Guy wrote:If my mind is already relatively peaceful then I might just start watching the breath without any inner-speech.
To confuse Mahasi-style noting with "inner speech" would be a serious misunderstanding. I presume your "inner speech" term is from Ajahn Brahm. What Ajahn Brahm means by "inner speech" is a completely different thing:
Ajahn Brahm wrote:Sometimes we assume it is through the inner commentary that we
know the world. Actually, that inner speech does not know the world at
all. It is the inner speech that spins the delusions that cause suffering.
Inner speech causes us to be angry with our enemies and to form dangerous
attachments to our loved ones. Inner speech causes all of life’s
problems. It constructs fear and guilt, anxiety and depression. It builds
these illusions as deftly as the skillful actor manipulates the audience to
create terror or tears. So if you seek truth, you should value silent awareness
and, when meditating, consider it more important than any thought.
[Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond, Page 12]
As Ven Pesala says, noting is a technique to apply the mind to the object without
"inner speech". http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... structions
U Pandita wrote:During a sitting meditation, if another object impinges strongly on the awareness so as to draw it away from the rising and falling of the abdomen, this object must be clearly noted. For example, if a loud sound arises during your meditation, consciously direct your attention toward that sound as soon as it arises. Be aware of the sound as a direct experience, and also identify it succinctly with the soft, internal verbal label “hearing, hearing.” When the sound fades and is no longer predominant, come back to the rising and falling. This is the basic principle to follow in sitting meditation.
In making the verbal label, there is no need for complex language. One simple word is best. For the eye, ear, and tongue doors we simply say, “Seeing, seeing... Hearing, hearing... Tasting, tasting.” For sensations in the body we may choose a slightly more descriptive term like warmth, pressure, hardness, or motion. Mental objects appear to present a bewildering diversity, but actually they fall into just a few clear categories such as thinking, imagining, remembering, planning, and visualizing. But remember that in using the labeling technique, your goal is not to gain verbal skills. Labeling technique helps us to perceive clearly the actual qualities of our experience, without getting immersed in the content. It develops mental power and focus. In meditation we seek a deep, clear, precise awareness of the mind and body. This direct awareness shows us the truth about our lives, the actual nature of mental and physical processes.