Author Topic: Discussion about noting in meditation practice  (Read 4941 times)

Masauwu

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Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« on: May 01, 2011, 08:03:35 PM »
Noting as i understand it is making a soft mental note of every arising object/phenomena observed within one`s reality. Thorough descriptions can be found in the writings of two venerable Burmese meditation masters: Mahasi Sayadaw and Sayādaw U Pandita.

As a beginner i was wondering what were your thoughts on this addition to regular awareness practice and whether you noticed positive results if you tried it for a while. It seems to improve my level of mindfulness when off the cushion, as in doing everyday things that don`t require full attention (walking mostly).
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Renze

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Re: Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2011, 08:42:37 PM »
My personal experience, and opinion: When I started meditating a few years back, it was in the Mahasi Sayadaw Vipassana tradition. So I'm quite familiar with the mental noting technique. It's a good aid to mindfulness practice, and especially mindfulness off the cushion.
After a while though, I tried just being aware without noting. I started first with the breath. Instead of mentally noting the rising and falling of the belly, I started to just be aware of the breath. I immediately noticed a very big difference. I was able concentrate more deeply and get more deeply absorbed into the meditative state. In fact, not long after I stopped mentally noting, I had my first Jhana experience.
In my opinion, it's not possible to get into deep states of samadhi by using the mental noting technique. The noting thing is a mental activity that keeps you from putting your mind at rest completely. It's an excellent way to practice mindfulness. But if you think the Jhanas are an important part of the meditation practice, you should let go of it, at least on the cushion.

Kind regards,

Renze

Alexanderjohn

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Re: Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 12:39:02 PM »
I wouldn't worry too much about jhana if I were you, noting can be a great help at times, as Renze said at other times its best to drop it. I use it sometimes but just be sure not to cling to the idea by hanging onto your expectations about it. I agree with Frits Koster, it can help to view the mind with a bit more objectivity, if you don't cling it'll pass when you no longer need it as a tool. Best thing is to try it out, see how it goes, whats the harm?

http://www.fritskoster.nl/English/INDEX.HTM

Quite a good page.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 12:49:30 PM by Alexanderjohn »

Matthew

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Re: Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 12:23:10 PM »
Noting is like a crutch. You need it when your leg is in bad shape but using it after recovery makes things worse. If mindfulness evades you then using noting can be a great help. Then you have to take away the crutch of noting whilst still using the re-focussing on the object that it has helped you learn as an experiential practice. For this reason even when using noting be aware of how it helps you focus the untamed mind back to the object of meditation - this is the skill you are developing.

Matthew
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Masauwu

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Re: Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 01:13:12 PM »
Noting is like a crutch. You need it when your leg is in bad shape but using it after recovery makes things worse.
This is exactly my conclusion after a week of trying it out. Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts on this.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Matthew

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Re: Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 10:22:15 PM »
:)
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Masauwu

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Re: Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2011, 05:10:39 PM »
I`ve been trying noting lately in my everyday life (not sitting) and i think it can be a very powerful tool if done right, effective for cultivating mindfulness.

Here`s a few articles on The Hamilton Project blog that i found useful:
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/04/yogi-tool-box-benefits-of-noting.html
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/01/yogi-toolbox-fast-noting.html
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/02/yogi-toolbox-detailed-noting.html

Couple it with the lifestyle approach and use it every moment you can off-the-cushion. I think doing this will help sitting progress and viceversa.

What was i doing wrong when i first tried noting? I would eventually fade out of mindfulness and end up noting mechanically, on autopilot. I was wrong thinking "noting" is the practice; noting is just a crutch like Matthew said - observing and recognising whatever arises is the practice. "What matters is to know and perceive." (Mahasi Sayadaw)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 05:49:38 PM by Masauwu »
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Morning Dew

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Re: Discussion about noting in meditation practice
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011, 06:34:48 PM »
Masauwu,

the practice will change course. It is never constant. At times Noting is the Middle Way, at other times Just Sitting seems to be the Way. Sometimes even praying to the All Mighty seems to elevate things. At times Metta can do it. More often awareness of the breath is calming storms down, but not in Dissolution where the center totaly disapears and background also in my case. Nothing seems stable at times.

Tool Box indeed  :o  :)

I might be wrong of course.

May you find The Way