Technique of Artificial Separation

Using Douglas Harding‘s experiments, I see more clearly the process of going from (a) being exclusively identified with, or caught up in, my human self, via (b) an artificial separation between this human self and pure awareness and/or capacity for the world, and (c) allowing the belief in the thought “I” to fall away and just being whatever happens, with no “I” to be found anywhere.

The artificial separation can be very helpful, and quite enjoyable, as a practice and emergency aid.

For instance, one day last week I was quite sick and had to go downtown on short notice for a meeting. Lots of reactions came up in my human self, and I used the opportunity to see how my humans self, with all its sensations, emotions, thoughts etc. was “out there”, with everything else – the bus, the road, trees, wind, etc. The whole world of phenomena is “out there”. And in Here, there is no thing to all the things out there, no phenomena to all the phenomena out there, no form, no color, no contractions, no headaches, etc.

In this way, I experience myself as both ends of the polarity, both the emptiness and the fullness, and there is more space. From being blindly caught up in what comes up in my human self, there is now a separation and a distance.

In Here is choiceless awareness and capacity for the world. Out there is the world of phenomena, including my human self as a small part of it.

Of course, this is only a first aid technique and practice, as it is from an artificial separation. What I do is still attaching to and fueling the thought “I”, although moving the reference for the thought from the human self to pure awareness/capacity. And this helps me declutch from whatever comes up for my human self.

The next step is to recognize that this too is indeed attaching to the thought “I”, and allow it to fall away. Now, there is just what happens with no “I” to be found anywhere. The content is the same, the only difference is the absence of “I”.

I find that Byron Katie‘s inquires is a great help to move from (a) to (b), as well as from (b) to (c). And among Douglas Harding’s experiments, there are some which seem more aimed at the first shift, and other more aimed at the second shift.

For instance, the pointing experiment and the mirror experiment are both helpful for creating a sense of separation between what is “out there” – always at a certain distance, and “in Here” – at no distance from me. Doing this, I notice how even the most apparently intimate sensations, emotions and thoughts coming up through my human self are “out there” with the rest of the world of phenomena.

And the indestructible crash-helmet experiment is a wonderful way to find the inseparable whole beyond and including emptiness and fullness, and that there is just what is happening. There is no “I” to be found anywhere, or it is everything that happens.

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