In my current spiritual inquiry, I am exploring Douglas Harding’s ‘Headless Way’, now with some direct guidance from Richard Lang and the Shollond Trust. For me, the brief passage below suggests a re-framed view of what we Druids call Awen. It also feels very Sophian, so I’m finding my pointers to an integrated path. I just have to be patient as new understandings unfold and I learn better how to live them.
“Speaking from my own experience now, if I picture a writer here who is thinking up these words, the result is more-or-less mechanical, uninteresting, inappropriate.
“But to the extent that I experience these words moving spontaneously from the empty Awareness that I am, from the Tao, why then they have a more authentic ring. That is not forgetting myself in the heat of literary composition. Quite the contrary: it is being clearly Self-aware as the Tao, the formless origin of all form.” (1)
(1) Douglas Harding Religions of the world: A handbook for the open-minded London: Shollond Trust, 2014 (digital edition). Originally published by Heinemann Educational Books in 1966.
I’m fascinated by this, not least because it is so removed from my own experience of writing. I may have to write a counter argument 🙂
I would find a friendly counter argument really interesting!
“On Having No Head”
Sam Harris comes back to Hofstadter & Dennett in a brief section on Harding in his ‘Waking up: searching for spirituality without religion’ – worth a look for many other reasons as well. He stressed the value of the experience without fully embracing Harding’s narrative, and I discussed this briefly in another post: https://contemplativeinquiry.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/interpretation-in-contemplative-inquiry/
I have found value in exploring the Headless Way exercises, but I do find myself beginning to back away now. They do model an evangelical insistence on a single insight, and make too much out of it, in my view. Thanks for engaging with this topic Tom. And my very best wishes for your mother. Warm wishes, James