Daily practice & prioritising a type of practice

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Matthew O'Connell, modified 10 Years ago.

Daily practice & prioritising a type of practice

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
Hi Guys,
I'm new here. I found my way via Buddhist Geeks and Daniel's book. By the way Bruno, can't wait to read 'The Truth' when it comes out. Perhaps you'll be the co-author?

I've been meditating on and off for around twelve years. I started off with fairly esoteric Tibetan traditions in the UK and then got fed up with various aspects of the tradition and have focused on basic breathing mediation and centring since then. I live in Italy now and am married with a young son so dedicating lots of time to practice is difficult. I can usually do two half-hour sessions a day and organising a short retreat each year is certainly doable and the idea of doing a solo retreat is relay attractive to me. I have done retreats with the Goenka crowd here in Italy in the past.
I'm writing because with the availability I have I am a little unsure about which particular technique to focus on. I have read way too many dharma books over the years and have too many techniques rolling around in my noggin.
I have been walking a shamanistic path for a long old time which has helped me gain a healthy psyche and confront a lot of those niggling psychological and inter-personal issues that I was certainly bogged down with in my twenties and I feel confident enough to say that I am emotionally and psychologically stable and more mature and very much dedicated to waking up without needing to get caught up in personal 'stuff'. Although I have limited time I am stable enough to be able to dedicate myself fully to that time.

Over the last year I have been able to quiet the mind successfully for say 5 minute periods with almost no absorbing thoughts and when thought does come I don't get attached. I have a fairly good level of clarity.
I don't know if it's relevant to the question I've posed but I can see what appear to be the elements of physical reality vibrating in and out of existence and the boundaries between the present moment and future moments seems blurred at times as I often dream and get glimpses of the future when I'm entering sleep or meditation. They are almost always mundane images of being in a new place, hearing a certain person say a certain thing. I find I can recall the moment I saw it fairly accurately when it does happen. It's no big deal and if I try to make it happen it fades away and seems to be a bi-product of being deeply present in the now.
I find as well that often getting the mind to focus strongly on an object is like flipping a switch. Depending on my energy level it can often be a case of setting an intent and sorting of pushing intent into the meditation space and the 'small' mind clicks off and there is simply spacious awareness; for like I said say a 5 minute period, no more.

I've rambled a bit, so I'll repeat the point of my writing and where I would like some helpful suggestions; what would be the best practice for a guy in my circumstance, with the limited time I have in order to get the maximum results. And, how relevant are the phenomena above that I described to the practice, and I guess more importantly what do they indicate in particular the point about 'clicking' awareness on as opposed to having to somehow strive for it?

Thanks for any forthcoming suggestions and keep up the good work...I have to say it. Love the fact that pragmatism is finally making it's mark on the world of realisation on the Buddhist path. Looking forward to making progress.
Matthewemoticon
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Daily practice & prioritising a type of practice

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Hey Matthew, and welcome! Sounds like you've gotten pretty good at focusing your mind. That should really come in handy.

The technique that seems to yield incredible results the most is noting, as described in Daniel's book, and as described very concisely and completely here. Kenneth Folk (who has another forum here) recommends noting verbally, once a second or every few seconds, as that guarantees that your mind is engaged. The "1st Gear Practice" you see on that link also describes the noting practice.

With an hour a day to meditate, and your concentration ability already pretty well developed it seems, you can expect to make rapid progress! Go for Stream Entry!

I doon't know if it's relevant to the question I've posed but I can see what appear to be the elements of physical reality vibrating in and out of existence and the boundaries between the present moment and future moments seems blurred at times as I often dream and get glimpses of the future when I'm entering sleep or meditation. They are almost always mundane images of being in a new place, hearing a certain person say a certain thing. I find I can recall the moment I saw it fairly accurately when it does happen. It's no big deal and if I try to make it happen it fades away and seems to be a bi-product of being deeply present in the now.


What you would do is note all these things. vibrating, vibrating, blurring, future-glimpse, future-glimpse, hearing-thought, etc. It's all about noting all aspects of reality and finding the three characteristics of each one.
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Matthew O'Connell, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Daily practice & prioritising a type of practice

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
Hi and thanks for the swift reply,
I've obviously been seeing this noting business discussed in different places on this website but wasn't sure on where to start with it. I have recently purchased Daniel's book so shall take a closer look at the specific instructions.
Can noting be done simply be giving attention to an experience without attachment until it fades away as mentally labelling in a verbal manner does not appeal to me?
Matthew
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Daily practice & prioritising a type of practice

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
You can certainly meditate that way, and become Enlightened by doing so. All you have to do is observe the 3 chars of all phenomena. However, noting appears to be really effective because it keeps your mind focused so that it actually is observing phenomena, and not just wandering. It can interrupt your attention, true, especially when you begin. But it serves to really keep the mind focused. It's also very helpful for more subtle sensations such as thoughts, unease, discomfort, etc. Going further, actually noting out loud takes you even more in this direction - you won't be able to note as quickly as if you just do it mentally, but it will keep you focused if you do it once a second.

Your mind will observe stuff in between the notes, too. It can definitely perceive things faster than once/second. But the notes remind you to keep looking.

Another way to think of it is mental bandwidth. If you are just observing, maybe you use 70% of your mental capacity observing, and 30% is wandering. Better to take that 30% and use it for noting, instead, then you have 100% of your mental capacity used when you meditate.

It's tricky, though... there are a bunch of threads here asking about how one should note, whether it is too disruptive, etc. But doing noting practice is correlated with faster progress.

As to where to start, check out Practical Insight Meditation (which I linked earlier) as a good primer.
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Daily practice & prioritising a type of practice

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
[quote=Matthew O'Connell]
Can noting be done simply be giving attention to an experience without attachment until it fades away as mentally labelling in a verbal manner does not appeal to me?
Matthew

Ah just to clarify, noting, by definition, is the method whereby you mentally label things in a verbal manner. So you would be doing something else. But it would still be Insight / Vipassana meditation, if you're looking for the more general term.
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Matthew O'Connell, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Daily practice & prioritising a type of practice

Posts: 43 Join Date: 12/22/10 Recent Posts
OK. Great. Thank you for you help, really. I shall explore the resources you've indicated and give it a try and let you guys know how it goes. God speed and chucks away!

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