Jean Klein: A Certain Poetic Sensibility

It can be helpful to be able to summarize the teaching of nondual teaching masters in a single sentence. Sri Ramana: “Inquire or surrender, then just be still.” Nisargadatta: “Abide in the ‘borderland’ of ‘I am.'” Atmananda: “Reduce all apparent objects to Consciousness and trace the I back to the I-principle.”

I find, at least on my initial reading, that the same cannot be done while reading Jean Klein, a more contemporary French teacher of Advaita Vedanta. Instead, his teaching seems to be about opening one, in his living presence, to a certain poetic sensibility.

One is to welcome, to awaken to subtle invitations, to take note of ‘the facts’–all while remaining in a state of repose. Just be alertly expansive, opening to a fore-feeling of presence. Just be awake to wonderment. Soften. Find gentleness sweet. Loosen the tension from, and as, this loving presence.

One, in brief, must attune oneself to the innermost feeling of Klein’s teaching and respond openheartedly from here.

For while surrendering to the tone and tenor of Klein’s teaching, one can’t help but feel relaxation and sweetness, trusting that one is in good hands. It takes, I submit also, a different hermeneutic of reading to appreciate Klein’s poetry for one accustomed to the adamantine, shimmering logic of Atmananda. Where Atmananda takes you, step by logical step, through the front door, Klein sneaks you, with a glinting eye, through some side entrance.

And that, most surely, is the beauty of the nondual teaching: the same basic message always fresh, always alive, turning and presenting itself creatively time and time again…