from a workshop by Douglas Harding

(September 2000, courtesy of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation, London)

... in other words, to submit to what is clearly given, instead of editing it out from our lives, on account of social pressure, fear, and the tyranny of language. And I think we'll get all the grace that's needed, really. If we have several things to do, like 'see Who we are' and 'find grace' and do a few thousand other things, we will do nothing. For my part, I suppose I am really a kind of idiot or simpleton, who says, 'I've only got one thing to do, and one thing will do, and that is to come Home to the place I never left.'

The text for this is quite a good one - 'Seek ye first the Kingdom' - in fact, find the Kingdom - which is here - 'and every thing shall be added.' All things shall be added. If I have two things to do, I'm in trouble, because I say, Well I've done this, I've done my Devotional bit, now I have to do my Looking bit, then I have to do my Grace-recipient bit, and I really can't be bothered.' I think, go for the heart of the matter, and everything else will fall into place

It seems to me that what is seen from the very beginning is what is seen at the end. The penny dropped for me sixty-something years ago, and I saw Who I was, and I see Who I am now, and there's no difference, no development! No development whatever, it's EXACTLY the same! You say, Oh that's awful, Douglas. You should have improved a lot. Well it hasn't, I promise you, it's exactly the same. What has changed perhaps, is the continuity and the effect on one's physique and so on. But the vision itself does not. It does not improve or grow.

And this is why it is so encouraging, and also so democratic, because I share this perhaps at this meeting with a new friend; and do I feel 'Oh, he's a beginner, of course, I'm very accomplished' ? Not at all! It's very democratic. I like that. So, the Seeing doesn't develop at all. No improvement. What does change is I think, the continuity, the steadiness of it, and the effect on one's life at every level. Above all, what develops. Or should develop, is trust. And that is very slow to come, and very precious, and very important. So I see Who I am, and trusting this One is more difficult.

For example, coming here today, I had some ideas what I was going to do, and it turned out utterly differently, thank God. Some people would say No, I think that was wrong. You should have worked it out and presented what you intended to do. Well, I don't think that's the way things should work, or would work, insofar as I trust. What we need to do is practise this and practise. The practice is essential. 'Practice' is a horrible word. I say, 'Enjoy this, enjoy this.' This is sheer enjoyment, it's practical, it enables us to do better what we would do worse. Seeing Who we are ensures that what we do, we do better, and it is accompanied by the development of trust.

This means throwing away your notes for an occasion; and just coming and saying 'I give up, I just want to sit here and see what happens.' You see, Who you are has the supreme savoir-faire, the supreme know-how - what is the know-how, what is the expertise of the One you know? It has the supreme and impossible expertise, which is the curious knack of actually being.

Now the One who can BE, from not-being, and raise itself out of not-being by its own nonexistent bootstraps, so to say - this one I trust; and it is the only One I really will trust. This One has a supreme know-how, which is Self-origination. There should be nothing at all! But Be-ing has the knack of upping itself, all the time, in you now. That One is trustworthy, isn't it?

- Douglas Harding, 2000 -