Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The lie

I met Douglas Harding several years ago while at the University of San Francisco.  It was a random thing.  I saw a flyer somewhere and decided to go.  I took a few buses and arrived at a flat somewhere near the Marina district to join a diminutive group of similar odd balls (they are plentiful in San Francisco).  I paid a very small donation fee and that was that.  The workshop was called something along the lines of "The Headless Life".  I vaguely remember sitting in a circle and doing a few of his experiments aimed at shifting our focus from the nexus of "me".  Looking through cut outs, holding mirrors to my face while attempting to hold a conversation with other participants, staring at my own finger pointing accusingly back.  I wasn't overly moved, obviously too much "me" going on.  I was, after all, barely twenty but it stuck with me.  Here is a recent quote I read by him and thought I'd share:


"The steady assumption of every grown-up, the basis of his life as a man among men (all the more massive for remaining unexamined) is that there lies at the center of his universe a solid, opaque, colored, complicated, active 'thing', mostly invisible to its owner but nevertheless perfectly real.
This universal human conviction isn't spelled out in so many words. It doesn't need to be; it's too evident, it goes without saying. And it's a lie! Actually, it's the lie!
In plain language, it's the basic assumptions that you and I make about ourselves and our status in the world -- and hence about the world itself -- that are the trouble.
Whatever I'm doing from the delusion and nonsense that there is a thing here doing it is worse done. Whatever I'm doing from my Space is better done."
~ From: Open to the Source, by Douglas Harding

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