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Your headless supermind

“Going headless is designed to radically cut out the internal chatter of your ego, enabling you to sit in relative silence, encountering whatever comes into you awareness without the usual inner commentary”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article focuses on an integral form that I have been using a lot myself recently. If you enjoy the article, then you are invited to this week’s Tuesday & Wednesday class where we will be exploring it in practice. 
In the spirit of integration,


Article: Your headless supermind
This article offers two meditation techniques, putting them together simply into one where they become mutually enhancing. It is also currently one of my own main practices, so I also thought to share it as an insight into what my own practice looks like right now. Although it is very profound, you can practice it on the level you are at and still get some big benefit pretty quickly! Here is a brief outline of the two practices:
Headless-ness – is a practice of imagining that you have no head. As you sit or stand, simply imagine that where your head used to be is a luminous empty space. Your head (and the strong sense of you as an ego that goes with it) is simply not there. One of the things that this is designed to do is to radically cut out the internal chatter of your ego, and enable you to sit in relative silence, encountering whatever comes into that space simply ‘as it is’, without the usual inner commentary.
The technique was originally made well known by Douglas Harding in his book On Having no Head.
Supermind – in this context, supermind means simply the ability to witness our life in a multi-perspectival way, and therefore to see much more than we ordinarily would by just looking at things from one or two perspectives. In my previous article on supermind I outline five main perspectives. In this article we will simplify to four, what something looks like from:

  1. Your first person ‘I/me’ space
  2. Your second person ‘we/us’ space
  3. Your third person ‘it’ space
  4. Your ‘integral perspectives’ space

Getting started:
Firstly, go headless – settle into a comfortable sitting position, relax for a few breaths, and then imagine your head dissolves away. You can see the lower half of your body, and your arms and hands, but they extend from an empty space where your head and shoulders used to be. If initially you find this a bit abstract, simply focus on relaxing your physical brain as much as you can, so that your rate of thinking drops.
Then practice supermind – you can either do this with whatever is coming up for you in the moment, or around a particular aspect or challenge in your life. For example, if I take a family dilemma:

  1. My first person ‘I/me’ space – how I am thinking, feeling, and experiencing the situation?
  2. Your second person ‘we/us’ space – how/what the other family members may be experiencing
  3. Your third person ‘it’ space – Viewing the situation as an outsider, an observer or a ‘fly on the wall’ or scientific-objective perspective
  4. Your ‘integral perspectives’ space – put the three above perspectives into a whole, or a totality, where the information from each are interacting and complementing each other

You can also add another perspective or two to the mix if you like. I always like to ask “what is good about this situation?” As a way of bringing a positive spin to my experience. With these 4/5 perspectives, you feel as if you are experiencing the situation and/or yourself in a way that is multi-perspectival, integrated, more complete. This is what we mean by supermind.

Back to headlessness – From your supermind position, then go back to experiencing the situation, but now as a headless person. This means just placing the different elements of the situation into a space where there is no ‘experiencer’, you just let things appear as they are, as if they were doing themselves.
This dual approach is designed to:

  • Let you drop out of personal perceptions and experience things as they are through headlessness
  • When considering things as a self-in-the-world, creating a rich , multi-perspectival approach, rather than just being stuck in a monosyllabic I-space all the time

A finishing question for you: What is the difference between the ‘things as they are’ perspective of headlessness, and the above mentioned ‘fly on the wall’ perspective of a third person ‘it’ space?

Related articleMindfully enhancing your psychological development
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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