Is There A Quickest Path To Enlightenment?

shinzen-youngWhen Shinzen Young is asked, “Is there a quickest path to enlightenment?” he says, “Perhaps, but I don’t think it’s currently known by humanity. In our current stage of spiritual science, different approaches seem to work for different people. That’s why I like to give you folks a wide range of contrasting techniques to choose from.”

If he had to choose one particular practice to tell people to focus on, it would be “Just Note Gone.” Here is what he said about “Just Note Gone” in an article in Tricycle Magazine:

Most people are aware of the moment when a sensory event starts but seldom aware of the moment when it vanishes. We are instantly drawn to a new sound or new sight or a new body sensation but seldom notice when the previous sound, sight, or body sensation disappears. This is natural, because each new arising represents what we need to deal with in the next moment. But to always be aware of sensory arisings and hardly ever be aware of sensory passings creates an unbalanced view of the nature of sensory experience.

To practice the “Just Note Gone” technique, follow these basic instructions: Whenever a sensory experience—a sound, a sight, a body sensation—suddenly disappears, make a note of it. Clearly acknowledge when you detect the transition point between all of it being present and at least some of it no longer being present. You can use the mental label “gone” to help you note the end of the experience. If nothing vanishes for a while, that’s fine. Just hang out until something does. If you start worrying about the fact that nothing is ending, note each time that thought ends. There is only a finite amount of real estate available in consciousness at any given instant. Each arising somewhere causes a passing somewhere else. [Read More…]

When practicing “Just Note Gone,” sometimes you can fall into the “Dark Night of the Soul” or the “Pit of the Void” as it is called in the East. Shinzen Young offers three remedies to transform the situation into bliss:

Accentuate the good parts of the Dark Night, even though they may seem very subtle relative to the bad parts. You may be able to glean some sense of tranquillity within the nothingness. There may be some sense of inside and outside becoming one (leading to expanded identity). There may be some soothing, vibratory energy massaging you. There may be a springy, expanding-contracting energy animating you.

Negate the negative parts of the dark night by deconstructing them through mindful awareness. Remember “Divide and Conquer”—if you can divide a negative reaction into its parts (mental image, mental talk, and emotional body sensation), you can conquer the sense of being overwhelmed. In other words, eliminate the negative parts by loving them to death.

Affirm positive emotions, behaviors, and cognitions in a sustained, systematic way. Gradually, patiently reconstruct a new habitual self through practices such as loving kindness.

Accentuating the good parts of a bad situation (if any) is a way out of it. You may be able to recall a time when you felt the same and remember how you got yourself out of it. A therapist I once knew had me accentuate the pain I was feeling (make it worse) and thereby recognizing that it wasn’t so bad as I was imagining!

When I read this article earlier today, I was immediately impressed by his clarity of explanation and the ease of use of the practice of “Just Note Gone.” The interventions he discussed are valuable suggestions for any kind of situation that goes bump in the night.

If you find yourself in a less good meditation session (as I sometimes do!), trying the interventions could help improve your session. If you are intimidated by a situation, feel it deeply and draw upon your meditation practice to allow the intimidation to help you transform at the base of your feelings.

Shinzen Young is an American born meditation teacher who went to Asia to study Vajrayana, Zen and Vipassana Buddhist meditation practices. He is now interested in the neuroscience of meditation and leads meditations throughout the world.

What happened when you tried “Just Note Gone?” Is this a quick path to enlightenment? What do you think? Please share.

Meditation in the Zone The Science of Enlightenment
These are the two audiobooks of Shizen Young the I have listened to

Connect with Meditation Practices

Connect with

Or enter your name and email address below.