Zen Relay Noting

In Zen Relay Noting we take the note ‘handed to us’ by the previous person in the sequence, inhabit it, and then note our experience as it.

Core Instructions:

Options (1st Blank):

Compression (1st Blank):

1-2 Words

Options (2nd Blank):

Compression (2nd Blank):

1-2 Words

2+ players

X minutes

Additional Notes:

The usual Safety Release Valve (“Pass”) applies in this practice, but there is also an additional option - The Reset Button. This allows a person to choose not to inhabit the previous person’s note, but instead to ‘drop the baton’ and start again using a fresh "There is" note. The person following them in the sequence would then take their fresh note as the basis for Zen Noting, and the Relay would begin again. The reason for adding this additional option is threefold:

  1. To prevent harm or trauma triggering if a person is uncomfortable with inhabiting the previous person’s note.

  2. To prevent the group from getting locked into one experiential direction of noting.

  3. Tech problems: a person has difficulty hearing the previous person’s note due to technical issues.

Using just the normal safety release valve only allows two options: either inhabiting the previous person’s note, and noting as it, or passing. This means that the chain of notes will tend to be steered in one direction (based on the preceding notes). Bringing in a third option of noting a fresh "There is" note allows for an intentional reset of the direction of the noting chain. It also allows for times when tech issues prevent clear hearing of the preceding person’s note.

  • This practice arose for Lisa and Ryan in the context of the Integral Dharma Training as a way to work with perspective-taking and increasing flexibility with subject-object boundaries, both of which are core techniques in integral practice.

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