Meditation is a practice in which individuals implement a technique or process that is geared towards creating mental and emotional clarity and stability.
There are many different styles and methodologies that exist and are actively practiced in modern society.
Today, we will discuss RAIN meditation, what it is, the benefits it can provide, as well as provide a detailed breakdown of the four-step process.
What Is RAIN Meditation
RAIN meditation is a style or supplemental meditation practice that offers a way for people to cope and work with heavy or intense emotions.
RAIN meditation is a mindfulness process that was developed by insight meditation teacher Michele McDonald and introduced about 20 years ago.
It was meant to be a method for debunking or disproving the typical misconception that mindfulness is simply another way to refer to “paying attention”.
With the RAIN meditation process, individuals can identify the qualities of attention that essentially constitute a complete moment of mindfulness.
Michele McDonald is the co-founder of Vipassana Hawaii, which offers a variety of programs that are centered around Buddhist Theravada teachings.
This 4 step process is accompanied by the RAIN acronym, which was coined by McDonald herself and has become well known internationally over the years.
Each of these four letters corresponds with one particular step of the mindfulness process:
- R – Recognize what is happening
- A – Allow life to be just as it is
- I – Investigate inner experience
- N – Non-identification
RAIN Meditation Benefits
The RAIN meditation mindfulness process can truly provide a variety of significant benefits when practiced properly and with the right intentions.
This process is meant to be applied to situations and emotional occurrences in life that are heavy or create intense feelings that need to be dealt with in a healthy way.
When you take the time out of your day to pause for a moment of RAIN meditation, it can make a big difference in your mood and mental state.
When feelings of anxiety, anger, despair, fear or any of the associated negative emotions are running rampant, using the RAIN process will help individuals to realign themselves and prevent the anxiety from taking over.
People who have implemented the RAIN meditation process into their lives have reported a significant positive mindset shift to increased presence, understanding, and kindness.
Instead of feeling bogged down, mentally clogged, and stuck in a monotonous cycle of thought, the mind experiences clarity and more of an ability to choose positivity.
This unique style of meditation is geared towards acceptance, mindfulness, and the ability to properly handle strong emotions in order to allow oneself to experience life in a more positive and well-rounded way.
One of the most incredible things about RAIN meditation is that it can be understood, harnessed, and applied to so many of life’s emotional situations.
It is something that individuals, regardless of their meditation and mindfulness expertise, can integrate into their daily lives and use to achieve clarity, peace, and deal with those emotionally heavy moments that will inevitably occur.
RAIN Meditation Breakdown
Recognize – Recognize what is happening
Address your situation or specific occurrence, and recognize it or reflect on it.
Ask yourself a number of important questions like “what exactly is happening inside me?”, “What kind of emotions are coming up?”, and other more intimate and introverted inquiries.
What sensations are most prominent in this moment and why do you think this is the case?
You really want to take the time in this step to address what is happening in your mind and recognize what and why that is.
Determine what the overall emotional tone of the situation is, and use that to get clear on your emotional response and attachment to the situation at hand.
Allow – Allow life to be just as it is
This step of the RAIN process is dedicated to the idea of allowance or acceptance. It can naturally be very tempting as humans to jump into action once our emotions and their origins are recognized.
It is an inherent trait for some people to immediately want to problem solve once some sort of issue arises, but this is often not the best way to proceed.
This step is meant to force you to find it within yourself to just simply notice and accept what is going on.
An important part of this step is to not try to control the situation, react or allow yourself to pass any judgment on the matter.
Instead, simply allow life to be just as it is, accept the situation, and do not try to take action or move towards solutions.
Investigate – Investigate inner experience
Now that you have taken the time to properly recognize the situation at hand and allowed yourself the chance to accept the associated feelings and emotions, you can move onto the next step.
This part is all about investigation, in the lightest, most positive sense of the word.
Do your best to bring attention to your current experience, but make sure that you are doing so with an open mind and without judgment. Ask yourself investigative questions, some of them may include things like:
- “What is the most painful thing I am experiencing?”
- “Where are my feelings resonating strongest in my body?”
- “Are these emotions familiar to me or are they new?”
- “If the part of me that is experiencing the most pain could communicate, how would it express these feelings (words, sounds, images, etc..)?”
- “What does this part of me need the most (love, understanding, communication etc..)?”
This step is very important not only for engaging in a light analysis of our cognition, but more so for us to open up to the experience and really get an understanding for the sensations and effects that our situation is having on our physical body.
Take the time to really investigate and understand your inner emotions, but do so with care and kindness.
Find out what parts of your body are being affected, and try your best to connect with and acknowledge these feelings.
The fourth and final step of RAIN meditation is meant to be a kind and gentle reminder that what you think and feel, whether it is an emotion or some sort of thought, is not necessarily a depiction of you.
You are not defined by your mind, and neither are your emotions.
Non-identification refers to the fact that your sense of who YOU are should not be directly connected with the thoughts and emotions that arise in these situations.
This is meant to promote feelings of freedom and should help put your mind at ease.
Take this step as a chance to give yourself a sense of peace and nurturing, in the middle of what may be a very heavy and potentially painful time.
Regardless of how intense, angry, overwhelmed, or otherwise emotional you may be, always remember that there is a part of you that is untouched, pure, and calm.