R.A.I.N. is a wonderful acronym to remind you how to deal with uncomfortable emotions. It is a practice of mindful awareness, looking at emotion and thought from a place of non-judgment and curiosity. R.A.I.N. stands for:
The first step is recognition: Recognition is being honest with ourselves by naming our emotion and experience and noticing it. It may be noticing feelings of anxiety, anger, resentment, jealousy. It may mean noticing unkind thoughts, negative thought patterns, self put downs. Mindfulness is a powerful way of turning inward and recognizing our body sensations, mental images, feelings, and thoughts.
Acceptance: Acceptance allows you to relax and be open to the fact that this is what it is for now. This does not mean you cannot want it to be different, but that you have a deep acceptance in this moment. Acceptance is not passive, it is an active embracing whatever is before you.
Investigation: Recognition and acceptance allow you the clarity to see. Hich Nhat Hanh calls this “seeing deeply.” When you are stuck, you have not looked deeply enough into the thought, emotion, or situation.
- Body: Investigation begins with the body. Noticing how your body is responding, what sensations, what contractions, what vibrations.
- Feelings: Secondly, name your Giving your feelings names creates them in ways that bring them into your mindfulness, out of the darkness and into the light. Are your feelings comfortable or uncomfortable? Can you sit with this feeling? Can you notice where in your body you feel this feeling? Try to name all of your feelings. Go beyond simply “upset” to name the layers of feelings tied to upset – anger, hurt, lonely, ashamed, anxious etc.
- Thoughts: What are the thoughts, patterns, associations, images you associate with the experience?
- Dharma or Truth: What are the deeper beliefs you are holding? Is this suffering self-constructed? Why are you clinging to it? Why are you resisting it? What is your relationship to the source of your suffering?
Nonidentification: When you attach a meaning to a situation you may allow it to impact or create your identity. With nonidentification, you let go of this affecting your identity and simply be aware of the situation, emotion, experience in itself. If I fail a math test, I have simply failed the math test. It does not mean I am bad at math. It just is. It is not me.
Perhaps I myself am the enemy that must be loved. Carl Jung