Douglas Harding is a British gentleman who awakened fully one day while walking in the mountains. At that moment, he realized that his concept of himself was false. He had previously thought that he looked out from a head, through his eyes, just like everyone else appeared to do. But when he looked inward, he did not see his head, or his eyes, or his face. He saw a space that contained everything that he considered himself, and a space that contained everything he perceived of the world. Douglas has provided a set of wonderful exercises that help you recognize the space that you see out of, and the space that you actually are. These exercises are reproduced with permission from Douglas’ organization, The Headless Way, which can be contacted at www.headless.org.

Pointing Here and There
(adapted from Douglas Harding’s “Pointing Here” exercise)

Begin by pointing, with your forefinger, at the wall or window across from where you are now sitting. Look carefully at what you are pointing at. See all the details of the object you are pointing to. Feel your distance from the object.

Lower your finger, pointing further down the wall, window, or object you have been studying, and allow your eyes to follow where your finger goes. Look carefully and slowly at each thing your finger points to. Follow your point of focus down to the floor, and look at the floor. Allow your finger to trace a line that gets closer and closer to you, all the way to your toes. Continue to look carefully at whatever you are pointing to.

Continue to slowly move your pointing finger and your focus of attention up your legs toward your head. Look carefully at the details you see in your pants or dress, your shirt or blouse. When you get to your neck, keep trying to look at where you are pointing to. Now point your finger at where others see your face. Look carefully at what you are pointing to. What do you see?

You have now turned your attention around and are looking at yourself at zero distance. Do you see the appearance of something?

When you point at yourself, at the place where others see your face, what do you see? You don't see eyes, mouth, cheeks, face, or even a head! What are you seeing?

You may experience that you are actually pointing to a space that contains everything, or nothing, no-thing. When you lose your head, you gain the whole world. Contemplate this for awhile, and repeat the experiment from time to time, checking for differences in perception and feeling.

First Person Singular

Explore what it is to be First Person singular, present tense.
Close your eyes, and consider the following:

Going by your own, present experience, not by memory, hearsay or imagination, how big are you? What shape are you? Could you be almost any size or shape?

Do you have boundaries? Is there a place where you stop and the world begins? Or is there nothing dividing you from the world?

You can probably hear a variety of sounds, from distant ones to close ones. Do you hear any sound right where you are? Don't sounds come and go in Silence where you are?

At centre are you a collection of thoughts and feelings - a mind? What and where is this mind? Do thoughts and feelings appear out of it or out of nothing? Is your mind centralized, boxed in, separate from the world, or at large, unboxed, united with the world?

Sensations of warmth, discomfort, pleasure, breathing and so on are apparent. Do these make you into 'something' at centre, solid and limited? Or do these sensations come and go in the transparency of awareness, like thoughts, feelings and sounds? How big is the pain of a headache? One-way attention pays attention to the ache, thinking of it inside the limits of a head. Two-way attention is aware of the space in which the ache - and the idea of a head - occur. Just as it is face there to no-face here, so it is pain there to no pain here.

Underlying and containing all the different things you identify with is unoccupied, timeless, pure awareness. Though it is not a thing, yet it is absolutely real, and always present. It is who you really are.

From Douglas Harding, The Headless Way, www.headless.org. Be sure to click on the “Extra” button next to Contact. It has a huge collection of links to other spiritual sites. Remember to stop when you get to The Last Page of the Internet and go out and play.