In my practice, I do a formal sitting consisting of focusing my awareness or attention to the breath at the abdomen, noting it every time it rises and falls, continuing with that. Aside with that, I also note every sensation or feeling or object that arises out of the six senses, doing this until a great degree of calmness arises. However, I am a bit confused regarding the alternative practices concerning them.
I was told that if one wishes, one may choose to do external noting: noting everything from the six sense in continuity or internal: expansion and contraction of abdomen. Also, it has been regarded that this Mahasi Method isn't so dry as some proclaim to be and that samatha can work together in a unified manner with vipassana thus rendering them vipassana jhanas. Even Joseph Goldstein in his Sattipathana sutta series teaches of this technique.
So my question is, if one chooses to do the external noting which consist of noting every object of the six sense media in the open, can they still attain concentration or jhana for that matter? I always hear from the majority that focusing solely on the breath can sufficiently enhance concentration, I was just wondering can this external noting do it too.
With metta, mike