Using mental noting in your meditation practice can be helpful in keeping the mind focused on direct experience in the present moment. What we are attempting to do within the scope of the teachings is increase awareness of moments of consciousness as they occur.
As you may know, there are six types of consciousness; each is created when its sense organ makes contact with an appropriate object. Out of that contact, a moment of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, or thinking consciousness is born.
When you are noting, we would typically say “thinking, thinking,” or “hearing” and so on. You are isolating and describing a moment of consciousness.
I tend to use mental noting at the beginning of sitting or walking as a way of checking in with what is arising in consciousness. Sometimes, my experience is that so many moments of contact are arising at once that I can’t note them fast enough and it gets exhausting. Awareness sets up the lawn chair on the river bank and watches the stream flow by in a dispassionate yet interested way. Sometimes, the river slows and there is not much in the way of ripples. Then it is very still.
If you have any experience with mental noting that you would like to share, I’d be interested to hear about it.