Insight Meditation Guide

  1. Establish basic mindfulness.
  2. Notice a sensation.
  3. Assign a mental label to that sensation. Then return to step 2.

I will refer to the process of noticing and assigning a mental label as ‘noting’. Try to get to the point where you can note multiple sensations per second. One a second is a good pace for a beginner. A good way to start if you’ve only been doing mindfulness so far is by making certain to note every single in- and out-breath that you take.

To give you an idea of this is like, here is an example of the mental labels I might generate during a typical session.

  • in breath
  • right toe
  • right heel
  • left shoulder
  • fantasy ideation
  • stomach
  • planning ideation
  • forehead
  • hunger
  • right palm
  • sound
  • left ear
  • butt
  • fantasy
  • lower back
  • out breath

As you can see, a lot goes on between breaths! This example is actually noting at only a moderate rate of one per second (thanks to my long practice of mindful breathing, I breath about four times a minute when I’m really grooving). Allow your attention to move as it likes, and just note without judgment.