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Douglas Harding - ‘Look For Yourself’ - Selected quotes

"The result of observing only the universe is anxiety. Only observing the Observer of the universe will put a stop to a man's worrying and fussing and scheming. When his interest is diverted inwards he naturally relaxes his hold - his stranglehold - on the outer world. Having withdrawn his capital and paid it into his own Central Bank (where it appreciates to infinity), he has nothing to lose out there and no reason for interfering. He knows how to let things be and work out in their own time. He's in no hurry. Knowing the Self, he can hardly fail to trust its products."
Douglas Harding

Look For Yourself
At first glance Harding's "headless" approach looks more like a gimmick than a spiritual exercise. Pretending that one has no head seems like something for children to do. Harding's methods help one break through the subject/object duality of experience. All experience begins with the "I" thought. With Harding's headless method the "I" is no longer identified with it's customary location in the head but with what one experiences. I admit I had a hard time with some of his language as there seems to be a slight communication gap (for me anyway) between British and American English. It wasn't until I actually has a headless experience that I saw the profundity of his work. With so many spiritual texts sounding like the other this is truly a unique work and perspective. "The result of observing only the universe is anxiety. Only observing the Observer of the universe will put a stop to a man's worrying and fussing and scheming. When his interest is diverted inwards he naturally relaxes his hold - his stranglehold - on the outer world. Having withdrawn his capital and paid it into his own Central Bank (where it appreciates to infinity), he has nothing to lose out there and no reason for interfering. He knows how to let things be and work out in their own time. He's in no hurry. Knowing the Self, he can hardly fail to trust its products." Page 33 "If we wish to find out what its really like to create the world, we have only to desire nothing and pay attention. But total acceptance is very hard. It's precisely the opposite of the lazy indifference that lets things slide. It springs from inner strength and not weakness, from concentration, not slackness. Why is the world so troublesome, so frightful? Is it like that by nature, or because we take the easy way of fighting it instead of the difficult way of fitting in with it?" Page 34 "To render them (our lives) safe and sound we must rebuild them on the bedrock of I am what I see I am here; what you see is just one of my regional appearances." Page 52 "In the beginning was a lot of stuff, and in the course of time it got around to noticing itself! Clever stuff! Wonder of wonders, object gives birth to subject." Page 69


Our cure is to shine the light of consciousness upon the deepest level of all. the end (for the time being) of all our resistance. we come to take a more restricted view. These "existential" symptoms are a global sadness. How can the subject be discovered except from within. the relaxation we enjoy when "something gives" at last after a long period of mounting tension and anxiety and all the fight foes out of us. All is You. heavily disguised as someone else. All alienation. by subjectivity itself?" Page 69 "To understand the primacy of spirit is good. a deep dissatisfaction with life as it is.. its consequences for everyday living. are danger signals indicating that an enlargement of consciousness is required. but we all know what it feels like . His image." Page 101 "When we were very young it was a wide." Page 106 "There is no consciousness apart from the First Person who is always Central and Singular and enjoys the God's-Eye view of His universe. when you read your newspaper's latest story of threats and aggression by Them. We become sick. regardless of other places and times. Which is also my image. As we grow older. without any attempt to improve them.the sudden cessation of struggle.this is incomparably better.these are no more than bad dreams. to be it without thinking about it . the many-sided threat of hostile things and persons and situations . when you think of it. To realize it. quite weird. You are identified with. be bored by Yourself? How could you not love Yourself?" Page 73 "That instead of being a thing among things you are Space for things." Page 72 "At root. a race. at that .is. for your entertainment and refreshment. wordlessly to experience it. wide scene. a power-bloc. narrow-minded and narrow-hearted. you become Us." Page 87 "Just as our acute symptoms arise from the repression of our second-level and still human desires. resentment aimed at nothing in particular. upon the ineffable Core itself. And Us may be a family. a wanting that doesn't know what it wants. And incomparably easier: in fact. a nation. you think for and hate for and tremble for Us. It's like supposing that the movie-projector is operated by one of the actors on the screen. Equally odd is the notion that the subject can be examined from outside as if it were some kind of object. hemmed in. to see it. Depression and exaggerated anxieties and irrational fears. We become wretchedly exclusive. resent. on either side of which those increasingly vague objects are more or less ignored. the special sort of calm that follows the storm of what has become futile effort. understanding must always be about its object."That things should product awareness of things . How could you fear Yourself? How could you despise. along with their bodily counterparts. hovering round and about it and never gaining admittance. The fact is that total attention is surrender. so our chronic "existential" symptoms arise from the repression of this truly divine and basic desire. Attention ot precisely what? To what's given right where you are at this moment." Page 93 "Is there any other way to true self-abandonment but falling into the arms of the One who is infinitely more you than you are yourself?" Page 95 "Again. all you perceive is Yourself. a planet. attention instead of intention.and by chance.. however." Page 91 "The solution is ATTENTION. Attention to What is. our Source and True Nature. all separation. It would be difficult to overstate the practical importance of this discovery." Page 88 "It's not so easy to describe what surrender is. a social class. The angle of our tunnel vision may reduce to something like five degrees." Page 83 "The price of saying no to what we are getting can be very high.. Attention to how things already are. self-occupied. in place of striving for what should be.. and total surrender is attention." Page 110 2 .

the contradiction between the Sermon on the Mount and the Parable of the Talents. leading to the goal of Self-Realization." Page 202 "Either you go baldheaded for Who you really are. With this difference." Everywhere Krisnamurti insists that we must get to know the processes of the mind. And so I became. the other with his reality as First Person. while the other perceives he's the No-thing that contains the world. can I conjure up anything here to get in the way of that black-and-white pattern? Am I in receipt of news about that pattern. aware of the Absence here of any walker in the forest. or else you get to work on all that mental stuff which is alleged to block the vision of that Who. and for people to make what they liked of. and enjoyable. what I looked like over there. then." Page 202 "In other words. easy. one begins to have a greater awareness. mistaking that regional appearance for my central reality. It seemed that this central emptiness functioned best when it was keenly alive to itself as empty. Otherwise they would begin tripping me up. you have the choice of the short path of Self-enquiry. the walk turns out to be good."If the vast interval between man and his minutest particles is filled by a series of increasingly subhuman parts." Page 152 "When there is an awareness of nobody walking here in the forest. to have and to hold tight for the rest of my life. The one identifies himself with his appearance as a second/third person." Page 153 "Till now I had left all that stuff where it belonged . I latched onto it. It was the false notion that you are really a human being that gave rise to the dilemma. untiring." Page 195 "To follow oneself. so that as one begins to be more and more alert to the intricacies of one's own thinking and responses and feelings. one has to be extraordinarily alert. do I infer or distantly detect it? Or am I invaded by it?" Page 184 "The one imagines he's a thing in the world.out there in mirrors and cameras. or the longer path of Devotion. aware of the Nothing here that was making nothing of that difficult road surface. surely the principle of Nature's continuity suggests that the equally vast interval between him and the Whole may well be filled by a series of increasingly superhuman wholes. then you simply lived from your Home. for myself here." Page 174 "Or am I. It worked very well so long as I remained centered aware of myself as the Space in which that ever-changing forest-scene was on display. no-thing here but room for that thing. on the contrary." Page 193 "Here. not only of oneself but of another with whom one is in relationship." Page 149 "At least it worked so long as I didn't lose myself in that scene. For I soon found that when something out there captivated me and I lost touch with my spaciousness here I stumbled about again. But now." Page 124 "You will find yourself approaching the unself-consciousness and spontaneity that you enjoyed as a little child." Page 203 Click here for Amazon's Look For Yourself page 3 . with no perceptible distance to keep us apart? In other words. It seemed that I had consciously to dissolve those approaching hazards and the feet and legs that had been trying so hard to cope with them. is the perfect reconciliation between the detachment that witnesses all and the attachment that is involved in all. now you do so with full awareness. to see how one's thought operates.

At the heart of this approach are the Experiments awareness exercises that guide your attention directly to your deepest identity. At several meters. like an onion.) What are you at the Center of your many layers? The scientist cannot say because she can only observe you from a distance. the planet. she remains outside you..headless. What or Who you really are. the galaxy… Science’s objective view of you – zooming towards and away from you . life. the Source and Being of all. vital and important as it is. However close she gets to you. Your human identity. Thus you have many layers. but pure Spirit or clear Consciousness. and the only way to find It is to look steadily within. Who Are You? …. remains a mystery. more or less. intelligent and beautiful. nor even a mind. where are to be found utmost peace. (See The Hierarchy of Heaven & Earth. the Ground of your Being. Alone.THE HEADLESS WAY Website http://www. Religion’s Answer The world’s great mystics have a common message: "There is a Reality which is Indivisible. You are also sub-human and supra-human. you are human. for That is our true Nature." (From Religions of the World by Douglas Harding) Science’s Answer What you are depends on the range of the observer. molecules. and we are That and nothing but That. user-friendly way to see Who you really are.reveals a hierarchically organized system of layers that is alive. This method was developed by the philosopher Douglas Harding. only what you 4 .html The Headless Way offers you a practical. and eternal life itself. Other People’s Answer Other people are like the scientist because they cannot see what you are at Center either. particles… Viewed from further away your body becomes absorbed into the rest of society. atoms. the star. unfading joy. You need every one of these layers to exist. but at closer ranges you are cells. is just one of these layers. not a thing.

htm Extract from “On Having No Head” by Douglas Harding http://www. Though it certainly came out of the blue. the One at the heart of your life. lectureattending. They reveal the One you really the space I occupy. When you have carried out the experiments. non-verbal. Reflecting back to you what they make of you. with Kangchenjunga and Everest unprominent among its snow-peaks. Your Answer You are not distant from yourself. contribute to the Discussion Forum and. it did so in response to an urgent enquiry. to what's given right here at the Center of my universe. However that may be. It was eighteen years ago.htm The best day of my life—my rebirthday.are peripherally. thinking. I mean it in all seriousness: I have no if you like. a witticism designed to arouse interest at any cost. not outside yourself. when I was thirty-three. subscribe to the e-Course in Seeing. a very still clear day. quotations. a leaflet by Douglas Harding. and a view from the ridge where I stood. 5 . over misty blue valleys to the highest mountain range in the world.are therefore perfectly placed to see what you are at Center. (From The Headless Way. present tense. this way proceeds in an unusually down-to-earth fashion. interviews and more… You can also listen to the Audio Introduction. I had for several months been absorbed in the question: what am I? The fact that I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time probably had little to do with it.headless. This is not a literary gambit. Take some time now to explore them. Instead of these. How do you look into your Center? The Experiments direct your attention inwards to your Though in essence the same as Zen. ritual observances. You will find articles. and passive meditation of the traditional sort. so to speak—was when I found I had no head. short films. it uses a variety of simple. their feedback is about you as a person. You – and you alone .) Articles: The Results of Seeing Who You Really Are http://www. let us know your response to seeing Who you really are. comments. that I made the discovery. and other spiritual disciplines. All you have to do is look. to what it's like being 1st-person singular. Sufism. fact-finding tests. explore the rest of the website. Quotation Over the past [sixty] years a truly contemporary and Western way of 'seeing into one's Nature' or 'Enlightenment' has been developing. all of them asking: how do I look to myself? They direct my attention to my blind spot . though in that country unusual states of mind are said to come more easily. made a setting worthy of the grandest vision. It claims that modern man is more likely to see Who he really is in a minute of active experimentation than in years of reading.

It was all. Quite the reverse: it felt like a sudden waking from the sleep of ordinary life. that present moment and what was clearly given in it. a nothing that found room for everything—room for grass. breathtaking. no mere nothing. brightly shining in the clear air. I forgot who and what I was. Harding for The Incredible Hypothesis . In of the perfectly obvious. and (and this was the real RAMANA MAHARSHI – LINKS: RAMANA MAHARISHI . at long last. This anthology illustrates how this Treasure has been sought and found in different cultures and times throughout the world. an odd kind of alert limpness or numbness. shadowy distant RAMANA MAHARISHI Links on SCRIBD: http://www. It was the revelation. Here it was. the wonder and delight) utterly free of "me". on SCRIBD: http://www. Lighter than body and soul.scribd. words really failed me. animalhood. it was all perfectly simple and plain and straightforward. quite RAMANA MAHARISHI . a Toolkit of practical experiments (now out of print) for investigating our True Identity. Yet in spite of the magical and uncanny quality of this vision. uncritical attention to what had all along been staring me in the face . A peculiar More documents and articles on ‘SELF-ENQUIRY’ authored by sages from the East and West. On the contrary. and far above them snowpeaks like a row of angular clouds riding the blue sky.scribd. my name. And what I found was khaki trouserlegs terminating downwards in a pair of brown shoes. It was naked. I seemed to stop breathing altogether. There existed only the Now. Reason and imagination and all mental chatter died down. It was as if I had been born that instant.blogspot. no esoteric revelation. mindless.Historic VIDEOS and DOCUMENTARIES: http://www. it was very much occupied. To look was enough. Douglas Harding . It was selfluminous reality for once swept clean of all obscuring mind. khaki sleeves terminating sideways in a pair of pink hands. http://www. manhood. this hole where a head should have been was no ordinary vacancy.E. There arose no questions. all that could be called mine. innocent of all memories. altogether released from myself. It was a lucid moment in a confused life-history. trees. and q=Ramana+Maharshi&qpvt=Ramana+Maharshi&FORM=VDRE# http://www. I was nowhere around. It took me no time at all to notice that this nothing. it was no q=Ramana+Maharshi&tbo=p&tbm=vid&source=vgc&hl=en&aq=f 6 . unstained by any observer. It was a vast emptiness vastly filled.What actually happened was something absurdly simple and unspectacular: I stopped thinking.scribd. alone and utter facelessness. and a khaki shirtfront terminating upwards in—absolutely nothing whatever! Certainly not in a head.Biography: His Life by Gabriele Ebert: http://ramanabiography. came over me. this superb scene. and the sensation of having dropped an intolerable burden. Past and future dropped away. It was a ceasing to ignore something which (since early childhood at any rate) I had always been too busy or too clever to see. no reference beyond the experience itself. mysteriously suspended in the void. but only peace and a quiet joy.‘The Incredible Hypothesis’ and the Anthology of Quotations selected for it This anthology of quotations was selected by D. clearer than glass. absorbed in the Given. Its total presence was my total absence. brand new. beyond argument. an end to dreaming. thought. For once. I had lost a head and gained a world.

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