The Headless Way
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I bookmarked your site but it was only a few days ago that I went deep into it. This afternoon I shared things I read at with a friend of mine and we both went into that sacred space. I have a very calm feeling present most of the time and at times it seems that I am floating. Dr Suzuki referred to enlightenment as everyday life except at 2 inches off the ground. I think I can see that now. It is really wonderful. Pretty much everyday I log on and all I need to do is read some quote from Rumi and that is enough to bring me into that feeling of just Being. For the first time in my life I feel that life is really worth living. I have always been so
afraid because humans hurt me a lot in their ignorance but now I feel that it is ok and that it was also ok when they were hurting me except that I was not aware of my true self. Your site made me see that my true self was always there even in the midst of my rage and anxiety. Now I feel grateful. I do not know to what really but I feel grateful. J.

Seeing is a spiritual thing and yet it has such practical implications. It has changed my life utterly. I am an imperfect student as I can only sustain my headlessness for short periods and there are times when it is much harder than others to access. But I can always bring myself back to the awareness when I am driving and walking so IF I remember this, I have daily practice. It still makes me smile when I walk around our village and the screeching swifts burst into the nothingness or when I look down and see that the space just moves towards my feet. And I always know that I am held safely in this nothingness even if I am not at that moment accessing it.
Seeing has enabled me to deal with the death of a loved one and to be a far greater support to friends and family when they have needed it. It was not that I didn't try to do this before but that I wasn't head to no head with them. I still have to fight to keep this perspective though at times, for instance when my daughter has been ill. But I can now bring myself home.
For myself I continue to get frustrated with the third person, she is still shy and tongue-tied at times, or says or does the wrong thing etc but I can now hold her/Jane in the nothingness and forgive. It is an easier relationship.
Throughout this year the Reflections teachings have been invaluable. When I have been lacking focus they have brought me home, when I have struggled they have lifted me up and when I have needed my horizons expanding they have guided me. It is always good to be reminded to keep doing the experiments. I look forward to receiving them each week. Jane.

Over the past six years I have had the good fortune to suffer, as a great many people do presently from an illness known as M.E. or 'yuppie flu'. I use the words good fortune as I consider this period, especially the three years up until last summer, as a time of great learning in my life, a period that really tested all that I had learned about myself.

To begin with the illness was very physical, involving much pain and discomfort to all the joints and muscles of my body until eventually I was unable to walk properly or function at all in a normal manner. From the beginning I was confined to bed, sleeping about fifteen hours a day which later developed into twenty two hours of unconsciousness a day. I realised from the start that there was only one thing that I could do to help myself and that was to constantly hold onto the realisation of who I am. Working with various exercises I had been shown at workshops based on Douglas Harding's method I was able to step out of the physical problems, but as the illness wore on I began to develop great difficulties mentally. My memory began to disappear until eventually none of my objective reality made very much sense. I would find myself with a spoon or fork in my hand staring at a meal set before me unable to work out who or what the hand or arm was let alone what the meal was for. All my identity as a person slowly disappeared and for a period of some six months I would awake from sleep to spend up to half an hour trying to make sense of the colours and shapes before me and then a further half hour before I would realise that I was something hidden under the bedclothes observing it all. I forgot my children's names and my own and was unable to recognise familiar faces.

Basically I was, but what I was was without any description whatsoever. Throughout the whole of this period I remained aware of myself as the awareness in this kaleidoscope of sound, colour, shape and feelings. I was the only thing which did not need defining or remembering. I was, under whatever circumstances that arose, the one thing that was permanently and continually present. What I had once had to concentrate on to hold at the forefront of my experience of life was now the one thing that was unable to do anything else but remain. I remember Douglas Harding on a number of occasions saying that once one had seen who one was it was no longer a case of trying to be that One but rather a case of seeing if one could from then on not be that. Of course it is not possible. Once one has seen the truth of oneself and has realised the value of seeing it one can no longer ignore the facts.

I am a lot better both physically and mentally these days but have not yet fully recovered. There is a big difference in the me after the illness to the me who existed prior to the illness. These days I see that there is no necessity to consciously hold on to the realisation of my Self. There never was. But it took the stripping away of everything I imagined to be me or mine to see that. I see myself as the permanent blank canvas of the void and the world appears like various coloured and shaped pieces imposed upon it. Each night I leave the world to dissolve and retire to the non-experience of Self awaking again to put on the next day and play the game of duality, knowing all the while that I am the one who observes all this, the reality which creates, sustains and dissolves all phenomenon into and out of myself throughout eternity for no reason. This I know to be the truth of you and me, all is one.

Within you I see myself
Within me I find God

I can know endlessly about its manifestation
But of it I know nothing can be known.


It's nearly five years since I first discovered myself as Nothing/Everything, and I write to share some of my thoughts about it with you.

This unconventional method continues to pass the pragmatic test by continuing to work. In the basic areas, its positive effect is obvious yet now mostly taken for granted.

In the context of Stress Management, Douglas Harding's "Head Off Stress" brilliantly points up basic personal human problems together with their solution -

1. Eye stress. Solution: noticing your Single Eye.
2. Facial stress/being shame faced. Solution: noticing my human face in mirrors, cameras and people, and my Original Face, my world on show as my real face.
3. Body stress. Solution: through in-seeing and logic, coming to realise that my body is the universe/the Whole.
4. Relationships. Solution: noticing the asymmetry in 'relationships' through noticing the face to space pattern and going on to learn to let people be through noticing that one is busted wide open to let them in.
5. Hustle and bustle of life. Solution: through practising noticing that my given world moves while I as Receptacle for it am forever still, I learn to be the stressless hub of my stress filled world and acquire a steady peace that transcends life's difficulties.
6. Desire for possessions. Solution: through in-seeing I see that my given world is present right here in this Great Space. It is me and mine. Through this I have an underlying satisfaction that transcends the dissatisfactions about individual aspects of life that come and go.
7. The dilemma of my personal will as this particular human as opposed to God's will as embodied in life's circumstances. Solution: realising that I have a Divine Nature as well as a Human Nature. Consciously living from my Divinity, I realise that I create my world, and am thereby responsible for not only what I personally do, but for the lot. Being totally responsible, it is logical that I heartfeltedly accept every darn thing with equanimity.

Paradoxically, while the above basic teachings of 'Head Off Stress' are very far-reaching, and living them through continued practice of in-seeing, reflection and further study continues to counter my entrenched beliefs and the messages from my conventional environment, at other levels the practice most often seems not to be working. I seem to be almost constantly bugged by dissatisfaction for some or seemingly no reason. But it is not my in-seeing practice that is faulty - the act of in-seeing simply shows a simple and obvious fact - my head is a 'world-head', or in other words, a 'God-Head'. Nor is my consciously being Nothing-Everything faulty. In-seeing, logic and science confirm this fact. The problem is that the individual things, creatures, people, circumstances of my world are imperfect. The inherent unsatisfactoriness of the detail of my life continually and painfully shows itself. Life is difficult. I need to face this fact squarely, and face my particular difficulties squarely. But always, as Douglas Harding proposes, in the light of Who it is that has the problem -- i.e. me, as Nothing-Everything. 'Head Off Stress' in particular, but all of Douglas' work, explains and demonstrates how to live this realisation by the repeated practice of going into particular problems one at a time, facing them squarely, understanding them in as much detail as possible, and always but always going through the problem to Who has the problem. And rather than hankering for a solution, trusting that a solution will come in its own time.

My life story, including the past five years of practising Seeing, bears testimony to the effectiveness of this Seeing way - as an extraordinarily effective psychotherapy. Up to age 43 my life was regularly permeated by toxic levels of stress. I had tried many remedies, including hatha yoga, meditation, hypnosis, Alexander and Feldendrais technique. A serious suicide attempt at age 42 was a catalyst for a serious search for my basic problems, and for a solution. By chance I heard of Douglas Harding's work through a review of three of his books on radio; his teaching being summarised as "a way to unity via direct perception". From the time of buying two of these books, On Having No Head and Head Off Stress, it took two weeks only for me to discover what I needed to discover in order to become mentally healthy -- i.e. that my basic problem was my mistaken identity, my mistaken belief that I am for me here what I look like to others out there. My self administered cure has come through the steady realisation that for myself I am Nothing/Everything - through the steady practise of in-seeing, plus the steady intellectual work of realising the many meanings, implications and outworkings of this Seeing. B.P. Australia.

Across the circle from me [in the workshop] was a woman who, about three quarters of the way through the morning, said that this was a marvellous experience for her. When she was four (she must have been about fifty now) she said she had fallen and ever since had had neck/shoulder problems. She did a lot of Qi Gong--in fact she taught it--but this was still a problem. But during the workshop she was finding that the tension was releasing in a way that it had never done before. She was certainly glowing. Later she said that headlessness seemed to cut through to the heart of the matter unlike anything else she had ever come across. R.L. UK

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