Question about "Noting" Practice

Michael Settle, modified 11 Years ago.

Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/23/10 Recent Posts
Daniel,

In your book you say 'noting' practice involves making a "quiet, mental one-word note of whatever you experience in each moment." (P61)

One the next page you say, "the noting should be as consistent and continuous as possible, perhaps one to five times per second. Speed and an ability to keep noting no matter what arises are very important."

My question, and my problem are pretty much the same. I'm unable to note things like rising, falling, thinking, recalling, feeling,
pressure, tension, pain in foot, wandering etc at anything like a rate of one to five times per second. Now, I may be in error because I'm attempting to verbally, albeit silently, to note all these things that arise. Still, that's a lot of talking to yourself.

In other words, when I note "thinking" I say "thinking" in my mind.(Or someplace) The point is, it is said. The same is true of all the other notes. I've tried a self correction of "noting" without saying anything in my mind, but my impression is that I lose precision.

What clarification can you offer? Or guidance?

Note: I'm fairly new my my noting practice. It could be that speed comes with experience.
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Michael,

Welcome to the Dharma Overground.

While you addressed your post to Daniel, here's my take: Yep, verbal notes. Don't worry about the rate of 5/second - you're right suspecting that it's a matter of experience and practice. Also, it's stage-dependent - have you read the material later in the book, about the stages of insight?

One tip: initially, it may be easier to focus on one particular set of sensations, such as the motion of the abdomen as you breathe. On inhaling, can you feel the sensations in the abdomen which tell you that it's rising? Once you feel them, note "rising". Feel again. Still rising? Note "rising" again. Notice the sensations, then note.

Also, have you tried walking meditation, noting the sensations in each foot as it touches the ground?

Cheers,
Florian
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I like everything Florian said. Nothing particularly to add, except to re-emphasize that it is stage dependent and with practice and time one can get better, clearer, faster, more inclusive, etc.

D
Michael Settle, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/23/10 Recent Posts
Florian,

Thanks for the reply.

I am doing walking mediation. I'm following the instructions given in Mahasi Sayadaw's "Practical Insight Meditation", and am at the "lift, forward, down" stage with slow walking. I do notice the sensations. I also sit each am & pm. I'm at two to three 20-25 minute sessions interspersed with 15 minute walkings.

I'm not entirely without experience, just entirely w/o realization. I was a Zen student for several years in New Mexico. Zen is light on information; long on difficulty and what I thought of as cultural extravagance. I did several weekend retreats, received a koan, saw a vision or two, and got into projectile vomiting after zazen in a mineral hot spring. I was much afraid, dropped out and began abusing myself. I've stopped that. Coincident was my joining a yoga studio.

I'd dearly love to know what, if any, significance my Zen experience has had, will have, should have etc.

I found Daniel's this summer book and am on my second time through. I had returned to my cushion shortly before finding the book.
Bart W, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
I have a related question.

Simply put, as I see it, Samatha is concentration practice. Being with the breath, noting it's impermanence.
Vipassana is noting, or insight.

How would one combine these two practices in day to day life?

Start a meditation session by noting, then when the mind calms down, switch to concentration?

Or do a concentration session in the morning, and an insight practice in the afternoon?
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Bart,
In Samatha, you wouldn't want to note impermanence - that's already vipassana. Instead, you'd try to stay with or tune into the breath sensations as a smooth flow, or a circulation, something steady, calming, happy, and tranquil.

Vipassana on the other hand can get quite uncomfortable and edgy - you're noting impermanence, suffering, the independable nature of identification (not-self) and so on, after all.

Note how concentration is required in both cases.

To combine: Starting a sit with samatha certainly is traditional instructions, and works well. Dedicated samatha sits work well for me; also, I initially found it very useful to use one object (kasina, or a sound, or a meditation word) for samatha and another (breath) for vipassana.

Oh, and give walking meditation a try. I don't do highly formal "ten slow steps this way, ten the other way"; instead, I take an easy stroll during lunch break. Initially, I'd just note when each foot would touch the ground. That was very powerful and helpful practice in my case.

Cheers,
Florian
Bart W, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
This was very helpful Florian, thank you. I also re-read some parts of MTCB and I think it's alot clearer now.

Time to practice!
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edgar kim meme, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Question about "Noting" Practice

Posts: 3 Join Date: 2/16/10 Recent Posts
Helpful to me too! I have been doing the up - forward - down for several months now! Mostly one foot at a time because I find following both feet's movements rather hard to keep up with.

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