What Is RAIN Meditation?
I am a huge fan of Tara Brach and my favourite tool I’ve learned from her is the The RAIN mindfulness meditation practise which I use constantly with my clients with great success. In her latest book, Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN, she devotes the bulk of her writing to the practice and art of RAIN.
Here is the history of RAIN meditation from Mindowl.org:
First coined around 20 years ago by Michele McDonald, RAIN is a form of meditation that consists of four steps—recognition, acceptance, investigation, and non-identification. Many psychologists have adapted and expanded on RAIN, including Tara Brach, the author of Radical Compassion. Within Tara Brach’s version of RAIN meditation, the N in RAIN stands for “nurture” rather than “non-identification”.
What are the Benefits of Practising RAIN Meditation?
According to this source, RAIN meditation offers a host of benefits. When you’re in a negative headspace, doing the practice can help you get centered, calm, and confident. The benefits below are some of the top reasons people say they enjoy RAIN meditation:
- Boosts confidence
- Improves self-esteem
- Improves communication skills
- Increases mindfulness
How to do RAIN Meditation
Here’s a quick overview of RAIN from this page of Tara Brach’s wonderful website and how to apply it to any situation you find yourself struggling with:
The acronym RAIN is an easy-to-remember tool for bringing mindfulness and compassion to emotional difficulty.
Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.
You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or move through the steps whenever challenging feelings arise.
R—Recognize What’s Going On
Recognizing means consciously acknowledging, in any given moment, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are affecting you. This can be a done with a simple mental whisper, noting what you are most aware of.
A—Allow the Experience to be There, Just as It Is
Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations you have recognized simply be there, without trying to fix or avoid anything.
You might recognize fear, and allow by mentally whispering “it’s ok” or “this belongs” or “yes.”
Allowing creates a pause that makes it possible to deepen attention.
I—Investigate with Interest and Care
To investigate, call on your natural curiosity—the desire to know truth—and direct a more focused attention to your present experience.
You might ask yourself: What most wants attention? How am I experiencing this in my body? What am I believing? What does this vulnerable place want from me? What does it most need?
Whatever the inquiry, your investigation will be most transformational if you step away from conceptualizing and bring your primary attention to the felt-sense in the body.
N—Nurture with Self-Compassion
Self-compassion begins to naturally arise in the moments that you recognize you are suffering. It comes into fullness as you intentionally nurture your inner life with self-care.
To do this, try to sense what the wounded, frightened or hurting place inside you most needs, and then offer some gesture of active care that might address this need. Does it need a message of reassurance? Of forgiveness? Of companionship? Of love?
Experiment and see which intentional gesture of kindness most helps to comfort, soften or open your heart. It might be the mental whisper, I’m here with you. I’m sorry, and I love you. I love you, and I’m listening. It’s not your fault. Trust in your goodness.
In addition to a whispered message of care, many people find healing by gently placing a hand on the heart or cheek; or by envisioning being bathed in or embraced by warm, radiant light. If it feels difficult to offer yourself love, bring to mind a loving being—spiritual figure, family member, friend or pet—and imagine that being’s love and wisdom flowing into you.
After the RAIN
When you’ve completed the active steps of RAIN, it’s important to notice the quality of your own presence and rest in that wakeful, tender space of awareness.
The fruit of RAIN is realizing that you are no longer imprisoned in or identified with any limiting sense of self. Give yourself the gift of becoming familiar with the truth and natural freedom of your being; it is mysterious and precious!
Step-by-Step Guide: RAIN With Tara Brach
To listen a short version of RAIN:
To listen a longer version of RAIN:
If you want to go much deeper into learning and practising self-compassion you have to buy yourself a copy of Radical Compassion.
Check out these articles I’ve written about meditation: