Let’s suppose the primary object of my meditation is breathing. I usually just notice the exact point where my breath touch my nostrils and in my mind without words I just acknowledge this finding without words.

Now I wonder if, instead of just realizing it, I can also use words and short sentences in my mind like “the air touch there”.

I was reading about a vipassana technique call “noting”. If I understand it correctly when my mind drift to a secondary object I can just mentally talk to myself that I notice it and go back to the primary object.

I am curious if the same could apply to the primary object. I mean if whenever I notice something about the primary object I can tell about it to myself with mental words.

  • 1
    Some people report an absence of verbal thought much of the time, while others have verbal thought almost always. Being able to do both as needed is best, but I have seen nothing to suggest that verbal thought is an aid to meditation, other than the "noting" technique if it helps you. For most people, getting their minds to stop chattering is a huge achievement, and it sounds like you do this naturally. Don't wish to be like people who are struggling.
    – user2341
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 2:24

2 Answers 2


Vitakka, which Ven. Thannisaro translates to "applied thought", along with Vicara (sustained thought) is a component of first Jhana. Buddha spoke of them in singular item, vitakka-vicara. Let it go and we will enter second Jhanna.Jhanas

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    vitakka-vicara is complex term, that's why leave the answer short so you could do further research. From Rahogata sutta "..When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has ceased. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have ceased.." accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.011.than.html
    – user5056
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 20:33
  • Thank you for including the associated sutta. I am studying it right now!
    – artificer
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 16:31
  • you're welcome. , IMO, forth Jhana where "breathing is still" is that you are so focus on a singular point of breathing that the breathing appears to stop. Just like taking a picture of a moving car. A snap shot doesn't show movement.
    – user5056
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 19:17

Everything I've heard suggests that this is OK, though it's not ideal. Ideal meditation would be stillness without interruption of thoughts; handling words in the mind requires thought.

I recall an Audio Dharma podcast where it was suggested that if you must do this, try to keep the words as brief as possible "In breath." "Out breath." That sort of thing. :-)

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