grade-school question on noting

Noah 42, modified 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 6:06 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 6:06 AM

grade-school question on noting

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Hello all,

A few days ago I switched from body-scanning to noting, as instructed in Mahasi's practical insight meditation. I immediately noticed that my concentration get's a lot better through noting as compared to body-scanning, so that's a good start.

But sometimes there's a sensation that I don't immediately have an accurate name for.
So my question is, how important is that?

For example, i might feel a bodily sensation, but is it tingling? is it pulsing? Or vibrating? I'm not quite sure. In such a case, should i search for an accurate name, meaning the noting is paused for a few moments, or should i just go with a more general note 'feeling feeling'? (i.e. whatever it is, it's a feeling)

Thanks for helping me out.

Cheers,
Noah
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Florian, modified 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 10:10 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 10:10 AM

RE: grade-school question on noting

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Noah,

Yeah, noting is a very useful technique. When I started out using it, I had exactly the same question, and the advice given was to aim for quick, consistent noticing. The exact individual notes are not that important.

If it's pulsing or vibrating, can you hit individual pulses?

If it gets very fast, "dit" can be a good way of noting.

If what I'm noting is slow and subtle, more intricate ways of noting help keeping me engaged.

Cheers,
Florian
Noah 42, modified 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 2:14 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 2:14 PM

RE: grade-school question on noting

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Hi Florian,

Thanks for responding. I'll follow your advice and focus on speed and consistency.
At this point I'm noting at about 3 notes per second. At first I tried to note as fast as i could, but that resulted in a rather forced and neurotic noting. So i decided to relax and gradually build up speed.

Pulses i get are usually just 2 or 3 or 5 really quick pulses, too fast to note. They always kind of hit me by surprise.
Vibrating i get is mostly a vague oozing over my whole body of large parts of it, and vibrates really slow, like once per second.
And then there's often a kind of tingling places, few inches wide, wich have a sense of pulsing or vibrating to it, but i can't really see it. These are hardest to name or describe, beacuse they feel like something i can't really see for what they are.

I'll keep the note 'dit' in mind when things get faster (quite an adequate term actually, since in my language 'dit' means 'this' ;-) The last couple of times, halfway through my meditation my mind suddenly speeded up, and noting went twice as fast, wich i guess is thanks to concentration building up.

I'll keep going at it. Thanks a lot for sharing advise emoticon

Cheers,
Noah
Noah 42, modified 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 2:36 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 2:36 PM

RE: grade-school question on noting

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
a little runner up question on my brand new noting meditation style: where to aim my focus, and for how long?

I concentrate on the belly, noting 'rising rising rising', and then 'falling falling falling'. Then my breath pauses, and i usually notice my posture 'sitting sitting' or my legs touching the ground 'feeling feeling', 'pain pain' etc.

Then something catches my attention, like some area of my body starting to tingle or vibrate, or some external sound, or the internal buzz in my ear suddenly gaining volume, or some nasty emotion on my chest and in my throat (wich i usually can't name so I note it 'feeling feeling'). I usually keep noting these sensation until the next breath cycle starts.

But now my question is, should I indeed just note these thing just once or twice and return to the breath? Or should I keep noting until the next rising starts? Or should i just keep with these things as long as they are present?


And is it wise to take access concentration into account? I think i had that once or twice (sudden shift feeling more awake, clearer perception, clearer thinking, feeling goooddd). For example I could focus tightly on the breathe alone until i reach access, and then broaden my attention. Good idea?, or should i just leave it to come if it does?

Well thanks, for helping me out already. As you might be able tell, Mrs. doubt is a dear friend of mine ;-)

Cheers,
Noah


P.S. Damn what an inspiring board this is. So valuable, thanks for being here emoticon
J Adam G, modified 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 5:46 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 5:46 PM

RE: grade-school question on noting

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
It's up to you whether you want to try and stay with the breath whenever possible, such as by noting the touch sensations that tell you that your breath is paused, or if you want to explore other sensations in the pauses in the breath such as the pain, or sitting, etc.

Access concentration can definitely help insight practice go more smoothly. It's often a great idea to start out a practice session with some brief concentration practice, perhaps a minute or a few minutes, and then move into insight practice once the mind has balanced out. This will work better on some sits than others. You should probably move on to the insight practice after a few minutes of concentration practice whether or not it felt like it was working well, and then set aside specific separate times to work on concentration if you like that practice.
Noah 42, modified 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 7:12 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 7:12 PM

RE: grade-school question on noting

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Hi adam, thanks for your reply.

So i can decide for myself where i focus in between breathing cycles.
But I wonder, when i note a sensation during the breath, say a tingling that arises, should i keep noting it till it disappears? Or should i note it once or twice and then return to the breath?

Thanks for the advise on doing some concentration practice. I'll experiment a little on that.

Cheers,
Noah
J Adam G, modified 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 8:26 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/28/10 8:26 PM

RE: grade-school question on noting

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Any sensation that you can notice without being involved in the content is fine for vipassana practice. However, the standard advice for doing vipassana with breath awareness is to briefly note any other sensations that arise and distract you from the breath. If you notice another sensation, then you've been distracted by it, so go ahead and note it a few times. It may or may not stop arising. (It actually disappears the instant you notice it, and either comes back again or doesn't come back again.) Either way, you can go back to the breath and just keep trying to stay with the breath, or if you like, you can make the new sensation your object for meditaiton.
Noah 42, modified 12 Years ago at 4/29/10 2:34 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/29/10 2:34 AM

RE: grade-school question on noting

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Great, that clears thing up a bit. For now I'll stick to the standard of noting the breath until something comes up i deem interesting to investigate.

Thanks for helping out.
Cheers,
Noah