The Headless Way
Direct access to our essential nature
is freely available to everyone here and now
NoFacebook page on Facebook Facebook
Headless Way page on Facebook Facebook
Sign up for our Newsletter Newsletter
Sign up for our Online Course eCourse

First Seeing

I came come across the website many months ago, had saved it in my favorites, but my rational mind completely dismissed the experiments as silly. A few days ago I was again drawn to it, did the experiments and it blew my mind away. I have been meditating daily since the mid 1970s, studying Advaita Vedanta teachings for about 3 years now, and just by doing a few of the experiments, I was finally able to see the spaciousness, the clear Emptiness of the Awareness That I AM. What an incredibly simple, fast and effective method! GL. USA

About 10 years ago
I picked up On Having No Head and read it on the front porch of my sister's house in rural Vermont, USA. The air was crisp and cool, fresh, free and formless and after reading the first chapter so was I. For many years I have studied many eastern and western scriptures and texts, took initiations and empowerments. Ultimately settling into Ramana Maharshi's "Who am I?" as my only practice because it is the only thing that made sense based on previous flashes of non-dual consciousness. OF COURSE "Headlessness" was too simple for "me" in my own head I suppose. Anyway a day or two ago I stumbled upon your page, remembered the experience from Vermont and...oh my God...haven't stopped turning towards this headless face since, at least not at anytime I am aware of or aware in. Thank you for no-thing. ;) E.J.S. USA

I tend to be a very 'concrete' thinker. I have been working on this via teachers such as Tolle, Byron Katie, etc. I have trouble even doing guided meditations because I can't SEE what they are telling me to see such as white light, etc. While doing the experiments on the web site I find I can't get past this statement, "you are capacity for the world". I can't grasp it's meaning. I also have problems with the no-thing concept. Does anyone know of a way to explain this better?

OH MY GOD! I got IT! Nevermind! I don't need anything explained. The 'closed eye' experiment was the one that did it. WOW! Sheila

What a lovely moment that was, in September 1971, when I first saw into my Original Nature! It was my first visit to Nacton and I had arrived feeling nervous, shy and almost as depressed as I had been that morning, practically unable to get out of bed and on to the train at Liverpool Street. I did get to Under Shollond but was then harried, night and morning, by a group of intense ladies who could not seem to understand that I did not understand a word they were talking about. Being in the paper bag with Douglas meant nothing to me and only brought the thought, "Good Heavens, what is he doing to me!". The next morning I was only too glad to get out of the house for a walk along the banks of the Orwell, but the intense ladies came with me and the harrying went on. Being particularly egged on by one of them, I finally, almost in desperation, looked down to see what I looked like to myself. And then… wonder of wonders… it happened! There was no head, only space, full of light and colour. It was a moment of pure satori, a sheer delight, and I laughed. "There you are", they said, "You've got it!"

I certainly had, and it has never left me. Thank you, Jane, you did it. Bless you, if you are reading this. I weep now as I think of it. You changed my life. A.R. UK

I don't think there was a 'first time'. Or, if there was, it was simply a becoming more aware of what one had all along been dimly aware of. How could there be a 'first-time' seeing into the Timeless, anyway? One occasion I do remember most distinctly -- of very clear in-seeing. It had 3 parts. (1) I discovered in Karl Pearson's Grammar of Science, a copy of Ernst Mach's drawing of himself as a headless figure lying on his bed. (2) I noted that he -- and I -- were looking out at that body and the world, from the Core of the onion of our appearances. (3) It was clear that the Hierarchy, which I was then in the early stages of, had to begin with headlessness, and that this had to be the thread on which the whole of it had to be hung. The experience itself can't be remembered. It is only reactivated. Only NOW. One remembers only the scene and the occasion. Douglas Harding

The very first time Alan mentioned it just very briefly, so it didn't fully click. But then a little later, we'd be drinking coffee together. And we'd compare how one coffee cup remained about the same size and then just bumped into a meatball and nothing happened. But the coffee cup on this side slowly got bigger and bigger and then bumped into a nice clear nothing and burst into taste.

The difference was so astounding that my absent eyes almost popped out of my absent head. And it was so wonderful! And so fun too! So we'd be drinking and giggling and drinking and giggling. It was as if love was framed in a picture with big fuzzy shoulders and little pink hands as part of the frame, just to emphasize it. This felt like God's country.

And then when I took a walk, the far away mountains moved slowly and gracefully, and nearby trees danced quickly and rotated as I walked. The first person world seemed magical! And if there are problems and worries, you can just say that they are part of this first person magical world of mine. That it has things falling apart here and there. A mud puddle with a squishy frog. And a thought puddle with a foggy worry. It's how the world is made up.

And then you respect your own problems as part of how your first person world, your life, God's country, happens to be made up. The same way as you respect other things in the world. And that helps to lessen stress and me-other feelings and makes everything more magical. And happy. E. Japan.

I'm a brand new convert to the headless way. I discovered Douglas Harding only yesterday. I happened upon an essay of his somewhere on the net ("Look For Yourself" excerpt) & I was so intrigued by his insights into Ramana Maharshi & J. Krishnamurti that I did a Google search & eventually found his website. As I read the homepage, I got "it" immediately, instantaneously. I knew exactly what he was talking about & burst out laughing & tingling with joy as my awareness turned back into itself & I could literally see & experience the vast emptiness within. D.C. USA

I remember that book very well. (The Mind's I.) That's how I found out about Headlessness. I saw the book with its beckoning eye on the cover, opened the chapter entitled "On Having No Head", and was struck forever, right in the bookstore. I looked up, and couldn't see my head and said/thought "wow!, is this it?"

Immediately I went to the comments, and thought they didn't have much to do with the content in Harding's text. I don't remember either what it said exactly, but I remember thinking something like "These people are not talking about the same thing I just read about".

Although I have always felt that the comments did a disservice to the selection of "On Having No Head", at the same time I am very grateful to the "Mind's I" for having existed. E.C. USA.

To tell the truth, I cannot remember the first time. Indeed, I feel that I have never had insight into my True Nature. However, I do have insight into it right now! In reality I have never really lost it (what is there to lose?) and so have never really looked for it. It has never really gone and so has never really arrived. C.F. UK

I first came across this easy way of Seeing about a year and a half ago whilst staying at Douglas' home for a weekend, having read On Having No Head some ten years previously. I was impressed by Douglas' dedication and gave it more than my usual "oh yes, very nice. That's another way of seeing it". I was impressed too by the fact that here was a simple, obvious way of getting anyone to see, whether they are Eastern or Western, old or young, intellectual or a bit thick! A perfect way of handing it over without the need for prior understanding or development. A.M. UK

I first ran across Douglas' work probably 3 or 4 years ago on a web page (I don't remember the name of it) where I think On Having No Head was mentioned. Something inside of me resounded with a deep YES! At the time however, I couldn't obtain a copy for one reason or another. Back then, my Google searches didn't bring me to the Shollond Trust website, so I was left with a very exciting and fertile notion and no place to go with it. Douglas and his book however, stayed lively in the background of my thoughts and desires through the passing of time.

Interestingly, I noticed a note on my husband's desk where he, too, had written down the title, On Having No Head. There it was again! This time I was bound and determined to locate a copy, and was able to find that and other books by Douglas through various used booksellers online.

Yes, the "Headless Way" is indeed simple, straightforward, and remarkably freeing in the most profound of ways. And believe me, I've been at this game of self-realization for a very long time. You name it, I've tried it. Up until the last 8 years, my path was fraught with many a delusion or dead end, it seemed...

Now, the "Headless Way" is like the sweetest icing on the cake! I can't effectively articulate how grateful I am to have come across this amazing offering. Right now I am half-way through reading Head Off Stress and I am astounded and delighted over and over and over again, as Douglas simply and purely addresses the deepest questions I've held all of my life in my heart. I am moved to tears just now, with the wondrous gifting of it all. I especially appreciate the very simple, authentic, earthy and humorous way he presents his message. Purely wonderful. K. USA

Although I'd been on the spiritual path for 40 years or so, I had never heard of non-duality or anything similar -- or I did and just passed right by it. When I 'accidentally' hit upon your headless website and tried the first experiment, my jaw literally dropped and I heard the words 'Holy Shit!' resound in my mind! I was totally stunned, and I've been hooked ever since! I shared it with my daughter (age 27), and 2 of my best friends, all 3 of whom are now also dyed-out-of-their-heads headlessers. G.F. USA

Dear Richard …About eight months ago
I was prompted to start another period of introspection about what I was and the week before I looked at the website I had decided that I was actually "nothing" but attached to a bit of a nuisance- that's Jane.
It was with an amazing delight that I tried the pointing experiment and with the greatest relief that I looked at the website. Here was something that encapsulated much I had been pondering and best of all in a practical way. I was able to tell my dear friend, now in her eighties and very ill, all about the website and to send her one of your books.
More thinking ensued, and reading etc. Side effects were less stress, especially when driving and the ability to cope better with some tricky situations which arose unexpectedly. I have discovered that the no-thing never gets tired even when the nuisance does .Wondrous!.

Then something happened unexpectedly to disturb things and, this sounds bonkers - but it was as if the little one was throwing what my daughter calls "a wobbly" and writhing and twisting. This was very uncomfortable but I tried to pay attention to the no-thing and decided to let things take their course. I was aware that perhaps this had to happen. It was seemingly only the nothing it was having the problem with.
 Things have settled down now quite a lot and the no-thing can be accessed at will at the moment. I just need to remember to pay heed to it. I have lots of re-reading to do as owing to my lack of spiritual reading I have found some of the references in Douglas Harding's books need much thought. I have so enjoyed the direct and humourous approach he uses.
Your book Richard captures the essence of seeing and reveals it with great clarity and passion. It gives me practical help. I am sure that to keep paying attention to the no-thing without forcing it is the solution. I need lots of practice as I have come to this quite late and don't want to lose it. Jane. (UK)

I have read several of Douglas' books several times. I loved them and did the practices. I could get to a certain point, and then nothing. Today is my second day on your website, which I really love. Thank you. I was just having a lunch break and doing some "pointing" when I realized what I really looked like. I drew a picture of a body with no head and I "saw" how I am open to everything/nothing and that the "me" that I have been calling myself could stand for "Mind Empty." It was a lovely experience. I like walking around like this. It is especially fun dealing with people and seeing how open I am for them. Thank you so very much for all your endeavors in bringing this to people. Joni.

I read Douglas Harding's book
and practiced all the experiments. I read all your weekly reflections, all 58 of them, and I was intrigued but I just did not get it. Then in your reflection number 59 you talked about two voices in the silence, in consciousness. It just opened up my consciousness. My consciousness just kept expanding until I saw everything inside my consciousness. What an experience. Thank you so much for your help, your website and weekly reflections. Tom.

For me, coming across the article about Douglas Harding in "What is Enlightenment?" magazine, and subsequently finding your incredibly rich website, was the tipping point for my own personal path of self-inquiry. I had been struggling for sometime with "getting" the point of self-inquiry. Pointing at my own face made the click, and it has all been effortlessly falling into place since then. Cheers! Travis

Thank you for what you are doing!
I just happened to find your site while checking out other links. I "got it" right away!!! I have done some of the exercises and got my husband to do some as well because I was so amazed! I watched the two interviews you had with Richard Miller and was again amazed and humoured! I am looking forward to the changes I can see coming, this is quite amazing and I really can't believe that I didn't know about this sooner. I am 54 years old and have been "seeking" since a small child going to a Brethren Sunday School in Victoria BC Canada. I recently read some of Eckhart Tolle books and this led me to Nisargatta, U.G. Krishnamurti and now to here! Well I am sure you have had many emails and letters like mine, thank-you again for putting this information on the web. I have already asked some of my family members to watch the interviews and check out the website. Ronna.

I've been into Advaita and Buddhism for many years and I tend to have a very eclectic path. Advaita, particularly Ramana Maharshi and later, Nisargadatta, have always been my most constant touchstone.  I first heard about the headless way about 3 or 4 years ago. I bought the book "On Having No Head" and looked at it a few times, but I don't think I did the exercises wholeheartedly enough, So I didn't get a huge amount out of it then.  But about a month ago I picked it up again and this time gave the exercises a good chance and this time it "clicked" in a way that it never had before. I realized I'd "seen" this before but the exercises give me a handy way to turn my attention back to the source easily and more predictably. Victoria. USA.

About 15 years ago I had a spontaneous breakthrough which was like a boulder being dropped in a pond - the ripples of that experience caused me to search for a way back and understand what was going on. Although I practiced in the Zen tradition for a while I have always gravitated towards the more non-dual, basic awareness teachings of people like Krishnamurti, Toni Packer, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisgardatta etc. When I came across Douglas Harding I feel like there was a ripeness there waiting to relate to what was so obvious. I still can't believe how ridiculously open and obvious the reality of who we really are is. I mean, on one level it's almost childish - yet we make so many conceptual assumptions about what is going on. I've told some people about it, but either they think I'm crazy, a simpleton or they're just not ready. Also - different paths for different journeymen as well. Anyway - I hope you don't mind the little story. J.B.

The first time I came across headlessness was about a year ago, I had read Eckhart Tolle and some others, something resonated with Eckhart’s teaching immediately, but then I stumbled upon The Headless Way. I was upstairs at my parents home and I tried the pointing exercise, and I have one regret, when I pointed immediately I jumped up from the computer chair and ran down the stairs in a kind of excitement and fear. My regret is that I didn’t just sit there and take it all in! But that’s the past, just a story. It was if what Eckhart had been talking about saw itself! Mind-blowing stuff. Then I tried some more experiments and I laughed at the simplicity and directness of them. People on spiritual paths are looking everywhere for this. When you point back at your head you get a whack of the Zen stick! This is truly a gift for anyone who is willing to accept the simplicity, although I fear there are many that would pass it by. The truth is so easy to miss. But the experiments act like a personal Zen master. It’s timeless directness. Lloyd.

Thank you for the First Reflection. I did the Pointing Experiment immediately and it produced the same result as described by other participants. What a simple beautiful approach to Reality. Trevor.

The first time I experienced headlessness was totally out of the blue in a train station, Gare St.Lazare, in Paris.I was walking with my aunt and she pointed to a young woman nearby saying that I look very much like her.I remember that I was totally surprised how her face could resemble mine and realized that I couldn't see my face. I became conscious that I had no face,at least not for me,only for my aunt. But since I had not yet started any spiritual search I forgot this event,which at the time didn't seem anything of importance anyway. I somehow always knew about it,but didn't pay much attention to it,wasn't really conscious of it. Only now do I remember that day again,like it was yesterday.

About 15 years later after a good decade of tai-chi and meditation practice and intensive reading of spiritual books did I meet Alain in the ashram where I "touch base" regularly, following the path of Adhyatma Yoga. Alain was new there and showed us in a small group meeting some of Douglas' experiments, such as pointing the finger towards oneself. I was very taken by it, but not quite convinced. That very evening I put myself in front of a mirror and pointed again. And there all was clear.All of a sudden I knew, I saw who or better what takes care of everything, even of the one in the mirror. The next day Alain proposed exactly that experiment to our group. Berit.

About finding out that I'm headless. Yes, it was discovered in this very obvious down-to-earth self-evident way through the experiements at the headless website. The simplest -- pointing at no-face -- was and is enough. Before that there has been a deepening recognition of presence, here-ness, is-ness, but the clarity of the headless experiments is unbeatable. It just clears out any (and I mean ANY) doubt... Cattis

I know the headless way for about for years now. It was most of the time like: there must be something in it. I was fascinated from the simplicity. I was touched in a certain way but I didn't "see". Now five days ago when I was lying in bed in the evening I think I "saw" with closed eyes. It was the first time in years when I really could relax. And it was like "waking up". Now I'm trying to get back this insight but until now it didn't come back. Do you have a special advice in this situation? D.

Dear Mr. Harding, I write to you, because I would like to thank you so much!! Six years ago I found in a book from Sri Nisargardatta Maharaj, ('I Am That') your name. In spite of the fact that I had read your name several times before, one evening I knew, that I had to find out some more about you. I found your experiments. Just in the first moment I could make the experience of being headless at once. This experience was not new for me but I realized totally that it is so easy to do so. So I want to thank you for your work in finding this headless state, because now it is so easy for me to do so even in my daily work. I work as a therapist in a homeopathic hospital. The most important thing in my work is to teach people to be conscious and full of awareness. So I show the patients some of your exercises, too. I hope you have no copy-right on the headless state, ha ha!! So I only want to tell you, that this headless way and your experiments are really something very, very important and special for me! Thanks a lot! K. Germany.

Dear Richard, A million thanks to you.
I have received todate reflection #44. It's beautiful. I would like to share my experience. On 28th April I drove my family to see their family friends. They told me to wait for them as they will be back shortly. I was waiting in the car while they were having a chat. As I was looking at the house, I could see the house clearly. It look as though my head area was being replaced by the house. I realize that I had no head and the view of the house, together with my body, was in my awareness. It was fantastic. It was exactly as explained in the works of Douglas Harding. Now, I have made the book, "On Having No Head" my companion. Thank you. Bachan

Hello Richard, Thank you for your enquiry.
Didn't know if it was appropriate or not to send a reflection in return. How is headlessness working out in my life? It is the most meaningful thing in my entire life.  I have the deepest gratitude to Douglas Harding's expression of the way and to the continued work you are doing. Your reflections have been wonderful reminders and have clarified a number of things for me.
I read 'On Having No Head' the first time about ten years ago. At that time I was fanatically committed to sitting Zazen at the Zen center, not only daily, but at every sesshin possible. I was trying to find..... I have no idea what I was struggling to find, but I sure was committed to struggling. I was so committed to being a Zen Nazi (as we were affectionately labeled) that I completely poo pooed Douglas Harding's book. Didn't even attempt the experiments. About a year ago, I was leafing through books at the the bookstore and casually picked up a copy of 'The Little Book of Life and Death'.  I don't recall the particular phrase I was reading, but in one timeless moment, the world turned on its axis and I found myself staring down at this little book from a completely clear, awake, headless void. Douglas Harding simply pointed out what was here all along. For some reason I was willing to simply look. Ever since, this headlessness is immediately available upon looking. I continuously uncover new aspects of it's implications in daily life. I look forward to reading your reflections which have highlighted some of my own discoveries and clarified others.  
I would like to mention/ask about two points. The first is that I still sit in Zazen, but instead of whatever it was I used to do in that posture I simply enjoy resting in this vast, open, silent, spaciousness. I have no particular sitting routine anymore, as this emptiness is available at any time. However I do find that this sitting still, does for some reason, help keep the "flavor" of headlessness with me during daily activities.
Also, I appreciated so much your reflections concerning your parents. When I see my friends (and family) get tied in terrible knots over some small aspect of the passing show, I want so much to offer some kind of wake up call. My experience, especially with family, is that I create the opposite effect. I really appreciate your comments on recognizing where it is that we are not separated at all, as well as Douglas Harding's reminder that we cannot talk someone's head off... only love it off. Nelson. USA.

Like many others, I have been deep into so-called spirituality since I was 16 years old and it has been more than 20 years since then. For the last couple of years I have had several mystical experiences (I thought I finally got there) but trying to get back to those impermanent states (and apparently not being able to do so most of the time) made me very confused and unstable. Divine and myself were kept separate. I just kept looking outwardly most of the times even after my arrival in the UK. By reading numerous books I knew the importance of looking within but just did not know how to do it (it sounds ridiculous that I have tried so many things such as Ramana's self-inquiry, straight forward zen, Byron Katie's Work, doing mantra, focusing my mind solely on God as Ramakrishna recommended, various breathing method, Dzogchen's pointing instruction, etc., and none of which worked for me).

Early last month I became desperate with my rather rough transition in my UK surroundings (different working environment and language issues in particular). At the same time I came to the conclusion that I would never be enlightened and it is arrogant to even think that I could be enlightened. After all those years of spiritual struggle, I decided to almost give up practicing all those spiritual stuff. One day while I was net surfing without any particular aim, I happened to come across to your website. Reading your Japanese site simultaneously, I did the Pointing Here Experiment without expecting anything (assuming it would not work for me like any other methods), and with my amazement, I found that, by doing the experiment, even I could do "the turning of attention through an angle of precisely 180 degrees". Now what I need to do is to keep "looking at what I'm looking at" whenever I could (am I correct, Richard?).

Thank you and Douglas Harding very much for revealing very practical methods to the public which enable us to "look in two-directions" and I must say I am the lucky one to come across to your website to happen to know these methods. I was not so sure why I happened to come to the UK but it seems like I came here to have a face to no-face encounter through your method which is very convincing to me.

My poor English would not enable me to describe to you the excitement that I feel for your methods. My past experiences indicate that reading would get you nowhere but I feel yours and Douglas' writing are the exception. Michael.

back to top

Full book catalogue
Headless on Youtube

Click here for workshops with Richard Lang

Click here for information on online hangouts
Click here fora free e-course
Click here for our online shop
Click here to get the free Headless iPhone app
Click here for downloadable videos of Douglas Harding
Click here for the Latest News
Click here to Donate