Noting is a technique which helps us objectify the objects of our experience by mentally labelling them. This helps us to be objectively aware of our experience, without continuously being unconsciously identified and caught up in the objects of our experience.
We may use noting to mentally label the sensations of breathing, sensations in the body, feelings, emotions, states of mind and thoughts.
Examples of labels we may use when observing breath include; in, out, rising, falling, pause, long, short, natural, unnatural, pressure, heat, expansion, contraction, amongst many others.
Examples of labels we may use when observing body include; hot, cold, tension, vibrations, expansion, contraction, lightness, heaviness, itching, sharp pains, burning, throbbing, numbness, pressure, tensions, solidified sensation, amongst many others.
Examples of labels we may use when observing feeling tone include; pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
Examples of labels we may use when observing states of mind and emotions include; happy, sad, bored, dull, alert, concentrated, scattered mind, judgemental, non-judgmental, reactive, detached, attached, calm, peaceful, agitated, frustration, identified, tense, wandering, anger, pity, pride, courage, timidity, patience, stress, hope, despair, caution, rashness, shame, security, envy, appreciation, negative, positive, confusion, clarity, expectation, imagining, investigative, fear, worry, desire, shame, bliss, sleepiness, self-loathing, subtle, gross, tired, craving, aversion, acceptance, compassion, ecstasy, joy, stillness, surrender, amongst many others.
Examples of labels we may use when observing thoughts include; thinking, wandering, anticipating, planning, visualising, caught up in thoughts, linking thoughts, amongst many others.
Examples of labels we may use when observing the entire field of experience include; arising, occurring, present, passing, and just awareness.
We may also mentally label sounds and our outer environment as it passes within our awareness.
We use this technique by mentally labelling an object of our present moment experience, as we become aware of it and mentally recognize it. We may not be able to give a certain sensation or experience a definite label, we may then generalise the objects as a “body sensation”, “feeling”, “emotions”, ”states of mind”, ”wandering”, “identifying”, “reacting” and ”thoughts”.
We may use this technique of noting whenever we feel it may be necessary. This could be when we find ourselves easily getting caught up in the objects of our experiences. You may wish to label everything or just objects which you easily get caught up in, such as “thinking”, “frustration”. The dangers of this technique might be that we feel too tense trying to label every object within our experience, or we may be robotically labelling without being alert and aware of the subtler aspects of our experience. We may then return to natural observation without using noting. Experiment with this technique and use it in balance with the other methods.
You may find this technique useful during daily life also. You can practice this in daily life by mentally labelling your outer environmental experiences such as sounds, temperature, smells, amongst other. You may also label your postures, the act of walking, and eating. You may label your physical actions such as “grasping”, “pushing” etc. You may label the sensations you feel in your body, states of mind you experience, thoughts, and emotions throughout your day.
see this site for categories of emotions ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrasting_and_categorization_of_emotions