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From 'Seeing Who You Really Are'

by Richard Lang

(Extract from an interview with Richard Lang in 2002.)

Laurent: After more than three decades of practice do you find there is a shift in your awareness, that you are spending more time seeing the obvious than thinking about yourself as a limited character known as Richard Lang? 

Richard: I still think of myself as Richard, probably just as much as I ever did. That hasn’t gone away. I have direct access to the Source, and I suppose in some ways the Seeing is more continuous. But saying that is almost meaningless, because the Source is not a thing in time. I think I just go on in my life yet keep returning here to the Source. Ever since I met Douglas I have taken that route and I’m doing it now. It is important to me. For some people it’s not important to be awake to who they really are. It’s important to me for lots of reasons – sometimes because I really need it, sometimes it’s just a pleasure, sometimes it just happens, and sometimes simply because it’s true. When I’m sharing Seeing I like to stress the fact that when you’re home you’re home for ever. It’s timeless here. The Source is not a thing in time. I don’t think very much about whether the Seeing is continuous or not. That doesn’t really mean much to me. 

Laurent: Over the years has Seeing got easier? Is there less resistance? 

Richard: No, I don’t think it’s got easier. It’s just the same – because it’s still as totally available now as it always was, and because I think I’m just as resistant as ever. I don’t think there is any difference really. Of course, things do change, I notice change, but I also continue to have problems. But, as I said, it’s as available now as it was when I first saw it – because it’s always been totally available. So, no, I’m afraid it hasn’t got easier! 

Laurent: Thank you for being so encouraging!

Alain Bayod: Douglas often says that only other people can say if you have really changed. You can’t see it yourself. 

Richard: I know there are some ways in which I have changed. My experience has changed, my view out. I have experiences now that I didn’t have in the past. Life keeps evolving, keeps going deeper. For example, just before I came here I became more aware of how I take people’s faces from them and they can’t stop me doing it! I’m stealing their faces! In a sense I’m Seeing for them – I’m relieving them of their faces. I have their faces here in my no-face, and they don’t have them. I had a deep feeling about this. I had never seen and felt quite like this before. So insights like that come through and then they go. Yes, I see changes, but I can’t deny that I also experience my own personal difficulties and problems. 

Another thing – when I’m leading groups these days, not just headless groups but psychotherapy groups, dance groups, any groups, I find I’m trusting the void to help me. I think it is complex because the more you go on doing something the more you can relax with it. You know you have the skills so you don’t really have to prepare so much because you’ve done it so many times before. So there is that side to it. But the other side is recognising, through experience, that the void is smart, is intelligent, and that you can rely on it. You experiment with living and acting from ‘not knowing’, and you find that it works. So I think your trust deepens. And it’s a lot more fun not knowing what is going to happen! So perhaps I take more risks as time goes on. Like now – I don’t know what I’m going to say next! Of course, one never knows, but it’s more interesting, more fun, when you are aware of it. And sometimes it’s more scary... because you really don’t know what is going to happen. I think surrender, if it is true surrender, is not an easy thing. It involves letting go when one doesn’t want to let go. There is often suffering before there is peace. 

Laurent: After so many years of practice and sharing, what is the most valuable contribution of headlessness to your everyday life? 

Richard: Different things are valuable at different times, depending on what I need. If I’m feeling frightened of death then it’s comforting to have access to the place where I don’t die. Or if I’m missing someone I love and I’m feeling sad, then I’m comforted by seeing they are here in spirit where I am. Here we are one. If I’m experiencing a difficulty in a relationship with someone and I don’t know what to do, then I have a resource I can draw on – I can relax back into this spacious not-knowing and wait and see what comes from it. I can wait for guidance. When I realise I can’t work something out by myself, I can turn to this infinite resource within me. I can trust this One within me. If I am disappointed with myself then it is helpful to see my little self in the light of my spaciousness. I suppose I might say to myself, ‘Well, God is in charge and God wanted this. You don’t like this, you don’t want it, but it seems God is deciding that this is what you’ve got to go through.’ So I have a place I can wait in and trust. 

Or if I am dancing – I used to find dancing so difficult because I was so self-conscious. Seeing is a fantastic thing! It’s a secret isn’t it! You’re invisible and everyone is inside you. Dancing becomes fun! You let God dance your body and all the other bodies. You are room for the other dancers. Sometimes in the psychotherapy groups I lead, which are not overtly headless groups, I say that we heal one another. But this is what headlessness is about, isn’t it? I am healed, my separation is healed, by my disappearance in favour of you. 

I need profound experiences in my life. Such experiences are healthy. I need to plumb the rich depths of the world, and headlessness gives me a key. I don’t know which depth it’s going to take me to, but if I stay with Seeing it takes me to these depths and heights, which I then have to let go of. So headlessness is helpful with giving me the deep experiences I need, and helpful in allowing me let go of them when I need to. 

Seeing is a fantastic thing to share with friends, it’s a great thing to have in common. When I speak on the phone with my friend Carl in the States – I’ve never met him, but he got the point of Seeing from the website – we talk about looking out of the same big Window. That’s amazing, it’s so intimate. We can both see our phones disappearing into the void, we can hear our two voices coming and going in one Silence. It’s mysterious and wonderful – and fun. We have different views from this big Window, but the Window itself seems to be the same. When we talk on the phone we laugh a great deal. And we are astonished at this miracle of being. You see the world so clearly sometimes, when you are Seeing. A veil is taken away and the world is beautiful. 

Seeing is so practical too. If I am travelling somewhere, because I’m obviously not going anywhere, places are coming to me. So I can relax. Or when I’m writing, I know – I can see – this place that is infinitely creative... this bottomless abyss from which my thoughts emerge. See, and see what comes out! 

Sometimes Seeing enables me to forgive myself, eventually. Sometimes I don’t like myself at all. I get very disappointed. But with Seeing I can see myself from this spaciousness and somehow it is easier to accept myself as I am. Recently, in a very old friendship I made a mistake, I did something wrong. I didn’t mean to but I did. To begin with I found it difficult to admit to this, but eventually I did. It was helpful to be not only Richard but also This. Seeing helped me hold my hands up and say, ‘Yes, I was wrong.’ 

(‘Seeing Who You Really Are’ was first published in 2003)

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