not-knowing: “… You will find yourself in this stillness, this not-knowing, where there is a total absence of yourself …” ~ Jean Klein

not knowing stillness morning bali klein

“… The state we call realization is simply being oneself, not knowing anything or becoming anything …” ~ Ramana Maharshi

Indeed, not-knowing is one of those paradoxical “keys” to the Mystery : self-realization or self-knowledge lies in giving up all “knowing” … resting in not-knowing and see what is revealed …

In Jean Klein’s case, the profound depthless depth of “not-knowing” was revealed in not-the-first but a subsequent encounter with his “unknown teacher (or Pandiji) – who he met in South India. After some more time with Pandiji, Jean felt that “… He gave me many answers, but during the several weeks that I didn’t see him, I became aware that all my questions had been an escape, an evasion of the real question. The existential crisis I had always lived in became acute. I lived with this feeling that I had missed the real question, a question I was not able to formulate. …”

In a subsequent visit at Pandiji’s residence in Bangalore (South India) after the other two students had left, this is what transpired (in Jean’s own words):

“… Then there was a silence, the other students left, and he suddenly looked at me and asked, “Do you know yourself?” I was a bit disturbed by this question because I didn’t really know what he meant. I couldn’t find a way to look at it. I said hesitatingly, “Yes,” because I was thinking I knew my body, senses and mind very well. He said to me, “You are the knower of your body, senses and mind, but the knower can never be known because you are it, and there’s nobody to know it. It can never become an object of observation because it is your totality.” This saying had a very strong impact on me. I had a glimpse of reality in this moment because it stopped all intellectual faculties. …”

Jean adds: “… It left a very strong echo in me of freedom from old beliefs. I went home and lived with it free from all conceptualization and felt myself awake in this not-knowing …”

the book of listening jean kleinSo, today we’ll explore Jean’s not-knowing … in this part 3 of our ongoing multi part series on Jean’s key teaching of Listening … where we offer an in-depth preview of his The Book of Listening … via chapter excerpts …

We offer excerpts on not-knowing from Volume 2 (about Living With the Question) and Volume 3 (about The Great Forgetting) …

… in Part 1 (excerpts from Volume 1), we explored the topic of our real nature, which touched on awareness, body, observing, stillness, quietness, reality, presence, and more … all in a Q&A format …

… in Part 2, we offered Jean’s remarks on silence via a chapter excerpt from Volume 3 titled On Silence

{All italicized text below including Jean’s opening quote is from Jean’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.}

Why Not-Knowing?

“… It is important to live this directionlessness, this not-knowing … your directionless awareness … It is the threshold …”

krzywe lake directionless awareness klein

Q. You said that living with the question is exactly the same as living in openness, in not-knowing, and you also said that this capacity, the willingness to live in not-knowing, to welcome it, is the result of having had a glimpse of truth, of reality without someone to experience it. What meaning, then, can “live with the question” have for all those who do not have this understanding and the spontaneous shift it brings from living in the known to living in the unknown? It seems that you are speaking to a very few mature souls, but how can those less blessed hear you and benefit?

Jean Klein: I have given the real meaning of living with the question, but living in not-knowing on many levels will bring you to a question. Inherent in the human being is “I want to know.” That has nothing to do with maturity. It is an innate urge.

I would say that one should begin by taking note how, the moment you wake up in the morning, you anticipate. The whole day is spent in anticipation, in striving, in end-gaining. See how you live in taking, in grasping, in constant knowing. So I would say, begin by spending half a day in seeing all the moments when you are not living in not-knowing. And then what happens? How can this help? When you see that you are always doing, you will find moments of discontinuity in you, because it is you, John Smith, who is forcing the continuity. In these spaces, these moments of discontinuity, you feel yourself in non-objective presence. It is not an experience because there is nobody there to experience it, but it is a moment when there is a “feeling” of eternity.

not-knowing eternity klein

Q. So these moments open my eyes to knowing myself without relating to anything?

Jean Klein: Yes, for a moment you are taken by an open window, a window on eternity. Once you have had a glimpse of your objectless self, you will be solicited more often by it. Then one day you will find yourself living in the not-knowing.

Volume 3 picks up not-knowing in a subsequent Q&A …

Q. I agree with every word you utter and my whole being seems to absorb it with great eagerness. Why, then, the resistance? Why do I find myself battling with an ego I don’t have any use for, and doing things I despise and letting words come out of me that I feel are not mine? Only at intervals am I wholly one and stateless. I try to be “beyond” emotion but am dismally vulnerable.

Jean Klein: You must live with the truth until you are completely impregnated by it. You have had a glimpse of understanding, the understanding that you are not the body-mind. Follow this glimpse as you would follow a shadow to find its substance.

This glimpse is a feeling, a feeling of freedom. It is like when you stand on a cliff and look at a very wide horizon. You feel yourself expanded in the space.

cliff wide horizon grand canyon south rim klein

Let yourself be taken by this feeling of freedom. Don’t let it remain an idea, but feel how it actually acts in your body. See how it acts on you inside. It is only when you feel how it acts in you that there can be an impact, otherwise it remains in the intellect and you will lose it.

Real understanding is in not-knowing. All knowing dissolves in not-knowing, and it is in this not-knowing state that there is transformation. The mind can never change what is not in the field of the mental. When you see this, you are out of the cage of the mind, and all that belongs to the mind dissolves in not-knowing, in no mind. In your not-knowing there is still some knowing hiding in your pockets and behind your knees. Let go of all desire to know. But keep your terrible eagerness.

When you have let go of all residues of the desire to know, you will no longer be directed. This living in the directionless is living in not-knowing. Keep the flame alive, but do not channel it. Let it burn freely. In the non-directed fire all residues will burn. When you are free from direction, you have no reference to anything. You have no desire for anything.

It is important to live this directionlessness, this not-knowing, this waiting without waiting for anything. It acts on your cells, on your psychosomatic body, bringing them to dilation and harmony. All that remains is your directionless awareness. Live in this absolute absence of yourself. It is the threshold.

not-knowing directionless awareness klein

You are in complete openness, open to nothing, free from all ideas, free from all hope. And when you are completely transparent, open, open to openness, you are taken by Truth, by Grace. That is certain.

And, stay tuned for more in this series … on Jean Klein’s teachings of Listening ...


All italicized text above (except otherwise noted) is from The Book Of Listening by Jean Klein and is published here with the publisher  New Sarum Press generous permission.

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

As we do the “listening” deeper and deeper, one of the natural emerging behaviors is to appreciate the oneness of us all … and in that spirit let us minimize (& hopefully dissolve) the current humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine … by helping in whatever way we can … and to that end here are some options:

1) NPR: Want to support the people in Ukraine? Here’s how you can help

2) Washington PostHere’s how Americans can donate to help people in Ukraine.

3) Go Fund Me: How to Help: Donate to Ukraine Relief Efforts.

4) USA Today: Want to support the people of Ukraine? These apps and websites can help you send money.

— — — —

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


And, may you embrace Jean’s not-knowing … and …

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

Ramana Maharshi from Gems From Bhagavan – Self Realization.
Images (edited & Logo added): 1 & Featured) Hunter Sun. Morning on the island of Bali by, 2) The Book of Listening cover image from New Sarum Press, 3) Beautiful long exposure landscape of lake in mazury lake district (krzywe lake near olsztyn) by miloszg, 4) Man journeys through doorway of time. 3d rendering by rolffimages, 5) Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA at dawn from the south rim by sepavone, 6) Sea shore in night with stars reflected in water by Milosz_. All purchased from 123rtf and depositphotos. All are for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post),


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