Message Boards Message Boards

Practice Logs

Practice log

Toggle
Practice log
Answer
12/23/16 8:56 AM
Hello

I began sitting practise around 6-7 years ago, for the 9 years prior to that I had a kind of 'read and reflect' style of practise rather than sitting. Usually I maintain a daily practise of at least 20 minutes a day, sometimes twice a day. On occasion it becomes 45 minutes twice daily for a while. Normally I maintain this for a few months, then due to life circumstances I may take a break for a few months during which I don't meditate, before starting again.

Any thoughts or advice on my practise would be welcomed 

emoticon

RE: Practice log
Answer
10/10/16 6:09 AM as a reply to Evammesutam.
I think these are samskaras. They condition consciousness.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa%E1%B9%85kh%C4%81ra

RE: Practice log
Answer
12/23/16 8:59 AM as a reply to Evammesutam.
I am managing to get a regular practise going but I have been having some difficulty this week with noting.

My primary object is the raise and fall of the abdomen. I observe it, when the mind winders I return it to observing. 
After around 10 minutes of this once the mind is a little bit calmer. Whenever something takes my attention such as the sensation of sitting, the heat of my hands, a sound or a thought. I switch my attention to that and make a mental note of it. 

Being new to noting practise I am finding it very hard. 15 notes per second seems impossible!, at just 1 per second I feel overwhelmed and tired after a minute. 

RE: Practice log
Answer
10/12/16 6:18 AM as a reply to Evammesutam.
Listen to your practice. If things get overwhelming, note less frequently, if things are too focused, note more frequently. A good baseline is to note on every exhale, so about 10-12 times a minute. This is about right for many people --- but adjust it to fit you. The most important thing is to make your practice your own.

Of course we "notice" many things in a second, but you don't need to "note" them all. Noting serves as a feedback mechanism to help keep you present. If you stop noting, you have probably drifted off in a thought... If so, just note what kind of thought it was "comparing thought" "judging thought" "practice thought" "daydreaming thought" and start again. You will do this 1000000000000000000000 times over the course of your practice. No big deal. No expectation that you need to be perfectly present. We all drift away, no big deal. Note and begin again.

Noting is just a method, it's actually the noticing, the being present in experience, that is what you are developing.

RE: Practice log
Answer
10/13/16 10:11 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks. Just to clarify: when people talk about noting 10-15 times a second. Are they putting mental verbal label against each of those notes? or are they just mentally noting it without a verbal label. That is the part that seems so difficult. Although adding labels definatly helps me keep a continuity, sometimes I feel that the time it takes me to say the label mentally is the slow part and mentally saying the labels for 15 a second seems very difficult. 

My second question is about how you mention not needing to note everything. Maybe I have misunderstood but I thought the more I am noting or moving towards noting everything the more I progress i.e  ability to note more = progress in insight. - is this not the case?

Thanks

RE: Practice log
Answer
10/14/16 7:11 AM as a reply to Evammesutam.
The idea that more noting means more progress is partially true, partially false. Consistent daily practice is what makes progress, noting practice or any other practice. You just need to note often enough that you stay present in the body and don't drift too far off into thoughts. Thoughts can and will happen, but you should have a slight bias toward feeling body sensations and noticing thoughts >as thoughts< rather than thinking about things.

If you are trying to "make progress happen" by noting -- then you are actually trying to manipulate/control the sit. Meditation is not about manipulation or control, it's about directly looking at how life is experienced, how experiences arise and pass away in real time. 

If you can note fast without trying to make progress happen, then no problem. Experience definitely happens quickly, so there are plenty of things to note. Daniel is a big advocate for fast, but you have to make your practice your own. Try fast and slow and medium and no noting. When you are done practicing, record how the sit went, and make your own conclusions overtime. Frankly, some sits might even be prone to fast noting, other slow noting, others just noticing... no problem, do what seems right for you.

My recommendation is if noting that fast makes you neurotic, manic, speedy etc., then try to notice the urge that is driving you. Chances are it is some kind of greediness (maybe greed for progress), aversion (maybe aversion to some sensation or thought that is occuring, which you are trying to cover up by noting other things), or ignorance (you are just noting to distract yourself from really feeling and being present with the actual moment). Be sure to note that greed, aversion, or ignoring -- seeing those urges are a big part of the path.

Same thing if noting slowly makes you dull, drifty, distracted. Take a look, are you greedy for easiness? are you avoiding the work of meditation? are you just ignoring what is going on? Be sure to note that greed, aversion, or ignoring.

A lot of rules are really more like guidelines. Make your practice your own.

Let experiences arise on their own, notice them, note an experience every so often, and practice consistently. Best wishes!