The Headless Way

 

Among fellow headless travelers – as we all are – I recently found one who has a delightful approach to helping us all recognize that we have no head: Douglas Harding.

As he says, he is only pointing out the obvious. When we experience the world, there is no head. It is just a vast emptiness, just space, in which everything appears. In our own direct experience, this self is really not there – it is just a creation out of confusion. It is something we have to think our way into in order to make real for ourselves. It is a figment of our imagination, a creation so fragile and tenuous that we need a lot of energy and effort to uphold it.

The direct and immediate experience is of no self, of just a vast space in which everything appears. And on top of this we sometimes place this tenuous idea of a self, which contradicts our direct experience. There is no wonder we create such a drama out of life, in an effort to uphold this case of mistaken identity. And really for no apparent reason.

When I started reading On Having No Head a few days ago, I noticed a thought breeze through me along the lines of ah – this is such an embarrassingly naive approach. Now, there is a though going through me saying ah – this is such a wonderfully naive approach.

His approach is fresh, from his own immeditate experience and in his own words. And although it is aligned with the view of the spiritual traditions, and he is well aware of them, his approach is free of dogma, free of theology, free of esoteric and technical terminology. He uses a simple and everyday language to describe the everyday experience we all have of having no head.

His website has some good pointers, including a series of brief movies.

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