Why scanning?

Karol, modified 3 Years ago at 4/19/20 10:48 AM
Created 3 Years ago at 4/19/20 10:48 AM

Why scanning?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 4/15/20 Recent Posts

I've attended 3 Goenka retreats. This time I decided to keep the practice and sit twice a day for 1h. But after somewhat establishing my routine for last 3 months I find that I head nowhere.

I started reading MCTB and understood that what I put not sufficient effort to was 3 Characteristics.

Now I think I get it emoticon
My concern is that I was advised by Goenka, to notice the sensation and move attention and then notice and move again etc. While noticing a sensation is not a problem, noticing 3C of it actually is if you "have no time" to notice 3C clearly, because you need to move on. I read that sensations occur every 1/40-1/10 of a second, so not having time may sound ridoculous.

I know that it may sound as newbie (who I am) question, but I would greatly appreciate if someone could give me some advice here. What assumptions did I take which stop me from making progress? And what are the reasons to scan (move) rather than stay in one place to clearly "see" what's there?

Thank you,
Chris O, modified 3 Years ago at 4/19/20 1:09 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 4/19/20 12:17 PM

RE: Why scanning?

Posts: 54 Join Date: 10/8/16 Recent Posts
One benefit of scanning is that it can keep the mind from sinking into dullness because it has something concrete--and varied--to do. For some, the breath becomes boring, or they get lost in the openness of choiceless awareness, leading to decreased clarity. Noting, scanning, the breath--whatever, they're all just games to keep engaged.

What makes you say you've stopped making progress?

Understand that after you've intellectually familiarized yourself wiith the Three Characteristics, simply setting the intention to notice them is sufficient--it largely becomes an automatic, subconscious process after that; you don't "need time" to reflect on 3Cs with conscious thought during the practice.

For example, if you notice three sensations over the course of a second, you're noticing anicca, whether you consciously pause to recognize it or not. Or, for example, if you notice an itch, wish it to go away, and the itch sensation becomes stronger, you're noticing dukkha, whether or not you stop to consciously recognize the causal chain of resistance making it worse.

If you understand the importance of the 3Cs and have a practice where you're examining sensations with the intention of experientially becoming familiar with the 3Cs, you're doing what needs to be done. It's enough to just focus on the sensations--trust that the magic is happening. Sure, feel free to consciously reflect on the 3Cs from time to time, but don't stress about it--these practices are designed to inculcate an understanding of 3Cs, whether or not you consciously recognize it happening.
Karol, modified 3 Years ago at 4/19/20 2:50 PM
Created 3 Years ago at 4/19/20 2:50 PM

RE: Why scanning?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 4/15/20 Recent Posts

Thank you for the explanation.

Basicaly I was bored with scanning and - I think - until today I did not realize the importance of 3C. Actually just after reading about them in MCTB I begun to realize that there's something new to what I used to do. I tried one of thechniques suggested in the book about looking at index finger and for the first time, since long ago, was able to really concentrate. I felt like I had some job (of noticing) to do.
Previously I just noticed sensation and moved further. 

What you wrote gave me a lot of hope and motivation, which I currently need. Greatly appreciated.

Thank you,