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.
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.