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RAIN Meditation

R.A.I.N Meditation

Marcos Caro explains this powerful technique for connecting with

and healing painful emotions 

R.A.I.N is an effective meditation technique which has become increasingly popular in recent years.  It owes it’s appeal to the fact that it injects a large dose of compassion into our lives and helps us connect with and soothe uncomfortable emotions from difficult life experiences.

Physical wounds need care and attention. Emotional wounds are no different.

If a runner sprains their ankle and does not address the injury, it can  lead to greater problems in the future. In the same way, when events in our lives induce uncomfortable emotions such as anxiety, sadness or grief, they can fester and continue to arise well after the event.

Some of our most uncomfortable emotions are an echo of long forgotten incidents in our past. They often stem from childhood events which our inner child carries into adulthood. Our inner child is the part of our subconscious which holds memories, beliefs and emotions from our youth.

Emotional pain is often our inner child pleading for our attention. It’s trying to tell us something is wrong. If we ignore it we become alienated from it and it continues to show up in the form of painful emotions.

Such feelings arise on a daily basis without us even realising.

Taking offence when someone doesn’t say hello at work could come from feeling abandoned as a child.

Not pursuing our goals could be the result of being told we weren’t good enough when we were a kid.

RAIN meditation is an excellent tool for addressing such emotions because it allows us to accept and make peace with them and our inner child.

What does R.A.I.N stand for?

The acronym R.A.I.N was first coined by Michelle McDonald in the 1980s and initially stood for Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Non-identification.

It has since been revised by Tara Brach in whose model the N stands for Nurture.

The investigate and nurture aspects of this technique explicitly introduce a compassionate element into our meditation practice by identifying and nourishing with tenderness those parts of us that feel most fearful and unworthy. 

So how does R.A.I.N a actually work?

First of all, find in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. Close your eyes and call to mind a situation in your life which  triggers emotional discomfort or distress. This could be an argument with a friend, the loss of a loved one, a social situation or any other emotional trigger.

You may be asking why you would want to think of something that provokes such painful feelings? Well, the whole point of R.A.I.N is to identify, accept and show compassion towards ones emotions instead of avoiding them. And in order to do that we need to coax those emotions out of hiding.

Once you’ve identified your trigger, try to visualise it as clearly as possible. Ask yourself where you are when you get triggered? Are you indoors or outside? Who are you with? What did they say or do? Try to place yourself in the situation as much as possible. This helps prompt the uncomfortable emotions to arise.

R – Recognise

Next, bring your attention to what’s happening inside you right now. What emotions are present? Anxiety? Sadness? Anger? Whatever you happen to find, simply recognise it. Labelling the emotion can help – “fear”, “shame”, “rejection”.

A – Allow

Our objective here is to accept and let be, without judgement, whatever emotions come up. Over the years many of us have built up an automatic resistance to uncomfortable feelings. We tend to tense up, distract ourselves or otherwise avoid feeling unpleasant sensations. In order to facilitate accepting them, try gently whispering to yourself “yes”, “allow”, “welcome” or any other word to indicate acceptance.

I – Investigate

Now it’s time to dig a little deeper into what you’re experiencing. This doesn’t mean thinking about or analysing the issue. Instead give yourself a quick body scan and ask yourself which emotion is most prominent right now? Where in my body can I feel it? Arms? Legs? Chest? Throat? How do these sensations feel? Sharp? Dull? Tight? Tingly? Hot? Cold?

Now, whatever emotion you’re experiencing, be it fear, anger, resentment, you can think of it as a part of yourself from which you have become estranged. This part of you is hurting, it’s in need of something – attention, compassion, reassurance. Ask yourself: what is this part of me believing?  What does this part of me need? Does it feel scared? Disrespected? Undervalued? The answer to these questions may not come immediately but the more you practice, the clearer they become.

N – Nurture

Now it’s time to douse yourself with the  compassion you deserve by giving the most vulnerable part of you what it needs. Be it the hug of a renewed relationship or a caring message to your inner child telling them that they are safe.

Take time to try different ways of nurturing yourself. Everyone’s needs are different and methods vary from person to person.

Sitting in the R.A.I.N

By identifying and nurturing the most vulnerable part of you, you have created a warm, compassionate internal space. This is your new home. Put your feet up. Get used to it.  Spend some time here, wallowing in the feeling of love and kindness you have created. The longer you spend here, the more naturally these feelings will come up outside formal practice.

R.A.I.N meditation has become popular in recent years and has helped millions of people in their mindfulness journeys. The nurturing aspect of R.A.I.N aids in healing those old wounds we all carry around and in showing compassion to one’s inner child, allowing people to shed the skin of old habits and live more open lives. 

So, whether you’re new to meditation or a veteran looking to try something new, give R.A.I.N meditation a go.