Noting Practice question

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Mike Kich, modified 8 Years ago.

Noting Practice question

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Hello,

I have a question about noting practice that I've run into already; if the sensation you're experiencing isn't just one 'thing', or if it seems too complex to have a simple 'note' like "pain" or "mental pain", what's to be done about that? I want to keep it simple but I also want to be thorough in how I note.

Thanks

~Mike
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Nikolai ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Noting Practice question

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Mike Kich:
Hello,

I have a question about noting practice that I've run into already; if the sensation you're experiencing isn't just one 'thing', or if it seems too complex to have a simple 'note' like "pain" or "mental pain", what's to be done about that? I want to keep it simple but I also want to be thorough in how I note.

Thanks

~Mike


http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/yogi-toolbox-detailed-noting.html
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Noting Practice question

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Just curious: Does slowing the noting down this way still lead to the incredible 40Hz waves of attention described in MCTB?
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Brian K., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Noting Practice question

Posts: 142 Join Date: 4/18/12 Recent Posts
Mike Kich:


I have a question about noting practice that I've run into already; if the sensation you're experiencing isn't just one 'thing', or if it seems too complex to have a simple 'note' like "pain" or "mental pain", what's to be done about that? I want to keep it simple but I also want to be thorough in how I note.


It doesnt really matter so much what you call it, as long as you recognize what it is. For instance if i have pain in my left knee, right ankle and lower back, i might just say "pain" and recognize all of them, of "pain pain pain". Or like nikolai posted above, you can say "changing complex pain" or something like that to be more specific. Also when stuff like that comes up its an opportunity for more noting, because you can note "confusion" for not knowing how to note the sensation haha. And lastly you can just note in one-syllable nonsense words. So if i cant think of what to note something fast enough rather than get caught up in word choice i just say "dat dat dat dat dat" as they come and go.
Jigme Sengye, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Noting Practice question

Posts: 189 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Taking pain as a specific case, is it a sharp pain (you can note "sharp pain"), is it a dull pain? Is it a continuous sensation, or is there throbbing to it, or both? Are there multiple patterns to the pain? Is it increasing, decreasing, disappearing in parts? Do you have some emotional reaction to the pain where you physically tense up, brace yourself against the pain and feel anxiety to try to avoid feeling the pain? You can note tension, anxiety, aversion or anything else that comes to mind. Do you feel anger, fear and frustration reactions to the impending onset of pain or how long it lasts? Do you have restlessness from wanting to get away from sitting while noting the pain? Are there any types of thoughts that arise in response to the pain?

Is there an occasional sense of relaxation and acceptance of the pain (you can note relaxation or acceptance, depending on which is happening). Are there emotional and physical reactions or unrelated sensation that are being obscured by the pain? Are there pleasant sensations you could note instead?

I've used fast noting to deal with pain in the past, but I find it hypnotic and just eventually veer off into thoughts. It works for some people. I've also used funny nonsense words when desperate for pain relief on retreat. If you're have a lot of pain that just doesn't want to go away through hours and hours of noting, the first few times you call sharp pain "banana" and call dull throbbing pain "carrot" or "Elmer Fudd" the emotional reactions change and the ridiculousness of the situation becomes funny enough to make it bearable until the end of the hour of sitting and you might notice some sensation that you were ignoring. I found that to be a tedious way of noting once the humor wore off, though.

The above questions and comments can be applied to pretty much any type of sensation.

I personally prefer Kenneth Folk's triplet noting style, as referenced in the link that Nick linked to. There's always a physical sensation, it's always pleasant, neutral or unpleasant and there's always some sort of emotion being felt, even if there's no obvious relation to the physical sensation that was previously noted. I note thoughts when they're obvious either doing the "quad" that's listed in the article or inserting the note on thoughts whenever I notice the thoughts arising. This starts out as a slower noting style and takes some getting used to, but I find it causes an immediate decrease in suffering and an immediate increase in concentration. The technique makes the tricks of the dukkha ├▒anas clear and shallow, it's a great tool for investigation and is a big help for letting equanimity arise. It's a very good way to track the physical and emotional aspects of complex pain. At times it's also fun to do the feeling tone noting hacking technique as part of pairs or triplet noting. Nick has an article on it on his site. It amounts to noting "pleasant" in situations where you would normally note "unpleasant" and seeing how that works (or you could try other variations). The effect is very interesting at times. These techniques aren't easy to do at first, especially if you just learned them from reading an article, if the method isn't clear, please post some examples of how you're noting.

If you can put up with it, pain is the easiest thing to do a noting style of meditation on, since it's so hard to be distracted from it and it breaks down into complex changing patterns really quickly given enough noting. You can get very far with this sort of meditation.

Also, this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with noting, but if you don't mind my asking, what pain are you feeling?
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Mike Kich, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Noting Practice question

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Um, well what prompted the question is that I get into mental spaces sometimes where I would note "confused" or "tired" or along those lines in combination for my mind, but feeling that way and more, the verbal words simply won't come to mind. Sometimes it seems like there's just indescribable mixtures of feelings, easy to notice but difficult to describe. Or, on the contrary, my mind sometimes can feel so blank that any verbalized thoughts feel smothered - this is another occasion where normally I would note, "smothered thoughts, mild anxiety", etc., but INSIDE of that state the noting itself can become hindered. See what I'm trying to say?

This starts out as a slower noting style and takes some getting used to, but I find it causes an immediate decrease in suffering and an immediate increase in concentration. The technique makes the tricks of the dukkha ├▒anas clear and shallow, it's a great tool for investigation and is a big help for letting equanimity arise.


So far I agree about this.