My Dearest Daughter,
There may be times in your life when you feel overcome by an unpleasant emotion or physical sensation. Using the RAIN* technique, along with breath, is one of my tools for transforming such an occasion.
RAIN is an acronym for the practice of mindfully experiencing any sensation, especially suffering, without becoming attached and therefore bound to it.
R- Recognize the feeling.
A- Accept the feeling (rather than try to deny it or push it away).
I- Investigate the feeling and it’s relationship to your body.
N- Non Identify or Non Attach to the feeling.
Let that feeling be a presence all it’s own, like an unwanted guest. You are not your feelings, and feelings are not facts. They are just guests, passing through. We get to choose how long we will entertain the guests based on a mutual beneficial exchange of energies.
What can you do in that moment when your feeling is all encompassing and you want to escape it but cannot?
Rather than try and push it away, I encourage you to get as much from the feeling as you can. What is it trying to tell you? What does it need you to hear and acknowledge? What can you do to make it feel heard?
If that feeling over stays its welcome, rather than trying to force it to leave, invite new feelings to the mix. When we paint and we add a new color to the mix, it decreases the intensity of the color that’s already on the palette.
We diminish painful physical sensations, like a back spasm or migraine, by inviting new, pleasant physical sensations like a massage, or a bath, in which the blood circulation actually helps to break up the sensation we call pain.
We diminish isolation by reaching out to others to be of service or even to ask or offer a hug.
We diminish stress by making a conscious choice to be playful.
And We diminish painful emotional sensations, like sadness, anger, or fear, by inviting pleasant emotional sensations like joy, laughter, and love into our hearts.
We can do this many ways. My first go to is usually nature to create an immediate expansion of space around the unpleasant feeling, thereby minimizing its hold on me and then by adding music which can transport us almost instantly to a new plain.
The trick is add something new instead of take something away; by consciously adding new behaviors we naturally eliminate old ones.
For example, if someone wanted to give up eating junk food, I would encourage them to do so by adding healthy foods before restricting unhealthy foods. When we try and deprive our self of something, we tend to hold on to it even more. When we simply add more goodness, we find ourselves naturally letting go of the bad in order to embrace the good.
You got this!
* RAIN: as cited in Robert Wright’s, Why Buddhism Is True