teen age, and puberty and so on. We come to the Third Stage. What is the Third Stage?... (puts sheet of paper on the Hole in the Card, blocking it) I think the less said about it the better! That is exactly what it is, isn’t it? I Am What I Look Like. I’ve lost my space, and I’ve become my face. Nearly all of us live and die this way. It is so unnecessary, and so untrue, and so unhappy. Unhappy.

The Fourth Stage is one we have been enjoying now, isn’t it? (removes sheet of paper from the Hole) Yes. This I am for others. This I am, there. This I am, here. I am both. I am Douglas, I am human, I am Divine. Stage Four.

So the infant, stage One, the child, stage Two, the teenager and ordinary adult, stage Three. Stage Four is “this is what I am for myself, and this is what I am for you.” (play with large Hole and small mirror .)

And just finally, before we have tea; I think I took your Card, Tony - let me take these Cards here (collects several Cards together) ... well now, here’s Douglas here, and Tony here, and you? Tim - Tim, Tony and Douglas. They’re getting in each other’s way, aren’t they (rattling the mirrors together) and they’re making a lot of noise. And they are separate. And this is fine! This has to be so, doesn’t it. But here... (puts on the Holes of all the Cards at once)... if I try on Tony or Tim or Douglas, it fits, doesn’t it. And it fits the cat and the dog. It fits everyone round the room. It fits E.T. It fits everything in the world. Here I am You. There, I am Douglas. Here I am You. That’s just what the doctor ordered, isn’t it? Here the barriers are down.

As Who we are, we are each other. And not until Who we are, are we united, or are the barriers down between us; or can we love one another as we should, and in essence at heart, really do love one another. Well, Jane? Tea. Shall we have tea?

After Tea

When we were measuring with the stick, and there's no distance between yourself and…

Yes. Omnipresence.

Is there any parallel to paintings where there is an illusion there. Is that the way it works?

Yes. The power of the great paintings in the world is that they overcome the illusion of separateness. There’s a mystery about this. In a great painting, or even in a less great painting, there is somehow the conquest of the illusion of distance. It was William Blake who said “Distance is fantasy.” Blake is a Seer - a clear Seer. Distance is a fantasy. But, I’m not distant from you. I’m not distant from anything, quite obviously. Even physiologically this is true, in a sense. Physiologically, the picture I have (indistinct)... is one that I can enjoy and experience here. The stars for instance - my experience is the Star of Now, not the star that may have blown out a thousand years ago. You are omnipresent. This is such a simple thing that we forget about it. It is as though we hate our Divinity. We don’t realise it’s the secret of our true humanity, our blessed humanity.

The great poet and great prose writer, that marvellous man, Traherne, talks about being clothed with the Heavens and crowned with the Stars when he was a little child; and obviously, the adult Traherne was clothed with the Heavens and crowned with the Stars, and all the world was his. This is superbly described in his book Centuries. Traherne.

I think it really is true what Eric Fromm says; that to become a fully paid up member of the Human Club, is to go crazy, in a way. Crazy. Crazy! It seems to be about as crazy as you can become. And some kinds of craziness are not miserable, but this kind is! It’s really exchanging riches for poverty, exchanging the beatific nature for misery.

Did any thoughts or inspirations arise?

One question came up for me. It was something you were saying about Douglas and the Divine in the duracell battery. What happens at death? What are your thoughts on this? I hope you don’t think this impertinent.

Thank you for asking about that one! Well, very briefly - and this connects with the Tube - I think most of us here know what NDE’s are - Near Death Experiences. Due to modern techniques of surgery or resuscitation, more and more people are coming back from the very brink of death, where they have diagnosed physical death. Breathing and pulses have stopped, and still they’ve been brought back to tell their story of what it was like at the very threshold of death. To be sure, their stories do differ very largely, and there are exceptions, but the general pattern, or what is very very commonly found, is something like this: that on one’s death bed for instance, or in a car accident, one experiences a distancing from the suffering of the human. One surveys with some dispassion, as if physically at a distance, the nurses doing their stuff. That is followed by a tunnel “experiment” - it is as though God - our God were like my moles, a tunnelling God!

God seems to love tunnels. That’s very interesting, isn’t it? - that He is a tunnelling God. Which gives one a certain respect for these NDE’s, because at your death bed and mine, I think there’s a very likely possibility that we will be tunnelled by Him. The experience of these people who have come back from the brink of death, is that they have been drawn through a tunnel, often dark and noisy, have been drawn at speed through this long tunnel; and at the end of the tunnel a light .. (short break in recording — few sentences missing)

...which obviously grows brighter and bigger as it is approached - some get to that light and come back; some hardly get there; some are bathed in the light and even experience some kind of union with the light. But the light is not a physical light only. It is rather the light that lights up the light. It’s aware. It is luminosity, if you like. It is not uncritical of the patient, and it is not condemning either. In many cases, there is talk of a quick review or recapitulation of one’s life. The stories differ very much, but ALL are agreed that this is a superb place, a wonderful experience. It is an ineffable joy really to become - to be bathed with that Light, to be even, to become that Light. And the very last thing that one wants is to come back into that suffering body. But of course, those who come back, do come back to tell their story. And the normal reaction to having had a Near Death Experience, I understand, is that one fears death no longer. The second thing is, that one is rather reluctant to talk about it, because people don’t take it seriously, or don’t believe you. But anyway, the fear of death seems to be quite undermined by this experience.

Now, I think there are exceptions. None of us knows exactly what will happen at that time, but I think this is a remarkable, and fascinating, and encouraging story. And I find it highly amusing, charming and extraordinary, that long before I knew anything about NDE’s, or read Dr. Moody and the other experts, we were using the Tube! And then we read Dr. Moody and the experts - and there are now dozens and dozens of books on the subject; we were already tunnelling away, like moles really.

Oh, there’s another thing about the light. The light is described as extremely brilliant but not dazzling. That’s an interesting detail, to join the light.

Well, I think the lesson for me about these near death experiences is: don’t worry about them. It seems to me that they are more or less irrelevant for me at this time. I’m content to leave the whole thing in the hands of Who I really am. But one thing it does say is “Don’t leave it till then”; because it seems to me that on my deathbed, I’m going to be just a little bit agitato perhaps - just not at my best, you know! Not at my very best on my deathbed! So get in your homework, while you are in comparatively good nick. Die before you die, and then you won’t die, is the traditional formula. Practise death. Was it Plato who talked about philosophy being the practice of death? - something like that. But die before you die, and then you won’t. So thank you for raising that topic.

In the interplay between the little guy and the Big Guy, in a sense, the little guy is also divine. The kind of dualism is over when one sees that the little guy is also Divine. One then feels very comfortable with it, whatever he gets up to. It’s just part of the—if you like, the play of living.

That’s right. Yes. In so far as one experiences that union, the little one takes on the perfume of his origin.

It’s made of the same stuff, really, isn’t it.

This means that we can not only love one another, but rejoice in the beauty and charm of our friends. The whole thing becomes precious, and not something for writing off. So, one of the occupational diseases of spirituality has been so often the rejection of the phenomenal. For instance, there was a great spiritual master who was a very extraordinary man, Jean Viannay; somebody showed him a rose, and he said “Don’t show me the rose, it will take my attention from the Divine beauty.” Well, the rose IS the Divine beauty! And God without the world is not being God. But with the world, and the roses, She is. Yes!

I suppose, since we don’t have too long — in any case, what time would you like us to pack it in?

Well, there isn’t any fixed time. It’s now five past four. I don’t know what time Joyce is coming. We can go on till half past four.

Well, I’d love to hear some more questions or contributions. Yes?

Douglas, could you tell us something about Grace?

Grace? Ah, Grace. Gosh. I love the word “grace”. It’s connected with “thank you”, isn’t it? Grace. I don’t know what your definition of the word would be, but it’s something like “undeserved blessing” - an undeserved and perhaps unanticipated gift - some blessing or something wonderful. I would say one’s life, if one really looks and sees it as it is, is Grace overflowing. In fact, when I was young, almost a century ago, we used to sing Amazing Grace. It’s a beautiful song, you remember. If you really look at what’s happening, we are recipients, aren’t we, of amazing grace? of unexpected, undeserved, unmerited blessing.

Think of omnipresence. To contain it - I mean, Douglas is in the world, but the world is in me. Douglas is a tiny ultra-microscopic dust grain, here one moment as Douglas, and gone the next, by grace, if you wish. I am not in the world. The world is in me. I am not in time. Time is in me. Everything is bouleversèe. That’s grace. God is gracious.

Gracious also means beautiful, doesn’t it? - “moved with grace” - like a cat moves grace-fully - grace fully.

This always seemed covered by a cloak, but you’re sort of taking the cloak off it.

Yes. Unmasking... the Glory, I think.

I don’t know if this is the same kind of grace that you’re talking about, but the grace that I have observed in everyday life in other people always seems to be defined in terms of the absence of something, most particularly the absence of a show of anger in the face of...

or stiffness...

... really, not reacting to something which is inflammatory, or being able to just go with a situation which seemed very unfortunate or very adverse, and also the absence of — the general absence of anger. I can’t find a definition of it in the positive. I can only express it in terms of the absence of human frailties.

Well, I don’t think we need worry too much about it, do you? I think the great thing is to have a look at where we’re coming from, and I think grace will come in sooner or later in one form or another ...

... in other words, to submit to what is clearly given, instead of editing it out from our lives, on account of social pressure, fear, and the tyranny of language. And I think we’ll get all the grace that’s needed, really. If we have several things to do, like “see Who we are” and “find grace” and do a few thousand other things, we will do nothing. For my part, I suppose I am really a kind of idiot or simpleton, who says, “I’ve only got one thing to do, and one thing will do, and that is to come Home to the place I never left.”

The text for this is quite a good one - “Seek ye first the Kingdom” - in fact, find the Kingdom - which is here - “and every thing shall be added.” All things shall be added. If I have two things to do, I’m in trouble, because I say, Well I’ve done this, I’ve done my Devotional bit, now I have to do my Looking bit, then I have to do my Grace-recipient bit, and I really can’t be bothered.” I think, go for the heart of the matter, and everything else will fall into place, don’t you, Alan?

It seems to me that what is seen from the very beginning is what is seen at the end. The penny dropped for me sixty-something years ago, and I saw Who I was, and I see Who I am now, and there’s no difference, no development! No development whatever, it’s EXACTLY the same! You say, Oh that’s awful, Douglas. You should have improved a lot. Well it hasn’t, I promise you, it’s exactly the same. What has changed perhaps, is the continuity and the effect on one’s physique and so on. But the vision itself does not. It does not improve or grow.

And this is why it is so encouraging, and also so democratic, because I share this perhaps at this meeting with a new friend; and do I feel “Oh, he’s a beginner, of course, I’m very accomplished” ? Not at all! It’s very democratic. I like that. So, the Seeing doesn’t develop at all. No improvement. What does change is I think, the continuity, the steadiness of it, and the effect on one’s life at every level. Above all, what develops. or should develop, is trust. And that is very slow to come, and very precious, and very important. So I see Who I am, and trusting this One is more difficult.

For example, coming here today, I had some ideas what I was going to do, and it turned out utterly differently, thank God. Some people would say No, I think that was wrong. You should have worked it out and presented what you intended to do. Well, I don’t think that’s the way things should work, or would work, insofar as I trust. What we need to do is practise this and practise. The practice is essential. “Practice” is a horrible word. I say, “Enjoy this, enjoy this.” This is sheer enjoyment, it’s practical, it enables us to do better what we would do worse. Seeing Who we are ensures that what we do, we do better, and it is accompanied by the development of trust.

This means throwing away your notes for an occasion; and just coming and saying “I give up, I just want to sit here and see what happens.” You see, Who you are has the supreme savoir-faire, the supreme know-how. and Who you are has - what is the know-how, what is the expertise of the One you know? It has the supreme and impossible expertise, which is the curious knack of actually being.

Now the One who can BE, from not-being, and raise itself out of not-being by its own non-existent boot-straps, so to say - this one I trust; and it is the only One I really will trust. This One has a supreme know-how, which is Self-origination. There should be nothing at all! But Be-ing has the knack of upping itself, all the time, in you now. That One is trustworthy, isn’t it?

As Martin Heidegger says, really there should be nothing at all. This is consciousness and so on - there should be nothing at all. But there’s the One Who in you, as you, as you really are, what you really are, is the One Who has that extraordinary knack of Self-origination. I talk about this, and I really mean to talk about it, but people say, “Come on, Douglas, I don’t know what you’re on about. Being has to be. There has to be ‘being’.” Well, human beings think that, but God doesn’t. I think God is - I think that Her hair stands on end in astonishment at Her own Self-origination.

You say “Come on, that’s silly.” Well, let’s sum this up in terms of myself. It didn’t happen, but it could - myself as a small boy, asking my mother who made the world, knowing exactly what she would say, and she said “God”, of course. And after a suitable interval I scratched my head and said “And who made God?” And she says, “Don’t ask silly questions.” OR ELSE, she says, “I guess He made Himself.” And you say - you scratch your head again - “You mean there was nothing - absolute nothing - just darkness - and - up He popped? OOHH!! That was clever!”

Now, that’s me. It didn’t happen to me as a boy, but it happens to me now. That One is trustworthy. And that One is You. That’s expertise, isn’t it? That’s know-how. That’s expertise. Does that make sense? Trust - I’m just talking about trust, really. But this does need practice. It’s a wonderful thing to see, and you get not a head-start but a no-head-start. But you have to live it; and that is the hard one. And you say, Well Douglas, how do you suggest that we - give us one or two tips for keeping this alive from now on. Well! All of us are dealing with other people all of the time. None of us here is a hermit, obviously. You have someone in front of you. Now that’s a challenge, from now on. From now on you have a choice, and I have a choice: Shall I lie and play the social game, and make it a symmetrical situation, face to face - shall I do that? Shall I do this? (fist to fist) Or shall I tell the truth(fist to open palm) which is, I am absent, I disappear in your favour? This man may be my enemy, he may be my friend, he may be someone I love very very much - doesn’t matter. Shall I lie, or shall I tell the truth; which is that I disappear in his favour, or her favour?

So much of our lives is a challenge, to see like that; and it DOES make a huge difference in the long long run, to our loving and to our personal relationships, and to every other thing too.

The second tip I can give is: we’re all moving about again, we’ve got some gas, petrol, in cars, whatever - let us see that we aren’t - that it is the country that’s moving. And if you’re on a long drive, like Robin going back perhaps to where he hangs out, in the West country, if you want to do it with least strain, more comfort, more pleasure, and even more safely, tell the truth which you are. You correspond to Aristotle’s definition of God, which is “the unmoved Mover of the world”. This is ASTONISHING! You’re sitting in that car - and Who is your chauffeur on this occasion? It’s not a human chauffeur that can set the world - stir the world, like a bowl of porridge. Isn’t trust lurking there, when you see this? Yes, Robin.

Going back to your comment of God making Herself out of nothing. Is that what happens to you every time you wake up?

Well, I wouldn’t quite put it like that Robin, for this reason. It seems to me that Consciousness is not in time. Time is in Consciousness. And I have never experienced the beginning, interruption, or end of Consciousness. You say, well there must be times Douglas when you’re not dreaming, but just enjoying - if you can enjoy such a thing as dreamless sleep - your Consciousness has packed up, as in an operation for instance. Maybe you’re not dreaming at all. Well, I think this is an external view. My view of Consciousness, from the point of view of Consciousness, is that it doesn’t come and go, and it has no beginning, middle or end, and I don’t wake up, I exchange one rather bizarre dream world, for another kind of dream world, like this dream world. A dreamless sleep is a third-person account of what’s going on. It’s not my account of it. When I allegedly wake up, it is exchanging one dream for another dream, or a more organised world for a less organised world. So I wouldn’t quite put it like that.

I’ve heard it described as Consciousness at rest in the deep sleep and Consciousness in action in the ...

Well, I know this is the Indian and other Eastern view. A very common view is that one is enjoying one’s true identity in dreamless sleep. I’m a kind of idiot who doesn’t understand that. If one is unconscious of anything happening, how is enjoyment going on? This is a question which I really would hate to be too dogmatic about. I’m just telling you my difficulty, Robin. You see, perhaps what we’ve been doing today, is not addressing Big Questions. I think today, rather like the Buddha, we have to some extent eschewed metaphysics and theology and the big spiritual questions, many of them hypothetical.

What we have done is to look at ordinary things of life, like facing one another. Are we facing one another? Are we looking out of two windows or one window? What am I pointing at? Is the country moving, or am I moving? Those are questions we can live and answer - and they will do, Robin. They will do. It seems to me that while we play the game at having a go at metaphysics and the big questions which are going to be asked in this room perhaps in a hundred years time, they’re inconclusive, and people will go on and on arguing about free will and grace and what have you, won’t they; and dreamless sleep and all that. I don’t need to settle those questions in order to live from Who I am.

We’re so ingenious, Robin, at avoiding the simple thing! It was T.S. Eliot who said “Mankind cannot do with much simplicity” or something like that, in the Four Quartets. We hate simplicity. “Why be simple when I have the opportunity to be complicated?” And one way of avoiding the embarrassment of simplicity, which we hate on the whole, is to engage in Big Questions while we are leaving the little questions which are really fundamental, like “Are we face to face or not?” - leaving them unanswered. When I go off into metaphysics and so on, this is an escaping from the little things; and it is the little things which reveal me, reveal all I need. God is very humble. He reveals Himself - LOOK! This paper bag, this Tube, do you know what it began as? It began, more than thirty years ago, as a Canadian garbage bag, with the bottom cut off. A garbage bag! Now, the wonder and mystery and the Kingdom and Power, the Glory behind the world has the humour and the humility to reveal Herself, show Herself, disclose Herself at the bottom of a CANADIAN GARBAGE BAG. Now, that really moves my heart. I’ll buy that kind of God, you know.

Why am I talking about garbage bags? Anyway, how do we keep this going? Tony, tell us how to keep it going.

There’s no doubt about it, it is hard.

Tony is a very practised Seer.

We have to do the experiments. You just have to do them. And you have to do them for the first time, whether you’ve been doing them for five, ten years, or whether you do it for the second time, today. You have to do it for the very first time, each time.

Each time is like the first time. And these experiments are not for entertaining ourselves one day in a workshop or a get-together. They are for taking out into ordinary life and living. aren’t they. And all of them - and this is only a tiny excerpt from them - all of them are really for bringing out into the world some way or another, and living.

Yes. And developing that trust. It just needs to be played with —as you said, “practice” is not a very nice word ..


Enjoyed. To play with. To share with friends, to do perhaps something like this, or with someone else if possible.

That’s very important Tony, the sharing, isn’t it? You see, it’s like Blake says, “He who holds to himself a joy doth the wingéd flower destroy; but he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in Eternity’s sunrise” - so you have it by giving it away, I think. And the joy of doing these little workshops and so on, is the sharing of what is SO SHARABLE! The only thing that is sharable is Who we are! I can’t share with you my appreciation of these flowers, or my appreciation of creme caramel or Mozart. How can I?

Exactly. I may like something else of his, or I may not like that particular flower.

My blue may be your green. But this is the ONLY sharable thing, isn't it?

It's the only thing you can't get wrong.

That’s right. And what’s more, Tony, once you’ve seen this, you are capable, authorised, equipped, to share it with anyone; because you’re doing it the way it has to be done. What you’re SEEING is the real thing, not a hazy version of it. Once you’ve seen this - I’ve known people who’ve seen this and show others the same day. And those others may take it infinitely more seriously even than you do.

If you want to keep it, give it away, share it. To enjoy the company of friends with whom you share this, is also very valuable. It really is infectious. That’s why I’m so grateful to Jane and Alan for their mothering and fathering of this occasion.

We’re very grateful to you for coming, Douglas. Each time more and more comes clear. We wish to thank you for all you give to us over the years ...

Well, it’s in spite of Douglas, rather than...

... send our combined love and good wishes to Catherine.

Yes. Well, she sends her love to our friends here. She is incommoded by some dubious medicine, but in general she is full of beans, as usual. She’s a very energetic lady, whereas I am bone lazy. But this sharing with others is very important. The world can do with this.

And you say, IS the world going to change? How can you change it? It seems a hopeless task. There are two things for encouragement. One is, that when you see Who you are, it’s not Douglas or Alan or Sarah or Jane - whoever - who is doing this. When you see Who you are, it’s Who you are, seeing who you are. And it lines up with a very strange mahayana Buddhist tradition; which is that when the Buddha was enlightened, his enlightenment necessarily involved the enlightenment of all beings.

So when YOU see Who you are, you’re not doing it as you. You’re doing it as me, and as all the others. It seems very strange; but in other words, your vision of Who you really are, is going to spill over indefinitely, in all directions. That is going to help the world and you. So you are not doing it selfishly. You are doing it for me. Thank you very much. The other thing - what was it? I’ve forgotten. What was I talking about?

Keeping it alive. Saving the world. Changing the world. The world changing.

Oh yes! Yes, that’s it. Thank you. I’m Alzheimering now. Yes. The thing about this is, that perhaps five million years ago, I think a woman probably - the men were all too busy hunting and scrapping - but some woman looked in the water and played games with the face in the water, and eventually came to the conclusion that she had one here like the others. And she allowed that thing to get out of the water and come onto her face. And she became a human being! She said, “I’m like the others. I’ve got a face here.” That face there is really here - somehow. She didn’t say it, but she lived that. She saw that. And that was the first really human being, who said “I am like you. I am like the others”. Five million years ago.

That was the big turnabout. Instead of just looking like that, as an animal, this woman also looked back here and said “I am like the others. I’ve got a face like them, here.” She didn’t put it in those words, but that is what she did. Now ALL we are doing, is to complete the story! That was a BIGGER turnabout than the completion of the story is. So if that was possible, why is not the completion of the story possible? I don’t know whether I have made myself clear.

I say, this is possible. It doesn’t mean Utopia will break out; because I’ve noticed in Douglas and among my friends who see clearly Who they are, they are not perfect, you know. They are not perfect people. I don’t think Utopia is in any danger of breaking out, but I do think there’s a chance - if not on this planet, then at least on one of the billions of other inhabited planets, I think this is going to happen, or is already happening.

Can I just throw in one thing? I was at a demonstration of Qi Gong martial arts. As each person finished the demonstration of a particular form, they did a symbol just like that: (closed fist on open palm: face to no-face) I saw that yesterday. In the martial arts thing, you could (...) somebody, but basically you hide it. That is what I saw being symbolised there. And of course, you did the same symbol, the same thing, and I thought AH! Here we go again! Another of those little breakthroughs. I just thought I’d share it.

That IS interesting! What I mean is of course, that in the ordinary, deluded, language-vitiated human vision, the illusion is that you and I now are like this (two closed fists together thumping). In fact you and I are like that - (closed fist against open palm, alternating) - and we are trading faces, aren’t we!

We’re not a threat, basically. This is what it was symbolising. Potentially - but we’re not going to do it.

These hands are so useful, aren’t they. They do this, point there and there - and all sorts of things. They are incredibly useful, these things here. Yes. Grace. And what is more, they are miracles. I haven’t a clue how I do that (points index finger up) How the hell am I doing that? Millions and millions of little chaps are doing that, at my bidding. Talk about wonder! Gosh. Our hair should stand on end at the miracles of everything. Everything is miraculous. These little guys are getting on with the end of this sentence! - millions and millions of little cells, little animal cells busy in my larynx, in my vocal chords, busy getting the end of this sentence together. Or you take the piano Virtuoso. Ashkenazy or someone! The INCREDIBLE stuff going on here - all done by your subordinate beings called animal cells. You say, well, cells, that’s all biology. Wait a minute!! You began life as one of them! One ! Just one!

And the feeblest, simplest, most primitive creepie-crawlie in the garden is an Angel in Heaven compared with you at minus nine months.

You were the simplest form of life, an almost invisible single cell; and now you are the progeny of that single cell. Gosh! I think one of the human things is that we don’t take Science seriously. You see, I think what we’ve been about today - I would like to prove it now, but it is too late - what we are doing is updating ourselves in the modern world. We fall terribly behind the times. Our attitude to Science is “It’s true for other people but not for me. I started in the Maternity Ward.” Come on! Come on! You didn’t. Anyway.

I think it’s not a bad idea to just be quiet for a few moments.

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