How is it possible to note very fast?

Nikolai Bobrov, modified 8 Months ago at 4/2/22 9:51 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/2/22 9:51 PM

How is it possible to note very fast?

Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/1/22 Recent Posts
I'm a complete noob in meditation and have been doing noting practice for a month now. In MTCB, Daniel writes that we should be trying to perceive as many unique sensations as possible per second. I just don't see how this is possible. For example, he says to look for many sensations in the breath. How can I do this? I see the inhale as one sensation and the exhale as one sensation. Other than that, even when I'm noting all sensations that I'm experiencing, I can only get up to 2 notes/second, maximum.  I don't see any more things to note than that. So I guess my question is, is seeing many sensations per second something that will come by itself with experience, or am I just practicing wrong?
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Sigma Tropic, modified 8 Months ago at 4/2/22 11:02 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/2/22 11:02 PM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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We need more information on what practice technique you're doing. MCTB2 is not much of a technique/how to book. Get "Practical Insight Meditation" M. Sayadaw. Please try harder and report back. Look at the sensations. 
Martin, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 12:21 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 12:21 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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If you look, you may find that the in-breath has a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you can find each of them, you will triple the number of things that you notice. If you keep looking, you may notice a pause at the end of the in-breath. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not. That's another thing to notice. 

This is one easy way to start to notice that most things are made of parts, each of which can be noticed. You can carry on this way to some very fine resolution. 

Also, as Sigma says, "Practical Insight Meditation" is an excellent guide. It is short and free. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 6:31 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 6:31 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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The goal of these practices is for everything to arise with quality of it being already noticed - it is the only way how you can be 'done' on this vipassana front.

Until that happens you do what you do and you refine it. For now as you say you can notice something, good. When you try to notice more stuff faster you force mind to try to find ways to have more things noticed and this will do few things at once:
- mind will already start adding noticing to sensations so it is easier to pick them up
- mind will put less effort in to what can be called your main awareness and it all being about this visualization of you noticing sensations - note: when you notice anything it is because it arose noticed, ALWAYS, this main awareness doesn't really do things it might seem it does and is just itself bunch of sensations
- mind works in pulses and times and rhythms these pulses happen will change and re-align - you can treat it as form of calibration of sorts
- other than noticing itself there will be of course improvements to method of 'noting' of choice - probably you are doing mental one word notes so they will improve

So again: the most important is things noticing themselves. Word notes are much less important but try to do them too, as fast as possible, just do not obsess about this aspect. The act of noticing has many elements to it, the thing you do, try to generally be aware how you do and notice these elements of it while you notice sensations. As you notice these elements mind will automatically try out to notice without these elements freeing bandwidth for noticing and you will be able to do whole acts of noticing faster and faster and at some point line between you noticing and things noticing itself will blur and disappear.

For breath concentration you can notice like Martin suggested beginnings, ends, pauses. I like to focus on all the subtle muscle movements that happen. Like I said mind works in pulses and muscle control also happens in pulses, they can happen fast fast so this can be good source of meaningful sensations and one which is aligned with brain controlling muscles so generally good to be familiar with. Any involuntary sensations like itches, kind of vibrations that happen can happen when meditating and they can be noted too. You can also notice from time to time you are doing noting, that you think about things, also including about breath, etc. In the end there is a lot of things to notice.

If that sounds overwhelming there is different version of noting where you only notice sense door in which sensations arise. So you note eg. touch, hear, see, smell, movement, etc. and focus on noticing things but simplify on labels and take it up from there maybe over time making labels more complex if you like. This modification is because these word labels being useful are not really the point of the practice. In fact you could remain completely silent and note without words. It is also possible to replace notes with visual representations and depending on person and their familiarity with visual visualizations it might be easier. I found it easier to do visualization of cyborg-like user interface with outlines of sensations and/or with lines pointing to them along with word labels, though instead of words my mind focused more on having fancy fonts representing itself through fonts and their colors. You can invent something yourself, whatever you find fancy or stick with word labels. Just note that in this practice again it is this sensations arising noticed what is most important and noticing sensations is already secondary and the way you represent act noticing even less important. Also this practice will improve faculties involved in noticing and faculties involved with presentation.

​​​​​​​Besides in-breath out-breath... you already got it and are doing fine! Continue good work and it will bear fruits in no time emoticon
Nikolai Bobrov, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 7:58 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 7:58 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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Sorry about that, I should have clarified that I have been doing the instructions in that book. Specifically, noting whatever arises, and when there's nothing special going back to the breath.
Nikolai Bobrov, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 8:01 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 8:01 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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I can definitely see that there are parts to every experience, but to me those parts seem arbitrary. For example, if I decide the in-breath into three parts as you say, there's no clear boundary for when one part becomes the next, so it still seems like one sensation except I'm labeling it as three. Seems to me that I should probably just try noting many sensations even if I can't perceive them well.
Nikolai Bobrov, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 8:06 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 8:06 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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Thanks so much for the very detailed response. I've got to say that I don't really understand the part about things noticing themselves. Are you saying that I should note the noticing separately from the object being noticed?
George S, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 8:52 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 8:47 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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Nikolai Bobrov
I can definitely see that there are parts to every experience, but to me those parts seem arbitrary. For example, if I decide the in-breath into three parts as you say, there's no clear boundary for when one part becomes the next, so it still seems like one sensation except I'm labeling it as three. Seems to me that I should probably just try noting many sensations even if I can't perceive them well.

​​​​​​​Exactly! This is an important insight! The solid objects we think we experience are actually stitched together by the mind out of numerous fine-grained sensations (signals in the nervous system). These sensations seem arbitrary because there is no inherent "objectness" to them. You are on the right track - keep investigating emoticon

https://www.bps.lk/olib/bp/bp503s_Mahasi_Practical-Insight-Meditation.pdf
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Ni Nurta, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 11:12 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 11:12 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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Sensations arise with many qualities by which they are defined. For example if you experience itch at some spot eg. on the hand then the location of this itch arises along the experience of itch. If location didn't arise you would experience itch not on the hand but without location. Even location is defined in numerous ways eg. location in relation to body, where on your image of the body it is located but also in space around you. Those are all part of the sensation. In the same way it can arise with act of noticing arising along with this itch.

Itch you might say you already noticed so it kinda arose with noticing baked in, right? It could be said there are more sensation in whole itch and you noticed itch after a moment after it arose. But what you did automatically notice, exactly this part of this sensation did arise with noticing baked in. The point would be to be able to make subtler sensations arise with such quality of noticing/self-observation. If you are able to do this then you will be able to notice you are already noticing stupendous amount of sensations effortlessly and a lot of these sensations will be the individual sensations defining qualities of sensations. With this ability you will know exactly where in your mind qualities which make up sensations are and knowing when and how they arose in relation to each-other you will be able to control how they arise in relation to each-other. For example you will see that first there is one sensation and then it causes few sensations to arise at exactly the same moment. If you notice this and notice that there is rhythm to it then you will be able to the moment this initial sensation arose influence sensations next moment. The fun thing about this is that if you do it just once but do it in just the right moment and intent (note: intent != making intentions!) this will change any subsequent sensations caused by this initial sensation. You will also see that they arise always in the same way because the moment they arise you never did anything to alter how these sensations arose.

One way to achieve this self-noticing is to manually try to notice sensations and hone this skill. Eventually there will be so much this noticing in mind that it will start affecting how sensations arise by arising automatically as quality with which sensations arise. This happens by chance when people notice they get tired and start noticing in moments that affects how sensations arise.

For all intents and purposes this whole practice can be made to have much quicker results if you methodically worked with as much noticing sensations after they arose but do it in such a way that just moments before it arise made quality of noticing, pure quality of noticing. This is possible if you feel rhythm of your mind well. If not then alternatively mind with this quality with right intent for it to apply to what you want it to arise with. Again, intent is not making intentions, the energy of intent is what tells mind what to do and wasting it on making intentions is... well, wasteful. Just like it is possible to change qualities with which sensations arise by at right moment inducing/inhibiting qualities of how they arise it is possible to add quality of noticing to arising sensations somewhat blindly because mind can see what it changed and if it matches intent reinforce it, if not then not reinforce it. Eventually it will improve self-noticing abilities of mind because more and more sensations will arise with this quality of noticing baked in.

Now the formal meditation like Mahasi noting is to get good reference for the whole 'noticing' quality. It is useful to do such practices and help yourself refine your noticing. Just do not fall in to the trap of only doing it and waiting until something will click and you will have just the right qualities. This is possible but takes years and by the end of it you still do not know how to change qualities in your mind in real time and literally control your sensate experience and this is by far the coolest perk right Vipassana can give you. Or should I say you can give yourself.

BTW. Answering your question: If you notice aspects about noticing you will add qualities of noticing to noticing and this is recursive method on which this whole 'filling the mind' is based on so it is part of the process. Just one note, there is need to work on noticing itself in normal ordinary sense and there is this recursive noticing noticing as somewhat separate elements of this puzzle. It will be easier to fill mind with right qualities if these qualities are more subtle and refined. Generally mediation is game of subtleness and not power. Real power is achieved by multiplication. Many subtle qualities which are good at the task with least amount of parts of mind used (feel very subtle) and not a lot of activity during operation (feel very quiet) but done many times will feel very powerful while still feeling subtle and quiet and then performance of mind will be amazing. In formal meditation and in waking awareness just try to achieve noticing with quieter mind and subtler mind and then try to add noticing how you notice. At some point once this noticing is subtle and quiet enough it will be possible to notice noticing recursively until it fills whole mind and then you will get to this effect that whole mind arises in quality in question.
Martin, modified 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 11:23 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/3/22 11:23 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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Yes, it's definitely arbitrary. I think that you have got enough great advice that you don't really need more right now, but just for conversation's sake, I'll mention that dividing the breath into the in-breath and the out-breath is already an arbitrary division. It's a natural one. The in-breath and the out-breath feel different. If they feel different, then the sensations that make them up must be different. Likewise, if you can notice when a breath is coming to an end or starting, it must be so because different sensations arise at those times. This gets closer to what Ni and George are talking about. 

There are actually a number of different approaches to noticing very fast. One of them is to notice more detail. That's what George and I were describing. Another, Ni mentions when he talks about the different sense doors. You can notice different classes of sensations. The first is narrow focus, the second is broad focus. 

Anyway, as Ni and George both said, you are doing great. There is just a ton of stuff going on when we sit and breathe and it sounds like you are on track to discover it. 
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Months ago at 4/4/22 6:48 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/4/22 6:48 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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Nikolai Bobrov
In MTCB, Daniel writes that we should be trying to perceive as many unique sensations as possible per second.
yes, so try to do that
I just don't see how this is possible.
you don't know how to try?
For example, he says to look for many sensations in the breath.
look, play, expirement, calculate, evaluate, keep up the TRYing.
How can I do this?
just told you, Do you have some unacheiveable goal?
I see the inhale as one sensation and the exhale as one sensation.
Great!. whats wrong with that?
Other than that, even when I'm noting all sensations that I'm experiencing,
I can only get up to 2 notes/second, maximum. 
Thats wonderful! 2 notes a second is great!
I don't see any more things to note than that.
See, Hear, Feel, Think.
So I guess my question is, is seeing many sensations per second something that will come by itself with experience, or am I just practicing wrong?
Yes, speed of noting will increase with skill AND when you move up the Progress of Insite stages. Especially into the arising and passing stage.
Notice a sensation, then Label it with See, Hear, Feel, Think. (if you taste or smell, great, label that too but those are minor)
How do you percieve the breath?
Do you feel it? if so where? can you hear it? do you think about it? how can you even See that?
Stop worrying and comparing and just do it. Noticing worrying thoughts, notice comparing thought. get a rythym of labeling and do that to stay on task, then realize that labeling is wasting half the time you could be noticing, but hey, half is better than running the mind lost in thought for longer times.
Good Luck,
~D
Nikolai Bobrov, modified 8 Months ago at 4/4/22 6:55 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 4/4/22 6:55 AM

RE: How is it possible to note very fast?

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Thank you for the encouragement!

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