A Direct Apperception – Jean Klein

Presence, the now, refers to our eternity. We can never think of it, represent it, because we are it. It is an instantaneous apperception that it refers to our totality. Every step undertaken to find it is going away. It is the ultimate goal in every human being to know it, to be it. It is everlasting peace and joy.

Jean:  Any questions?

Q:        You’ve said that it is only through inquiry, by asking the question, “Who am I?” that we come to know our real nature, ourselves. At what point in a life time does the question really come up? When do we really feel the question?

Jean:  It needs a certain maturity to come to this question. By maturity I mean that you know, in a certain way already, what you are not. This knowing what you are not brings you to the fore feeling what you are. The moment you know what you are not, you are free from all directions, and you are brought back to the starting point which means, “Who am I?” And in this moment, there is no more reference to anything, anything known. And then, I would say, you are taken by reality. There is no more a knower and something known. There is only being the known.

Q:        But how can I ask the question so that it doesn’t remain mental? So that it has real transformative power to change my life? Otherwise, it remains mental repetition, or a mental inquiry. How do I make it a really existential question, living question?

Jean:  When you ask the question, you don’t know the answer. So automatically you find yourself in a state of not knowing. In this state of not knowing, your mind is completely unfurnished. You are free from all representation. It is only in this state of not knowing, in this openness of not knowing, waiting for the eventual known. When the waiting becomes free from what it is waiting for – in this waiting without waiting – there is the living answer.

Q:        What does it mean to be enlightened?

Jean:  It supposes that there is somebody to be enlightened. As long as you take yourself for somebody, you live in darkness. When you realize that the somebody is a mental image, and it is when you think of it and you produce it. Then you give it up. This image has no more a role to play. And in this instantaneous giving up, it gives you up. It produces, I would say, a great laughing. In this laughing, it’s like you will feel yourself free from all representation. You function in daily life and all functions refer to you.

Q:        Many teachers teach different forms of meditation practice. If a person sincerely follows a meditation practice, will that lead him to the consciousness or the non-state that you have referred to?

Jean:  Going to meditation means to find yourself in a laboratory. The entity which looks for peace, joy, security, in other words God, will never find it because our cerebrality can never know what truth really is. So, as long you can find the meditator, meditation is an illusion. And this giving up the meditator and even the meditation, then what remains, I would say, is a current of love. There is not another, only the love.

Q:        But the conditioning to take ourself as a person runs so deeply, don’t we need some kind of technique or process to break ourselves of this identification, to decondition the mind and the body?

Jean:  Every state, every object refers to the now. It appears in the now, and it vanishes in the now. Every technique remains [keeps] you in the realm of the mind, but that can never free yourself from the mind, free from memory. So I would say, see really what is next to you, what is the near to you, look at your nearness. It can never be an object. It can never be a state. You are your nearness. Otherwise, there is conditioning and conditioning. To see it really clearly means wisdom.

Q:        Jean, isn’t this rather confusing for someone who would come to one of your seminars and find that there is meditation. There is bodywork, an advaita yoga you might say, where we are working with sensation and feeling the energy body. All of which ultimately have to be objects. All of which are existent and not eternal. What do they have to do with this nearness, this presence you are speaking of?

Jean:  We are working with objects, sensation, feelings, but really, we don’t know this original perceptions, original feelings. We know only a certain pattern. In this session, you become familiar with listening, listening to your sensation, to your feelings, your reactions, resistance. In this listening, you give the feeling, the sensations, the opportunity to unfold itself in the observation. It comes to a new reorchestration of your feelings and sensations. This unfolding is only possible because you are open to it, you welcome it. Now welcoming is an idea, but really with your whole being being open to it, what refers to your totality. You realize that it isn’t you, that you are not in the body, in the perception, in the feeling.

Sometimes we use certain techniques, which generally are used in a progressive way, but it is only occasionally. It is the idea behind that which we are looking for – we are it fundamentally – because in the end all things appear in the now, and it has its reality in the now. It is the now which gives the perceptions, the apperceivings, its reality. I would say, only then we have a certain reality. We have an expanded reality, but at the end, it belongs to the now, to the present. All what appears is a prolongation, an expansion, of the now, of consciousness, of awareness.

So, it brings you back, in other words, to your real nature, because all that is done emphasizes not on the object part but on the ultimate subject part, consciousness.

Q:        This listening that you speak of, is this an integral part of being or is it an attribute, a way toward being?

Jean:  The listening of which you are speaking is free from all memory. There are no expectations. There is no goal. In this listening we are looking away from the goal, looking away from the target. So it is unconditioned listening. In listening, the listening is open to itself. It refers to itself. And at the end, it knows itself by itself.

Q:        You said that all objects point to our true nature or the background, do some objects point more directly, and just what do you mean by this?

Jean:  All objects point where [toward] your real nature, but then? When? you see nearer an object the smallest sense perceptions. It belongs to our five senses. So generally, when the mind is not informed that you are behind all sense perceptions, then you are more or less fixed to the sense perceptions. So your question, is there other form of objects which reveals your real nature, I would say these are objects which point directly to beauty. This means these are objects which have been conceived, produced in beauty, and these objects, the artist which offers it to you in a certain way, don’t emphasize the object part what is producing. It is why he produced it in a very economic way. He frees the object of its objectivity. So the listener, or the person who looks at it, may be free from the senses and brought back to real beauty.

The artist has from time to time, this feeling of absolute beauty, free from the person. And then this state, free from the person, the artist likes, I would say, to thank – thanking to be allowed to be. And this thanking brings him to offering. He offers it. And the object which he offers is free from any anecdotic part, and free from keeping it for the senses. So in a certain way, he shares his inner beauty. His beauty is your own beauty and oneness. It is so in listening to music, and it is also looking at any art objects – sculpture, painting, architecture, and so on.

Q:        In this enlightened non-state, what about feelings and emotions? Do you feel anger or happiness and joy in the same way or is there a difference?

Jean:  When you are established in the now, the present, there is no place for somebody who reacts, who resists. All what appears to you, appears to your totality. All counterparts – positive, negative – are, I would say, abolished. You may say certain things appearing in your life are not completely appropriate. That is sure, but there would not be a reaction. When you qualify it, it is more or less; it is not functional, but you are not more psychologically involved in it.

Q:        Jean, I would like to ask a question about relationships. When two people come together, like a man and a woman, and live with each other, and one of them is interested in this kind of approach to life and the other perhaps isn’t, it is often a lot of ground for conflict, which has led me to feel sometimes that it might be better if I were living alone. It might be somehow easier to accomplish this kind of awakening. And I wondered what you had to say about that?

Jean:  It is love which brought both together. And it is in this oneness that the personality of each unfolds, but both personalities refer to oneness, to love. When the personality of the woman, of the man don’t refer to the oneness, to love, you can be sure there is a kind of degeneration because the personality, the character, or what you call the individual, has its reality in this oneness, in love. It is so on every level. Every activity in its own level refers to this oneness. Otherwise, there is a moment, there is no more stimulation. It is this oneness which gives life to all activities. The moment we believe in this restricted being, of personality to personality, of man and woman, then you can be sure there is not only a kind of degeneration in its form of energy, but there is constant comparison because the personality is completely insecure, looks for security, for the moment that doesn’t refer to the oneness. There is only asking, demanding. So, you must refer to the original encounter, you as a man with a woman which means love.

Q:        Jean, you just mentioned referring to the oneness. I notice that when I experience fear, I identify almost totally with my body and biological survival. How can I break that restricted identification when I am in that state?

Jean:  Fear is first a perception. You feel fear. And then feeling, you qualify it. You name it; you say “fear”. But the word fear is memory refers to a certain pattern that you have, the notion that you mean by fear. So the idea of fear doesn’t refer to the actual fear, the actual perception. So pedagogically I would say, free yourself from the concept fear then you face really the perception which is localized in your body.

See in this moment how you function. You try to change the fear. You try to escape. You try by all means to refuse it. In the refusing, in the escaping, you give more or less fuel to the fear. When you see it really, there is a moment natural that you allow the fear to be fear. And it becomes energy – really energy alive. You accept it completely. It is not psychological acceptance, but it is functional acceptance – accepted to know it more and more deeply. Then the perception refers completely to your accepting. It is in this accepting position that what you accept frees itself; and it dissolves in you, in your presence. It reveals really what you are profoundly.

Live with the fear more and more deeply. Accept it. Even love it. You are not more bound it. When you are not more bound to it, when you are not more involved in it, it frees itself. It is a reaction. But in accepting it you will come completely through the fear. You remain completely a witness to it. It vanishes in your witnessing. It means intimate living. You are able to do it.

Q:        Jean, this question has probably come up many, many times, but it is the issue of money and our desire for it, and how we use it, and our feeling that it is going to provide security for us. Could you speak about the issue of money and our proper relationship to it.

Jean:  I have observed that many people have a wrong relationship with money. First, I would say that you are not the owner of your money. You are the administrator. And being an administrator of your money, you are detached in a certain way. You have a non-relation with your money because an ownership is avidity, a striving, a coming. An administrator is only functioning. Try functioning with your money and spending it and then earning it.

The first thing what I think is that you are completely emotional, psychologically involved with your money. It is generally when you take your money for [as] yourself, an expansion of yourself, belonging to yourself, that you will have a bad death. You will only dying [die] but never really dying [die]. It is your money which keeps you from dying. Many people take risk with your [their] body and mind, but they would never take risk with the money, for money is something which keeps you. Owns you. Lets you never go. Because there is a moment in life that they have to go. But what is important [is] that when you be really [are] an administrator of your money, the distribution and the earning become really functional. It’s been coming to you because somebody has spent it.

Apparently, I don’t see that you spending money [is] an augury. The question may be more or less the mind. (Soft laughter.)

Q:        Thank you.

(More laughter.)

Jean:  I think in daily life you should come often back to the starting point and the starting point you can never think of it because the moment you think of the starting point the point is already in the past. The starting point is the presence, the eternal now. All flows out from the now, and all appears and disappears in the now. And the now is a kind of original perception. It is a direct apperception; you know yourself in your totality. There is not a knower there is only known.

-Jean Klein

From Dialogues with Jean Klein, Part 1

Here you can read more from Jean Klein.

Here you can listen to A Direct Apperception (Dialogues with Jean Klean part 1).

Here you can listen to Dialogues with Jean Klein part 2.

Here you can watch the videos of the Dialogues with Jean Klein on YouTube.

The Eternal Present – Jean Klein

The “eternal present”, our theme in these meetings, lies within the depth of ourselves. It is the eternal awareness of the self.

Seen from the Ultimate, the world projected by the mind appears and disappears, in other words, it “becomes”. When we talk of time and space, it must be thoroughly understood that their reality is relative, it is a reality in the world of becoming. But beyond space- time is that stillness which knows no becoming.

If the background is to be revealed, first of all we must ask the essential question: “Who Am I?”

When we say “I”, we are identical with the background and this “I” expresses our most intimate self. Each time we say “I think”, “I see”, “I hear”, we qualify it. We associate the “I”, the subject, with an object of consciousness, with which we identify ourselves. But if we manage to keep the “I” clear of this identification, then appears the Self, the non-dual, everlasting, un changeable reality.

I would like the questions put during these talks to be spontaneous, not elaborated. This spontaneity comes if you adopt an attitude of true listening to yourself.

We obviously have to make use of language, as we use words, to remain open and to transcend them and feel out the ideas in their true reality, beyond the verbal plane. The hearer may then experience a genuine reaction enabling him to put questions which are truly pertinent.

The path which is here advocated is the direct path. Its process is the elimination of the known, since the experience of the Self, of our true nature, is for the moment unknown to us. The Self can only be described negatively since no positive concept, no part of anything we know, can be applied to it. All thoughts are fragmentations which place us in duality; they set themselves before the Self, thus making unitive knowledge impossible.

It is therefore by discarding the known, that is to say our thoughts, perceptions and emotions, that integration with the ultimate “I”, the everlasting present, is possible. The man who experiences this return, who has broken down the limitations set up by the ego, ceases to be tormented by desire and fear. He is in no way diminished by the loss of his individuality; he knows himself to be “out of time”. Only such a timeless “I” is entitled to say: “I am”.

Whether thoughts appear or not, the eternal Presence remains, transcending the three states (waking, dreaming and deep sleep). Nothing can cause the Sage to return to the level of duality. He is established in an undifferentiated state where the Atman, having realized its identity with the Brahman, shines its own light.

-Jean Klein

From Be Who You Are, pp. 29-30

Explore the Body-Mind – Jean Klein

When there is teaching, you must follow the line free from expectation and anticipation — as in the same way when you trace the route on the map it brings you to your destination. It is very deeply rooted in the body- mind that there is something to achieve, to become, to attain, and this brings us absolutely away from what we are. It takes us in the opposite direction. So we must first face our body- mind, accept it, explore it, get to know it. In this exploration there comes a moment when you are no longer interested in what you explore but live in the exploring itself. The explored is in the exploring, but the exploring is not in the explored. In other words, the known is in the knowing, but the knowing is not in the known. Otherwise, there could not be knowing.

By “explore the body-mind” I mean sense the body-mind. And by “sense” I mean have the sensation of it. Systematically go through all the parts and let each part become sensitive. In this way you become aware of your body. The body is only known through the five senses so let it come up to your five senses. The most obvious of all the sense faculties is sensation or feeling. We know our bodies mostly through sensation. In sensing the body you become free from the reactive body, free from mechanical functioning. So the moment you explore, sense, your body you no longer feed its conditioning. There’s no longer an accomplice to it, to its tension, expectation, aggression. There’s a letting-go, a deep relaxation. Then there’s a moment when there’s no more emphasis on the object, the body-mind, and there’s a switchover so that the observer-subject-explorer is emphasized. You find yourself objectless, no longer in relation of subject to object— abiding completely in stillness, in beingness. That is self-knowing.

Become free from undertaking, from doing. Not doing is also an undertaking. Doing and not doing are movements in the mind. And the mind, like all objects, has its roots in the self, in our highest principle. It is only in this higher principle that there is a conversion between doing and not doing. In this conversion there is no more left and right, yes and no, like and dislike, doing and not-doing; you are free from duality, there is really wholeness, completeness. It no longer has anything to do with the mind.

-Jean Klein

From The Book of Listening, pp. 177-178

Excerpts from Dialogue, Santa Barbara, California: February 16, 1992

 

The Energy Body – Jean Klein

When we emphasize the observer, our consciousness, there is no longer a doer who manipulates the body, who moves the body. There is a completely impersonal approach to the body. All tensions, reactions, even those deeply rooted in the body, have no more hold, and sooner or later this tension is eliminated and we become more aware of the energy body which underlies our physical body. We become familiar with the deep layers of sensitivity of the body and we come to know our original body. But knowing our original body is still more or less a by-product, because what is emphasized is consciousness, our presence.

When we emphasize the feeling sensation, we use our muscles in a different way. Our muscle is in antagonistic function. This means that in this movement there is an agonist and antagonist. In other words, there is one part of the muscle which contracts and the other which expands. When the muscle is wrongly used, there is an over-contraction and an over-stretching, but when we use our muscles with aware feeling, these over-activities are reduced and the muscles, in a certain way, come together and function harmoniously. Then you feel no more hindrance. So the body must become an object of our awareness. When it is felt—allowed to be feeling—it comes to life. This coming to life begins on the level of the skin with tactile sensation. I would say there is a resurrection of the flesh.

-Jean Klein

From  Living Truth, page 91-92

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Live in the Perceived Not the Conceived – Jean Klein

Questioner: 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 fulfillment? 

Jean Klein: See things how 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. 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 behavior 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 behavior there is only friendly togetherness.

-Jean Klein

From The Book of Listening, p. 182.

Here you can find more about Jean Klein.

Body Approach, a Guided Relaxation – Jean Klein

Feel the contact of your feet on the floor.

Give up the weight of your legs. Put all the weight on the contact with the ground.

Feel the contact of your bottom on the chair. Put all the weight on this contact.

Feel the lower part of your lumbar region. Feel the spinal cord. Let the feeling rise up step by step, vertebra by vertebra. In other words, let your spinal cord become straight through the feeling.

Contact the left knee with your left hand; contact the right knee with your right hand. Put all the weight on this contact with the knee. You have three contacts: with the ground, with the chair, with your knees. Let it be one contact.

Feel your shoulder and shoulder blades. Let your left elbow and right elbow go down as far as you can, so that the shoulders are taken with them. In other words, explore how far down your shoulders can go. Be aware, when you feel the rising up of your spinal cord, that simultaneously your shoulders go down. Feel the cervical region. Bring your neck a little backwards horizontally like opening a drawer. Feel as though you touch the wall behind you. And the chin goes a little in the direction of the sternum. Have the feeling now of the whole body structure.

Feel the cavity of your left eye. Feel the left eye itself. Be aware of the tension, the defense there. Feel the cavity of your right eye. The right eye itself. Feel the left and the right eyes dropped several inches down in front, detached from their cavities.

Feel your right brain. Feel the top of your head. Make it a feeling. Feel it in the same way as you listen to waves. Feel the left side in the same way. Feel the waves of the left brain.

Feel the left brain and right brain like water falling down over the neck to the shoulders. Feel your eyes and both sides of your brain taking rest on your shoulders.

Feel the space in your mouth. Feel all the walls which constitute your mouth. Let them be feeling. Feel the roots of your tongue. Let the tip of your tongue rest behind the lower teeth.

Feel your left ear. Feel the architecture of your left ear. Go deep in. Be aware if there is any tension, grasping, taking.

Feel the architecture of your right ear. Go deep in, in the ear canal. Let the music of the sound waves come to you. Let the feeling come up that the left ear occupies the whole of the left part of your body and the right ear occupies the right part of your body, in other words, the whole body becomes one ear. Hear with your whole body the sound of the waves. Hear now the sound waves without any selection, without any choice.

Be only awareness, only hearing without a hearer. There is nothing heard, only hearing.

-Jean Klein

From The Book of Listening, pp.183-184.

The Great Forgetting – Jean Klein

The whole problem of dying is based on the premise that we are born and that this born something or someone dies. So the first step is this question: Who or what is born and who or what dies?

The idea of being born is just that, an idea. It is second-hand information. It is what our mothers told us. If we ask ourselves, “Do I know that I am born?” and we look closely, we will see that, yes, a perception is born and dies, but we cannot say, “I am born.”

It is vital in all genuine exploration to become free from second-hand information, free from common sense. If we begin by questioning the questions, we will find that we are led to question the questioner. This is the beginning of self-inquiry.

When we let go of second-hand information, we are face to face with bare facts, precepts rather than concepts. When we leave aside day-dreaming, hypothesis and the taken- for- granted, we are left with the core of the problem, which I would say in this case is: Why speak of death before knowing what life is? Because if we don’t know what life is, how can we even begin to talk of death? So let us first talk about life.

The expressions of life appear and disappear in our awareness. We know what time is, we know what space is, we know what an experience is. How could we know these things if we did not, in some way, also know what timeless, spaceless, experienceless means? Can we know white without reference to black? Can we know dark without reference to light? We know impermanence because in some way we “know” permanence. This permanence is not an experience in time and space. It is not a condition. It does not belong to existence because existence is in time and space. It is essentially nothing, yet in some way we refer to this nothingness very often. It is the background from which we function. It has nothing to do with succession, with past and future. It is cause less and cannot be born.

When we discover this background, the problem of death becomes completely meaningless. When this timeless awareness from which we function unconsciously becomes aware— aware of itself—, then we know that what we are is timeless and spaceless. We know what life is, and it does not enter our mind to even think of death because we live knowingly in this timeless background, in the now, and succession is only an expression of this now.

The real question then is: how can I come to know life so that death is meaningless? I would say that we can never know, in an objective way, what life is. We can only be life, be the knowing. This knowing is an instantaneous apperception, free from space and time, in which there is not a knower and something known. It is the awakening of life in its fullness.

This awakening is our real birth. The phenomenal birth is only an accident and it remains an accident as long as our real nature, our real birth, is not explored. Once we are awake in life, we are profoundly aware that we are not a conceptual object. The object and the reflex to objectify oneself does not arise. It is a state of profound openness, a total absence of being anything, where there is simply life, “isness”. It is timeless and dimensionless, and cannot be objectified, that is, experienced. It is not born and what is not born cannot die. In this original non-state, the idea of death does not even occur.

The fear of dying comes from mis-taking oneself to be the body-mind. This mistake is a thought only. So really the fear of dying comes from the capacity to think. When there is no thought, there is no space and time. Space, time, coming, going, past, future, exist only in thought. They have no autonomous reality. All the fear created by society and religions around so-called dying is mind-fabrication. But it is only an object which can be afraid and you are not an object.

Dying on the biological level does not create fear. Fear is in the mind, not in the body. The fear of dying is only anticipation that “I” will disappear. The idea of a final disappearing destroys all security for the “I” image. But this “You,” “me”, this self-image is also a thought construct built up from memory. The powerful instinct for what is wrongly called self-preservation (the term shows how we have identified with the body-mind) is merely biological survival. Life is desireless but the body-mind is an expression of life, so one could say that the desire to stay alive comes from life itself. As an expression of life, the body accomplishes the course inherent to its nature.

The real meaning of death and dying is completely different from that usually understood by these words. When one knows the continuum that is life, all perceptions (of which our body is but one) are felt as appearing and disappearing in awareness or consciousness. This appearing and disappearing is the real meaning of birth and death. We are born every moment a thought or sensation appears and we die every moment the concept or perception disappears. We die every evening before going to sleep, and we are born every morning. So we need to become acquainted with this dying, this letting-go of the objective world.

We should ask ourselves in our most profound intimacy:
What is there before the thought appears? What is there when the thought disappears? What is there when the body goes to sleep and before it wakes up? When we observe closely, we will find, not the absence we took for granted, but a presence, a presence that cannot, however, be objectified. It is too early, it is our nearest.

If we really know how to go to sleep we will know how to die. We will be already familiar with dying, already familiar with the dissolution of the born. To do this, one must, before going to sleep, lay aside all qualifications. We must become as naked psychologically as we are physically. This means that we put aside all opinions, thought, worries, ideas before we go to sleep. It is an offering of all that we are not. In letting go there is an expansion of mind and body and in all expansion is the fore-feeling of reality, our globality. This should be done each time we sleep until we find that, before the body wakes up in the morning, we are. Presence is already there.

It is better not to postpone this letting-go of the personal entity and all its qualifications until the actual moment of death. Otherwise, it is necessary to have someone who knows life to assist in the final letting go. This is supposedly the priest’s role in the last rites. The function of the priest, shaman, lama or other, is to help one go knowingly through the threshold from the object world to the objectless world. It is to help the dying one forget all the residues of the person and so be open to a new dimension of life. It is an offering back to life of all the expressions that life gave us temporarily. Then what remains is original consciousness.

But whoever is assisting someone over the threshold must be qualified to do so. This simply means that the personality must be absent. In assisting someone to die, one must die with them. The moment you die with the dying one, he or she is stimulated by your dying, by your giving up of all qualifications. Timeless presence, love, has the power to free the dying person from the residues of identification with the phenomenal world. There is no place at all in this assistance for feelings of sadness, pity, fear, nor is there room for talking. All this keeps the dying one grasping onto the objective world.

Ideally, the best way to die is in silence. But when one is steeped in the rituals of a religious tradition, these may help one, in the absence of a qualified priest or real friend, to let go of specific attachments. But the rites must be impersonal, give no hold to the person as, for example, certain sounds draw one beyond the world of sentiment and emotivity.

The way to come to this letting-go is, as I said, the same as before going to sleep. Everything that appears in the moment is seen as a fact. One takes note of the fact without analysis or interference and feels the welcoming in this unconditional taking-note. When we face, in this way, everything that appears, then the openness, attention, in which the perception was welcomed, comes back to us. We find ourselves in the light. This is a natural giving up without intention. So, whether we are dying (and we must!) or assisting someone to die, it is the same procedure. We take a knowing stand in consciousness.

It is crucial to come to know death while still alive. The quality of life is completely different for one who knows letting-go in the waking state. This is the real meaning of the word death. It is the real significance of the word sacrifice. As Meister Eckhart said, “God is when I am not.” We are only born after the death of all that is personal. Only when we are awake in nothingness can we speak of fullness.

But there is another reason for not leaving the real dying until the last moment. There is the real danger that one will remain stuck to the expressions of life and, at the moment of death, emphasize the object, so
that one is taken passively to what is beyond. Passively here means “not knowingly.”

The question may arise: What difference does it make how I die? Consciousness is not affected by birth or death. There is not one moment without consciousness, so after the death of the body, consciousness is
always there. But how one dies does make a difference, because after the death of the person, although consciousness is, it can be awake—conscious of itself—or not. Generally, after the death of the body-mind, this being consciousness is passive, it is not consciousness conscious of itself. What is of utmost importance, therefore, is to be knowingly consciousness and this can only come about before the body dies. Since most of us only know ourselves as objects and do not know ourselves as consciousness, few,
after death, dissolve in consciousness which knows itself.

Consciousness which knows itself is fulfilled and does not look for further expression. As the residues of the body disperse in global energy, consciousness dissolves in its own light. There is nobody to go
anywhere and nowhere to go.

All ideas about different states and stages of the dissolution of energy are, therefore, meaningless to the awakened one and a hindrance to the one who is in the process of letting go of all qualifications and attachments. Such concepts cause confusion. They are mind-constructs since there is no one left to know such things. As long as there are such ideas, there is still a somebody to know. And as long as there is still a somebody to know, there has been no real dying.

It is possible that in one who is still fixed on the objective world, identified with the personality, children, spouse, money, vocation and so on, it may be difficult for the energy to dissolve. It remains concentrated. That is why there are rituals of various kinds which help dissolve the energy and aid the
giving up of all hold on the phenomenal plane. And it is why sometimes, though the body is not visible, there may still be residues of the personality. One should accept these and take several sessions to systematically empty oneself of all ideas, memories and feelings for the dead person. It is a process of elimination. Then one sees that there is much more to the relationship than one could remember. Memory belongs to our minds, but the real relationship is not limited by memory.

The problem of physical suffering during dying needs to be addressed because the question naturally arises as to how one can come to a real letting-go in the face of acute pain. The first thing to clarify is that
pain must be seen as an object like any other, from the perspective that what we are fundamentally is not an object and cannot be afraid or feel pain. So we must be absolutely clear about our profound non-involvement
in the events surrounding the sensation we call pain or illness.

We cannot say, “I am afraid, I am in pain, I am dying,” because the “I” is unchanged and unchanging. It is the body which feels sensation and the mind that creates fear. Once there is clarity about what one is not
—the body and its sensations, the mind and its thoughts—the suffering is dramatically reduced. Then the sensation, the illness can be faced squarely without psychological interference.

Pain, like every object, is a pointer to our real nature. It must be seen objectively, in front of us as if the body belonged to another. In objectifying it, we are extricated from it, no longer drowned in the illness,
the sensation. And in the psychological space thus created, there will be a glimpse of real freedom from the burden. It is not enough to vaguely note this brief feeling of detachment. We must become truly interested in this feeling of freedom, that is, make it, in turn, an object of attention, sustain and live in this free feeling. With it comes the conviction that one is neither the healthy nor the unhealthy body.

Illness and death are an opportunity, par excellence, to clarify the fundamental error of our existence: that we have identified awareness, consciousness, life, with its object and it is through this mis-take that
all conflict and suffering arise. Illness then is a gift, a gift to help us realize more quickly what we are not. It gives us an opportunity that should not be refused: to be what we are.

Our living in wholeness stimulates our surroundings, our family and friends. I would say it stimulates the life in them. Knowingly or unknowingly, they share life with us and, at death, neither we nor they will
feel isolated. This feeling of life will remain and continue to stimulate them because life is eternal and in it all are oneness.

But generally family and friends do not have an honest relation with the dying one. They continue, in some way, to hold onto, to try to save, the person. They do not let him or her meet the light. This is because relationships in the family are of object to object, person to person. So it is better not to have the family present at the moment of dying if they cannot perform the last rites, be priests, so to speak, that is, die with you.

It is important that the dying one offer up the expressions of life consciously. However, in certain circumstances, clarity may be impaired by the intensity of the pain or the use of medications to relieve it. At the very moment of the final release, nature usually takes itself in charge and pain does not cloud awareness, so when assisting a dying person, a doctor has a great responsibility. First and foremost, he or she must represent health, life and, like the priest, prepare the patient for the final release. The doctor
must also die with the patient. All his talent is needed to first help the patient distance himself from identifying with the object, and then to see precisely how much medication is necessary to make this distancing possible. The patient must retain a profound awareness of what is happening.

Either prolonging life artificially or taking one’s life prematurely is a deep lack of respect for all life has given us. It is a lack of gratitude, a profound ignorance. Life gives us the opportunity for a real birth and all interfering is a refusal of this opportunity. When one awakes in the real “I,” the destiny of all that we are not no longer has any meaning. Pain, an accident, death, is on the film, but we are the light which illuminates the film. So, thinking about the fate of the body and trying to interfere is a mark of ego-centredness and a lack of love.

Only an ego can have concepts and intentions, and as long as we live as the contracted ego we will have a false view of what life is. What we generally call “my life” belongs only to the mind and thus appears to take place in succession. The illusion of life as time gives us the impression that we can
interfere. This wrong seeing is sometimes corrected before dying when there is a panoramic memory of one’s whole life. This is because there is a sudden letting-go of the mind’s control, of the channelling of one’s being into strict succession in time and space. In this sudden letting-go we are ejected into the timeless and facts appear to us without all the intervening thoughts that generally qualify every fact. This panorama usually occurs at a crisis when there is a very dramatic letting-go. In a natural death one is
gently dissolved in being.

Real death is, then, the death of conceptual living. Life is presence, always in the here and now, the moment itself. In the absence of the “person” there is simply living, non-volitional acting. Non-volitional living is living in happiness. It is only in non-intentional living that there is acceptance, and it is only in accepting, in welcoming, that all the elements of a situation can be clearly seen. When we live in accepting, illness has no hold, no substance, and we have the greatest possibility of getting better.

All the changes the body undergoes are hypothetical and transitional, but there is nothing hypothetical about what we really are—consciousness. It is prior to body. It is prior to thought. It is between two concepts or percepts. It is silent awareness, nameless, without attribute. It is the total giving up of all qualifications, freedom from all identifications. It is the eternal presence we take for absence. When one lives knowingly in this presence, there is no death.

Then when you see the moment to go has come, and you have learned how, I would even say learned the technique of giving up, it is extremely beautiful. Dying then is thanking, a thanking for having had the opportunity to know life, to be the knowing, to be thanking itself. In the great forgetting of all that we are not, dying is the total release into openness, openness to the light.

-Jean Klein

Excerpt from The Book of Listening, pp. 67-75

On Meditation – Jean Klein

You will feel in your meditation that there is still a residue of the idea of finding something, but we have very often repeated that the seeker is the sought. What you are fundamentally you can never objectify because you are it. An object is a fraction; it appears in your wholeness, in your globality. When you really come to the understanding that the seeker is the sought, there is a natural giving up of all energy to find something. It is an instantaneous apperception. I don’t say perception, because in perception there is a perceiver and something perceived. An apperception is an instantaneous perceiving of what is perceiving. So it can never be in a relation of subject- object, just as an eye can never see its own seeing. That is why I said you will first find yourself behind yourself. I say behind yourself because you know yourself mainly in subject- object relationship, in your factory, in your forehead. The energy which strikes the factory in a certain moment and makes the factory work is localized behind, so stay with the energy behind and you will find a glimpse of non- subject- object relationship. This glimpse is seen with your whole intelligence which is there in the absence of the person, the thinker, the doer. Understanding, being the understanding, is enlightenment.

( Silence)

You can never perceive your globality, your wholeness. If there is a perceived, it is not your wholeness. Your globality, your wholeness, is it’s own perceiving. So it is clear your globality can never be perceived, it can never be an object. It is non- dual. It must be clear for the mind that what you are looking for is the looking itself. When you really see this with your intelligence and love and understanding, there is a natural giving up of all projected energy. All energy directed towards finding something comes back to its homeground. This moment of equilibrium, you must live. It is purposeless because it is what you fundamentally are.

In this non- dual non- state you cannot speak of relation. You must visualize this relationless state, you must love it, you must approach it with your whole intelligence. This is the only thing that you should remember; everything else that has been said can be put in the waste basket!

– Jean Klein

From Transmission of the Flame, pp. 65-66

Listening is Our Basic Nature – Jean Klein

Listening is our basic nature. We are more or less accustomed to listening to an object, to our surroundings and to our nearest environment: body, senses and mind. But I speak today of the listening where there is nothing to listen to.

You can never think this listening, you can never objectify it, you can never fix it; and in listening there is not a listener, there’s no place for a listener, for a controller, a doer, for an enjoyer, for a sufferer. Listening is free from all furniture, from all memory. It is a non-state. In a state you go in and come out; listening is a continuum. When you are listening to your body, senses and mind, then your listening is completely open; there’s no grasping, no taking. The perceived comes directly to your openness.

One can say that every object heard brings you back to your home ground, to listening. When the perception is sustained so that the concept does not arise, then the perceived brings you back to your listening. Listening in the beginning may be understood as a brain function , but it doesn’t belong to a specific organ, an ear. So when the listening is sustained, then it becomes awareness, lucidity. Listening is constant meditation, without a meditator or an object of meditation. This may be the content of our dialogue.

-Jean Klein

From Transmission of the Flame, p.3 (1990)

You can read more from Jean Klein here.

 

 

Dialogues with Jean Klein

Here you have an opportunity to spend some time with Jean Klein. There are two links for Dialogues, parts 1&2. In total they are approximately 2 1/2 hours in length.

Dialogues with Jean Klein, part 1

Dialogues with Jean Klein, part 2

Here you can find more from Jean Klein.

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