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Vipassana: Noting/Mahasi Style

noting with or whitout words?

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noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/3/19 9:11 AM
I am currently practicing vipassana method not only in moments of meditation but also in daily life. My doubt is about if is better to make a note every moment (Mahasi style) or simply bare attention at each moment but silently (Nyanaponika Thera, Ajahn Brahm) or perhaps a combination of both. In my experience when doing silent attention more things, sensations, toughts  appear in my scope, on the other hand the noting sistem produces more focus but also slows down my reactions. Silent stile seems to be more "subtle" and tranquilizing but seems more difficult to maintain
I appreciate any advice or experience that you can share about it

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/3/19 1:17 PM as a reply to Félix.
For me it has been helpful to switch between both those options depending on my current needs. I’m assuming now that you mean with or without words, as in the subject headline. Words are still words even if they are silent. They are conceptualizations. When I can stay alert and focused without the words, I don’t use the words. If I struggle with dullness and tend to space out, I return to the words. In some instances, the conceptualizations seem to entail very tangible suffering, and yet I space out without them. In those phases, it can be helpful to carefully investigate what happens with the different methods and observe the suffering that occurs because of ideas of what ”should” occur.

Best wishes for your practice!

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/4/19 4:19 AM as a reply to Félix.
Hi Felix 

The Mahasi method instructions include the injunction, when objects appear to be arising rapidly, to drop the labelling and just observe. (Practical Insight Meditation, p.23). I have heard countless times Mahasi method teachers say this over and over in every yogi interview.

So, to repeat a message I keep making on this website, if a yogi just follows the instructions as they are, lo and behold, they’ll get to the destination.

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/4/19 8:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
For me it has been helpful to switch between both those options depending on my current needs. I’m assuming now that you mean with or without words, as in the subject headline. Words are still words even if they are silent. They are conceptualizations. When I can stay alert and focused without the words, I don’t use the words. If I struggle with dullness and tend to space out, I return to the words. In some instances, the conceptualizations seem to entail very tangible suffering, and yet I space out without them. In those phases, it can be helpful to carefully investigate what happens with the different methods and observe the suffering that occurs because of ideas of what ”should” occur.

Best wishes for your practice!
I also feel that sometimes naming implies a certain type of suffering. In daily life you have to keep a pace, flowing with the outside, noting with words even silently create a lag in the rhythm, a kind of friction=suffering. In  a silent bare attention, if you can keep it, is easier to flow whiout this friction.

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/4/19 8:27 AM as a reply to Paul.
Paul:
Hi Felix 

The Mahasi method instructions include the injunction, when objects appear to be arising rapidly, to drop the labelling and just observe. (Practical Insight Meditation, p.23). I have heard countless times Mahasi method teachers say this over and over in every yogi interview.

So, to repeat a message I keep making on this website, if a yogi just follows the instructions as they are, lo and behold, they’ll get to the destination.
Yes Paul, the version that I had of Practical Insigth Meditation were abbreviated. Now I have got the full text and I can read this  important detail. Thanks

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/4/19 8:51 AM as a reply to Félix.
Félix:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
For me it has been helpful to switch between both those options depending on my current needs. I’m assuming now that you mean with or without words, as in the subject headline. Words are still words even if they are silent. They are conceptualizations. When I can stay alert and focused without the words, I don’t use the words. If I struggle with dullness and tend to space out, I return to the words. In some instances, the conceptualizations seem to entail very tangible suffering, and yet I space out without them. In those phases, it can be helpful to carefully investigate what happens with the different methods and observe the suffering that occurs because of ideas of what ”should” occur.

Best wishes for your practice!
I also feel that sometimes naming implies a certain type of suffering. In daily life you have to keep a pace, flowing with the outside, noting with words even silently create a lag in the rhythm, a kind of friction=suffering. In  a silent bare attention, if you can keep it, is easier to flow whiout this friction.


Yeah, that too. I was referring to another kind of tension that has to do with the dualistic split between ”perceiver” and ”perceived”. I find that painful. If that doesn’t happen for you, it might be a good idea to work on your noting speed instead of letting go of the noting. It may be too soon to give up noting. The friction may be exactly what is needed at this point.

Paul knows the method better than I do, though, so if he says otherwise, I would listen to him instead of me.

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/5/19 2:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Félix:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
For me it has been helpful to switch between both those options depending on my current needs. I’m assuming now that you mean with or without words, as in the subject headline. Words are still words even if they are silent. They are conceptualizations. When I can stay alert and focused without the words, I don’t use the words. If I struggle with dullness and tend to space out, I return to the words. In some instances, the conceptualizations seem to entail very tangible suffering, and yet I space out without them. In those phases, it can be helpful to carefully investigate what happens with the different methods and observe the suffering that occurs because of ideas of what ”should” occur.

Best wishes for your practice!
I also feel that sometimes naming implies a certain type of suffering. In daily life you have to keep a pace, flowing with the outside, noting with words even silently create a lag in the rhythm, a kind of friction=suffering. In  a silent bare attention, if you can keep it, is easier to flow whiout this friction.



Yeah, that too. I was referring to another kind of tension that has to do with the dualistic split between ”perceiver” and ”perceived”. I find that painful. If that doesn’t happen for you, it might be a good idea to work on your noting speed instead of letting go of the noting. It may be too soon to give up noting. The friction may be exactly what is needed at this point.

Paul knows the method better than I do, though, so if he says otherwise, I would listen to him instead of me.

Hi Linda

I am not able to see the tension that you mention between the perceiver and the percived, unless the perceiver was the ego. I suspect my ego doesn´t like the present moment so often it is projecting itself in the future, in ideal situations in which it feels itself strong and alive but if I bound my attenttion to the present moment it starts to get irritated from the subconscious. If I am naming I name only one perception at a time,  the rest of the consciousness remains at the back producing some kind of tension. This mornig during the meditation I named this subtle friction "suffering", it was a relief, at least momentarily.

As English is not my mother tonge i have some difficulties to express properly all i want to say, sorry.

If Paul wants to provide something more on the subject it would be appreciated

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/5/19 7:12 AM as a reply to Félix.
Felix - I suggest avoiding the term "ego" because it's very misleading. One of my favorite parts about MCTB talks about how the word has like 5 different unrelated meanings and they get confused.

Yes, the tension you're talking about is a form of suffering, and so is any kind of concern about not labeling correctly, not labeling quickly enough, not knowing what label to use, and so forth.

Linda's comments are pure gold here - noting as fast as you can will make things clearer. Especially look for any kind of resistance to the way things are, any kind of desire for things to be different at this moment, any sense that there's a you doing things or making choices, wondering what to do, not being sure what to do. Note all the friction and tension that comes up, and look at it very closely. That's what you're looking for.

Any concerns, worries, or uncertainties that come up as you do this are exactly what you want to look at.

It sounds like you may also benefit from increasing your concentration. Have you tried doing some concentration work at the beginning of your sits?

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/6/19 1:18 AM as a reply to J C.
Jc, Linda, your posts are very helpful.
Obviously there are several layers inside and one goes running into them, at the begining there is a resistence with the more painful emotions but, as you say, looking at them more closely is what is needed.
About the concentration i am trying whith breathing, leaving the breath at its own pace, breath in paying attention all the way, breath out paying attention all the way, i can concentrate for some minutes, then when the thougths begin to appear i do not  pay attention to them and breathing is still my main object, after a few more minutes it is more difficult and i am wrapped in thoughts and emotions. The meditation  is still ongoing but the object of concentration is no longer so clear.

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/9/19 11:53 AM as a reply to Félix.
Experimenting with the Shinzen´s metod I find that when there is a negative emotion, by breaking  it out in the visual, the auditory or the feeling component and noting it only by one of these components it becomes more tolerable. Also I find that when I´m interacting with people is easier to continue applying the notation than with the Mahasi method, as they are more generic notations and one have the option of focus on the outside only. I am not telling that one method is better than the other but perhaps the way of Shinzen  is more suitable for daily life while Mahasi method is better for moments when you are alone. I would like to know your opinion.

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/10/19 1:28 PM as a reply to Félix.
What kind of notes are you using with Mahasi? Mahasi doesn't prescribe a specific set of notes and I find it really helpful to use more generic-style notes when doing Mahasi. Sometimes I'll just note the 3Cs or just note all the negative emotions as "ow" or "sucks."

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/11/19 2:57 AM as a reply to J C.
 The Shinzen notes are really generic, you can even choose in what field of perception you want to focus and stay focused whitout worrying about anything else. In Mahasi´s, as I understand it, you don´t have this choice and you have to note exactly what is coming up at every moment, in that way I can be aware of more details, but the mind works more, is something more tired. An interesting point here, that Mahasi metions, is that one can note even their intentions before acting: "intention", "decision", "curiosity", Normaly this intention before undertaking an action goes unnoticed.
From time to time, not very often, I can notice the fade away of a phenomenon, " It´s gone" or "fade away", also suffering specially when is an indeterminate painfull feeling that I am not able to classify.

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/11/19 8:42 AM as a reply to Félix.
The increasing complexity in Mahasi noting, isn’t that in order to learn the method and to learn how complex our reality is? Surely it must be possible to adapt the noting to different circumstances and purposes? MCTB2 suggests switching to more generic noting when phenomena are noticed too fast for detailed noting, if I remember correctly. It was too long ago I read PIM, but I think there are suggestions for modification there too.

RE: noting with or whitout words?
Answer
7/12/19 12:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Rigth. I just want to see all the possible sides. As I am practicing i´ll see it more clearly. At every moment I use what is more appropiate, sometimes a sort of synthesis.