I want to introduce you to someone.
His name is Douglas Harding. He was a kindly, well-spoken Englishman, born in 1909 and died in 2007, but for reasons you’ll soon understand, that doesn’t really matter.
I have wanted to write about Douglas Harding for a long time, but I hadn’t yet because I think his ideas are so important to my life and to humankind that I wanted to make sure I had the time to do them justice.
Most readers of Raptitude have a pointed interest in learning simple ways to improve their quality of life. That’s what this blog is all about. Harding’s teaching is so profound, that once you really get it (and it’s not hard!), you will experience, to say the least, some of the greatest improvements to your quality of life that you’ve ever had. It will tie up loose ends you didn’t know existed.
I left some cryptic hints about this teaching in the comment discussion that followed my April 12 post, Die on Purpose. Those of you who were at all intrigued by that post should not miss this.
In this post I just want to introduce you to Douglas, and I’ll really get into the teaching in subsequent posts. For now all I will say is that I will be writing a lot about Douglas Harding in the future. Those of you who are intrigued enough to look into him will understand why.
The video below is an excerpt from a talk given by Douglas in 1991 in Melbourne, Australia. I won’t explain any more about it today, but I urge you to invest 12 undistracted minutes watching this.
Many of you might not know what to make of it at first. Some will find it moderately interesting, but won’t find anything really compelling in it, and will soon forget about it entirely. Some of you will hit your boredom threshold sometime before the twelve minutes video is through, click it closed and go busy yourself with something.
But a minority of you will catch a hint of something extremely profound here, something markedly more concrete and less ambiguous than most “spiritual” talks. Those few will follow this up, investigate Douglas’s work, and discover something incredible about themselves — something they never suspected yet, paradoxically, always knew.
I’m sounding a bit mystical here, I know, so don’t worry if you don’t see what I’m getting at yet. In upcoming posts, I will explain.
I’m not talking about something that’s hard to ‘get.’ In fact, it’s so unutterably simple, that it’s at tremendous risk of being overlooked. It’s so obvious that most people will try to find the metaphor behind it — a poetic analogy of the sort behind all Zen sayings and Bible verses — but there isn’t one. It’s a plain, obvious-in-hindsight realization, with colossal implications.
Harding’s teachings center around a deceptively simple method for identifying and overcoming the misunderstanding of all misunderstandings — the fundamental cognitive mistake that causes every human being all of their troubles. Here’s a clue: he describes that mistake precisely at 7:12.
I am so intrigued by Douglas because he completely nails what so many other spiritual teachers seem to only graze. I’ve had many breakthroughs over the years, but no other discovery has brought more richness and meaning to my life than this one.
Some of you will be baffled, uninterested, or unsure at what I’m talking about and why I’m so excited about this, at least right now, and that’s okay. There is a lot to talk about here, and we have the time.
If you cannot see the video, watch it here.