Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Overcoming difficulties: Let it R.A.I.N.

Tara Brach [adapted from her book True Refuge (Bantam, 2013)]; Wisdom Quarterly
Tara Brach (
Years ago some American Buddhist teachers began to share a new mindfulness tool that offers in-the-trenches support for working with intense and difficult emotions. 
Called RAIN (an acronym for the four steps of the process), it can be accessed in almost any place or situation. It directs our attention in a clear, systematic way that cuts through confusion and stress. 

The steps give us somewhere to turn in a painful moment. And as we call on them more regularly, they strengthen our capacity to come home to our deepest truth. Like the clear sky and clean air after a cooling rain, this mindfulness practice brings a new openness and calm to our daily lives. 

I have now taught RAIN to thousands of students, clients, and mental health professionals, adapting and expanding it into [True Refuge]. I’ve also made it a core practice in my own life. Here are the four steps of RAIN presented in the way I’ve found most helpful:
  • R Recognize what is happening
  • A Allow life to be just as it is
  • I Investigate inner experience with kindness
  • N Non-Identification.
RAIN directly de-conditions the habitual ways in which we resist moment-to-moment experience. It doesn’t matter whether we resist “what is” by lashing out in anger, by having a cigarette, [by sex, drugs, rock 'n roll or rap], or by getting immersed in obsessive thinking.

Our attempt to control the life within and around us actually cuts us off from our own heart and from this living world. RAIN begins to undo these unconscious patterns as soon as we take the first step.  
Recognize what is, accept that it is, investigate what's going on inside, and realize that there's no reason to identify with situations. More

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