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Noting mentally vs out loud???

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Louis Joel, modified 6 Months ago.

Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 73 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I was wondering what all of your opinions are about noting silently via mental labels compared to noting verbally out loud. Are they both suitable for ataining stream entry and beyond? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both? Personally I prefer noting out loud as It helps keep the stream of conciousness continuous throughout the entire sit rather than being lost in mental proliferation most of the time. However I do find that noting out loud tends to cause more agitation and fatigue than compared with mental noting. Thanks emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 1494 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
As no one replied to you I will try as it's a good question. 

It's about paying attention to your actual sensate experience moment to moment. Body sensations, feelings, mind states. Matters little what technique you use as long it works for YOU. In my opinion it's very important not to loose the stream of noticing while practicing. We all know that it's easy to get lost in la-la land when in silent meditation. Being lost in la-la land is same as being absorbed in a video game or a movie. Does that help us to Awake? emoticon 

As long you are noticing moment by moment what is arising and/or passing away you are doing it right. For me noting aloud is almost full proof as I don't get lost much or at all during the 45 minute or longer sits. I will rather sit shorter (45 min) and stay engaged for at least 1 sensation a second than sit longer in silence and be lost many times. 

Shinzen Young also talks about the importance of not loosing the stream of noting throughout the entire session. I agree. 

We are not talking Jhana practice here but dry Vipassana. I try to do both by including open eyes fixed on some Kasina object on the room I maditate in. This way I also get to note absorption in the image space. Fixing the eyes on one object does help in developing concentration. 
 

This is my personal view and experience. Others might have their own views on this which would be interesting to read and will give you more ideas to find the right one for you. 

May you practice well. 
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Louis Joel, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 73 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you for the great reply brother! I will definitely use this as my main method emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 1494 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
One important thing I ought to mention; every so often scan the body for TENSION and relax it in case its tense, like: hands/fingers, arms, shoulders, neck, jaws, legs, torso ... when there is too much effort on our part jaws, shoulders, arms and hands are the first to get tensed and this can lead to extra agitation. Calming the body is good to do every so often during the sit.

Noting is a fine art. One thing not many talk about when it comes to Noting is the ATTITUDE and MANEUVERING. Its not just about mindlesly noting no matter what but rather developing sense for the terrain thats presenting itself.

Attitude is one of a "Reporter", just like a journalist reports matter of fact from the ground or a reporter on a foodball game. He/She does not take sides but does report in a objective matter of fact manner. Acceptance is another very helpful attitude to remind oneself of during the sit.

Maneuvering is a skill to develop and is "inspired" by the actual mind terrain which WILL keep changing (hey Anicca hows it going). Here its needed to skilfully work the gears of both attention and energy. This one is really trial and errorbut thats all good. 
If its hard to focus and things are unclear then slow down to 1 or less sensation per second and use helping words such as "there is (give time to attention to lock onto something actual) ... coolness in the nostrils as I breath in (or else)" or if its very uncertain that Im noting correctly as all is just so damn fidgeting use word "certainty" each time you label a sensation if indeed you are certain about it and if not use word "uncertainty", like ... "seeing-certainty, ... coolness-certainty, ... unsure-certainty, confused-certainty, ... eye sight blip-uncertainty, etc ..."

When there is lots of sensory clarity things usually have energy to it too so fast noting that can even go into mumbling is fine so one doesnt loose much time on whole words Here even silent noting can work well. I like mumbling as it turns mantra-like which alos acts as a concentartion practice. 

At times one is very sleepy and not motivated; shout out loud the labels and keep a faster pace of at least 1-2 sensations a second. This can bring about the energy. Also do noting aloud while standing. At times I stop focusing on a kasina object if very sleepy and dozing off and rather look throught he window and keep noting the "seeing and comprehanding (that which was seen)". This also help energy to pop out and even gets one very interested fast especially if there is wind outside and trees are moving and birds flying by etc ... ALL THIS IS VALID EXPERIENCE, the same as Jhana or the Itch on the body. All is equaly importantas it is RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, the only thing thats trully there. We ofetn hear masters say "This Is It!" emoticon This IS IT if Im not embeded in it but seeing it for what it is. Ever changing, not-self and unsatisfactory.

At times one is just way too agitated; "use the voice" sias Shinzen Young. Use the calm voice as it will in 20-30 minutes induce equanimity to the sit. Calm, not too loud and switch the gear to just 1 sensation a second. No need for rush in agitated waters. Here you just want to stay afloat and swim gently until waters calm down. etc ... 

Also, its ok to label 1 sensation and then just notice the next one or two or three if they arise and pass fast without feeling guilty about it. I often notice much more than I label. Its all good. At times I can only note one sensation a second or even two seconds.

Its trial and error but one gets the hang of it if one respects the terrain at hand. Im far away from being a master at this though emoticon 

I hope Im not confusing you more with all this!
Sam Gentile, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 776 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
I do as what Papa Che taught me (as well as others). I note aloud because it keeps me in the stream.
Ben Sulsky, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 115 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
There's no functional difference between noting out loud, mental labelling, or mental noticing.  The difference is the speed factor, and whether one is more or less annoying to yourself and others.

You'll find that speed for noting out loud is probably capped at around 5x/second (though I've never spent much time practicing fast noting out loud), labelling at something like 10-15x/second, and noticing at somewhat more.  

I found that using more bandwidth via faster noting seemed to best facilitate getting to the A&P.
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 3662 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I'm with Ben, but will take things even farther - noting seemed to me to be mind training, like training wheels on a bicycle. Once you develop the skillset to monitor the stream of experience in real-time noting is kind of, well, let's just say that at that point you can drop it.

YMMV, of course.
Ben Sulsky, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 115 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
Agreed Chris!

To riff some more off your comment,

This is a spot where the maps are super useful imo.  If you're pre A&P, fast noting with excellent technique seems just amazing.    If you're post equanimity, it's probably too narrow.  (assuming 1st path)

At some point around equanimity, noting will start to feel weird and constrictive.  You'll automatically begin paying attention to all 6 sense doors in a more panoramic way and it will seem like a lot of pointless work to keep focusing the attention narrowly on the primary object.  You'll be tempted to stop noting and just sit, and you should surrender to this temptation.

There is however a massive shadow side to the above.  Giving up on noting too early is way worse than surrendering too late in my opinion.  Fast noting takes a ton of effort and is quite intense, you'll often be tempted to stop doing it.  The mind wanders away from the primary object constantly in every sit, so if you don't like noting at that particular moment and your mind wanders, you might think "maybe I'm in equanimity and noting isn't right for me, I better drop it and pay attention to all this other interesting stuff," which is a good way to muddle things up.  So, particularly at the time when you're considering changing techniques from fast noting to something more open, it's very important to do some careful mapping and try to figure out roughly where you are.  Did you just go through reobservation and it was almost impossible to sit still and pay attention to anything and perhaps you felt like you were going nuts?  Were you spending a lot of time thinking "If this goes on for any longer I might entirely lose my shit?"  And then fairly suddenly did that all calm down and you're not sure what to make of it?  Probably a good time to consider going for something more open.  Also, there isn't really any time pressure on the equanimity side.  It's fine to stay in equanimity noting away, you'll just end up (consciously or not) perceiving the noting and the attention and all the other stuff in some broader way.  I do think however that at the higher ends of equanimity something too 2nd jhanic like fast noting and very effort forward will make it a lot harder to land a fruition, but that'll take awhile from the beginning of equanimity and should come fairly naturally.  I think eventually regardless of what you think your goals and hard won techniques are that as equanimity matures you'll end up forgetting about them and just naturally do whatever is required; which is not very much.

My personal experience in this territory was soldiering on with my fast noting for like 9months of daily practice in equanimity until I learned how to give up.  Being a glutton for punishment seems to be a bit of a recurring theme for me emoticon
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 3662 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
And...

Noting eventually gets in the way of noticing.

emoticon
Sam Gentile, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 776 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
And...

Noting eventually gets in the way of noticing.

emoticon

Say more please Chris
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 1494 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
And...

Noting eventually gets in the way of noticing.

emoticon

Ehm emoticon I'm certainly noticing all that is to be noted/labeled. To note something you first need to cognise it/notice it. 
Btw, if "This Is It" then surely noting can also be "it". Or maybe only certain things can be "this is it" ? 
All this practice is about Clearly Comprehanding our experience on sensate level. Knowing it/Noticing it. Without me first knowing/noticing it I can not note it. Noting keeps you more engaged and keeps hindrances at bay. 

Btw, I suggest another alternative; while on cushion note it all (it's anyway only 1 or two daily sits. While off cushion then all day long keep noticing and being dull and letting go of it all, just be, and all that fancy stuff emoticon Why not! I mean cessation can also happen off cushion emoticon 

I agree with Ben. In EQ there is no need for fast noting. As a matter of fact my noting aloud slowed down to maybe 1 sensation every 2-3 seconds. Very relaxed and easy because all is inclusive even the noting. Stil I think it's a good idea to keep noting as later the EQ Boredom stage will kick in. I don't know how it is sitting in it with just silent noticing. Never tried that. I did note it. Aloud, quiet voice noting fast. "Boredom, status quo, unpleasant, boredom, ... ". So much about EQ being apparently a "pleasant" stage emoticon 

I do admire people who can ride just their breath all the way, without ever being hammered by the Dukkha Nanas. That must be an enjoyable journey emoticon I thought I could do that during my old Shamatha journey ... until Dukkha Nanas ravaged my breath to pieces and unloaded a truckload of dung onto me emoticon For those mortals like myself this Noting Vipassana is a blessing emoticon I'm very grateful! 
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 3662 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
All this practice is about Clearly Comprehanding our experience on sensate level. Knowing it/Noticing it. Without me first knowing/noticing it I can not note it. Noting keeps you more engaged and keeps hindrances at bay. 

I'm going to relate this to my practice, not yours or Sam's or anyone else's. Noting caused me to learn how to focus on what's going on right now. That's a wonderful lesson, valuable over the entire course of my practice. At a certain point, however I was hindered by the very process of noting, making mental tick marks or naming objects, every time anything arose in attention. The focus needed to shift to observing without noting, to just watching the flow of experience without the added overhead of the tick marking or naming of the stuff that was arising. I'm calling that "noticing" as opposed to "noting." Noticing brought with it a series of insights that didn't occur while noting.

I have no intention of decrying noting as a practice. I did it, after all. I do intend to make you think about this, though, and where a practice comprised purely and only of noting might lead.
Sam Gentile, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 776 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
All this practice is about Clearly Comprehanding our experience on sensate level. Knowing it/Noticing it. Without me first knowing/noticing it I can not note it. Noting keeps you more engaged and keeps hindrances at bay. 

I'm going to relate this to my practice, not yours or Sam's or anyone else's. Noting caused me to learn how to focus on what's going on right now. That's a wonderful lesson, valuable over the entire course of my practice. At a certain point, however I was hindered by the very process of noting, making mental tick marks or naming objects, every time anything arose in attention. The focus needed to shift to observing without noting, to just watching the flow of experience without the added overhead of the tick marking or naming of the stuff that was arising. I'm calling that "noticing" as opposed to "noting." Noticing brought with it a series of insights that didn't occur while noting.

I have no intention of decrying noting as a practice. I did it, after all. I do intend to make you think about this, though, and where a practice comprised purely and only of noting might lead.
But certainly that point is to be reached much further down the line after certain realizations have taken place no?
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 3662 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Yes, Sam, this is something that is context/practice phase sensitive.
Ben Sulsky, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 115 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
All this practice is about Clearly Comprehanding our experience on sensate level. Knowing it/Noticing it. Without me first knowing/noticing it I can not note it. Noting keeps you more engaged and keeps hindrances at bay. 

I'm going to relate this to my practice, not yours or Sam's or anyone else's. Noting caused me to learn how to focus on what's going on right now. That's a wonderful lesson, valuable over the entire course of my practice. At a certain point, however I was hindered by the very process of noting, making mental tick marks or naming objects, every time anything arose in attention. The focus needed to shift to observing without noting, to just watching the flow of experience without the added overhead of the tick marking or naming of the stuff that was arising. I'm calling that "noticing" as opposed to "noting." Noticing brought with it a series of insights that didn't occur while noting.

I have no intention of decrying noting as a practice. I did it, after all. I do intend to make you think about this, though, and where a practice comprised purely and only of noting might lead.
Agree with this in my practice as well.

I was taking 'noticing' as mental noting without fixing any name to the object.  So for example one can note the rising and falling of the abdomen and say 'rising' mentally.  Maybe 2 syllables is cumbersome, so the noting gets shortened to 'pst' or some very quick syllable.  Then that's too cumbersome and there's only the sensation and the knowing.  I call that last thing 'noticing' because anything quasi verbal is removed.

What you're describing as noticing, where there isn't any tick mark component at all, is what I'm calling "more open awareness" or something, though I don't think I'm consistent.  
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 1494 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Chris emoticon I don't know the attitude in your past noting but in mine there is a flow for sure and in it there is a mouth opening up and uttering words which are heard, and in that flow there is vibrations in the head, throat and lungs when labels are spoken and there is noticing of the noting and wondering "who is noticing this" and ... and ... all in the flow. 

I think it's all in the attitude. I Note aloud as if each note is the one and only experience and that's it. There is nothing other than This noted sensation. No attainments only This named sensation/feeling tone/mind state. 

And I don't only do dry noting but also include open eyes focusing on a Kasina object of sorts were absorptions take place within the noting practice. Lots of flow going on in This. Is "this" flowing through objects observed or are the objects observed flowing through "this"? Who is this one aware of both "Thisness" and objects? Etc ... lots of flow stuff in my practice. 

I know from my Shamatha/Calm-abiding days that one can go all the way to EQ (happened to me) and likely go past it (if I knew then how not to cling to EQ after the ugly Re-observation). I'm not saying Noting is the only way. I'm just saying that noting is as good as long you don't get embedded in experience, meaning lost in la-la land. 

Casina, prayer/mantra, dancing, Jhana, noticing/just sitting, Mahasi noting ... whatever works. We are not all the same and certain techniques, approaches, attitudes might work better for some and worse for others. 

I hope my friendly tone came across as I'm actually smiling in a friendly way while writing this. 
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 3662 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Papa Che, you are being a bit defensive. Have you noted that?  emoticon

Please note (pun intended) that I'm not criticizing you or your practice. There's nothing personal about what I said. I'm making a general observation about the practice of noting as I experienced it early in my practice. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Noting mentally vs out loud???

Posts: 1494 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Totally not defensive emoticon more like offensive emoticon emoticon just kidding! emoticon 

Off to have a beer now and riff up me jolly guitar a bit emoticon 
Btw, I totally do noticing when I sip beer and play the guitar emoticon might get hit by some insightful lyrics Ha! emoticon emoticon emoticon 


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