What's noting has to do with knots, and clarity?

Kemono Z, modified 1 Year ago at 9/9/21 2:38 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 9/9/21 2:38 AM

What's noting has to do with knots, and clarity?

Posts: 15 Join Date: 3/20/21 Recent Posts

Brief recap: unknowingly went through the A/P in a Goenka 2 some years ago, dropped the body scan and stuck to the breath at the nose after finding TMI six months later.   Five months ago life threw a curve ball and unleashed emotional purifications. Was surprised to find I might be in the dukkah ñanas; asking here, I was recommended to do noting for "clarity."

Four months later, I've raised the ante from 1 daily hour to 1.75, plus microhits.  Since two months ago I'm doing more noting than concentration.  After all kind of wacky fireworks during the crisis, I'm now going through very calm sits, though kind of boring.  Keep on the breath for 5-10' without dropping the ball, most times.  Contraction of nostrils and cheeks that started in the Goenka has almost dissapeared, body feels puffy like when I went into some kind of samadhi with the bodyscan, but without the super clarity;  there's dullness, rather.  And knots.

The first knot started showing back in January and pulsed away into pleasant tingling after some 6 weeks.  "Fancy that, whatever it was" I thought.  It came back and tingled again during the first catharsis, and several more, padded with Metta and IFS self-therapy. 

1.  I'm pretty sure by now the knots, contractions and pulls must be somatic/emotional memories or somesuch in process of purification/release right?

2. What about weirder sensations, like burning up the nostrils?

3. Or electricity and knots of sharp pain along the arms and shoulders? (this was back in the Goenka, but there's an inkling of the knots during walking meditation)

4. Should catharsis be held as a last resort? [Catharsis are less overwhelming now, but I thought I'd ask;  TMI recommends ignoring emotional stuff as long as possible, but it's focused on concentration so it figures.]

4. Once I discovered I could "note the heck out" of something to dissolve it into pulses and tingling, releasing the contractions became much faster.  Any reason not to do so?

[In Deconstructing Yourself, Kenneth retorts Michael: what matters is not to dissolve stuff, but to have a "full" experience of the object.  Also, doing IFS after noting, I've noticed a couple times than noting released the exile/pain, but not the protector/defense mechanism, which was left utterly confused without a wound to protect.]

5.  Useful as it is, I don't think this is the promised clarity I was told about.  What would that be? (at this point I would probably do good to know what I'm getting into, for a change xD)

Mucho Metta.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 9/9/21 5:37 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 9/9/21 5:33 AM

RE: What's noting has to do with knots, and clarity?

Posts: 1981 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
You're asking the right questions. This is tricky stuff and there aren't simple rules. Meditation is basically being both the patient and the doctor/therapist at the same time, or like building a bridge as you are driving over it at the same time...

Noting basically increases the level of attention on an object. Often, this is enough for our natural intelligence to fully experience and understand the meaning of the object.

But experiences may or may not have a deep meaning. A lot of meditation experience just happen. It may simply be a fleeting experience. It's worth noting if there is a resistance to this "fleetingness". Often there is an emotional tone that feels uncomfortable. Our sense of a solid and persistant self doesn't like fleetingness...

You can think of experience as having two aspects: its raw power and its meaning.  Sometimes we shut down because of the pure intensity of an experience. Sometimes we shut down because an experience is confusing or contrary to our normal beliefs/frameworks. Perhaps both during really intense/stressful events. Many experiences that bubble up during meditation is due to them not being fully experienced/understood the first time around and it will keep bubbling up until it is.

There are many many different meditation practices because each approach provides a framework for certain kinds of investigations. Tantric approaches tend to be about developing the ability to be present within the pure power of experiences. Psychological approaches tend to be about how the experience is framed and what meaning an experience has. Adult development frameworks are more about off-the-cushion attitudes/beliefs and capabilities which make it possible to live a full life. Advanced meditation practices are about the subtlest of ways we resist experience and try to protect a sense of self.

Catharsis is rarely the answer, only because real catharsis happens so rarely. Most of the time, people are actually re-traumatizing themselves and surviving it again, which sort of feels like progress but is probably just spinning their wheels. The hardest thing is to investigate our mind's reactivity with intimacy and curiousity, with love you could say. 

Insight is a good word for what you want. You want to have an insight into your own mind, how experience come and go, how beliefs form, how attitudes color what is experienced, how greed/aversion/indifference "poisons" what simply is. 

If you are getting good benefit from noting, you might also try "noticing". Basically, notice what happens to the object when you hold your attention on it. Many times these solid experience, like ice, start becoming more fluid, like water, and even evaporate, like mist into the air. This can be a good approach to add.

When objects seem solid/persistant, then more active investigation is sometimes good. Where is this experience in space? what are it's boundaries? what is it's weight? what does it feel like? what emotional tone does it have? what thoughts are associated with it? 

The goal is NOT to get rid of any experience, but to explore the nature of the mind and mind objects.  Investigate with intimacy and curiousity. If there are challenges that keep happening, then think about "what method would work well for this challenge". Most experienced meditators have a dozen or so approaches for exploring their own mind and dealing with challenging experiences.

Sounds like you are already using different approaches, including IFS, so what you are describing sounds really good to me. I guess I would just say keep going, and remember that you can always slow things down when things get tough. Eat an elephant one bite at a time. emoticon

I know all of this is vague. Hope this helps in some way.
Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago at 9/9/21 12:52 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 9/9/21 12:52 PM

RE: What's noting has to do with knots, and clarity?

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"Eat an elephant one bite at a time"

emoticon this made me giggle emoticon Nice one! And nice post/reply in general! Thank you S!
Kemono Z, modified 1 Year ago at 11/5/21 10:36 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/5/21 10:36 PM

RE: What's noting has to do with knots, and clarity?

Posts: 15 Join Date: 3/20/21 Recent Posts
Still chewing on this, thanks.  The pebbles have been a tad too quiet lately, tho.

Getting used to the vagueness too.  I used to say "adolescence only ends when you realise it never does." Then shit hit the fan, or rather, fell down, and things seemed to finally settle a bit... on a new level of uncertainty.  Lemme guess: it's elephants all the way down?  So, better keep on chewing!

Catharsis is rarely the answer, only because real catharsis happens so rarely. Most of the time, people are actually re-traumatizing themselves and surviving it again, which sort of feels like progress but is probably just spinning their wheels. The hardest thing is to investigate our mind's reactivity with intimacy and curiousity, with love you could say. 
Felt just like this the first time I was administered the Ideal Parent Figure protocol (wasn't expecting an express therapy buffet in an Unified Mindfulness event, and the trigger got me good).

What I do wonder is why isn't any of this communicated more clearly.  "Look, shit hit the fan already, only you probably don't even remember.  But when it comes back down, you would do good to tackle it from above and below so you can clean up enough to be on your merry way to Nibbana without stinking all the way.  Do you like chewing stones?  Try this or that dry meditation and trigger therapy; else, work on yer calm and a more comprehensive way of unburdening..."

Is there an article somewhere that explains succintly what different contemplative and therapeutic practices are about, and what *might* one expect of them? To each it's own path yes, and expectations can easily derail us yes, but an executive resume of the many options would do wonders, really... IFS, Bio-emotive Framework, The Work, IPF, Focusing, etc... and for the even more numerous contemplative practices, I don't think I have yet a complete idea of what *any* of them are about! (is noting about being present, having a complete experience, breaking the speed of conscious perception, all of the above?)

Even Shinzen is very short on practical details, and like most, suggests you practice what "resonates" with you.  Few things resonate as retraumatisation does though (the "Holistic Psychologist" goes as far as to say more often than not, that's what we call being in love).  Any reading suggestions to distinguish actual progress from wheel spinning?

Is it me, or this elephant tastes like cheese? emoticon
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 11/6/21 7:00 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/6/21 6:58 AM

RE: What's noting has to do with knots, and clarity?

Posts: 1981 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Yeah, these are all the right questions.

No one has written a comprehensive article/book on all the treatment modalities that are out there and their end result. I suspect that one of the reasons an article doesn't exist is because practictioners all would argue "my practice reveals the truth and gives the quickest results" emoticon 

Here's the important thing as a meditator to figure out. Every practice has its framing method. For example, for noting it is "experiences appear as very ephemeral blips of sensation". Every practice has a practice method. for noting it is "try to experience these momentary sensaitons with speed and accuracy and clarity". And every practice has a result, for noting it is "having a baseline equanimity and clarity about thre present moment, which minimizes getting trapped in a fix worldview about "who I am and how things are".

And then we personally have to decide: am I willing to (at least temporarily) view the world through this practice framework? am I willing to do these practices? and are these the results I specifically want? The answer might be yes or no or "well, I'll try for a while and test it out".

Part of navigating the world of meditation is learning to figure out these key aspects about whatever some guru or student is talking about. What's the frame? What's the practice? What's the result? For some reason, teachers/tradtions rarely describe this explicitly. 

Ultimately, meditation friends and teachers can help us find a practice that 1) is interesting and 2) works for the results that we're most interested in. But we have to be wise. Their recomendations are going to be based on their experiences and range of knowledge. 

So yeah, so many options, so many possibilities. But the more we can get clear on what we want, the more obvious the answer to "what practice should I do?" becomes. 


For me, the most practical book on meditation practices was/is "Wake Up To Your Life" by Ken McLeod. He presents classic tibetian practices, but does so in a way that doesn't say "this leads to the truth!" but rather "this practice is designed to create a particular kind of knowing... and here's how to do it... and here's the result."

Hope that helps!

Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago at 11/15/21 7:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 11/15/21 7:16 AM

RE: What's noting has to do with knots, and clarity?

Posts: 1525 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Insite practice is staying in the present moment and noticing what is happening.  After noticing then labeling that moment is a tempo hack so you don't wander off and forget that you were noticing sensations. The labeling hack works because you get into a tempo with it that when you stop labeling you realize quickly that you are not on task. Its a great hack but it is a waste of half of your noticing time BUT that's much better than wasting all your time on daydreams.  Shift out of labeling when you can and when you need that hack, its there for you.

Concentration is staying on one object and trying to let it run together like a circle around and around. You're trying to blur the lines of moment by moment differences and just have one continuous sensation that goes on and on.

Both practices are never purely one or the other, always some level of blending, and that is a fun game. Play with both and change the percentage of blending.  See what works and what is too difficult to do.  Find the blend that works for you at the moment and then play again in a week or whatever. Meditation is a fun game of inquery and curiosity. Laugh at what you do when you fail or succeed. Play play PLAY. and smile
Good Luck,