We all need aids that can help us in the moments of our struggle, to not fall so deeply into those holes we often find ourselves in. This is a simple and compassionate practice you can do regularly, that will help you to slow down and center yourself when faced with something stressful or challenging – and not fall so easily into those holes.
When you might really want to have your therapist to talk to, but she’s not available, share with yourself the mindful practice of RAIN – as developed by Tara Brach. Give yourself a sense of gentle rain when you notice you’re feeling the stress of being irritated with your children; feeling critical of your boss, stuck in traffic, tired and overwhelmed, frustrated or angry with your partner, etc., by tuning into the acronym and what it means. RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Non-striving.
To listen to the recorded 5-minute guided meditation of RAIN, click here.
You can read the following paragraph, to learn how to practice this mindfulness skill, and then close your eyes and pay attention to what’s going on, using these words as your guide. You can take from 30 seconds to 30 minutes (or more) to do this practice – however it suits you. Actually, you can apply this acronym alongside any stressful or difficult experience you encounter, and with repetition you’ll gain more ease with your painful feelings and be able to move forward in your life more fluidly. You’ll get better at being present in the moment (which is actually where the real source of your peace and contentment in every day life lies) as well as attuning your attention, and being able to move forward.
The R of Rain is to remember to simply recognize what is going on for you right at this moment – right here; right now. Notice your feeling and name it (is it sadness, frustration, joy, impatience, hurt, disappointment, etc.?).
The A of RAin is to allow whatever affects (feelings) or assumptions (thoughts) or anatomy experiences (body sensations) there are, to just be present. Accept them; acknowledge them, just be with them at this moment, without avoiding or attempting to change or fix them. Yes, this feeling is what I am having at this moment and I allow it.
The I of RAIn involves investigation or inquiry – with intimacy and interest. Identify how this experience feels in your body. What’s going on inside me right now? Inquire with gentleness what this might be connected to or what it reminds you of. What’s this about? When have I felt this feeling before? What might have led up to this? What might I be needing right now?
The N of RAIN is for not (over-) identifying with this hard experience and instead nurturing yourself by not striving to make changes; not needing to fix anything; not identifying with the narrow sense of oneself – not judging, not correcting. Connect with your natural sense of who you are so you can move more freely into the next moments of your life.
After the RAIN has nourished you, growth can happen. Let the experience soak into the fuller awareness you have of yourself and your difficulties – and your capacities. You have grown some resilience and are free to flourish and move forward in chosen ways.
For more information on my upcoming course to bring more mindfulness into your life please check out the OASIS program here.
For a FREE E-course that brings more calm and less worry into your busy life with mindful practices click here.