Training the Mind through ‘Noting’ Meditation

By Desmond Yeoh SC

I would like to introduce a meditation practice that can be used by both beginners and advance meditators to strengthen the strength of their awareness or power of Meditation.pngobservation. The steps are as follows:

  1. Start with any practice for a couple of minutes to calm your mind. You can focus on the in and outflow of your breath or mentally chant your favourite mantra;
  2. Open your consciousness and be aware of anything that catches your attention. It may be a sound, physical feeling, a thought, a mental formation or an emotion;
  3. Whatever that catches your attention, watch it, and mentally note it. For example, if its an itch on your arm, just mentally say itch a few times;
  4. After a while, your attention will spontaneously shift to some other thing, for example, it may be a thought. You can then mentally say thinking a few times. Or if it’s a memory, then mentally say memory;
  5. If the memory triggers some emotion within you, then mentally name that emotion. It may be anger, jealousy, pride, compassion, joy or any other emotion;
  6. Use whatever term that best describes the matter that catches your attention. The name you use is not important. It is your awareness of it that is more important;
  7. If there is nothing to be aware of, then enjoy the silence and inner peace.


Here are what you may observe from the practice:

  1. External stimuli such as a sound, may trigger some memory which in turn cause certain emotions to arise which then cause physiological changes such as the tensing of certain muscles in our body. We see and understand karma or the law of cause and effect;
  2. This results in a realisation that externalities have a great influence over our thoughts, emotions and physical body. We do not really control them. Therefore, the ‘self’ is not independent of externalities. Everything in the universe is interdependent. We need each other to live a happy and fulfilling life. We have less control over the ‘Self’ that we perceive on the surface;
  3. Good deeds bring joy while bad deeds cause fear and worry. We build up a karma bank of good deeds to have happy thoughts which in turn generates happiness in our life;
  4. The ‘Self’ which we hold so dearly is really our thought – memories – emotions – physiology connection which is really energy which is part of the universal intelligence. We are already what we seek to become!


As we practice this technique in the comfort of our homes and become proficient at it, we can then bring the practice into our daily life. Our emotions are very shy. Whenever we pay attention to them, they fade away quickly. This is why the technique can help us to control the negative emotions in our daily life.

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