I have certainly nothing very special to say about 'seeing' but I would not wish to miss the opportunity offered to me by Richard Lang to manifest my huge gratitude to Douglas.
I am French, 49 years old, and I have been practising yoga since my teens and studying advaita vedanta for the last twenty years. Of course, it has gradually made big changes in my life but I have felt for several years that I was at a dead-end, stuck in the rut of my ego. In spite of long and accurate psychological work on the unconscious I was in search of a key.
My meeting with Douglas and Catherine was for me a sort of fairy tale. Though the book On Having No Head was on my shelves for ten years, it was impossible for me to read it. The picture on the cover looked very bizarre and the text quite obscure. Three years ago a friend of mine published a book on "The new sages of the west". The last chapter was on Douglas Harding and I was not really interested. I thought, of course very superficially, that the teaching of this Englishman was not at all traditional. Moreover it looks weird. And above all he never had a real-life guru. It was not for me.
But a few months just after that premature judgement another friend who already knew Douglas and enjoyed seeing suggestedthat I invite Douglas and Catherine to Ardenne, the spiritual centre in the south-west of France where I have lived and worked since 1982.
I do not know why, but strangely I accepted immediately, although without enthusiasm. The workshop was fixed for the first of November. It was 1993. When I welcomed Douglas at Bordeaux's station and therefore met him for the first time, a kind of alchemy occurred. He moved me in a very positive way and I thought: "Although his teaching has no interest for me, it is really worthwhile to meet such a lovely octogenarian".
About forty of my pupils were there and the workshop started. Instead of my reticence, I decided to play the game openly. But I did not expect any result, and I now realise that it was perhaps the best attitude with which to start the 'No-face game'. A vacant mind, no desires, no expectations. As the Zen man said, "the beginner's mind". At the end of the first day, after the pointing and the third eye experiments, I had not yet got the point. But something was moving and I felt that I was on the verge of a great discovery. During dinner, with a smile, Douglas told me that "Tomorrow I will put a bomb in Ardenne", and indeed it was so.
I think I shall never forget that morning. Of course, the bomb was the paper bag, the most powerful deconditioning device actually in existence. I entered the bag with a friend at the other end. How many faces in the bag? One, only one! What do you see on present evidence on your side of the tube? Good heavens, nothing at all but a clear empty space, nothing at all to deny the face there.
This space was totally naturally and simply one with my friend's face, and also one with thoughts and feelings. I was this free and aware space. No more confrontation of my ego with anything. The bomb had exploded. This first mesoscope experiment took place eighteen months ago and I can simply say that it was a cataclysmic event.
Since that day my spiritual practice, my teaching, in short my whole life has completely changed in a profound way. But that is another story.
To be at one with the world as I had tried unsuccessfully for years is simply to be nothing at all. To love is to disappear in favour of another person. It was really a very powerful and dangerous bomb. Nothing remains here to deny the world.
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