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Noting
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7/3/10 8:43 PM
Quick question on Noting. Is it important to mentally label phenomenon, i.e. "thinking" when a thought happens or "painful sensation" on feeling pain or it is sufficient to be discretely aware of these things without using mental labels? The same for breathing; can I just observe the rising and falling of breath or do I have mentally label like a mantra?
Thanks.

RE: Noting
Answer
7/4/10 3:31 AM as a reply to Cres Cendo.
Hi Cres,

I'm not that experienced, so hopefully more experienced practicioners will chime in.

As I understand it though, one should indeed make a mental note of the sensation you're observing, be it a thought, pain, breath or whatever you can observe.
The trick seems to be that while you're observing the rising of breath for example, you note 'rising, rising, rising' and realise that every 'rising' points at a different instant of the rising breath. So when you note rising for the second time, the first 'rising' sensation has utterly vanished.
This way you can train yourself to notice the different sensations that make up the rising breath and note them individually. I think you should prevent it from becoming a mantra. Make every note pinpoint the one sensation you're experiencing at this single moment. The aim is to eventually see the stills that make up the film.

Daniel also stresses the importance of speed. So see if you can speed up and note as many sensations as you can. It helps to keep notes practically short, so instead of 'painful sensation' I'd note 'pain'. When thing really speed up you can also make use of single syllables like 'dit' or 'dat' or something.

Like I said this goes for physical sensations as well as thougths and the like, but physical sensation seem to be a lot easier as an object in the beginning. When I find myself wandering of, I just note 'wandering', or 'fantasizing', or 'worrying' depending on de nature of my thougths, and then return to noting the rise and fall of the breath. But that's up to you of course.

Helpful?

Cheers,
Noah

RE: Noting
Answer
7/4/10 4:09 AM as a reply to Noah 42.
All spot on advice.

RE: Noting
Answer
7/4/10 9:35 PM as a reply to Noah 42.
Copy/paste. Save as: vipassana noting.

That second paragraph is the best description I have come across anywhere.

RE: Noting
Answer
7/5/10 2:23 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Copy/paste. Save as: vipassana noting.

That second paragraph is the best description I have come across anywhere.


I see, so mental verbalization of the noting is required. I had thought it was not! Is it sometimes true that it may slow down the noting process? Thanks.

RE: Noting
Answer
7/5/10 9:18 PM as a reply to Cres Cendo.
It takes all of 2 minutes insight practice to see that it does slow things down. Even a novice like me can work that out. Try it yourself. For me, noting pulls my attention back away from the sensate level - one level removed if you like - so it feels quite counterproductive. But all the advanced guys seem to do it, so i persist. In fact i do both - paying attention and paying attention with noting.

RE: Noting
Answer
7/6/10 9:20 PM as a reply to Cres Cendo.
Hey Cres,

Actually, the important thing in noting practice isn't the verbalization itself, the "noting" action is a gesture composed of two movements: you first "touch" the sensation, really "touch" it with your attention, as if to penetrate it to see what is really there, and then you "come back" and "name it."

In my understanding, it is the "touch" part that really matters. The reason why it is a good idea to verbalize what you just felt when you "touched" the sensation is because it allows you to keep track if you're really paying attention to what is happening. It prevents that you "touch" a sensation without really getting to know what is there. And it really "brings you back" and makes you "ready for another one."

Each "touch" should be a fresh application of attentive investigation to a given sensation at a given moment. Once you get an intuitive grasping of what noting is, you will know if you're doing it right regardless if you say the correct label. Then you can just use "ta, ta, ta, ta, ta" or some other short syllable between every "touch." Eventually even the syllable can be dispensed with, and then you are just doing "touch, touch, touch" rhythmically (but attentively, without transing out). Then things can get very fast.

Bruno

RE: Noting
Answer
7/6/10 9:55 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Hey Cres,

Actually, the important thing in noting practice isn't the verbalization itself, the "noting" action is a gesture composed of two movements: you first "touch" the sensation, really "touch" it with your attention, as if to penetrate it to see what is really there, and then you "come back" and "name it."

In my understanding, it is the "touch" part that really matters. The reason why it is a good idea to verbalize what you just felt when you "touched" the sensation is because it allows you to keep track if you're really paying attention to what is happening. It prevents that you "touch" a sensation without really getting to know what is there. And it really "brings you back" and makes you "ready for another one."

Each "touch" should be a fresh application of attentive investigation to a given sensation at a given moment. Once you get an intuitive grasping of what noting is, you will know if you're doing it right regardless if you say the correct label. Then you can just use "ta, ta, ta, ta, ta" or some other short syllable between every "touch." Eventually even the syllable can be dispensed with, and then you are just doing "touch, touch, touch" rhythmically (but attentively, without transing out). Then things can get very fast.

Bruno


I really like that explanation and the concept of "touching" as that's what I have been doing. I understand now from all the posts in this thread the idea and importance of the labeling, as you said it, it prevents one from just going into a trance and really forces one to really acknowledge what has been "touched". Thanks.
Cheers.