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Vipassana: Noting/Mahasi Style

Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?

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Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Vi Va - 9/12/13 10:56 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Dream Walker 9/12/13 11:27 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 9/12/13 1:06 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? bernd the broter 9/12/13 1:22 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Richard Zen 9/12/13 7:44 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? This Good Self 9/13/13 8:23 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Vi Va - 9/13/13 11:14 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Paul Anthony 9/14/13 1:09 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Nikolai . 9/15/13 3:59 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Dream Walker 9/15/13 2:25 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? bill of the wandering mind 9/15/13 6:57 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Vi Va - 9/16/13 2:13 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? bill of the wandering mind 9/17/13 7:40 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? joe 9/4/18 9:43 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Lars 9/4/18 9:57 AM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Daniel M. Ingram 9/4/18 8:25 PM
RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self? Eric G 9/7/18 10:34 AM
Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Will noting with nouns more effectively break this illusion?

If every time I hear a sound I note "hear" the word implies that there is someone who hears the sound, while if I use the note "sound" there is no such implication.

So... does the actual word have any impact on your progress of realising anatta? Or are the words simply an aid to keep you from wandering?

Does anyone have any experience of this?

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/12/13 11:27 AM as a reply to Vi Va -.
If you have time to notice a difference for yourself you probably are not noting as fast as you can go. Try noting faster and see if you have time to sense a self by using a verb vs a noun.
If you are thinking about a self - note thinking
Experiment and tell us how it works for you. It's a good question and definitely answerable by practicing both ways and seeing what works best.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/12/13 1:06 PM as a reply to Vi Va -.
Hi Viktor,

Noting works nicely for some people and not so well for others.

I do not use it, though I've tested it before to see for myself -- it is too verbal and re-inforcing for me and it did not render my mind calm, quiet and alert like samatha practice built on a concentration object like the breath (anapanasati, which is a progressive training based in a deliberately happy mindstate) -- but it works well for another friend of mine who hasn't so far liked anapanasati.

So if a person has aversion to happiness/a deliberately affective mindstate, for example, then anapanasati can seem a little synthetic or hokie or just too much, since happiness and zest/joy are deliberately cultivated before they are permitted to fall away. Noting, on the other hand, does not typically start with developing zest/joy.a basic gladness for being able to do so (but you could generate that, if you wanted, it would add more to focus on...and maybe just confuse the method), but it can stimulate conceptual thinking (like the phenomena you mentioned) or boredom/mental dullness.

DW:
Experiment and tell us how it works for you. It's a good question and definitely answerable by practicing both ways and seeing what works best.

See for yourself (ehi passiko)
emoticon
Katy

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/12/13 1:22 PM as a reply to Vi Va -.
Viktor Valentin -:

If every time I hear a sound I note "hear" the word implies that there is someone who hears the sound

No, it doesn't.

So... does the actual word have any impact on your progress of realising anatta? Or are the words simply an aid to keep you from wandering?

Keep it simple. You note what happens. If you hear sound, then "hearing" is what happens, so you note "hearing, hearing, hearing" or "hear, hear, hear".
No need to make it more complicated than that.

Does anyone have any experience of this?

I have only used the version I just suggested. This works for me. I think it's what Mahasi Sayadaw recommended, too. Good luck with whatever you choose to use.

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/12/13 7:44 PM as a reply to Vi Va -.
I personally would note as much as possible with word labels at the beginning of a person's practice just to make the brain understand what it is noticing, then continue with wordless noting thereafter. If you can really tune into what is hitting your consciousness (knowing part of the mind) and even see the subtle things like any movements or choices or intentions or anything pleasant or unpleasant you'll be able to get to "no-self" eventually. It's important not to use noting to stop anything because all these impulses that the mind throws at you dissipate on their own if you don't ruminate or repress the thought impulses. It's like "you're" backing up trying to see your entire living experience being KNOWN by consciousness. At somepoint you should notice that any effort to manipulate your experience is stressful and just knowing what is hitting knowing/consciousness is noting enough. All effort and manipulation (including obsessive thoughts about practice) all hit consciousness and drop away if you let them. If you can, over time, atrophy the need to daydream about likes and dislikes you'll ruminate less and have less stress because you are so ready for the next fresh moment.

These threads are helpful:

Hierarchy of Vipassana practice

Favorite threads

Gil Fronsdal - Noting

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/13/13 8:23 AM as a reply to Vi Va -.
Viktor Valentin -:
Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Will noting with nouns more effectively break this illusion?

If every time I hear a sound I note "hear" the word implies that there is someone who hears the sound, while if I use the note "sound" there is no such implication.

So... does the actual word have any impact on your progress of realising anatta? Or are the words simply an aid to keep you from wandering?

Does anyone have any experience of this?


Noting creates extreme levels of physical pain and mental suffering for me.

Instead, I say this to myself: "I am watching thoughts", and "I am watching body". I say the word "I" very slowly and as I do it, I feel for what "I" is. I might only repeat the words for a short time; the important part is to feel for the "I" and not get lost in the objects or trying to do things at some fast pace. The focus of this exercise is "I as awareness", not the object. The object is used only as a way of identifying the subject ("I"). The effect is immediate (1 minute). Deepening takes time. If it doesn't work on your first attempt, don't persist.

Alternatively, I find Rupert Spira has written some good koans that also work pretty well.

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/13/13 11:14 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
This is very interesting... I will try to see how it fits with fast noting. Perhaps beginning with establishing the feeling "I as awareness" then switch to fast noting.

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/14/13 1:09 PM as a reply to Vi Va -.
Hi Viktor,

It's a cool question and potentially complicated. And it's worth observing that nobody above has given a close to satisfactory answer! Not that I have one either but I do think you are on to something.

For the record, here are my thoughts; Our reality is at least partly constructed through language. Perhaps nouns are reifications (they make a thing out of our experience) whereas verbs/gerunds point to processes and behaviours and therefore de-reify. The whole process of insight could on one level be seen as a de-reification process. But as you say, a verb may at least superficially seem to imply some kind of subjectivity behind the action taking place. Or not... People above say Mahasi said to note 'breathing' but is this really the case in the language he originally wrote in (Burmese I assume)? Different languages may slice these things up very differently.

Thanks, Paul

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/15/13 3:59 PM as a reply to Vi Va -.
Viktor Valentin -:
Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Will noting with nouns more effectively break this illusion?

If every time I hear a sound I note "hear" the word implies that there is someone who hears the sound, while if I use the note "sound" there is no such implication.

So... does the actual word have any impact on your progress of realising anatta? Or are the words simply an aid to keep you from wandering?

Does anyone have any experience of this?



Experiment.

Note seen, instead of seeing. Note heard instead of hearing. Note sensed instead of sensing. Note cognized instead of cognizing. The shift in attention can result in a different result in my experience. Note 'image' instead of 'imagining'. Note 'vibrations' or 'sensations', instead of 'feeling'. Any illusion of 'self', an experience of being some separate 'self', note the actual compounding phenomena that such an supposed experience is made up of...image, sound, seen, vibrations, sensation, pressure, seen, heard, sensed, thought, image, thought, seen, heard, sensed, etc etc.

Re-enforce/train the mind to notice the phenomena as object, as a noun, as opposed to a verb. This will also shed more light on impermanence in my experience. A verb, especially a present particple with -'ing', insinuates continuity more than impermanence. Noting phenomena as a noun may shed more light on how a supposed 'thing' really is inherently empty and transient, as it wont stay around long. Noting with verbs may tinge noticing/perception with the notion of continuity.Verbs, transitive and intransitive, insinuate an inherent subject/agent in English. When we use verbs, the habit of the mind may continue to imply/fabricate a subjective like experience that goes unnoticed. We may carry that subjective tendency into the practice of noting with verbs without questioning what such mental and verbal actions are re-inforcing. Using nouns can avoid this possible inherent problem of the language conditioning the way we act mentally, verbally and physically.

In the following translations of the Bahiya Sutta, the pali scholars have chosen to translate the pali as "in reference to the seen, there will be only the seen." Not "in the seeing , just the seen" as some people like to quote the suttas as saying. The difference in grammar is small, but the effect it has on practice can be quite varied in my experience.

Experiment and see what happens to the 'you' when you either train the mind to experience "in reference to the seen, just the seen" VERSUS "in the seeing, just the seeing/seen"

"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."Thanissaro Bhikkhu


"Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.' In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."John D. Ireland


A couple of interesting articles discussing on whether language shapes the way we think.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://janderson99.hubpages.com/hub/Does-Language-Shape-our-Thoughts-Are-We-what-We-say-we-are

Experiment: Start noticing with your eyes open. Where does attention go when you stick to nouns i.e. seen, heard, sensation, pain, pressure, seen, image, seen, heard, thought VERSUS sticking to verbs: seeing, hearing, sensing/feeling, thinking etc. Is there a difference in where attention goes, any subtle difference in how experience plays out? Does attention go to the same place/s when using a noun versus a verb? If so, are you training for a different result?

Disclaimer: When gunning for 1st path, I used a variety of verbs and nouns and I still got to 1st path as talked of here at the DhO. Though i still stand by the notion that there is a difference between using nouns exclusively versus verbs exclusively.
It shifts the focus of attention.


Nick

Edited for clarity

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/15/13 2:25 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:

Disclaimer: When gunning for 1st path, I used a variety of verbs and nouns and I still got to 1st path as talked of here at the DhO. Though i still stand by the notion that there is a difference between using nouns exclusively versus verbs exclusively.
It shifts the focus of attention.
Nick

Fantastic Nick,
This is why I love this place...detailed geekiness....I liked the links.
Thanks for the insightful answer.
~D

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/15/13 6:57 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
This is quite interesting. I created and tested for 2+ hours this simple method:

Whatever you are paying attention to in that moment, note it.

If you are primarily looking at something, note 'seen'
If you are primarily listening to something, note 'heard'
If you are primarily feeling something in the body note 'felt' (this applies to emotions, tensions, and any sensation in the body)
If you are primarily tasting something note 'tasted'
If you are primarily smelling something note 'smelled'
If you are primarily noticing a thought or thoughts note 'thought' or 'thoughts'


This is a very simple way of noting that doesn't require much vocabulary to get started. I find with this method that the mind gets quiet and one becomes more and more anchored in the moment. It seems to short circuit anxiety and worry, and when noting these things in the body as 'felt' when attention moves to them it seems to reduce the mind's reaction to the sensations (the mind usually notices a sensation, likes or dislikes it and then proceeds to spin all sorts of unnecessary thinking). I suppose normal noting is supposed to do this as well but for me the opposite is usually true.

What is unusual about this method, for me anyway is that it produces *zero* 'energetic' effects in the body. My ability to sense things in the environment speeds up to be sure, but I get no vibrations in the body or 'difficult tensions' or painful pressures like I usually get noting. I don't know what, if anything, that means about the efficacy of the technique. I will add this to the toolbox and see what happens.

edited for spelling

PS - also I noticed that unpleasant stuff did indeed return IF the notes were changed to 'hearing' 'feeling' 'seeing' etc - which is really, really strange. Could be just me, could be temporary, who knows.

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/16/13 2:13 AM as a reply to bill of the wandering mind.
Yes, playing around with this has a calming effect on me as well. Feeling the observer when noting with verbs and trying to let it disappear when noting with nouns. Slowly and contemplative in comparison to the fast noting I've been doing the latest time... and which has been stressing me a little.

You could try do it in three steps slowly moving to the observer as well:

"Sound - heard - hearing"
or
"Object - seen - seeing"

Or saying ... "I am watching the seeing" feeling oneself not as the one who sees but instead the one who's watching the seeing itself .

I'm not sure if I'm translating correctly since I'm doing this in Swedish, but hopefully the point will get through.

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/17/13 7:40 AM as a reply to Vi Va -.
was wrong about the lack of 'energetic' stuff and unpleasantness, I guess I had yet to get hit with another round of DN.. Still though an interesting experiment.

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/4/18 9:43 AM as a reply to bill of the wandering mind.
Bump.

Ive just begun noting myself, been using verbs.
Kind of curious if anyone has played with this for an extended period of time to see if removing nouns took the teeth out of noting, so to speak.  To see if the lack of pain etc referenced in earlier posts on this thread beared any significance on the practice.

while I was reading the relies it occurred to me that nouns are nominalizations anyway, and possibly the reinforcement of faulty thinking may hinder the mind from contemplating impermanence?

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/4/18 9:57 AM as a reply to joe.
joe:
Kind of curious if anyone has played with this for an extended period of time to see if removing nouns took the teeth out of noting, so to speak.


Why attempt to take the teeth out? I find samatha to be very calming and tranquil, and noting to be stressful (particularly at high speed). Understanding suffering is key, so why is it a problem that noting can be stressful? If anything isn't it a perfect opportunity to investigate that stress?

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/4/18 8:25 PM as a reply to joe.
While one wouldn't want to go to far into the realm of absurdity with the following point, one seriously could note using just about any words or even non-sensical sounds, and, so long as one noted after each sensation you experienced and followed the rest of the instructions, the technique would work just fine.

In fact, often, when the longer multi-syllabic words were too long to keep up with how fast my investigation had gotten, I stripped them down to single syllables, and then, when they were too long, to extremely fast, "bips", and then to barely comprehensible mental sonic taps, and finally dropped them entirely when the mind really got up to speed.

Practice well and don't overthink this, as that will just get in the way,

Daniel

RE: Will noting with verbs strengthen the illusion of self?
Answer
9/7/18 10:34 AM as a reply to Vi Va -.
Noting as verbs, to me, seems to emphasize that everything is process, which, to me, seems useful on the path.  Noting nouns seems to emphasize separation and objects.

But words mean different things to different people, whatever works for you.