In The Background
I remember many years ago walking in the woods near my home in a state of great desperation because I kept on forgetting Who I was from time to time. I frequently found myself slipping back into third-personhood. The shades of the prison house would keep descending on me. How could I keep the Vision alive? It was a desperate state. In the end, I decided that I couldn’t
keep the Vision going at full strength. I just gave up. I said, “I can’t do it.” Then when I gave up, it was all right. I didn’t have to keep the Seeing at high tension all the time. It’s there in the background whatever happens. It really is, even when I am filling in my tax returns. (Face to No-Face
, Douglas Harding, edited by David Lang)
Daily practice and actual experience is everything for me. It is very easy to slip back into old habits. I live in war-torn Jerusalem and attended Douglas's May weekend workshop in Israel. It is difficult to realise how simple it is - that is the difficulty. But there is always the next moment to experiment in, so one acquires training in becoming an evergreen optimist. Previously dabbled in Gurdjieff and Yoga and Douglas has illuminated them both for me! (A. Israel.)
It is very good for me to know that many more people are (on their Way to) recognizing their own Headlessness. In my case, I am learning to prolong this 'state' more and more. One thing I know already: seeing who I really am touches my heart so deeply, that nothing makes me more happy than that. This is a great motivation for me to stay alert, although I seem to fall back into the habitual, fictional third-person state quite easily. I hope you and your friends can be a help for me to see my real face forever. (H.E.)
The only thing I can do is see when it occurs to me to see. I can't force it. The more I look, the more I remember to look. So when it comes to me to look, I do. I don't just ignore the impulse and go on with what I'm doing. That's the only way I know to keep it going or rev it up. Besides, I'm not sure I want to go full bore with it all the time. It's always here, never lost, when I want it. I know it's never inappropriate, but I don't think it's a good idea to think that it should be a 100% practice in time. We have to function in time, and though the timeless never gets in the way, it can go to the background with no harm to anyone. So far it has never failed to come back to awareness. Once you see it, it's yours. It's you. Trust it to come when it's needed. It's relaxing because it's the place without tension. I don't want to feel guilty if it fails to come up for a time. It's still here. (M.S. UK.)
When I see that I am looking from and through the transparency here, I am absolutely sure that I've always done so. Many people have asked Douglas about keeping the seeing going. Douglas compares it to being in love. You don't have to think of your loved one every minute to be in love. It's there in the background. He also says that everybody is doing it right. No one has ever looked through two tiny peepholes in a meatball. Everyone always looks through the single eye, the naked circle, the open window. So it's obvious that if I am not noticing that I am doing so, I am doing it anyway! No need to worry about time not seeing, not noticing. It's impossible to see from a human face.
is on and off, I think. Do you agree? You are deliberately looking two ways, noticing what's in both directions. Some people worry that they don't do it often enough. But if you see it as seeing through the transparency, then it's always on. When you notice what you are doing, you don't worry that you have spent time not doing it. There's no other way to see except through the transparency here. And isn't worry about as unproductive as you can get?
Each instant of consciously noticing all at once is the great grace or bonus. But it's not any different from seeing without noticing, is it? No one's ever done it wrong! (J.C. USA)
I am so grateful for your news and letters. I can't tell you why but something you are saying is familiar to me. I understand it as a reminder of something beautiful that I already know. Love and Blessing. Edna.
Hi Richard, I'm determined to intensify my efforts now. SEEING whenever I remember it, not to ignore the impulse any more. Erich.
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