Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)

Toggle
Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 10:45 AM
Just some things I've noticed (really, no pun intended) as I've made noting part of my daily practice.

1. The metaphor of a 'receiving line' is a really useful one. Many thoughts or feelings simply disappear if you call them by name, like shaking hands and saying hello to someone in a receiving line without getting buttonholed into hearing their long dreary story.
2. There's a sweet spot for the precision of the word used for noting. like getting a person's name wrong, calling a thought the wrong thing does not let it pass on. There's no percentage in being overly precise, but being close is really good. A common distraction for me are snippets of songs. I used to note them as "hearing" and they would persist. Once I started noting them as "listening" they moved right along.
3. Sometimes I let the tendency to "talk to myself" in meditation help me by saying to myself "That's nice, did you note it?" (borrowing from one of Mr. Ingram's anecdotes). So, abrupt shifts in perspective... did I note it?, the breath 'looks' like a stream of clouds....did I note it? very entertaining 60s-esque lightshow, did I note it?
4. The other night I woke up at 3 AM to let the dogs out. Since I wasn't sleepy, I thought I would meditate while lying in bed. Over time, I did get sleepy, noted that I was feeling sleepy, but my perceptions of my breathing were still clear. At the very end, I noted feeling sleepy, and then "intending to go to sleep". So instead of 'drifting off' (which I still do, make no mistake), in that particular session, I made a deliberate observation and decision.

Anyway, just ramblings of a relative newbie..

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 11:37 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Hi Scott,

On the idea of right word, i find your observation interesting.  But how much of a vocabularly do you want to build?  Listening and hearing are two of the words that Mahasi recommends but how many other words would you want to include?  I've toyed with the idea of compiling a vocabulary with all the words in Practical Insight Meditation. 

Have ever tried Shinzen Young's simplified noting vocabulary?

Alex

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 12:01 PM as a reply to Rednaxela.
Hello Alex,

I'm not familiar with Shinzen Young's vocabulary, so I'll do a little reading on it.

At my present level of understanding (admittedly low) and practice, I'm just applying the Goldilocks principle; the right word for the job without stressing over the word too much. Sometimes words present themselves (an odd energy feeling creeping over the back of my head generated the note "sparkle" and that worked), and sometimes I have to guess.

I use both 'hearing' and 'listening'. 'Listening' seems more appropriate when there is more intention behind it, which is why I was a little surprised that it worked with song snippets. 'Hearing' works for stuff like the wind outside, the washing machine, or the dog walking across the room.

The vocabulary listing sounds interesting, and I'll certainly read up on Shinzen Young.
Thanks,
Scott

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 1:14 PM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
I did a week of Shinzen noting at retreat, and felt great and clear by the end. But it sounds like you're doing impressively well and i would encourage you to continue with your practice.  My only experiencing with Mahasi noting is walking meditation or occasionally in day-to-day life ("lifting", "tasting"--I've yet to master "intending").

Mahasi noting is great.  Shinzen says it completely eliminated mental chatter for him. if i remember correctly, shinzen's colleague who teaches the two noting syles said that Mahasi noting doesn't build up the sense of an observer to the same degree.  By that i mean: who's doing the noting?

Metta

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 1:28 PM as a reply to Rednaxela.
Here's my current trick for "intending", for whatever that's worth.

So, during meditation you sometimes swallow saliva that's accumulated.

(I'm about to borrow some martial arts terminology, don't freak out)

In late-phase noting of swallowing, you'd say "swallowed".
In mid-phase noting of swallowing, you'd say "swallowing"
In an early-phase noting, you might say "about to swallow".
The difference between between phases is basically the frequency of perception.
The jump to "intending" is when you can reliably say "about to swallow", that you look back to ask what happened right before that?
Oh, I had that little tickle in the back of my throat.
Next time, when you note that little tickle, you can say "intending to swallow". and the funny thing is, saying "intending to swallow" takes the reflexive action right out of it. You will still swallow the saliva, it will just not be an automatic reflex.

The same thing is true of adjusting your posture (it will happen automatically until you can recognize triggering sensations), or of gently lengthening the pause between exhale and inhale, or between inhale and exhale.

Again, just my USD.02.

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 3:14 PM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Thanks for these tips.  you've got a solid understanding of Mahasi noting in my estimation, definitely better than i do.  Hopefully a more experienced Mahasi practitioner can take over and give you some more valuable advice.  

i've always been curious about Mahasi noting so if you dont mind, i'll look into it in the near future and send over some q's.  Other things i'm working through are the first Koren Zen koan "who am i?", and a strong warm feeling in my face that's radiating down my face and won't go away.

Anyway, i am interested in Mahasi so i will get back on this topic.  And thanks for making your communications so readable in this age of texting. 

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 2:27 PM as a reply to Rednaxela.
You're very kind. 

Have you every played with making the 'strong warm feeling' an object of meditation in its own right?  

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 2:55 PM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
thanks for asking Scott.  Yah, i'ts there all day long and extremely easy to focus on, kind of like focusing on the fact that you have a nose.  Except that in this case it sparkles and shoots feelings done my cheek and into my eyes.  My vision will kind of oscillate and go in and out of focus.  I sometimes worry that it's a pre-stroke sensation as i eat a lot of butter and fat, and just started drinking more coffee in the last year.  but mostly i just tolerate or ignore it.  When i focus in on it, it does it's thing but doesnt move much. 

In August, at the end of a Jhana retreat, i had the sensation of worms going up my nostrils (like Neo from the Matrix if that means anything). Even better was the next morning when i meditated lying down for an hour or so and balls of fire moved through me.

but that's never happened again and i know i wont get anywhere imagining these sensations back.  Sill, i should note, "wishing, wishing."  ha!

Anyway, i should get back to my daytime investment professional job.  Hope to chat soon

Peace

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/21/15 7:27 PM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Scott Kinney:
1. Many thoughts or feelings simply disappear if you call them by name
You wish for these things to disappear?
Scott Kinney:
2. calling a thought the wrong thing does not let it pass on.
What do you mean by not pass on?
Scott Kinney:
3. Sometimes I let the tendency to "talk to myself" in meditation help me by saying to myself "That's nice, did you note it?" (borrowing from one of Mr. Ingram's anecdotes). So, abrupt shifts in perspective... did I note it?, the breath 'looks' like a stream of clouds....did I note it? very entertaining 60s-esque lightshow, did I note it?
Do you need to talk to yourself to do this?
~D

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/22/15 5:27 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Scott Kinney:
1. Many thoughts or feelings simply disappear if you call them by name
You wish for these things to disappear?
Scott Kinney:
2. calling a thought the wrong thing does not let it pass on.
What do you mean by not pass on?
Scott Kinney:
3. Sometimes I let the tendency to "talk to myself" in meditation help me by saying to myself "That's nice, did you note it?" (borrowing from one of Mr. Ingram's anecdotes). So, abrupt shifts in perspective... did I note it?, the breath 'looks' like a stream of clouds....did I note it? very entertaining 60s-esque lightshow, did I note it?
Do you need to talk to yourself to do this?
~D
re: 1. I've no particular wish about it. Thoughts and feelings come and go, some go as soon as they are recognized.
re: 2. "Not pass on", meaning the thought or feeling persists, or begins to cycle. 
re: 3. No, I don't 'need to', sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. 

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/22/15 11:42 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Scott Kinney:
Dream Walker:
Scott Kinney:
1. Many thoughts or feelings simply disappear if you call them by name
You wish for these things to disappear?
Scott Kinney:
2. calling a thought the wrong thing does not let it pass on.
What do you mean by not pass on?
Scott Kinney:
3. Sometimes I let the tendency to "talk to myself" in meditation help me by saying to myself "That's nice, did you note it?" (borrowing from one of Mr. Ingram's anecdotes). So, abrupt shifts in perspective... did I note it?, the breath 'looks' like a stream of clouds....did I note it? very entertaining 60s-esque lightshow, did I note it?
Do you need to talk to yourself to do this?
~D
re: 1. I've no particular wish about it. Thoughts and feelings come and go, some go as soon as they are recognized.
re: 2. "Not pass on", meaning the thought or feeling persists, or begins to cycle. 
re: 3. No, I don't 'need to', sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. 
There are two parts to the "noting technique".
  1. Noticing the sensations of the 6 senses with as much discernment as possible
  2. Labeling the sensations to keep thoughts about the sensations from taking over and getting lost in thought.
The noticing part is the key here..... This leads to the progress of insite and awakening.
The labeling part is very useful if the mind keeps getting lost in content...it's a nice hack that keeps you on task to allow noticing to continue uninterrupted. If the mind is concentrated and is not getting lost in content, try losing the labeling portion and see what happens. There are times to use this labeling hack and times to not use it....explore this.
As for using the "proper" word and the results therof....are you getting lost in thought? No? Then it's working fine. Although many people enjoy fiddling with the labeling portion for some reason. If you wish to fiddle with something may I recommend the discernment part instead of the labeling part.

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/22/15 1:35 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thank you.

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/23/15 1:39 PM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
I agree this is useful advice.  As a rule of thumb, i seem to remember Shinzen Young (and Mahasi) suggesting 95% of energy into noting, 5% into labelling.  Shinzen's colleague found it interesting that i practiced "dismissive" labelling for my inner voice, and suggested i choose to experience these events more fully.  But i had trouble noting these things as they were happening, usually only labelling after the fact, and felt some mental clarity and awakeness by acknowledging that these things had happened.

I hope that's somewhat helpful.  You'll find Sinzen's systems very simple, perhaps useful and available free online.  

RE: Adventures in Noting (from a beginner)
Answer
4/23/15 11:43 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
@DreamWalker,

Again, my thanks for your advice. The 'hack' of noting (and I do realize it's a hack) is useful to me at the moment since it allows me to recognize thoughts without getting rolled by them. and to point back to my 'late-mid-early phase noting' concept, when my perception frequency is sufficient to promote early-phase noting I will (my current operating theory) be in a better position to examine them through the other sense-doors without getting lost in them. 

I liked Daniel's talk "It's a Jungle in There", it describes the process of seeing your internal phenomena in greater and greater detail, and the amount of curiosity and openness it takes to do that.