Noting the noting

Paul Smith, modified 5 Years ago.

Noting the noting

Posts: 109 Join Date: 5/9/15 Recent Posts
I'm doing samatha with noting - whenever something arises I note it and return to breath. I noticed some problems with this recently.
1. noting itself is also some kind of an object, so should I note it? If I do, then there's a second object - new act of noting. This can go ad infinitum. I sometimes note the note and note the possibility of infinit regression and return to breath. Should I exclude the noting from noting?
2. noting sometimes feels too slow. During assignment of note, or 'verbalizing' the note internally, I notice many objects, which I'm not able to note. I tried to deal with this by dropping the noting and just returning to breath, but I feel like I'm missing something useful. How to be efficient and fast with noting?
3. sometimes I notice the act of observing. This is problematic, because it means the observer observes itself? It quickly creates an infinite stream of watchers. I understand this has to do with no-self, but I don't know how to handle this? How do I 'contemplate' it to arrive at some insight? 
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Vuthy Ou, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Noting the noting

Posts: 24 Join Date: 3/8/15 Recent Posts
Yo,

It sounds like you're doing vipassana if your noting and noticing things moment to moment. Are you trying to go this route or cultivate jhana?

If you're trying to cultivate calm, I'd say abandon noting and just focus on the breath or pleasant tinglings or whatever.

If you're trying to investigate and get some insight - you may want to try "choiceless noting" vs. anchoring on the breath.

Just note whatever is most predominant in awareness. You will miss a lot of stuff. Note "missing". Your noting will change speed - "faster", "slower", "curiosity", "judgement", "mislabelling", "late", "confusion", whatever. 

Speed for me tends to be ñana specific - sometimes it will be natural to go so fast you can drop labelling and just tick-tick-tick-tick-tick along. Other times, you'll be slow, sleepy, and spacey. Other times you will be at a really leisurely pace, but super clear. Point is, don't sweat it. Pull the trigger and note. If you notice the noting process, pull the trigger and note.

If the observer becomes predominant in awareness, pull the trigger and note. If you start contemplating and extrapolating, note it. If you start searching for things to note, note "searching".

By the way, your notes may change meaning with time. The "observer/watcher" sense you notice today may be very different from the "observer/watcher" you notice months from now. So what if it's not a version of "observer" that reveals some deep insight - pull the trigger and note it.

Insight isn't necessarily a product of reasoning or contemplation - I think it comes more from a place of perceptual clarity that doesn't need reason/logic/thought. How to increase perceptual clarity? Pull the trigger and note - a lot.

Hope this is helpful.

Keep in mind I've only been at this 9 months or so and may be totally full of shit. :-)

Best!
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Noting the noting

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Paul Smith:

2. noting sometimes feels too slow. During assignment of note, or 'verbalizing' the note internally, I notice many objects, which I'm not able to note. I tried to deal with this by dropping the noting and just returning to breath, but I feel like I'm missing something useful. How to be efficient and fast with noting?

Just a comment on this: "verbalising the note" is what we usually call labelling. Labels are not necessary for noting. They are useful when beginning and at other times too. For example, with low energy or when distracted. So if labels are becoming a hindrance to you, drop the labels, and note without verbalising. You may find that you are able to go faster and "deeper" this way.

About 1. and 3. I will leave the answer to more expert people around here. emoticon

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