Healing with RAIN Meditation: Embracing Mindfulness
Self-compassion can be one of the most challenging things to offer to oneself. In a world of constant comparison and social media, vulnerability is often rejected. Introducing a practice of mindfulness can seek to embrace healing and discovery. One of my favorite tools to share with others is the RAIN meditation. It serves as a powerful tool for cultivating mindfulness, allowing individuals to bring compassionate awareness to their inner landscape. RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture, and was first created by Michele McDonald, and then adapted by Tara Brach, to address strong, uncomfortable, messy feelings.
Before getting into the meditation, I like to put my hand over my heart in an attempt to move inward and ground myself before starting.
The first step of RAIN is to recognize what you are feeling currently. This includes checking in with yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is important because we often go about our lives suppressing our thoughts. The recognition of the presence of difficult emotions, thoughts, and sensations creates a shift from being entangled by these experiences to being aware of them. This can include “I’m feeling like a failure for how that meeting went” to “I’m worried that no one likes me.” The more aware we are of ourselves, the closer we move toward self-compassion.
I’ll be honest - this step may feel like the hardest. It’s asking you to give permission to the emotions, thoughts, or sensations to be there without trying to change, solve, or suppress them. It may help to tell yourself “No judgment, just let it be.” By embracing the act of allowing, we create a space that enables us to discover parts of ourselves, fostering a sense of safety and growth.
Take it a step further. With kindness and care, ask yourself questions like, “How is my body reacting?”, “What is this feeling asking of me?” and “How are these feelings affecting my thoughts?”
Once you’ve answered what the uncomfortable emotion needs, you can now offer it some nourishment in this very moment. Soothe the part of you that needs it, through forgiveness, self-compassion, or rest. Much like you would receive from a compassionate friend, give yourself soothing words, physical comfort, or a supportive gesture.