0 votes
by (900 points)
I have a habit of searching for the next thing to note while meditating. Even when noting the rising, I am thinking ahead (even if very subtly) and waiting for the falling to come. When I note touch points, I have to will my mind, sometimes quite forcefully, to just stay at the present touch point. Though what actually is happening, is I'm keeping in mind which step will come next. This is a subtle and beneath the surface kind of thought that seems to persist while I'm noting. I notice that my mind does this also when I'm reciting things from memory, as I recite one line I am already bringing up the next. Is this a problem or indicating that I'm not meditating correctly? Will this eventually stop happening if I develop a better ability to stay in the present moment? How do I deal with this splitting of awareness skillfully? There is often two things happening together, for example "feeling " The touch point but also "seeing " it in my mind's eye. These things do seem to be happening simultaneously and I'm never sure which thing is proper to note because noting the touching seems like ignoring the seeing and vice-versa. And when I have an experience of hearing or feeling, etc. I habitually look for a reaction, possibly even creating one out of some kind of need to note it. Like if I am noting discomfort or pain somewhere in my body, it seems like I often fabricate an experience of disliking or aversion. The reaction doesn't seem to arise naturally, but almost like I'm forcing it because I keep trying to find it. Is this a sign I have developed bad habits in my meditation? Should I be actively trying to alter something in my mind, or just be patient and keep doing my best to follow the instructions in the booklet?

1 Answer

+2 votes
by (1.1k points)
edited by
There are so many things to unpack with this question.

First of all it is good that you are asking these questions because you want to do the practice correctly.

Anticipating the next touchpoints etc. seems like a habit to me, that you have to correct slowly. First you have to note it as anticipating, thinking or wanting. Maybe you also get frustrated about it so you should note disliking or frustrated too. Be patient with it keep looking at it objectively. And yes the goal is to just be in the present moment.

When you feel like forcing that is the right effort. Usually to practice correctly needs effort. Definitely not effortless in the beginning. Until you learn to practice correctly it will take effort to practice it. But it will definitely become a habit and as such almost effortless.

There is no such thing as splitting attention, it seems to be splitted but in reality it focuses on one object and then quickly on the other object, back and forth. Not being able to stay with just one object I probably would note as "restless".

The touchpoints are noted correctly when you bring your mind to that spot on the body, size of a coin, sometimes feel a sensation of touching sometimes not, but the focus is there. Seeing the point is different, and yes you have to note "seeing" if you want to focus on reality. Otherwise any imagined object in the mind is Samatha practice. (For example whwn you see the touching point and you note touching that is imagined, not reality.)
by (900 points)
Thank you for your reply. I am still unsure about the seeing though. When I bring my awareness to a particular part of my body to note touch points and often when noting the sitting posture, a visual image comes up in my mind as my attention is placed there. You said it can not be two things arising at the same time, but my experience is otherwise. Am I not seeing the experience clearly? I should be clear that I'm not intentionally imagining or bringing these images up in my mind, they arise on their own when I put my mind at a touch point or the posture of my body. As I see the image, I feel the touch point. I note touching, but this makes me doubtful because I seem to be ignoring the seeing because I notice both seeing and touching together.
by (1.1k points)
Try cultivating the habit of only focusing the touchpoint on body without any image appearing. If you examine closely you'll see when the mind is focused on the image you are not aware of the touchpoint on the body. However if the image is the current object and not the touchpoint then do note it as seeing. You're not doing anything wrong here, you are seeing clearly what is happening so just try keeping the mind on the body and less on the image.
by (900 points)
Thank you for the reassurance. I will keep putting in effort to see clearly what is happening.
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