The Headless Way … “Present experience, whatever sense is employed, occurs only in an empty and absent head.” – Douglas Harding

“What you are now looking out of isn’t two small and tightly fastened “windows” called eyes but one immense and wide open “Window” without any edges; in fact you are this frameless, glassless “Window”.

To make quite sure of this, you have only to point to the “Window” and notice what that finger is pointing at – if anything. Please do just that, now …”

This was an excerpt from a self-pointing “experiment” of a late English mystic-philosopher Douglas Harding’s book “On Having No Head: Zen and the Re-discovery of the Obvious”.

This spring I attended a Headless workshop facilitated by David Lang for the first time and a month ago for the second time. (David Lang is Douglas Harding’s follower who has practiced the Headless Way for over 45 years.) I hadn’t done any research about the workshop since I wanted to be surprised and bias-free. And it turned out to be a surprise. As one of the participants, I was encouraged to drop my knowledge, opinions, memories and any imagination about myself and my body. At the same time, I was asked to be honest and attentive, relying exclusively on present evidence, and report only what I observed, without adding anything else … When the time came to practice the self-pointing “experiment”, I saw and experienced Nothingness, Facelessness and Headlessness. It was very new and it was a big revelation for me. I didn’t feel any worries, fears, and frustrations; neither did I notice any pressuring desires or ideas. It felt free, light, clear, quiet, and peaceful. I have now decided to use this method in lieu of more formal / traditional meditation since it is so simple, easy, straightforward, instant, available and accessible at any time or place, or circumstances, or mood, just whenever I want or need it. All I need to do is to look at my pointing finger, ask myself what I observe and stay with it for a little bit!

As a result of another “experiment” which David Lang practiced with us, I had one more new and powerful experience of Oneness, wherein I perceived myself as a part of the “Space”, in which the walls, tables, chairs, cups, pens, workshop participants, and myself were simply one Space and that Space was undivided by shapes, forms, colors or distance.

There is definitely much more to the Headless Way and there are many more interesting “experiments” than what I include in this blog post. So, for those of you who would like to learn more about the Headless Way, please click here. To learn more about Headless Workshops with David Lang (he usually conducts them on a quarterly basis in San Francisco), click here.

How being truly present look like to you?

What methods do you use to learn about your true Self?

How do you know you are who you are and what you are?

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