Monday, November 4, 2013

Labeling and Counting

Whenever my mind is in too much turmoil to easily settle, I rely on the following two techniques:

1. First is labeling:

It can be as simple as recognizing the arising of a thought disturbance. Or if the awareness is so inclined, it can get a bit more specific: worrying, obsessing, work, boredom, aversion, escaping . . . The labeling helps one take one step back from the content of the thought itself, into the larger awareness of mind activity.

2. Second, is counting:

Breath, steps, whatever the object of our attention, as long as it is repetitive, we can use counting as a way to keep our awareness on its intended object. I have learned to count from one to ten, starting over after number ten is reached. If the mind strays in the middle of the sequence, one is to start over from one again. I try to keep it simple and natural. Letting each number fall wherever it wants within each breath, each step.

How do you help your mind?


  1. Reading (the dharma) and breathing (regaining composure) helps, moments ago was panicking from workload, then checked email and saw a blog update, reading the nugget of information and noticing that my breathing was returning to one's awareness helped. It was always there, information and breath, it's just being caught up in the thinking when I attach too much tags and analysis within my volitions.

  2. May be not relevant to 'counting and labeling'.
    Yet relevant to mind and matter!
    I just wrote to my friend:

    You are right/
    Just make the decision all by one self/
    nothing external/
    all inside one self/
    no matter what/
    (in fact it is not ‘matter’)/
    I am going to live it/
    like it/
    whatever may come/
    That is it/
    The whole dynamics will change just by making this decision whole heartedly/

  3. I concentrate on m breath going in and out, in and out. I don't control it, just recognize it.