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