Buddhist psychotherapist and psychologist, Tara Brach recently reworked an old Buddhist teaching into a simple acronym for dealing with the acceptance of unwanted thoughts and feelings. RAIN; Recognize,Allow, Investigate with non-judgement and Non-Identification with thoughts and feelings. When we Recognize, we simply identify what it is that we are experiencing in that moment; fear, sadness, anxiety, hurt, anger or depression. Give the feeling a name.
Then Allow that feeling to simply be. Observe it as if you were watching it from a safe distance. Accept and permit whatever physical sensations or additional thoughts come and go with little judgment or consideration.
Investigate the source of your suffering, being carful not to engage in self-judgement, blame or harsh criticism. If you are anxious, then you may want to ask yourself; What is happening? How does it feel? And where do I feel it the most. Bring your attention to those feelings and areas of your body with a kind, gentle awareness.
Non-Identification with these feelings simply means that you are the observer, not the victim. These feelings and sensations do not have to define the essence of your being. You are more than what you think and feel!
These four steps to greater acceptance can be incorporated into a more formal mediation practice or used simply as a way of slowing down the mind train that often carries us off into deeper realms of suffering and pain.
Please check out Tara Brach’s newest publication; True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. Bantam Books, 2012.