Arising and Passing

Several students have recently asked me a question about the Basic Mindfulness System:

Shinzen, Why don’t you note or have a label for arisings, the way you do for passings, i.e., “Gone”?

Here’s my response:

There actually is a technique within my system that notes the instant of arising. But the point is subtle, and I did not really describe it in detail in my manual. If you look in the section in the manual on Expansion-Contraction Flow, you’ll notice that one of the things that can be noted is simultaneous awareness of both expansion and contraction. When an experience disappears, it goes to “Gone.” Just before the next experience arises, the “Gone” polarizes into two activities: one that expands and the other that contracts. If you detect that instant, then you are detecting the very instant of arising, because the next experience is being molded in the folds of that simultaneous expansion and contraction. So, the label for “arising” is “Both.” This is symbolized in the drawing above. The two outwardly directed arrows associated with “All Arisings” represent Both, i.e., polarization. The two inwardly directed arrows associated with “All Passings” represent Gone, i.e., neutralization. You’ll find details on pp. 39-45 of my article “What is Mindfulness?”