art of listening: “… In this observing is the total absence of yourself. It is your real presence …” ~ Jean Klein

art of listening: “… if we sustain the pure observation … the perceived increasingly recedes and we find ourselves in objectless listening …”  ~ Billy Doyle

rainbow river canyon art of listening klein doyle

Jean Klein was a proponent of the importance of a “clean” body – that it’s crucial to look after the body – to keep it “sattvic or  pure” … because a sattvic body is much more open to grace. As he said: “… it is rare that one has a glimpse of reality with a conditioned, tamasic body …”

This is one of the fundamental reasons for his “blended teaching” of Yoga and awakening.

NOTE: the topic of sattvic, tamasic (& rajasic) merits a post (or a series) in itself and will be explored separately, in future, as part of a deeper dive into Yoga … but for the purposes of this post the meanings “pure (sattvic)” and “not pure (tamasic)” will suffice 🙂

Jean, further believed (through his direct experience & therefore taught as such) that Yoga (the exploration of body mind) has the possibility of bringing one back to what he termed “objectless awareness”  –  to integrate the body into its “original state” (another of his terms). And, even more importantly, he believed (& taught) that such “… exploration can only be done at the energy level.” 

And this exploration leads to a key (maybe even fundamental?) aspect of Klein’s teaching: the art of listening:

the book of listening jean klein“… Our body is a beautiful musical instrument, like a Stradivarius, but, it must be tuned. We are the tuner. … This beautiful instrument has to be sensed. It is in sensing that we come to the right tuning. It calls for a very high art of listening. … We must become able to listen. Hearing these fine vibrations comes first in meditation. …

… It is tremendous to discover oneself in listening. …

When listening is Silence, our musical instrument, our body, is completely penetrated by this objectless listening. Then there is something born that is beyond the human being.

You are not body, senses and mind. Really live in the absence of what you are not and this reality will be the background of life. Live in the absence of yourself. In the absence of yourself there is presence. We should take every opportunity to listen to ourselves without directing, without changing, or looking for something new. When we listen to ourselves and sustain the listening, there’s transformation …”

~ Jean Klein (excerpts from his classic: The Book Of Listening)

yoga in the kashmir tradition jean klein billy doyleSo, today, we consider Billy Doyle’s summation of Jean’s key teaching … through the entire chapter titled The Art of Listening  … from Billy’s 2019 book: Yoga In The Kashmir Tradition: The Art Of Listening – Following The Teachings of Jean Klein … and this post – part 3 – is a continuation of our multi-part series taking a deep dive into Billy’s book and Jean’s teachings:

… in part 1 we “set the stage” with Ellen Emmet’s Foreword and Billy’s Introduction

… in part 2 we offered Billy Doyle’s condensation of Advaita (including Jean Klein’s pertinent remarks) …

Together these two parts form the “foundation” for this deep dive …

{All italicized text below is from Billy’s book and is published here with the publisher New Sarum Press generous permission. Scroll to the bottom for a free downloadable Table of Contents.}

So, here is Billy on …

The Art of Listening

At the heart of this approach, whether it concerns self-knowledge or coming to know the body, is how we observe: the art of listening. Normally we conceive of observing as directed to some object, a concentration, but here we allow the object to appear in observation. Listening here does not refer to our ears, or to a cerebral function, but to our total openness. It is not a matter of trying to listen since listening is our natural state, but seeing that we don’t listen.

In unconditioned listening, choiceless listening, we are completely open. It is an openness free of purpose or intent. It is an innocent welcoming of all that appears. It is like a scientist without presuppositions, just open to the facts.

kirkjufell mountain unconditioned art of listening doyle

However, we rarely listen in this impersonal way. It is the nature of the ego to grasp and look for security in what is observed. Instead of just looking we interpret, analyse, judge, compare or lose ourselves in the feeling or thought. When we are looking for something from the perception, there is end-gaining and we are caught in the becoming process.

Instead of seeing what is, we tend to see what we want to see, our own projections. The ego is always choosing what brings it pleasure and discarding what brings it pain.

We are too dominated by the conceptual mind (abstraction) and live too little in direct seeing. Instead of staying with the perception, which is always in the present, we jump too quickly to the concept, which is memory; instead of really seeing the flower, letting its richness unfold and feeling the sense of wonder, we are too quick to name it and categorise it. Thus the senses become atrophied, we cut ourselves off from the totality and we live in our own isolated conceptual world. After the direct perception, when we superimpose a concept, the sensation ceases, since a concept and percept cannot exist together. But if we sustain the pure observation, innocent of all intention, and do not imprison the object in our minds, we give it freedom to completely express itself. It then dies of its own accord in our presence; the perceived increasingly recedes and we find ourselves in objectless listening. We discover that this unconditioned listening is our real nature.

The phenomenal is wet with the noumenal, that is why the phenomenal gives the forefeeling of the Ultimate.
~ Jean Klein, The Book of Listening

Flysch rocks barrika beach sunset noumenal klein

Jean would often remind us to bring the perceived back to the perceiving; to bring the seen to the seeing, the heard to the hearing, the felt to the feeling, to bring back each object to its homeground. In doing so we sanctify the object, it is no longer profane. Objects are not outside of us, they have their potential in us, and so when the energy is no longer directed, when the emphasis is no longer on the seen, it naturally and without volition, dissolves back in the seeing, the non-dual consciousness which is the background of all apparent duality. The energy that was once eccentric is now concentric. We find ourselves in the seeing; consciousness and perceiving are one, there is nothing outside of us. Listening cannot be localised— it is beyond space and time.

In this observing is the total absence of yourself. It is your real presence.
~ Jean Klein, Living Truth

~ Billy Doyle

Stay tuned for more … as we continue this deep dive into Billy Doyle’s Yoga In The Kashmir Tradition … in subsequent posts from the  chapters: Listening to the Body, and Meditation …

Again, here’s Part 1 – the Foreword and Introduction … and Part 2 – Advaita Vedanta

And click here for a FREE downloadable copy of the Table of Contents, graciously and generously made available by the publisher New Sarum Press.

All italicized text above (except for the Go Fund Me related text) is from Yoga In The Kashmir Tradition: The Art Of Listening – Following The Teachings of Jean Klein and is published here with the publisher New Sarum Press’ generous permission.

And, here’s a gentle reminder to help those in times of extreme need … to that end we highlight two “hubs” of giving from which you can select your desired recipient(s) …

1) Direct Relief, which is “… a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay …” … and since 1948, it “… has worked to help people who confront enormous hardship to recover from disasters and improve the quality of their lives. The tradition of direct and targeted assistance, provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served, has been a hallmark of the organization since its founding …”

2) Go Fund Me continues to be a platform (amongst many others) for exercising – and deepening – our kindness and compassion. To this end, we have selected a few “pertinent to this time” campaigns that bring relieffor animals during natural disaster (like the llming IDA Hurricane) … for a family that lost the father – a marine in Afghanistan – while expecting a new baby … for small businesses … for restaurant workers – the world over …

Also, … here’s a GoFundMe blog post Fundraising for Coronavirus Relief: How You Can Help the Fight that offers a very comprehensive map for the COVID relief efforts including how you can help, what to give to, and lots more … We are supporting some of these campaigns personally and also as Stillness Speaks (through donations).

— — — —

We are all facing financial challenges but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then please do so …

Of course, there are many more worthy and noble efforts – the ones highlighted here are simply suggestions that may inspire you to donate to whatever effort you are drawn to …



And, may you hone in on the art of listening … and embody it in your life … and …

May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate these unsettling times.

All italicized text (except the words sattvic and tamasic) in the 1st blockquote section from The Book of Listening by Jean Klein.
Images (edited & Logo added): 1 & Featured) Colorful rainbow over river canyon by serg-nester, 2) The Book of Listening cover image, 3) Yoga In The Kashmir Tradition book cover image, 4) Colorful summer sunset with Kirkjufell Mountain in Grundarfjordur town. Evening scene on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, Iceland, Europe. Artistic style post processed photo by AndrewMayovskyy, 5) Flysch rocks in barrika beach at sunset by mimadeo. All are for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post)a


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