Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

A TACK, modified 8 Years ago at 4/2/14 5:53 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/2/14 5:53 PM

Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

Posts: 7 Join Date: 3/14/14 Recent Posts
Would appreciate some thoughts please or direction to relevant posts/reading material, apologies if i have threads which ask the same Q.

I solely do concentration practice (using breath) and can cultivate some nice jhanic states quickly and solidly, so now i feel ready to move to vipassna/noting.

Some q's - In Dan's book he mentions tuning in to sensation at a rate of 1 to 10 per second, this i can do with breath in nostrils, in fact it's harder at this point to perceive breath as solid for concentration practice. However when i try and note each part of the breath sensation as rising/falling it really slows things down. I can easily observe the quick sensations of each part of the breath but to then apply a note them just seems clunky. Surely in applying the note you are not aware of as many sensations because of the time taken to apply the note? or is the fact that i have observed the sensation enough - i.e no further note needs to be applied?

Also - with regards to the 3 characteristics, is the very fact that one is observing/noting every small aspect of breath in itself investigating the 3 characteristics? e.g seeing impermanence in every small aspect of the breath - or am i not getting it and investigation of 3 characteristics needs to be applied in other ways?

i've read Dan's book twice but not clear on the above.

Thanks
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 8 Years ago at 4/2/14 8:20 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/2/14 8:20 PM

RE: Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
From what I read on your post, I don't have much I can help you with, because I don't really understand what you are trying to do.

My practice is to be happy in the present moment. Sometimes this involves looking deeply, sometimes it involves concentrating. I do what feels natural.
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Bill F, modified 8 Years ago at 4/2/14 10:31 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/2/14 10:31 PM

RE: Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

Posts: 556 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Yes, observation is the main thing. If in the observing of it you are seeing it clearly then there is no need to add another filter. The three characteristics became predominant in my experience in an organic way, and I would caution not to "try" to see them, rather keep observing the breath and other sensations that are present, widening out to include more phenomena when that seems useful but approaching it in the same way. Some people have found it useful to mentally note, but I think this is mainly due to a lack of concentration that it seems you have. I even spent a period of time before stream entry noting out loud, which felt clunky when I was first introduced to it, but ended up being very useful. I have found much of Daniel's more recent writing to be useful, but MCTB did not resonate with me much, even moving through the paths. All that to say, it is not one size fits all. Suggestions are useful, but experiment and find what works for you.
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(D Z) Dhru Val, modified 8 Years ago at 4/3/14 2:07 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/3/14 2:06 AM

RE: Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
A TACK:

Some q's - In Dan's book he mentions tuning in to sensation at a rate of 1 to 10 per second, this i can do with breath in nostrils, in fact it's harder at this point to perceive breath as solid for concentration practice. However when i try and note each part of the breath sensation as rising/falling it really slows things down. I can easily observe the quick sensations of each part of the breath but to then apply a note them just seems clunky. Surely in applying the note you are not aware of as many sensations because of the time taken to apply the note? or is the fact that i have observed the sensation enough - i.e no further note needs to be applied?


You can apply a single syllable note like 'ba', 'da', 'fa' etc. This keeps your verbal thought processes busy, and also serves as a pace setter for refreshing your observation.

If your concentration is very strong, and you are not distracted by discursive thoughts then it might be less important to note.


A TACK:

Also - with regards to the 3 characteristics, is the very fact that one is observing/noting every small aspect of breath in itself investigating the 3 characteristics? e.g seeing impermanence in every small aspect of the breath - or am i not getting it and investigation of 3 characteristics needs to be applied in other ways?


Probably best to investigate it one characteristic at a time.

Starting with impermanence. Soon you will get the rapid tingly sensations happening and cross AP.

AP will lead to the dukkha nanas, so then investigate dukkha and the impermanence of dukkha.

Once you understand the impermanence of dukkha you will develop equanimity. Then stop noting, but continue to be alert.

Start to look for any sensations that your mind has subconsciously associated to be 'self' or 'observer'. Investigate no-self here.

Be relentless and get stream entry.
A TACK, modified 8 Years ago at 4/4/14 4:24 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/4/14 4:24 PM

RE: Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

Posts: 7 Join Date: 3/14/14 Recent Posts
William Golden Finch:
Yes, observation is the main thing. If in the observing of it you are seeing it clearly then there is no need to add another filter. The three characteristics became predominant in my experience in an organic way, and I would caution not to "try" to see them, rather keep observing the breath and other sensations that are present, widening out to include more phenomena when that seems useful but approaching it in the same way. Some people have found it useful to mentally note, but I think this is mainly due to a lack of concentration that it seems you have. I even spent a period of time before stream entry noting out loud, which felt clunky when I was first introduced to it, but ended up being very useful. I have found much of Daniel's more recent writing to be useful, but MCTB did not resonate with me much, even moving through the paths. All that to say, it is not one size fits all. Suggestions are useful, but experiment and find what works for you.


Thank you for your reply William.

Your experience resonates with me. I have found really honing concentration helps with overall moment to moment observation/mindfulness - adding the note filter is a layer of doing which i don't think i need.

I think I understand what you mean re. organic viewing of the 3 characteristics, certainly no self/impermanence have become apparent in practice, almost overwhelmingly so some times, and then also in normal life too.

I have been playing around with noting as I walk around doing to day to day stuff, but in practice it just feels to slow/clunky for me.
A TACK, modified 8 Years ago at 4/4/14 4:46 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/4/14 4:45 PM

RE: Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

Posts: 7 Join Date: 3/14/14 Recent Posts
(D Z) Dhru Val:
A TACK:

Some q's - In Dan's book he mentions tuning in to sensation at a rate of 1 to 10 per second, this i can do with breath in nostrils, in fact it's harder at this point to perceive breath as solid for concentration practice. However when i try and note each part of the breath sensation as rising/falling it really slows things down. I can easily observe the quick sensations of each part of the breath but to then apply a note them just seems clunky. Surely in applying the note you are not aware of as many sensations because of the time taken to apply the note? or is the fact that i have observed the sensation enough - i.e no further note needs to be applied?


You can apply a single syllable note like 'ba', 'da', 'fa' etc. This keeps your verbal thought processes busy, and also serves as a pace setter for refreshing your observation.

If your concentration is very strong, and you are not distracted by discursive thoughts then it might be less important to note.


A TACK:

Also - with regards to the 3 characteristics, is the very fact that one is observing/noting every small aspect of breath in itself investigating the 3 characteristics? e.g seeing impermanence in every small aspect of the breath - or am i not getting it and investigation of 3 characteristics needs to be applied in other ways?


Probably best to investigate it one characteristic at a time.

Starting with impermanence. Soon you will get the rapid tingly sensations happening and cross AP.

AP will lead to the dukkha nanas, so then investigate dukkha and the impermanence of dukkha.

Once you understand the impermanence of dukkha you will develop equanimity. Then stop noting, but continue to be alert.

Start to look for any sensations that your mind has subconsciously associated to be 'self' or 'observer'. Investigate no-self here.

Be relentless and get stream entry.


Thanks Dhru Val - certainly in day to day life i will note some things when concentration lapses or just to keep me focused while i'm doing something. However i can clearly feel things like the wind/air at the same time in many parts of my body at once and i'm mostly clearly aware of this and able to watch how it changes etc, but i can see how in other situations the noting would be useful.

The next part of your post almost knocked me off my chair...

Over the last few weeks I tingle/urge to itch but not quite, really heavily during practice. I might sit for an hour in the AM and similar in the PM and every time i sit the tingling starts. I have been taking a new medicine around the same time as I practice, and i thought the tingling might have even been a reaction to my new medicine - even went and saw my GP emoticon Doing an N1 and practicing at other times independent of the meds i now see that practice is the trigger.

Specifically seems to come on as soon an access concentration comes on line and intensifies with priti.

Over the last few days access concentration is almost instant, tingling and pritti more intense than ever. tonight i sat for an hour and really broke down the sensations of the breath, tons of vibrations/pulses as expected, Priti starting about 5 mins in and became extremely intense as vibrations sped up, or ability to observe them. Then something happened after about 30 mins - almost like the brain had an overload (but it didn't feel this way) heart rate shot up, my eyes just flew open (although lately they feel like they want to open whenever i sit), was more intense than anything i've ever felt before in practice. Then bought myself back by solidifying the breath and doing concentration for the rest of the sit. Jhanic state i got in to then was extremely spacious.

I was in the shower yesterday and had a "reality drop out moment" and then i suppose some insight - the feeling/knowing that i'm really just a bag of sensations experiencing a selection of sensations out of an infinite number of sensations happening at the same time. I guess this is no self stuff? have had the feeling over the last few days of awareness hugely intensifying overall, and especially of mental sensations, and them really being given no more weight than other sensations, noticing how quickly they rise and fall like other sensations. I htink there has been a shift.

Apologies for the rambling post, but feels good to write this stuff down emoticon does this experience sound A&P esque? For me i think this is important, because although interesting, the physical intensity of what happened today during practice and seizure like pritti is intense. Be good to know where I might be now on the map before i venture off in to formal insight territory.

Thank you

Aaron
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(D Z) Dhru Val, modified 8 Years ago at 4/6/14 9:43 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/6/14 9:43 AM

RE: Moving from concentration practice to noting - how fast to note

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
A TACK:

I was in the shower yesterday and had a "reality drop out moment" and then i suppose some insight - the feeling/knowing that i'm really just a bag of sensations experiencing a selection of sensations out of an infinite number of sensations happening at the same time. I guess this is no self stuff?


You are getting close to no-self. But not quite there.

Here are some stuff to think about...

1) How can one sensation 'observe' another sensation ? They are just sensations.

2) Do you have any subset sensations, that you think of as being your 'mind' or 'observer' ?

The sense of observer is illustrated in this picture below.



If you investigate the sensations of the 'observer'.

Are they different from any other sensations ?
Does it seem like the sense of where the observer is located shifts when doing this sort of investigation ?

If so immediately switch to investing the new location and just be relentless in investigating whatever sensations that seem like they are related to there being an observer.

A TACK:

have had the feeling over the last few days of awareness hugely intensifying overall, and especially of mental sensations, and them really being given no more weight than other sensations, noticing how quickly they rise and fall like other sensations. I htink there has been a shift.


This sounds like good progress.

Have courage.

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