by Lindsay Warriner, MA, P-LPC, P-CST
With the warm weather and sunshine kicking in, we often joke “I’m cured!”. However, uncomfortable emotions, memories, or thoughts will inevitably pop up at some point. So how do we allow ourselves to mindfully work through those difficult times? One of my favorite ways is to use the RAIN meditation created by Tara Brach in her book Radical Compassion. This nurturing practice calls on us to access radical acceptance and compassion to heal ourselves in a curious, loving manner. Whether you’d like to try RAIN now or save this practice for a later time, allow me to walk you through the meditation.
To listen to a guided version of this meditation, use the link here: https://youtu.be/MRL-Es6H5a8
Begin by getting comfortable, either by sitting in a natural position or laying down. If it feels safe, maybe you close your eyes or hold a soft gaze.
Draw your awareness to your breath. Be aware of breathing in calmness and clarity and breathing out stress and confusion. Each breath might get slightly longer and deeper, yet nothing is forced. We’re arriving at our own natural breath. The breath reminds us that this is a natural process. Just as we take in oxygen and release CO2 , we take in what is healthy for us and release what isn’t.
Take a moment to arrive. Rest in the present moment.
The first step of RAIN is to Recognize. With curiosity and non-judgement, try to recognize what is going on inside of you. What feelings are coming up?
Now we’re going to Allow ourselves to feel whatever is coming up inside of us. Whether it is pleasant or uncomfortable, try to breathe into it and let it be. You might try saying to yourself, “yes” or “I allow”, or “I accept”. We’re not trying to fix anything or judge what we’re feeling. Allow yourself to feel what’s happening.
To deepen our awareness, we’re now going to Investigate this feeling. You might direct your attention to you where you feel this emotion in your body. Maybe it’s heaviness or tightness. You might ask yourself, “what do I need right now?”
Now we have arrived at the last step, Nurture. If the feeling you’re focusing on is uncomfortable, maybe you begin by non-identifying with that emotion. You may say something like, “I may be feeling anxious, but I am not an anxious person”, or “I recognize that depression is part of who I am, but it doesn’t have to control me”. As you sense what is needed, call on the most wise and compassionate part of yourself. It may be helpful to think of someone you trust who loves and supports you. It could be a family member, God, a higher power, a pet, or even an older, wiser version of yourself. Let your heart open and allow yourself to receive this comfort. You might gently place your hand on your heart. Maybe this person says to you, “It’s okay. You are loved. You will get through this”. Feel free to experiment with what your natural response may be, whether that be through words, touch, images, or energy. Discover what best allows you to feel nurtured, seen, loved, and safe. Spend as much time as you need, offering care inwardly and letting it be received.
When you’re finished, allow yourself to Sit after the RAIN. This is where we shift from doing to being. I invite you to relax and let go into the heart space that has emerged. Rest in this awareness and become familiar with it. This is your true home; this is where you are safe.
Take a few more natural, deep breaths and begin to Come back. Maybe wiggle your fingers or toes, take a big stretch, or give yourself a loving hug. Whenever you’re ready, take a moment to thank yourself for practicing today and gently open your eyes.