I have recently become fascinated with Douglas Harding and the Headless Way. For those who are unfamiliar with this approach, it is a radical, stunning and simple approach to glimpsing the fundamentally empty nature of consciousness–empty of self, that is.

Douglas has many “experiments” that reveal this basic emptiness. The simplest is to point your finger at your head and try to direct your attention to what is present in the direction of your pointing. It may suddenly be glimpsed that nothing is present; there is only the clear space of awareness. Or, he may say, just notice that you don’t have a head (or a face, or a central ego) at this point.

Either way, there is a sense of laughter, lightness and, as Douglas puts it, “the dropping of an intolerable burden.”

I will, in succeeding posts, try to explore Douglas’s book On Having No Head, through short extracts and commentaries. Perhaps those who are excited by this would wish to open up a conversation together.

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