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I've been to 2 dharma talk meetups run by the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW).
The format of last nights session was an hour of mostly guided meditation followed by small group reflections on the meditation and a short "dharma talk."
After the initial meditation the teacher (she's a therapist by profession) invited everyone to share something that they found pleasant during the meditation. She then invited the group to join her outside and I gathered that they did some sensory focusing out there. I chose to stay inside and take advantage of the quiet for my own practice. When they came back in and reflected on their experience, the teacher said that she found the noise of the traffic to be unpleasant but that she was able to focus on the sound of a pleasant birdsong- and this allowed her to move the unpleasant sensation to the background. She then told the group that when they are experiencing stress, finding something, anything, pleasant to notice and observe can reduce their stress
So, I understand that this is a basic coping mechanism for anxiety, and anxiety hinders equanimity. Also, learning to combat automatic negative thoughts by balancing negative sensory input with positive seems like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which I know works for some people. However, using a pleasant stimulus to cover up an unpleasant one seems to me like perpetuating delusion and aversion. Here's what I believe jives more with what I've learned regarding sensory input:
Sensory input, pleasant or unpleasant - take note - identify - maybe observe why you do or don't like it - note its impermanence - let it go
It seems to me that if a person attempts to cover up bad feelings with good ones, they're perpetuating wrong view by seeing the world not as it truly is, and it borders on feeding an attachment to pleasure and an aversion to displeasure.
Can anyone provide their thoughts on this?