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Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress

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Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Noah 5/11/15 11:23 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Rednaxela 5/11/15 12:41 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Noah 5/11/15 12:14 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress John Power 5/11/15 2:32 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Rednaxela 5/12/15 3:35 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Jean B. 5/11/15 7:23 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Nikolai . 5/11/15 10:24 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Jean B. 5/12/15 12:44 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress PP 5/12/15 6:48 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Richard Zen 5/12/15 7:54 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Jason Snyder 5/12/15 8:57 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Noah 5/12/15 11:06 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Noah 5/14/15 5:41 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Not Tao 5/14/15 5:54 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Not Tao 5/12/15 9:42 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Rednaxela 5/13/15 1:57 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress sloane 5/13/15 11:02 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress John Power 5/22/15 7:33 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Noah 5/22/15 2:47 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress cian 5/23/15 4:28 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Doug M 6/20/15 2:56 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Robin Woods 6/20/15 5:07 PM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Derek 6/21/15 6:45 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Noah 6/21/15 7:22 AM
RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress Richard Zen 6/21/15 12:15 PM
Okay, so this is in the Dharma Battleground.  I've been thinking about posting something like this for awhile now.  

The basic point of the thread is that I believe that many people who wish to attain paths and baseline shifts away from suffering think in terms of daily, formal, sitting meditation as the best place to expand their cutting-edge nana.  This is highly limiting if one has a busy schedule. 

Also, I believe people think in terms of quality over quantity.  They want to have good concentration, good mindfulness, the best meditation they can possibly do in a short period of time.  They either think that distracted-thinking is bad or that distracted-thinking is okay as long as one is aware of thinking.

I trust quantity over quality.  I would suggest that a track of distracted-thinking in the mind is okay (even without moment-by-moment awareness of it) as long as one has another another track with noting going on.  As long as noting is happening (even without focus), disembedding, and therefore, progress, is happening.  This is true even if (and maybe, especially if) it feels like nothing is happening and it isn't working.  Just keep pushing through and after a few weeks, something will happen.  
_____________________________________

So, this is my suggested experiment.  Find times in your day with medium to low cognitive engagement: commutes to and from work, downtime at work, even while working but staring blankly at the computer, in a lecture that you don't care about, before falling asleep, while making coffee in the morning.  Do distracted, low-quality noting with mental labelling at these times.  

Once you are used to low-quality noting, expand it into activities that require medium to high cognitive engagement.  Let your performance slack a little bit.  Maybe you make some mistakes at your job.  Maybe friends and family find you slightly more distracted than before.  Only intervene if these changes threaten to destabilize your life-style or situations.  You will be meditating hours more every day.  My theory is that 6 hours of 25-50% meditation is like 1-3 hours of 70-90% formal sitting.  

And, keep doing formal sitting!  If you were doing formal sitting before, keep it up.  More quantity.

I bet people would find that they could get through one nana every 1 to 4 weeks with this method.  Think about that.... 6 months to a year of lower quality work and social life for a lifetime of shifted perception and lower stress.

P.s.'s
-Many people probably already do this, I'm not suggesting it isn't common.  However, I haven't seen it explicitly discussed.  If it is explicitly discussed somewhere, please guide me to the link and I will be happy to let the thread die.  
-And yes, it might be controversial, but I am suggesting a trade-off between temporary quality-of-life and long-term enlightenment.  
-Also, distracted noting has absolutely nothing to do with canonical Buddhism.  I don't care.  It has worked for me, and I'm suggesting it might work for others.  
-Finally, this only makes sense if one is using an insight map to track their progress and if one's goal is a realistic path attainment in the near future.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/11/15 12:41 PM as a reply to Noah.
i think this is a great idea!  As a father of two young girls I try to meditate whenever i can.

I will occasionally note during my workday, typcially as i walk to the bathroom or return.  Less frequently as i walk on my commute to and from work, but i should probably take out the headphones and stop listening to Buddhist Geeks or whatever I've downloaded.  I've tried to stretch out my noting to longer stretches but i right now probably have to increase my motivation for that. 

In summary, i think it's a great idea and accept the challenge.

Here's another related idea.  As i sat at my desk during Lunch, reading Seven Steps to Awakening, i used a good part of my awareness to focus on the pleasant sensations in my face, kind of making the pleasant sensation spread.  

Alex

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/11/15 12:14 PM as a reply to Rednaxela.
Alex L:

Here's another related idea.  As i sat at my desk during Lunch, reading Seven Steps to Awakening, i used a good part of my awareness to focus on the pleasant sensations in my face, kind of making the pleasant sensation spread.  

Alex

Yeah I think that would work too if you did it a lot.  Its whatever interrupts and jars your normal patterns of perception for long enough.  Insight progress is created by breaking the normal seeing-hearing-feeling-smelling-tasting habits.  This could be done through expanding pleasant sensations, praying to god, visualizing a diety, mahasi-noting, body-scanning, etc.  My technique is basically pick a technique, do it for hours-days-weeks-months relentlessly.  See what works about it and what doesn't.  Adjust as necessary.  Mahasi-noting has continuously worked for me.  

I think many believe that Samatha-Jhana represents a lack of progress (which is what I first thought when I read 'making the pleasant sensation spread'.  But you can obviously break down patterns from within these states of calm absorption.  Or you can break down patterns from within sober, waking consciousness.  Or from within lucid dreams.  

Anyways, just more thoughts.  Thanks for the response!

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/11/15 2:32 PM as a reply to Noah.
I had the same experience and observation as you did. It is really nice to have this thread. When there is little motivation it is often easier to be mindful during the day or during an activity then to do formal meditation. Mindfulness during the day feels less strict and more like a bonus, and because of that you want to get as much bonus as possible. The formal meditation is important though to increase the frequenty that you remember to be mindful during the day. Motivation plays a big role during the first three nana´s. During the 4th nana there is less motivation from outside needed, you want to be mindful because mindfulness is more continuous and the experience more pleasant. When using your pc, this becomes meditation -> moving (the mouse), clicking (with the mouse), moving, seeing, clicking, feeling (itch), hearing (birds, car), etc. When drinking -> seeing(the cup), moving(arm to the cup), touching(the cup), lifting(the cup), moving(to your mouth), touching, drinking, warm, tasting, swallowing, warm (feeling in your body). In this way, you can make everything in life an meditation. So life becomes one great meditation.

You can´t predict how much time is needed to get through the nana´s. It depends on the person and every nana has its difficulties, but I also found this a good way to make progress.

What I found helpful during the 3th nana was adding formal concentration practice aside from the usual formal insight meditation. During the 3th nana, experience is rather unpleasant and that creates a bit of restlesness. So because of the concentration practise, concentration becomes stronger and the mind more calm, but then there can arise sleepiness and fog. When this happens it helped to change my formal insight practise from returning to the breath as much as I can, to noting and labeling more frequently everything I am aware of(sort of choiceless awareness but then with labeling and noting). This practise helped to adjust the mindfulness to the fast noting and labeling during the day.
I explained my experience with the 3th nana in this thread: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5640825

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/11/15 7:23 PM as a reply to Noah.
As a father of a 2.5 years-old boy, I have found a good pace of sitting practice - 30 min twice daily, and sometimes up to 2 or 3 hours in a day. Any period of at least 20 min of tranquility is a time dedicated to practice. (Also being in the Dukkha Nanas / Equanimity area, meditation is very interesting every time I sit which is good for motivation.)

But as my close objective is Stream Entry, I think that pratice schedule is not enough and I can't agree more with you on the importance of keeping practicting and as-close-as-constant mindfulness throughout the day.

So far I've also noticed that noting -- instead of noticing -- is much more effective in terms of disembeddedness. I've always thought that being mindful of as much sensations as possible could be enough, but really noting is much more powerful; although bare awareness or systematic noticing is better than nothing when doing tasks which need some cognitive presence.

So my point is :
  • Sitting as mush as one can is fundamental.
  • Noting whenever one is not engaged in higly cognitive tasks is definitely worth the effort -- and is actually quite fun once one gets the "knack" for it.
  • Noticing and bare awareness (feeling one's body for instance) is good for filling the blanks between.
I've been able to move through A&P and dukkha nanas and EQ (my cutting edge being High-EQ if my teacher has diagnosed me accurately) in a matter of a few weeks by keeping such a pace. And the good part, apart progress, is that life has gained a very interesting and worth investigating level.

my 2 cents...

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/11/15 10:24 PM as a reply to Jean B..
Momentum is key in my experience. Filling the gaps by including the 'gaps' so then there is no such thing that acts as a gap. A gapless practice.

I currently making baby/father time gapless too. 

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/12/15 12:44 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Momentum is key in my experience. Filling the gaps by including the 'gaps' so then there is no such thing that acts as a gap. A gapless practice.

I currently making baby/father time gapless too. 


What do you mean by "including the gaps"? Can you describe it?

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/12/15 6:48 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
I currently making baby/father time gapless too. 

I like the Baby Sutta! emoticon


 

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/12/15 7:54 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
Okay, so this is in the Dharma Battleground.  I've been thinking about posting something like this for awhile now.  

The basic point of the thread is that I believe that many people who wish to attain paths and baseline shifts away from suffering think in terms of daily, formal, sitting meditation as the best place to expand their cutting-edge nana.  This is highly limiting if one has a busy schedule. 

Also, I believe people think in terms of quality over quantity.  They want to have good concentration, good mindfulness, the best meditation they can possibly do in a short period of time.  They either think that distracted-thinking is bad or that distracted-thinking is okay as long as one is aware of thinking.

I trust quantity over quality.  I would suggest that a track of distracted-thinking in the mind is okay (even without moment-by-moment awareness of it) as long as one has another another track with noting going on.  As long as noting is happening (even without focus), disembedding, and therefore, progress, is happening.  This is true even if (and maybe, especially if) it feels like nothing is happening and it isn't working.  Just keep pushing through and after a few weeks, something will happen.  
_____________________________________

So, this is my suggested experiment.  Find times in your day with medium to low cognitive engagement: commutes to and from work, downtime at work, even while working but staring blankly at the computer, in a lecture that you don't care about, before falling asleep, while making coffee in the morning.  Do distracted, low-quality noting with mental labelling at these times.  

Once you are used to low-quality noting, expand it into activities that require medium to high cognitive engagement.  Let your performance slack a little bit.  Maybe you make some mistakes at your job.  Maybe friends and family find you slightly more distracted than before.  Only intervene if these changes threaten to destabilize your life-style or situations.  You will be meditating hours more every day.  My theory is that 6 hours of 25-50% meditation is like 1-3 hours of 70-90% formal sitting.  

And, keep doing formal sitting!  If you were doing formal sitting before, keep it up.  More quantity.

I bet people would find that they could get through one nana every 1 to 4 weeks with this method.  Think about that.... 6 months to a year of lower quality work and social life for a lifetime of shifted perception and lower stress.

P.s.'s
-Many people probably already do this, I'm not suggesting it isn't common.  However, I haven't seen it explicitly discussed.  If it is explicitly discussed somewhere, please guide me to the link and I will be happy to let the thread die.  
-And yes, it might be controversial, but I am suggesting a trade-off between temporary quality-of-life and long-term enlightenment.  
-Also, distracted noting has absolutely nothing to do with canonical Buddhism.  I don't care.  It has worked for me, and I'm suggesting it might work for others.  
-Finally, this only makes sense if one is using an insight map to track their progress and if one's goal is a realistic path attainment in the near future.
This is pretty much what my practice of insight has been and got many insights this way. The reason that daily life practice helps is that you need to be mindful when habit triggers are activating in the real world. Sitting on a cushion can create depth but a person can be good on the cushion and bad in daily life. 

The reason why consistent practice works is not because one is so super mindful it's because the habit of ruminating is starting to atrophy. The brain lets go of habits/skills/conditionings when activities stop being repeated. This is no different from playing piano for years and then stopping the practice for years and watching the skill atrophy. The difference is that you want to develop good skills and atrophy bad habits. Conditioning is only bad if it's a bad habit.

I wouldn't recommend noting during heavy cognitive lifting as Daniel Kahneman points out in "Thinking Fast and Slow" there is a loss of awareness when doing heavy math. Having a welcoming attitude and then just getting into a flow state of good work and cultivating best practices will be better than noting your way through math and cognitive work. It's easier to note during manual labour lower cognitive expending tasks.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/12/15 8:57 AM as a reply to Noah.
I agree that noting/noticing throughout the day is crucial. I would add that mixing in self-inquiry with that is also very helpful. So one can note "anxiety", but then they can also ask "who is anxious?". One can note "looking" and then can ask "who is looking?" or "who sees?". This can be done without being attached to a note also. During a few seconds of down time one can ask "where am I?" or "when am I", etc. 

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/12/15 11:06 AM as a reply to Noah.
@John: I agree that getting past the first 3 nanas in daily life can be super difficult and require adjustments.  Also, even if we can't predict how long a nana will take, it helps to be inspired by some goal (also having a meditation coach helps for encouragement in slow periods).

@Pawel: Your mindfulness without noting sounds awesome, I doubt I personally would be able to make progress with it in daily life.

@Jean: I'm excited to read about your upcoming stream entry in your practice journal!

@Nikolai: I love the baby sutta also.  Thanks for keeping your new blog updated, I will definitely tune in.

@Richard: I like that image of atrophy.  That is how I feel it is working for me, slowly, over time.

@Jason: Incorporating self-inquiry can definitely be golden.  I feel like this is where the intuition comes in, in terms of deciding what to do when.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/12/15 3:35 PM as a reply to Noah.
i've tried to note today but my noting is out of practice and its tough to stay mindful.  i reconnect at times when walking but i'm mindful not too look like too much of a freak as i walk the financial district--i suppose mifullness of others doesnt really count.

anyway, more success connecting with pleasant sensations and vibrations around my nose&  eyes.  by the time i got to a shortened evening meditation yesterday, my face was melting off.  Unfortunately i fell asleep before i could explore much further.

I'm familiar with the stages of insight but have to say i havent given them enough attention, esp. given that i'm on this site.  i'm planning to reread Daniel's book after a few years on the shelf.  Right now just connecting with sensations.  hoping my eyes open meditation (asking: "who am i?") leads to something

best,
Alex

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/12/15 9:42 PM as a reply to Noah.
It seems like distracted noting is actually more beneficial than noting as a meditation (for me).  Noting seems to get the mind into a kind of no-effort state, and then it's pretty simple to let that do it's thing. It's kind of like, whatever comes up, that's okay. This doesn't really require any active effort or maintenance. It's more like it just needs the occasional reminder. Like, pressure, tingling, warmth, clenching, embarrasement, anxiety, oh, yeah, I don't actually have to do anything about how I feel. What a relief. Haha, look at it go. Whee...

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/13/15 1:57 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao and others,

Do you think it's important to distinguish between noting and labelling?  I feel that its easy to lock onto a sensation with enough attention that noting seems unecessary.  and what would i label if i did "wavy" or "prickly", "warm", "tingly"?

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/13/15 11:02 PM as a reply to Noah.
Paweł K:
I do little sitting meditation (last time I meditated was four months ago, lol) and I do not 'sacrifice' daily activities doing my practice, I do not get distracted because I do not pretend to do any of those activities, nor do I do I pretend doing any noticing. I kinda let everything happen on its own and refuse to do anything including actually stopping my own mind doing things it do. Kinda because I never did anything in the first placem it is just getting rid of pretending to have a struggle.
...

The same have to be with vipassana, noticing without doing anything to notice, then it won't ever interfere with single thing and will even increase it.

Pawel, can you say a little bit more about this?  I don't think I've really understood what you're saying here. What's the difference between what you're describing here and ordinary consciousness?

What to do in daily life is actually a topic I've thought about/experimented with a fair amount. Been meaning to start a topic about this.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/14/15 5:41 PM as a reply to Noah.
@Pawel: I think you're right that if we could skillfully cultivate factors leading to EQ and just focus on that and nothing more it would be enough.  I also think you're right in saying that it is a skill and is somewhat difficult.  Basically, I like my dumb, beast-of-burden mental labelling because there is not much finesse to it and it is reliable (even if it is not quite as effective).  Maybe, as you say, my opinion will change in the years to come, but that will also be after technical 4th path and whatever beneficial after-effects it has on my mind.

@Alex: I would like to reccomend that you practice full mental labelling when mindfulness is low.  Meaning, pick the primary sense door (i.e. "seeing") and then its object (i.e. "floor").  This double effort will force your mind to refocus.  I would not worry about speed or precision.  Even if your mental labels is phrased several seconds after the instance of perception, I have found that it still works in the long run.  

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/14/15 5:54 PM as a reply to Noah.
Yeah, it seems like making the effort to label something is why noting works.  I might think I'm aware of something, but I can't think of a label for it.  Once I figure one out, that's when there is the shift from being embedded in the thing to seeing it "outside." I don't note quickly or very thoroughly, I just note if I feel stuck - or I use a string of notes to get the mind into the right territory.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/22/15 7:33 AM as a reply to Noah.
In my experience noting during the day at the same relaxed pace is more effective then ´die hard´ periods of being present almost every moment followed by periods of total absent of mindfulness. The constant relax effort to be mindful during the day even for every minute or so creates a continuity of mindfulness. This continuity will automatically grow.

For the people of my generation (born around the 90´s) I will use the example of Dragonball Z. When they were trying to defeat Cell, Vegeta and Trunks were training to become stronger then a Super Saiyan and they were able to transform in a Bulked Super Saiyan. They were much stronger but unable to maintain this for a long time, so eventually they would lose. When Goku and Gohan were training they trained to extent the time that they would be able to maintain the Super Saiyan transformation so that this would become there natural baseline. So instead of trying to get a better/stronger transformation, they would perfect/optimize there current transformation.
So instead of trying to be as mindful as possible during a period of time and then slack off, use a relaxed effort to extent the duration of being mindful during the day.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/22/15 2:47 PM as a reply to John Power.
@John Power: Haha! I love this, huge DBZ fan.  I think it makes sense too.  The intense-formal-sitting approach makes you strong enough to get through a lot of nanas at once, like a ssj3, but when you stop meditating, you lose a huge amount of the moment and cycle back down.  In contrast, the ssj2 can keep going for a long time and ultimately make more progress.  I sort of screwed up the metaphor there, but oh well, I dig it.

@Pawel: I am sure that you are on to something and that it is probably less common and that you are great at describing it.  But are you sure that even though you don't "chas release", that you didn't get one or more Path attainments without noticing it?  It seems likely given the strong shifts you have obviously experienced.  I'm not attempting to rank or even compare your method with the traditional pragmatic dharma one, I just want to add another data point to my set, so to speak.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
5/23/15 4:28 AM as a reply to Noah.
I'm on for the experiment!

i've done this only once for about a half a day, having never really done a formal noting practice before.
and it was a relatively dreary day - rainy, sitting on a bus in heavy traffic, wet socks - 

and I was deeply shaken&disturbed by the amazing volume of notings like 'dissatisfaction' 'pain' 'hurting' 'craving' etc
and I generally consider myself a very happy human

but i could really feel noting these negative feelings objectified them and were seen as 'not me'

so yeah, seems like a really powerful technique!  

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
6/20/15 2:56 PM as a reply to Noah.
Really late to the thread here, but this is a great idea and I want to start doing it.

I am a little confused on how though...
If I'm noting sesory events throughout the day I imagine It would be "Seeing,Hearing,Seeing,Seeing,Seeing" absolutely non-stop.
If I'm labeling action and opbject "Seeing hallway, Seeing coffee machine, typine on keyboard" absolutley non-stop.

Any advice on how to do this without decending into madness? emoticon

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
6/20/15 5:07 PM as a reply to Doug M.
This is absoultely the key to the whole thing, as far as I can tell, if you don't want to live in a cave etc

It's what worked for me and a lot of others in the broader 'pragmatic dharma' world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSq9vKkLu4s

I just used Shinzen's old version of Focus Out - simply noting 'Touch', 'Sight' or 'Sound' roughly once a second in daily life until it became utterly habitual so that every time I stood up from my computer at work or whatever I was 'meditating' to some extent. But I don't know if a more complete, Mahasi-style noting vocabulary would be better... 

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
6/21/15 6:45 AM as a reply to Doug M.
Doug M:


Any advice on how to do this without decending into madness? emoticon
Doug M, what I have found most revealing is to notice thoughts and desires, but then even more importantly, to notice the feelings that are driving those thoughts and desires. You see patterns and fixed reactions in everyday life that you would never see sitting still with your eyes closed.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
6/21/15 7:22 AM as a reply to Doug M.
Doug M:
Really late to the thread here, but this is a great idea and I want to start doing it.

I am a little confused on how though...
If I'm noting sesory events throughout the day I imagine It would be "Seeing,Hearing,Seeing,Seeing,Seeing" absolutely non-stop.
If I'm labeling action and opbject "Seeing hallway, Seeing coffee machine, typine on keyboard" absolutley non-stop.

Any advice on how to do this without decending into madness? emoticon

Just embrace the madness... and think of yourself as a noting monster! These are the immature strategies that I use.

RE: Distracted Noting In Daily Life Might Get You The Most Progress
Answer
6/21/15 12:15 PM as a reply to Doug M.
Doug M:
Really late to the thread here, but this is a great idea and I want to start doing it.

I am a little confused on how though...
If I'm noting sesory events throughout the day I imagine It would be "Seeing,Hearing,Seeing,Seeing,Seeing" absolutely non-stop.
If I'm labeling action and opbject "Seeing hallway, Seeing coffee machine, typine on keyboard" absolutley non-stop.

Any advice on how to do this without decending into madness? emoticon
The best way to use noting is to understand how it's relieving you of stress. While noting you are not ruminating. This is the only reason it works. There are many other things you need to note which is the 4 foundations of mindfulness. Notice "strategizing", "analyzing" of your meditation practice. Note feeling tones "pleasant", "neutral", "unpleasant". Note moods like "sad", "angry", "depressed", "engaged", "interested", "joy" etc. Note basic dukkha/disatisfaction with the present moment. All these foundations include much of what is happening to you now and noting simply keeps you from taking those first impulses and moving into papanca/rumination where the stress is most intense.

Some of the notes you have above look like you are wanting to note at work. I think it's okay up to a certain point but noting while talking to someone or noting while you want to do deep thinking is pretty pointless and will affect the quality and speed of your work. When at work it's more beneficial to practice Brahmaviharas to eliminate feelings of envy and social comparison. You don't have to go into a jhana while doing this. Just every so often wishing everyone in the office well (including the office narcissist) will reduce a lot of stress.

The next thing you want to do is to look at any tasks you don't want to do at work and visualize the benefits of getting them done. The brain reacts to benefits it can imagine and seeing the upside of what you think is 100% downside will reduce stress further. It will also make you a better worker.

At home you can note like a maniac but try to note with 99% bare sensation and 1% labels. If you can just 100% sensations is better. Acknowledgement of the experience is enough. Try to make sure you don't have any aversion to thinking because that defeats the purpose of noting. Thinking is fine, but negative rumination is not.

There's also something else missing in noting which is nama-rupa. Notice your attention span moving habitually from sense door to sense door looking for perceptions to like or dislike. You can use a sky-gazing practice where you relax reactivity to any experience by relaxing the body and relaxing your attention to objects. You know this is done well when the objects in space are less attended to by your attention span and the space itself is more prominent. When you get more advanced you can notice how space and time are more perceptions and involve short-term memory.