What is noting? It is a meditation
technique in which we simply acknowledge an occurrence, such as
"standing up" or "pleasure." Noting can be used for both external
events and internal events (e.g., thoughts and emotions). This
technique is a means of focusing our attention and achieving an
objective viewpoint. Noting is similar to the Gurdjieff's technique
The benefits of noting.
It helps us to be attentive to our activities (external or
internal); for example, when we think the word, "pleasure," we are
reinforcing our mindfulness of the state. However, noting might be
considered an intrusion of abstract thinking if we prefer to
experience the state non-verbally.
We can create an impersonal, non-judgmental state in which we
are less attached to the action; for example, we are
observing the "pleasure" rather than experiencing an
identification with it (i.e., "I am feeling pleasure").
Thus, we can disengage from unwanted states more easily. But we do
not try to change whatever we are noting; we merely
We become more conscious of the ever-changing flow of
phenomena, thoughts, and moods. For example, a minute ago, we
noted that we were "worried" but now we note that we are "happy."
With this perception (and our verbal affirming of the perception),
we dismantle the limiting concept that we are any particular type
of person ("happy" or "worried"); thus, we are free to acknowledge
more aspects of ourselves.
The techniques of noting.
We can note during any activity. For example, while washing
dishes, we would say, "washing." At other times, we might note
listening, or typing, or relaxing, or chewing, or cutting, or
We can say the word once, or we can repeat it constantly
during the activity, e.g., "washing washing washing washing
washing" and so on.
We can use additional words. Instead of simply saying
"pleasure" (for example), we might say a phrase, e.g., "Pleasure
is happening again."
We can use noting meditation with other forms of meditation.
Other authors have mentioned noting in its application to
mindfulness meditation, thought meditation, moving meditation,
walking meditation, and breathing exercises.
We can be more explicit. For example, instead of "washing," we
might define the various stages of washing, e.g.,
"scrubbing" or "rinsing." Similarly, in our noting of emotions, we
might go from a vague "sadness" to a more-specific
"disappointment." And instead of noting "thinking," we might note
"worrying." However, our attempt to be more precise might require
too much mental analysis; for example, while we are wondering
whether an emotion should be noted as "fear" or "anxiety," we are
not being attentive to the emotion itself.
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