BIT(ER) (Body-Image-Talk plus Emotions and Resistance)

In mindfulness practice labeling is an effective technique for giving an experience full attention while at the same time stepping back from it slightly, thus promoting both clarity and equanimity. BIT(ER) is what I believe is a useful refinement of the triangle of awareness adapted from Vipassana teacher, Shinzen Young (reference: Tricycle fall issue, 2005, page 50). Shinzen Young described B-I-T, and I have added (for better or worse) E and R.

B stands for body. Recall comments from the section on Body Scan: It seems we have a tendency to neglect our body unless there something wrong with it, which is unfortunate because what is called the "felt body sense" -- awareness of body sensations, often quite subtle -- can give us valuable insight into what is going on with our bodies and with our whole being as well. So if our attention goes into the body with whatever we are experiencing in the body, we label it "body." If a particular body sensation is strong and persistent, we can additionally label it as "solid." If the body sensation is more subtle and fluctuating, we can label it "flow." If as we continue paying attention it vanishes, we then label it "gone."

I stands for image. Thus, if our attention is directed to visual phenomena, we can label them "image." Young uses the term, "visual thought," implying use of our visual memory banks for this form of attention (although I suspect pure visual imagery encountered in meditation practice without thought content could also be included here). The same labeling modifiers of "solid", "flow", or "gone" apply to visual imagery as well and also with the following topic of attention ("talk").

T stands for "talk", which encompasses all the verbal chatter that typically goes on in our minds much of the time. Again, the above modifiers apply here.

I have added E for "emotion." Emotional states often are intertwined with BIT, and it seems appropriate to label emotions as well, including use of the above modifiers.

Note that we can continually move from one object of attention to another; more than one can occur practically simultaneously, such that sometimes we will need to choose which one to focus on primarily at any given moment.

I have also added R for "resistance", in the event that we get fed up with this whole process; then it can be useful to label our being fed up as "resistance", and perhaps by doing so, our fed up-ness, instead of being "solid", can become "flow" or "gone", and then we might be able to return to the practice!

I am just starting to use this in my meditation practice and so far am finding it to be very useful; you may wish to give it a try as well.