meaning: “… Returning to the root we regain the meaning, Chasing after appearances, we lose the origin. The moment our attention turns inward, We go beyond the void of worldly things …” ~ Seng-Ts’an

meaning inward attention klein

Indeed, once the inner world exploration begins – earnestly … then the journey of self discovery enters a territory where the “worldly” matters seem to have less and less of a draw … or perhaps they no longer drive the individual’s life … and {larger} questions like “does my life have meaning? … am I really living a fulfilling life?” … who am I? …what is this ‘I’?”  become the focus and the  “driver” … hopefully resulting in peace and contentment that deepens over time – regardless of the answers.

Ultimately the “teacher within” provides the answers … however, we can look for some external guidance … so today we consider the question: How can my life have meaning and fulfilment? … and look to Jean Klein for the answer …

the book of listening jean kleinWhy Jean? … well, because we have been exploring Jean’s essential teaching of “yoga integrated with advaita” through his The Book of Listening … via chapter excerpts … in a multi-part series …

Today, in this part 4, we offer Jean’s answer to the above question (excerpts from Volume 5)  PLUS his thoughts on a related topic of ego: Using Postures To Dissolve ego (excerpts from Volume 4)

… 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

… in Part 3, we offered Jean’s thoughts on not-knowing via excerpts from Volume 2 (about Living With the Question) and Volume 3 (about The Great Forgetting) …

{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.}

How can my life have meaning and fulfilment?

Q. For many years I have given all my time, energy, knowledge and power to my family and to my business. My life was completely oriented towards bringing up and giving advice to my children and earning my living. Now my children are grown up and no longer need me and I am retired from business, and I feel a certain loss of orientation and an emptiness that was previously filled with all kinds of activities. How can my life have meaning and fulfilment?

Jean Klein: See things as they are now, not as you wish them to be. See only the facts, free from all psychology. Look at your feelings of lack, boredom, loneliness, desire, confusion.

meaning see things as they are klein

See how all these feelings of confusion and absence are related to the fact that you have taken yourself for a parent and a worker. Now these self-images have no more role to play. Your colleagues no longer need you and your children no longer look to you for advice. See how you still take yourself for a parent, for somebody, and this is a fraction. Become free from the self-image. Then you can have a non-objective relationship with your children and your surroundings. When there is no longer any reference to being a parent you are open to the facts, what actually is.

Live in the perceived not the conceived. Only the perception is right. The concept is wrong because it is memory. So give no more place to the concept. In the absence of psychological behaviour there is no reference to old brain patterns and only then is there intelligence which is the awakening of all your resources. Then you will have a new relation to your surroundings. It is no longer one of object to object, but of love. There is no longer an “I” and a “you” but only oneness. When there is no superimposition on your children and surroundings, every moment is joy. Life is joyful and in the absence of any patterns of behaviour there is only friendly togetherness.

If one were to somehow learn to dissolve ego … then the level of fulfilment in life could be even deeper … so, here’s Jean on how to use postures to dissolve ego …

Using Postures To Dissolve Ego

Q. You say there is no phenomenal way out of the cage of the ego, but can we come to the deep relaxed state by first working on the body rather than waiting for an insight? What can we do on the body level to help us lose the idea of being an individual entity?

Jean Klein: The body is an object of our awareness; it is sensed; it takes place in our awareness. The body is in us, but we are not in the body. If we were we could not be aware of it.

Let us take an example. You feel icy cold. In this moment you are identified with the perception. You are lost in the sensation. Very quickly you think or say, “I am icy cold,” and the perception is lost in the concept. You are now in defence, and you try to escape the cold in one way or another. But the moment you feel the cold as an object apart from “I,” for example, “Here is a mass of cold,” you are no longer escaping the perception and the sensation lives in your awareness. You know you are not cold, only an object is cold, so there is no longer the reflex to defend “yourself” against the cold. When your observation is free from any anticipation, the sensation can be felt and explored and dealt with as a fact.

Likewise, when we do the bodywork the sensation is felt and explored in our awareness. There is space between “I” and the sensation. You are no longer stuck to it, the object. The goal of the bodywork is to make us aware of this space between the “I” and the object, a space that is habitually cramped. This space between object and “I” is still in duality, but there comes a moment when the space is felt as our real nature, we abide in it, and the object, the sensation, appears in it.

There are a certain number of postures which are archetypes. By archetype I mean a gathering in one pose of many poses of the body, a concentration in one pose of many levels of the body.

One of these archetypes is the dead pose (savasana). The value of this pose is that one can feel and articulate the whole body. The body mass has its contact on the ground. What does “contact” mean here? Generally our contact with the ground is passive. But when we see that there is a contact and a counter-contact, that is, body and ground are interwoven—the body goes in the ground and the ground goes in the body—when this happens, there is no longer resistance or opposition. Then there is harmonisation of energy. Our body is no longer felt as separate from global energy, but is integrated in the living ground and the ground is integrated in our body.

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.

And, may you have a … life of meaning and fulfilment … and …

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

Images (edited & Logo added): 1 & Featured) Composite of a) Inner Life of the Mind by agsandrew and b) Buddha face close up by vgorbash,, 2) The Book of Listening cover image from New Sarum Press, 3) Many tiny spores are growing on the back of the staghorn fern leaves by Jacdephotos, 4) Digital human face. Artificial intelligence AI. Dispersion dissolve disintegration. 3d Render illustration by alexandersikov. 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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