Listen to the Listening

Listen to the Listening

By Eric Baret

Q: I notice an increased sensitivity, an increased ability to listen to the body, to the feeling. The more I stay open to the feeling, the more the sensitivity increases.

A: Yes. Absolutely. The more you drink wine, the more you are going to taste the difference of quality between wines. The same way, when you listen to songs, your hearing deepens. For body sensations, it’s the same. At first, most people feel the body of heaviness, the body of density, and then, little by little, they begin to feel their body become supple, light, vast, etc. Your sensitivity will pass through, let’s say, a tamasic state, then a rajasic state, then a sattvic state. It is part of the process. That would be true of any traditional art. When you listen to music, first you hear the whole notes, then you hear the half notes, then the quarter notes, and so on.

It’s the same for yoga, and it’s the same for life. Being sensitive to yourself, to your emotions, to your fear, to your jealousy, to your anxiety, will deepen your body sensitivity. And since the body is emotion, you will be more and more open to see when you pretend, when you defend, when you assert, without the slightest comment, because we are what we are and there is nothing to change as such. We cannot change ourselves anyway, but we can be open to what we are, even if, later on, we are going to see that this ‘what we are’ is actually what we are not. First, we must encounter it as what we are.

This sensitivity of the body, this sensitivity to the emotion is very important. That will bring us closer to stillness because when you feel your own noise, actually you become more silent. When you feel your sensitivity, it is because you are open. Actually, it’s not about feeling sensitivity, it’s feeling how much you are not sensitive. So, you feel how much your body is reacting, you feel how much your body is asserting, how much your body is defending, how much your body is trying. You feel how much your body reacts when somebody says “I love you,” when somebody says “I don't love you.” When someone says you are bright, when someone says you are stupid. You just watch all this live within your body and the more this sensitivity unravels, the more you will become silent, because listening is silence. And the body is not actually what we listen to; we listen to the listening. As a practical tool, first we listen to emotion and body, but then later on we will see that the heart of the listening is listening to the listening, where there is nobody listening and nobody listened to.

The sensitivity of all perception will definitely expand, but it is very important not to focus on perception, as people do in yoga. Some people who practice yoga want to feel more and more and more, and that's a horizontal way. What we are interested in is a vertical way. The vertical way is feeling not more, or less, it is feeling the intensity of the present moment. So, we seem to focus on perception, we seem to focus on what is felt, but actually what we focus on is the listening. As we cannot listen to the listening as such, because it’s not an object, pedagogically we teach listening to something, the body sensations or the emotions. But as we don't focus on what we listen to, this feeling that we listen to will unravel, will go through a certain transition and transformation and, if we let it be free of attachment, of yes and no, it will disappear. And when the felt object disappears, the listening subject also disappears because there's no more object. When there is no longer subject nor object, there is pure listening. So, the point of listening to something is to eliminate the idea of anything listened to and anyone listening. Understood in that way, unraveling of perception is very important.