Headless experiment: Finding ourselves as empty & full of the world (the card)

I mention the Headless Way often here, so I thought I would share one of the experiments.

This one is called the card experiment. The full description is on the Headless Way website, so I’ll just give a brief version of it here.

The experiment

Get a letter-sized piece of paper or a similarly sized piece of cardboard, and cut a relatively large hole in the middle (large enough for your face).

Hold it up in front of you and look through it. Notice all the things you can see inside of the hole – a chair, table, other people, trees, or whatever it may be. Notice these are all objects with shape, color, and so on.

Then bring your attention to the hole itself. Notice it’s empty. Empty space.

Notice that the hole is both. It’s full of the world. And it’s empty space.

It’s empty space full of the world.

Then bring the paper closer to where you are looking from. As you bring it closer, the hole becomes larger and the edges eventually disappear.

What are YOU now?

Are YOU this empty space full of the world?

The headless experiments

I love this experiment. For me, it’s an immediate and clear reminder of what I am.

At the same time, I know it’s not that way for everyone.

It may take a little time and several tries before we “get” it.

There are several experiments, and some may resonate more with you than others.

And if we are looking for a “big” experience, we may be disappointed. When we get it through these experiments, it’s often a small aha experience, and although it shifts what we find ourselves as it can also be experienced as quite ordinary.

Even if we get it, we may not immediately resonate with it or get what it does.

In any case, it’s something we can come back to again and again. It’s not something we get once and for all. It’s an ongoing exploration and discovery, as is exploring how to live from it.

An even simpler version

I thought I would add an even simpler version of this card experiment, which I sometimes use when I want to show it to someone and we don’t have a piece of paper nearby.

Make a hole with your hands, as large as you can. I bring the first two fingers of each of my hands together and my thumbs together so my hands form a kind of diamond shape. This is then the hole for the experiment.

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