Detailed Noting is Better

An article which distinguishes between "skeletal noting" and "detailed noting," proposing that detailed noting, by taking up more mental bandwidth, offers particular benefits over skeletal noting.

Kenneth Folk August 2010

When doing noting practice, preferably aloud, you have to decide whether to do a very detailed noting or a more sparse or skeletal noting. A skeletal noting technique, for example, would be to just choose from these six notes: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, and thinking.

Detailed noting, however, is better than skeletal noting. That’s because detailed noting “uses up” the available processing power of your mind, and that is exactly what you want to do. If you are noting in a way that requires all of your attention, your mind will not wander and you will not suffer. It’s that simple. If, on the other hand, you use a noting technique that only requires 30% of the processing power of your mind, what are you going to do with the other 70%? You’re going to suffer! Try it and see!

Here is a systematic way to use your own mind to best advantage in waking up:

1) Note body sensations, e.g., pressure, coolness, warmth, tightness, stretching.

2) Note “pairs” (body sensations + feeling tone), e.g., “pressure-neutral, coolness-pleasant, itching-unpleasant.”

3) Note “triplets” (body sensations + feeling tone + mind-state), e.g., “pressure-neutral-investigation; coolness-pleasant-contentment; itching-unpleasant-aversion.”

If doubt arises, note “doubt.” If speculation arises, note “speculation.” If comparing arises, note “comparing.” Everything goes in the hopper. There is no such thing as a hindrance. Whatever arises, including distraction, agitation, anger, doubt, etc. can be noted. Co-opt your enemies. You will find that that scariest monsters in your mind can be allies in your own awakening as soon as you note them.

You do not have to be concentrated to note. Note “agitation, dullness, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, doubt, anger, distrust, frustration, exasperation, confusion, fear, self-loathing, judging.”

You don’t have to figure this out in advance. Every moment that you spend making love to ideas is a moment you could have been noting. Imagine a surfer who thinks he has to understand wave theory before he gets in the water. Just get in there and surf!