RAIN of Self-Compassion
RAIN is a four-step process that can help you re-connect with your present-moment experience. It's also a tool you can use when challenging feelings arise; it's a way to meet them and come into a different relationship with them. This version is based on Tara Brach's way of teaching it, which she recently updated to be more explicitly inclusive of self-compassion. You can practice this process during a formal meditation when a challenging emotional state arises, or on-the-spot, in your everyday life.
RAIN stands for:
Recognize what's going on,
Allow the experience to be there just as it is,
Investigate with interest and care, and
Nourish with self-compassion.
To begin the practice, take three mindful breaths to help bring your attention more fully to this moment.
"Recognize" means that you bring awareness to your experience and notice whatever is happening ~ maybe it's a feeling of tightness in your chest, or an increased heart rate that you identify as "anxiety." It might also include familiar, fearful thoughts about what might happen next. Or it might be a more subtle feeling ~ a quality of energy you notice in your body. Whatever is happening, see if you can recognize it and get as specific as possible.
When you "Allow", you begin to relinquish your argument with things as they are. It doesn't mean that 100% of you agrees with things as they are, though. It might mean that part of what wants to be allowed is the full spectrum of your experience: Can you accept that you are arguing with the way things are, and yet things are the way that they are? You might try saying to yourself, "Ok, this is how it is."
"Investigating with interest and care" can be a way to practice re-training your inner critic. In this step you can acknowledge the strengths of the critic ~ specifically its attention to detail. You need that attention to notice the nuances of your experience. At the same time, when you investigate with care, you have a warm, focused attention that does not judge. Brach refers to it as a "kind, receptive, gentle attention." See if you can un-blend your attention to detail from the criticism that often goes along with it.
Finally, "Nourishing with self-compassion" means that you respond to your suffering with kindness. This is an active response. You might not know how to do this at first. So, you can start by inquiring: "What do I most need right now?" This is the fundamental question of self-compassion. It might mean putting your hand on your heart, or holding one hand in the other. It could mean that you remind yourself: "I'm not alone; other people go through this, too." It might mean going for a walk. Listen for what you need and respond as best you can.
I find that having an acronym makes a tool easier to remember, and I hope that is true for you and RAIN. You might also like to listen to Tara's guided version of this meditation.