Listening Out and Nowness
Listening has an immediacy which the other senses don't have, and this is because sounds are sometimes very sudden and over in a split second; smells and sights usually last at least a few seconds. Listening requires and stimulates nowness like no other sense.
Possibly in ancient times, humans and animals only needed to listen. Nowadays with the constant humm of traffic, it is necessary to listen out.
Do a little yoga with your hearing, stretch it, listen out. Listening out is full of suprises. Listen in all directions, near and far away, high and low. I imagine how early man might listen out for distant wild boar or herds of oxen or buffalo, and nearby tigers or snakes. In this present reality, i often listen out for distant dogs and children, at night, for hedgehogs and owls. I don't often hear them, that's irrelevant, listening out for them is the vital part.
I know no better and simpler exercise than 'listening out' to directly stop thinking, or at least slow the thoughts down for a few seconds, and enjoy a moments inner peace. By empathising with the animals acuity of listening we can't think. If we start thinking, we stop listening, and in that moment an animal would be vulnerable.