Updated: Feb 22
If you are interested in meditation Tara Brach is one of the most amazing teachers that I have discovered. As a psychologist, author and prominent Buddhist she provides beautiful talks, mediations and instructions on her website www.tarabrach.com. Check out the website and her talks if you need some Buddhist inspiration.
RAIN is a powerful meditation technique developed by Tara Brach which can be used in any situation, anytime of the day for as long as needed. I find this particularly useful in anxiety situations. The acronym RAIN is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness and compassion using the following four simple steps:
When faced or overwhelmed with an emotion (anger, sadness, anxiety in stressful situations, we practice RAIN.
R stands for recognize - recognise what is going on. Recognizing means consciously acknowledging, in any given moment, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are affecting us. Any emotion is valid, no emotion is bad. All emotions are welcome. Naming the emotion and acknowledging that all emotions have a place. The first step out of the trance of unworthiness is simply to recognize that we are subject to painfully constricting beliefs, emotions, and physical sensations. It is common to have a critical inner voice, feelings of shame or fear, the squeeze of anxiety or the weight of depression in the body. Recognizing these shines a light on them and they can be truely felt. It can be a simple mental whisper, noting what has come up. Tara explains that all emotions have an intelligence.
A stand for Allow - Allow the experience to be there, just as it is. Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations we have recognized simply be there, without trying to fix or avoid anything. When we’re caught in self-judgment, letting it be there doesn’t mean we agree with our conviction that we’re unworthy. Rather, we honestly acknowledge the arising of our judgment, as well as the painful feelings underneath.
I stands for Investigate - Investigate with interest and care. Once we have recognized and allowed what is arising, we can deepen our attention through investigation. To investigate we call on your natural curiosity, the desire to know truth and direct a more focused attention to our present experience. You might ask yourself: What most wants attention? How am I experiencing this in my body? What am I believing? What does this vulnerable place want from me? What does it most need? Whatever the inquiry, your investigation will be most transformational if you step away from conceptualizing and bring your primary attention to the felt-sense in the body. This is a somatic experiencing of a feeling. How our external environment affects our external physiology. When we investigate we approach our experience in a kind way, this attitude of care helps crease a sufficient sense of safety making it possible to connect to our hurts, fears and shame.
N stands for nurture - We nurture with self-compassion. Self-compassion begins to naturally arise in the moments that we recognize we are suffering. It comes into fullness as we intentionally nurture our inner life with self care. To do this we try to sense what the wounded, frightened or hurting place inside you most needs, and then offer some gesture of active care that might address this need. Reassurance, forgiveness or other self care activities. Moving away from an unsafe environment for example. Self care is different for different people. We can just hold a hand to our heart in a moment or we do more of the self care activities that are important to us. Gardening, getting a massage, taking a bath, writing in a journal, stepping back, taking a break. In the intensity of the RAIN activity it can be just a mental whisper, I’m here with you. I’m sorry, and I love you. I love you, and I’m listening. It’s not your fault. Trusting in our innate goodness. We have picked up stories along our life. When attached to an emotion, it becomes a story. These small things can bring us closer to some resolve and peace.
You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or move through the steps whenever challenging feelings arise. I love this meditation technique and have found this to be a very simple mindfulness meditation tool.