Using RAIN to be with unpleasant experiences and discomfort in our lives
The mindfulness quality of curiosity asks us to be interested in our experiences when they are pleasant, but also when they aren’t pleasant! We live in a society that often tries to avoid unpleasant/discomfort. We live in a controlled weather environment, can avoid much physical discomfort, have tons of distractions for our mental/emotional discomforts. What would it be like for us if, instead of trying to quick fix or avoid unpleasant situations or discomforts in our life, we took a pause and brought some curiosity to our experience?
Because, inevitably, we will all face unpleasant and uncomfortable situations that we find we can’t avoid or distract ourselves from. What if Mindfulness was actually a powerful tool to be with these experiences in a way in which we could grow in wisdom and equanimity?
Let’s see if the RAIN acronym can support us with that, both in the day to day of our lives, and as we do our meditation practice
R – Recognize – what’s actually happening. Not exaggerating it, and not minimizing it. Just noting/recognizing this calms our brain and gives us more capacity. Rather than resisting or trying to push what’s happening away.
A – Allow/accept what is happening. Avoid judging it, just be interested, curious. Take a breath, a pause. Not to control it, just to be with it. Stop fighting it.
I – Investigate –an embodied investigation – . notice how you feel it in your body. Not a mental investigation. (where do you feel it in your body? What am I telling myself when I feel this? What’s underneath that? What does this part of you that feels most reactive, need in this moment? Ie acceptance, forgiveness reassurance, safety, love)… and reconnect back with your Intention
N – Nurture yourself. with kindness, loving kindness phrases, hand on heart, etc. Soothe yourself. Feel love from a loved one coming to you, or your being held by all the love of the universe. After you nurture yourself, see if you can Non Identify/Non personalize your experience – not unique to you or your fault, just part of being human. Then you can respond to the world with more of your full intelligence and creativity. Shift sense of your identity from a scared, stressed self to a loving, present human being.