Recognizing insight stages with noting practice

April V, modified 11 Years ago.

Recognizing insight stages with noting practice

Posts: 10 Join Date: 4/7/10 Recent Posts
Today during practice it occured to me to try Mahasi noting instead of body scanning. I found this style very engaging, much more lively and inclusive than the thing Im used to. So after maybe 20 minutes I started to feel everything getting really fast, all the sensations flickering, intensity rising and then whole body like being stabbed with little needles- all the early A/P thing but a mild version of it compared to such an event that it seems during retreat. It ended after a few minutes and I started to wonder what it was. It seems obvious that A/P cannot happen after only 20 min of practice. Is it some kind of kundalini activity? Subtle sensations were active at the top of the head.

For me its difficult to understand how is it possible to get deep enough with this noting practice, even in retreat, when concentration is only momentary.
It seems that with momentary concentration and without deeper samatha insight stages dont reveal themselves very prominently and its difficult to recognize where youre at.
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Nikolai S Halay, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Recognizing insight stages with noting practice

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi April,

Don't put a time on when the A/P is supposed to happen. You could pass through the nanas very, very quickly...seconds even.

For me, when I switch to noting even today, the mind gets extremely concentrated fast and as everything is objectified/noted it seems that energies in the body, kundalini maybe, do start to flow faster. I ,somehow, through practicing non stop noting on retreat accessed the first four jhanas. Noting for me got me very quickly to a state of very high equanimity and somehow the mind shifted from it into the 4th jhana. According to many here and to me, the equanimity of formations stage matches up with the 4th jhana. They are related as do the other vipassana jhanas to their corresponding nanas. I think because I was getting up to high equanimity constantly because of noting everything, I got absorbed in that state and shifted into the 4th jhana without even trying. Then after that I could will the mind into it and the lower jhanas whenever i wanted.

So, I think noting seems to get the mind extremely concentrated and at the same time you are practicing insight meditation. Highly effective in my opinion in getting stream entry. And it is what I still practice now. I was an avid Goenka follower for many years before I found Mahasi's technique which pushed me into new territory. Don't take my word for it though. Keep doing it and you will see.
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Recognizing insight stages with noting practice

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
A&P stuff can arise extremely quickly in those who have encountered A&P before (such as dark night yogis), however it can also arise pretty quickly with correct technique even in people who've never chanced on Mind and Body and don't have particularly strong concentration.

You're absolutely right that low levels of concentration can cause less prominent expressions of the characteristics of the various nanas. The opposite side of that coin is that strong concentration with low levels of investigation can solidify certain nanas into shamatha jhanas. Concentration, in general, tends to prolong nanas when there's too much correct concentration relative to the level of correct investigation/energy. At least, that's the way it has happened to me.

A&P stuff tends to be incredibly striking during retreats where concentration is generally pretty strong. Even outside of a retreat, the strengthening of concentration that occurs during the A&P might make that state rather distinctly noticeable. Contrast that to a lazy eyes-open half-distracted noting session where the only sign of passing through the A&P nana might be a change in attention where vibrations (which in the first 3 nanas required applied and sustained attention to notice) seem to effortlessly show themselves for a few moments, followed by a return to difficulty noticing the vibrations as the shift to Dissolution occurs and attention switches to a different mode yet again. That's all very mild, and it may not even resemble the dramatic descriptions of bright shining lights, out of body experiences, and laserlike precision of mind. The reason it's A&P is how the vibrations and the attention is working, not the content or intensity of the experiences. Just like jhanas, nanas can be hit soft, hard, or anywhere in between.

Is any of that useful to you?
April V, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Recognizing insight stages with noting practice

Posts: 10 Join Date: 4/7/10 Recent Posts
Yes, thats helpful guys. Many thanks for sharing and replying !
Deepak Nandlal Chhabriya, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Recognizing insight stages with noting practice

Post: 1 Join Date: 5/28/10 Recent Posts
Can you pls elaborate on the noting technique in detail.Along with scanning the body with equanimity, how one can add the noting technique as well and blend the two.

Kindly also let me know some good books that can inspire me about the noting excesice to get deeper insights and purification.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Recognizing insight stages with noting practice

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I am not sure that blending them is necessarily optimal for anything, except perhaps certain elements.

The rapid Three-Characteristics and precise, every instant investigation emphasized can help counterbalance the vague, moving to fast to see anything, equanimity focus of poorly done body scanning.

However, there are real differences between the techniques in terms of emphasis, focus, supports, tricks, and all sorts of other aspects. I would try one or other other, whichever seems to cut the most deeply instant after instant through the sense of any of this remaining or being you, get really good that that, get stream entry, and then sort out the rest from there. For instructions on noting: Practical Insight Meditation by Mahasi Sayadaw has the basic instructions as well done as anyone.


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