Fast vs. Slow noting

Jason Emmanuel Snyder, modified 7 Years ago.

Fast vs. Slow noting

Posts: 10 Join Date: 9/20/13 Recent Posts
Hi,

I'm sure the fairly certain that the answer to this question is: "well it depends on your individual proclivities". But I wanted to get peoples taken on the relative benefits of fast vs slow noting. Particularly Daniel Ingram's technique of 1-5 times per second (or faster), and Shinzen Young's technique of 1 thing every 4-6 seconds in order to "soak into it and open up to it". It seems like Ingram's approach is what Young would call getting into a flow state, i.e., tapping into the vibrations and rapid sensations. And maybe Young's approach would be considered more like concentration practice (and no longer insight practice) to Ingram.

So far in my practice, when actually labeling things, i.e., saying a word in my mind or out loud, I prefer going slower to really make sure I experience what I am noting. I also like to speed up, but when I do, I find the act of labeling just gets in the way of the raw awareness of it. I become frantic and lose track of the actual sensations. I much prefer to ride it out, to hold as much attention to as many sensations as I possibly can, and not worry about coming up with words to label (or note in Ingram's terminology).

What is your experience/preferred approach?
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Nikolai ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Fast vs. Slow noting

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Jason Emmanuel Snyder:
Hi,

I'm sure the fairly certain that the answer to this question is: "well it depends on your individual proclivities". But I wanted to get peoples taken on the relative benefits of fast vs slow noting. Particularly Daniel Ingram's technique of 1-5 times per second (or faster), and Shinzen Young's technique of 1 thing every 4-6 seconds in order to "soak into it and open up to it". It seems like Ingram's approach is what Young would call getting into a flow state, i.e., tapping into the vibrations and rapid sensations. And maybe Young's approach would be considered more like concentration practice (and no longer insight practice) to Ingram.

So far in my practice, when actually labeling things, i.e., saying a word in my mind or out loud, I prefer going slower to really make sure I experience what I am noting. I also like to speed up, but when I do, I find the act of labeling just gets in the way of the raw awareness of it. I become frantic and lose track of the actual sensations. I much prefer to ride it out, to hold as much attention to as many sensations as I possibly can, and not worry about coming up with words to label (or note in Ingram's terminology).

What is your experience/preferred approach?


This fast approach initially worked for me. This slow approach also worked for me. It depends on what works for your own conditioning.

Nick
Jason Emmanuel Snyder, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Fast vs. Slow noting

Posts: 10 Join Date: 9/20/13 Recent Posts
Thanks! These descriptions were very helpful. A natural sequence for me might be to start with Shinzen pace and really absorb and open up to the sensations, proceed to a Folk pace and really deconstruct their component parts, and then naturally shift into an Ingram pace and start bustin' some aliens.
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Fast vs. Slow noting

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
Shinzen describes in detail a spectrum of practices (in his "what is mindfulness document"). He doesn't really talk about speed so much, but it would seem that across the spectrum it goes from fast to slow.

Noting need not be accompanied by labeling, and labeling may be mental or spoken. This gives us three
possibilities:
1. Just Noting without intentionally labeling.
2. Mental labels accompanying the Noting.
3. Spoken labels accompanying the Noting.

Within the spoken labels there are three sub-types:
1. Sub-vocal labels (mouthed, whispered, or sotto voce labeling that would be inaudible to people near
you.)
2. Ordinary spoken labels.
3. Strongly spoken labels.



9. Can you summarize some basic guidelines for the labeling process?
Answer:
• If you are noting without labels and are getting spaced out or caught up, start to mentally label.
• If that doesn’t help, modulate your mental voice to be more gentle and matter-of-fact, even if that
seems artificial and contrived.
• If that doesn’t help, speak the labels out loud in that gentle and matter-of-fact tone.
• If that doesn’t, use strongly spoken labels.
• If the effort to speak the labels causes uncomfortable reactions (resistance, emotion, and so forth) label
those reactions. (Those reactions are proof that you’re doing the procedure correctly. The stronger
labeling mode is forcing you to go toe-to-toe with the unconsciousness itself!)

10. Question: I don’t like to label.
Answer: The solution is easy. You don’t have to! Labeling is an option
within the apparatus of Noting. But if it’s a choice between effortful labeling on one hand and being grossly spaced out on the other, go for the labels!


Personally I switch between them depending on my concentration levels, along the lines of what Shinzen suggests. If I am really concentrated (e.g. a good samatha session beforehand), I tend to do more non verbal noticing (and generally the more concentrated the faster), but when my concentration has gone to shit and I am getting caught up in thoughts I note out loud.

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