listening to the body: “… The body is thus a pointer to awareness. The purpose of all objects is to remind us of our real nature: awareness, consciousness{and} … Ultimately, we come to realise that the body and all manifestation are nothing but awareness. …” ~ Billy Doyle

listening to the body awareness doyle

In this series – 3 parts so far, and this being the 4th – we have been taking a deep dive into Jean Klein’s essential teaching of Listening through Billy Doyle’s 2019 book: Yoga In The Kashmir Tradition: The Art Of Listening – Following The Teachings of Jean Klein

yoga in the kashmir tradition jean klein billy doyle… 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 the 1st two parts form the “foundation” for this deep dive …

… in part 3 we offered Billy Doyle’s summation of Jean’s key teaching: The Art of Listening

and in this post – part 4 – we apply that art of listening to the body …

Jean believed in the blended teaching of Yoga and awakening. He considered the body to be a beautiful instrument (he likened it to a Stradivarius) that required tuning (with us being the tuner) to bring about the fruits of the teaching. He said: “… To tune this instrument … calls for a complete metamorphosis of oneself, and this can only happen when we are one with our instrument, with our body. …” ~ from his classic: The Book Of Listening

And, in Billy’ words: “… by listening we come to tune it, we come to harmonisation …”

So, below is Billy’s exploration of Jean’s key teaching of listening to the body

{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.}

Listening To The Body

Listening begins with the immediate environment, the body. When we come to a freedom in the body we’re more open to listening to our wider environment. Ultimately listening refers to itself, and not to any object of listening; we are the listening.

listening to the body yoga doyle

So first we face the fact of the body. Can I look at my body completely objectively, as I would a tree, without psychological reference? We know the body mostly through sensation, the tactile feeling. We let the sensation awaken and come to us.

We don’t truly know the real body; rather, what we experience when we wake up in the morning is largely memory. It is a pattern crystallised over time, more or less a set of defence mechanisms for the I-image. This set of patterns that pervades every layer of the body unknowingly imprisons us in our past. It is frozen energy that gives us the feeling of contraction, weight, opacity and fixation. These conditioned sensations are superimposed on the primal body, and sustain the ‘I am the body’ idea. We are, more particularly, localised in the forebrain, the thought factory. In the real body, the global body, the I-image loses its hold.

We don’t listen to the body from the head, but from our wholeness. It is impossible to experience the whole body from the head since our head is part of the whole. This listening needs no effort; choiceless listening is the natural function of awareness. Any anticipation or intention only interferes. In anticipation there is end-gaining, becoming; we’re back in the mind, no longer in the moment.

sunrise beach awareness choiceless listening doyle

To become acquainted with the body, wait, and let the sensation awaken and speak to you. To begin with, what we experience as our body may appear fractional. Later we come to its integration, the global feeling of the body. If we focus on specific areas of the body there may arise tension, but when we come to the global sensation we give areas of contraction the possibility to de-localise and integrate with the whole. From the gross feeling of contraction and density, to the subtle feeling of vibration and space, we pass through various layers. As we let the layers of sensation unfold, the body will go through various stages of elimination.

energy body doyleIn this process we will discover that our primal body is vibration—subtle energy without centre or border. But if we hold on to the belief that our body is something heavy and solid we will never arrive at this experience.

Jean compared the body to a musical instrument; by listening we come to tune it, we come to harmonisation. This expanded body has the flavour of its source: light, and acts from this light.

In listening to the body in this way, a choiceless welcoming, we are no longer an accomplice to the patterns and contractions. We have, as it were, stood back and let the body be the body. We are no longer fueling the reactions. There is a feeling of space between awareness and what we’re aware of, a feeling of detachment—but without trying to be detached.

There is listening before we listen to the body, there is listening after. The body unfolds in listening and since we don’t emphasise what we listen to, once it has told its story it naturally dissolves back into awareness. The presence of the body in awareness is discontinuous, but awareness, the background, is continuous. In this process we carry back the object, in this case the body, to its generic form eliminating its changing nature.

The body is thus a pointer to awareness. The purpose of all objects is to remind us of our real nature: awareness, consciousness. The world is thus not a problem, but a continual reminder of who we are. We can also say that all so-called objects are consciousness celebrating itself.

Listening to the body gives freedom to the body, and familiarises us with the art of listening.

To an ignorant man the objective world is an obstacle to spiritual progress, because objects always draw him away from his centre, which has not yet been shown to him. But to one who has heard the truth from his Guru, the same world serves as a help to his spiritual progress, since each of its objects points to his real nature.
        Shri Atmananda (Krishna Menon), Notes on Spiritual Discourses

tibetan mandala making all objects consciousness doyle

In pure listening there is not an object listened to—which would be a concept—but simply feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting. Neither is there a listener, which would be another concept. Consciousness and its object are one; it is only after the experience that we divide the seer from the seen. We say, ‘I saw the tree’, ‘I acted in the situation’, but at the moment of seeing there is only seeing, at the moment of action there is only acting. The seer, the seeing and the seen are one. Perception itself is non-dual, the subject— object dichotomy is created when there’s conceptualisation. Ultimately, we come to realise that the body and all manifestation are nothing but awareness.

~ Billy Doyle

Stay tuned for … the conclusion of this series on Billy Doyle’s Yoga In The Kashmir Tradition … in the next post with excerpts from the  chapter: Meditation …

Again, here’s Part 1 – the Foreword and Introduction … and Part 2 – Advaita Vedanta … and Part 3 – The Art of Listening

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 undertake – and experience – the exquisite listening of the body … and partake of its gifts … and …

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

Images (edited & Logo added): 1 & Featured) Composite of a) Seagull, seastacks and colorful clouds by freebilly and b) Human meditating by shmeljov, 2) Yoga In The Kashmir Tradition book cover image, 3) Woman standing in yoga position by OlgaZakrevskaya, 4) Sunrise over the beach by valio84sl, 65 Human energy body by artecke, 6) Tibetian monks constructing mandala from colored sand by bozhdb. 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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