Message Boards Message Boards

Vipassana: Noting/Mahasi Style

Can noting in daily life cause Dark night?

Toggle
Can noting in daily life cause Dark night?
noting dark night
Answer
6/28/18 10:14 AM
If I often do noting during daily life, mentally labeling every 1-2 seconds (without looking for 3 characteristics), what are the chances that I will cross the A&P and get into the Dark night? My sitting practice is anapanasati (TMI).

If my understanding is correct, for A&P I would need a lot of sitting practice with noting non-verbally maybe 10 times per second. So, that would mean that the risk for me is minimal. I would like to aim for noting all day long to improve mindfulness off the cushion, if this doesn't lead to Dark night. I know that in theory I can get into the Dark night anytime randomly, but what are the chances for average practitioner?

RE: Can noting in daily life cause Dark night?
Answer
6/28/18 10:48 AM as a reply to Griffin.
Rigorous, consistent, and continuous off-cushion noting will naturally and automatically lead to going through the A&P, the Dark Night, and hopefully Equanimity and stream entry.  The perceptual changes in terms of how many sensations you can notice in each stage are probably an artifact of how the mind seems to work rather than an intentional level of effort -- the A&P and Equanimity have a feeling of effortlessness to perceive sensations that quickly.  It sounds easy to say that you're not going to try to perceive the 3 Characteristics -- but in reality they're actually unavoidably true and present in every moment.  So if you're putting forth any consistent effort to look at the details of your subjective experience, then you'll start slipping up more and more and accidentally notice the 3 characteristics.  Do that enough and you'll power through the early stages and hit A&P and the DN.  Especially if you've got a TMI-based sitting practice where you're building up concentration.

Could you tell us a little bit more about your TMI practice and how that's going?  Is there a reason that you want to supplement it with noting?  One of the main design goals for TMI is to build up enough concentration that when you do hit the Dark Night you can ride through it 3rd jhana rather than the dukkha nanas.  There's also a secondary goal of handling difficult psychological stuff earlier on in Stage 4 purifications so it's not exacerbated by DN.

RE: Can noting in daily life cause Dark night?
Answer
6/28/18 6:35 PM as a reply to Griffin.
Heck, some people can cross the A&P on far less than that, happening as children to some, without meditation at all in any formal way in some, just from daily life. The range is wide. Others will note for years and nothing much will happen. There seems at this point to be no predicting this, but it is definitely clear that more noting and more investigation in general leads to a greater chance of crossing the A&P.

RE: Can noting in daily life cause Dark night?
Answer
6/28/18 8:41 PM as a reply to Griffin.
never!


(jk)


RE: Can noting in daily life cause Dark night?
Answer
6/29/18 11:32 AM as a reply to JP.
Hi JP, thank you for your help. I guess my next question would be what alternative off-cushion practice would you recommend considering my situation.

I am at stage 4 for a long time, but lately I experienced some progress due to more insight into difference between attention and awareness. I am by nature extremely overthinking and fantasy-prone personality, and those old habits make me lose mindfulness in daily life, which I feel slows down my progress considerably (especially on work, lots of computer use and talking). This slow progress causes self-criticism and anxiety, and that makes me even less motivated to be mindful. I wanted to try doing noting during the day, because I find it to be simple and straightforward. I can do it even when tired, and I hoped that this success would motivate me to be more mindful, creating positive feedback loop, but it’s too risky considering Dark night.

However, when I try to apply TMI instructions in daily life, it becomes too complicated and causes overthinking. For example, when I eat should I – 1) focus on all sensations of eating (like “following”), or 2) try to be aware of thoughts (training introspective awareness), or 3) both at the same time (maybe this is too much for me right now). I don’t know whether it’s better that I try to keep body awareness all day long (because overthinking probably makes me “disembodied” / ”ungrounded”) or focus on keeping awareness of thoughts (because thoughts are the territory where my mind is the most) or focus on where attention is (like choiceless attention). So, mindfulness in daily life became extremely complicated topic for me. I just hoped that simplicity noting could solve that (“note now, ask questions later”).

RE: Can noting in daily life cause Dark night?
Answer
6/30/18 8:27 AM as a reply to Griffin.
My experience is that the continuity of mindfulness is what counts.  The technique of noting is just one amongst many that will drive the progress of insight forward when practice continuously.