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Publisher's Summary

'Reason and imagination and all mental chatter died down... I forgot my name, my humanness, my thingness, all that could be called me or mine. Past and future dropped away... Lighter than air, clearer than glass, altogether released from myself, I was nowhere around.' Thus Douglas Harding describes his first experience of headlessness, or no self. First published in 1961, this is a classic work which conveys the experience that mystics of all times have tried to put words to.

©1961, 2014 The Shollond Trust (P)2017 The Shollond Trust

What listeners say about On Having No Head

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  • Litbovely
  • 19-01-2019

Wonderful, secular explanation of Zen ideas

The author describes his Zen experience of emptiness in an astoundingly clear way, given how intrinsically subjective the topic is. He compares it to many similar acccounts in various religions, and manages to clear a lot of the clutter orbiting it.

Writing style is fluid and maintains a comfortably secular viewpoint despite the estoricity and historical mystical baggage of the topic. Even when words like "god" were used, I had no trouble interpreting them in a metaphoric sense - much like Einstein's discussions on hypotethical ultimates of existence.

This helped me understand many Zen and Tao teachings and stories for the first time -- at times to the points of making them seem ridiculously convoluted way of pointing to the same direction! Just listening to the book even took me closest ever to actually experiencing the "void" subjectively. Highly recommended.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Elias Rademacher
  • 19-01-2020

Life Changing

I think I will never see the world or myself the same way after having listened to this book.

My meditation up to this point has been about "stilling the pool" as they say, but this book has made me go deeper. Now I'm asking, "wait a second, what's the pool made out of? Is this even a pool?"

Consise, compelling, and charming. I would recommend to anyone interested in Buddhism or any open-minded and philosophical person.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Tanner
  • 08-05-2019

Experience Void, Experience Causeless Joy

Most clear cut, experiential approach to seeing what One truly is. Language is crystal clear and he even makes sense of a dozen or so mystics and masters who’s advice finally makes sense in the first person present tense.

I practice this method every day, very obvious stuff once it sinks in. Everyone’s birthright is the joy of Being.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 12-03-2018

Awesome

Great description of the event and process of enlightenment in everyday language and excellent references!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Erik Eierud
  • 19-04-2018

Deeply well written journey into the hearts

Harding not only explain his journey to talk to friends about mysterios gems and how lowly rejected they may get even from the brightest. He also shows what may happen if you trust yourself and take your own steps into the deepest place of the heart. He tells it from the view of the ones that are often happy around us, the view from children and animals.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Emerson Lim
  • 04-02-2020

Head Blown. Wow.

Intellectual yet humble account of headless ness and Ones journey towards liberation. Complex and simple.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MetaDreaming
  • 24-01-2020

Wonderful!

Narration could be so much better. But a second listening should clear up some of what was obscured by an untrained reader. Nonetheless, powerful content made accessible for the most part. I only wish there were more practical suggestions and instruction.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nathan
  • 02-08-2019

Headline-less

Changed my life, and I've only finished it days ago. Suggested reading only after one has completed Sam Harris' 50 day intro course via the Waking Up app. (May need to do twice, as I did).

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jose
  • 25-05-2019

Great, inspiring.

If you’re interested in non-duality, advaita and such, you will enjoy this book. Is a must read/hear in this field of knowledge.

The narration by Richard Lang is nice and clear, specially knowing he’s probably the greatest expert alive on this philosophy -or rather, way of living- from Douglas Harding.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ryan Unsworth
  • 28-07-2021

loved it

A beautifully simple yet awe-inspiring look at life. I have read books 5 times the length with far more 'complexity' that doesn't touch the content in this book. Also surprisingly fun.

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  • Leigh
  • 04-04-2019

Measured, interesting, but fails to convince

It’s a nicely written tale, told in a measured, jovial tone, but I was left ultimately frustrated with it.

From the outset the author makes assertions that jar with experience but my resolve to give him the bandwidth to address it progressively waned as the measured tone started to feel overly matter-of-fact despite not having satisfactorily established what he was saying as anything approaching a fact.

Eventually my patience frayed and I was left staring into deliberately obtuse justifications for what seems to amount to nonsense.

I do feel like I’m at fault though - it’s me who’s not seeing the punchline or spotting the metaphor - but I’m annoyed the author didn’t do enough to address that since it appears to be the whole point in the exercise.

5 people found this helpful

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  • MR JM FOSTER
  • 10-02-2019

Deep

Quite esoteric, but for those interested in nonduality this book is incredibly valuable. highly recommended

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ricardo Quintas
  • 29-01-2019

Interesting concept, but repetitive

Found it a little bit confusing and repetitive. During half of the book I had to speed-up the narration... it felt like it was repeating the same idea over-and-over again

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 28-08-2019

This book is invaluable to meditation practitioner

I have enjoyed both reading and listening to this book. I find the experience psychedelic at times while trying to grasp the concepts put forward by Harding. To really understand this book requires an open mind and a playful attitude.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marius
  • 01-09-2021

Not wrong but oh so dull

What happens when a not so bright person gains some insight and feels the need to preach it? This book.

Nothing wrong with the content but the form is tiresome and plainly boring. Plagued with pointless repetitions, cringe worthy comparisons, read by a subtly annoying narrator.

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  • Richard Mitten
  • 01-07-2021

Where' s my head at?

I enjoyed this short book immensely and it gave me a real sense of voidness.

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  • James S.
  • 15-04-2021

Disappointing

I think this book is about the illusion that is ego, a subject to which I am quite receptive. But after 90 minutes of bewilderment, I gave up on this one.

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  • J Abrams
  • 02-03-2021

Charmed me

a well read audio book, it really needs your full attention, every word was valuable

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-01-2021

Subtly Profound

What’s being touched upon and discussed here is subtle. However within the subtle is the absolute insight / knowing / looking. You are total and complete openness. Douglas goes about this is in a unique and creative way. Thank you Douglas and thank you Richard for keeping the teaching going strong.

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  • Lauren Blunt
  • 20-10-2020

Load of nonsense!

I was recommended this book through one of Sam Harris’ books. I’m very scientifically minded and just couldn’t fathom this nonsense. Maybe if you’re more spiritual this book is for you. For me I’ll certainly be returning it!

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