Practical Meditation


The original question was:

Hi Roger,

I have another question but this one is a lot simpler. I have gone through your books for this answer but can't seem to find it.

When I mind note, I do it really fast and simple. If I hear rustling in the bushes for one second, I will probably note rustling about three times in that second.

How fast should I mind note? I was wondering if I should only note each thing once as my attention falls on it, so if I hear the same rustling that goes on for 30 seconds I will note it once, then allow my attention to wander around and if it rests on that sound again I note it once again, so maybe in the span of 30 seconds I note rustling five times instead of 90.

I have noted really fast for about two months now, and it is not a burden, in fact it really helps keep my attention of reactive thoughts, but when I feel a thought coming on and note it, it disappears without me seeing it. I think I am supposed to be able to see my thoughts without participating in them. But they vanish as soon as they come to my attention and are noted.

I feel that If I can see them and form a closer relationship with them I will have much better general awareness. What is your take on this matter. I much appreciate all the advise you have given me Roger.

Happy New Year and all the best,

With regard to the mind noting. You mentioned, "I have noted really fast for about two months now, and it is not a burden, in fact it really helps keep my attention of reactive thoughts, but when I feel a thought coming on and note it, it disappears without me seeing it."

That`s good.

Most thoughts are garbage, and the fact that they respond to the noting by disappearing instantly means that the noting is effective in the way you`re applying it. Also, the fact that you mentioned that the noting is `not a burden`, means you are not forcing it. If it happens easily, then it`s going well. And if noting fast is easy for you, then all is well and good.

Noting thoughts is no problem - just get rid of them as quickly as possible, and eventually you`ll realise that there is a level of mind just below the thoughts which `knows` - and that is where all the thoughts are arising from.

A seemingly trivial expample of this is, the other day I was counting some cards I was using for a seminar, and I was going, `1..2...3...4...5..` in my head. After about ten minutes of counting it got really tedious, and I kept on losing count. Then it occurred to me that I KNOW how to count - so why was I tracking the count with these stupid thoughts. so I let go of the thinking of the count,`s hard to explain...I sort of listened for the count as I flicked through the cards, and sure enough, I didn`t have to think the counting, because my intuitive mind already knew the count ,and was much faster than if I made thoughts.

The only problem people have with noting is when they use it to hide from what they feel. Feelings are more important than thoughts, because they involve the body as well as the mind. And often, when people note "anger anger...", or some other feeling, they are noting it with the intention of squashing it. and that is wrong - tantamount to hitting one of the children of our Self, because it is crying.

So when you note a feeling,the noting should not be as dismissive as when you note thoughts - it is more sympathetic and exploratory. You`re sort of doing three things at once:

1. You`re cutting away all the reactive thoughts that are arising from the feeling, because they are pollution.

2. You`re directing your attention to `be with` the sensations of the feeling - to ride the wave so to speak.

3. You`re carefully monitoring your actions to make sure the feeling does not manipulate you to act unwisely.

The noting is kind of like the marshalling call for when the wave of this feeling is here - it focuses you, and acts as a `virus protection program` helping you to carefully move through the feeling until the feeling has passed.

So whether you note fast or slow is of no matter. With me it changes according to how alert my awareness is that day. If my awareness is keen, I note once and the letting go is instant. If my awareness is sluggish, then I find I have to note quite aggressively to move on.

Also it depends on the attachment. If I note a thought, it`s like slapping at a mosquito - I barely know it`s been there. The note and the letting go are instantaneous because the thought was such an insignificant attachment. But then sometimes, particularly with powerful emotions, it`s like being faced with a charging elephant, and you have to note very intensively to be able to deal with the way the phenomena has affected you.

On the surface, Mind noting is a seemingly simple thing, yet it is incredibly complex, with many variations, and different ways of using it that can only come from experience - that is, from using it, and seeing what works and what doesn`t. so in this, to a large extent, you must experiment with it and find out for yourself many of the different ways it can be used. But it sounds from what you said that you have a handle on it, and it`s going very well.