Image from: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/i%20love%20rain
Image from: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/i%20love%20rain

There is a relatively new Buddhist mindfulness practice that is intended to support working with difficult emotions at the time that you are experiencing them. This tool is referred to as RAIN, an acronym for the four step process:

Recognize what is happening.
Allow life to be just as it is.
Investigate inner experience with kindness.

Rather than attempting to change your reactions to whatever is happening in your life, the first step in this process is simply to recognize your inner emotions and the inner dialogue that is going on. You may notice the effect of these emotions within your body; lifting of the shoulders, tightness in the chest, an unsettled stomach are all common ways we feel stress. Listen to what your body is telling you in this situation. When you tap into your inner world in this way you might be surprised to find fear underneath anger or some other underlying emotion.

Once you recognize what’s going on, accept it. Be with these feelings, rather than denying them be your own coach and validate the way you feel. Get out of the denial habit and give yourself permission to feel. You may find that with acceptance comes peace around this difficulty, and a relaxation within the body.

Investigate the feelings you have and how they are triggered. For most people when going through something intensely emotional such as divorce, illness of a loved one or other such situations that are happening over a period of time, we get triggered by things. The phone rings and the fear that it’s your ex on the phone causes the body to tense up; you witness something joyful and realize that the loved one won’t be here to witness it with you. Investigate your triggers and seek to discover what happens within your body and mind as this happens repeatedly. Ask yourself what this feeling wants from you; investigate with kindness and compassion.

The first three steps lead to nonidentification. This is when we start to recognize that while the situation is difficult, we are not defined by it. This is when we rest in natural awareness. We find our peace in the situation and are able to see the lessons for what they are.



6 Comments on “RAIN

  1. Pingback: RAIN | Learning To Unlearn To Relearn

  2. Im glad to know that this is something I already tend to do on a more so than not basis. The last time I had clear physical signs of emotional stress was a month ago when I suffered from muscle spasms in my upper back and neck. Go figure! I began blaming it on work, on sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours, 40 hours a week. And yes, that can take a huge toll on a person’s body if he/she isnt stretching daily, which I wasnt. But then I looked deeper within. It’s work. Yes, but it’s more about the mental stress it causes me than the physical. I’ve been wanting a change of job for a couple years now, for more reasons than one. I’m actually not fully happy here, but i’m not miserable either. i realized, however, that the stress of the mental aspect of my job was affecting me more than the physical position i’m in all day.
    Well, now i know i have to formulate a plan to put my degree to use and go into my field, and to continue school. There are several steps I need to take in order to solve this. I’ve got to be determined and disciplined. This is a great reminder of what i need to be doing to save my sanity!

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