Category Archives: RAIN

Part 1 – Radical Compassion – Loving Ourselves and Our World into Healing



Drawn from Tara’s new book, Radical Compassion (2020), these three talks explore how the RAIN practice (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture) awakens the active, embodied caring that heals and frees our hearts.

Check www.tarabrach.com for more information on Tara’s new book, including pre-order links.

This talk also available on Insight Timer.


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Meditation: The RAIN of Compassion (30:00 min)



The acronym RAIN (Recognize-Allow-Investigate-Nurture) is one of the most powerful tools I know for working with difficult emotions and discovering the freedom of an awake, compassionate presence.

The 4-steps of RAIN are:

  • Recognize what is happening;
  • Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
  • Investigate with interest and care;
  • Nurture with self-compassion.

In the moments “After the RAIN,” it’s important to simply notice your own presence and rest in that open, tender space of awareness. When we are no longer identified with passing states like fear or anger, we begin to realize the vastness and mystery of our natural Being.


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RAIN on Blame: A Guided Meditation (14:40 min.)



When we are stuck in blame or resentment we are in a trance – the other person becomes an unreal bad other, and our own sense of being contracts into a victimized self, an angry self, a righteous self. Using the acronym RAIN, this practice guides us in bringing mindfulness and compassion to our inner experience, and then to viewing the other with a more open and clear heart.  By awakening from the trance of blame, we are able to respond with intelligence and care to the unmet needs that underlie all conflict.

From the conclusion of Belonging to Each Other – Part 2. Listen to the full talk here.


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Meditation: RAIN on Self-Blame (9:45 min.)



One of the greatest roots of suffering is being at war with ourselves. This meditation, based on the acronym RAIN (recognize-allow-investigate-nurture), guides us in releasing the armoring of blame, and relating to our inner life with greater understanding and compassion.

“Letting yourself sense the space of kindness and presence that can arise that can hold what’s there. And you might ask yourself, “Who would you be if you trusted your goodness? Who would you be if you sensed there is nothing really wrong? How would your life be if you were without anxiety about non-perfection, if you basically trusted okayness?”

Listen to the full talk here: Forgiveness: Releasing Ourselves and Others from Aversive Blame – Part 1

More Resources on RAIN here.


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Forgiveness: Releasing Ourselves and Others from Aversive Blame – Part 1



Rumi invites us to find the barriers we’ve erected against love, and a universal one is blame. These three talks are an invitation to relax those barriers, and to open our hearts to our inner life and to all beings. Part 1 focuses on chronic self-judgment; Part 2 on the places of deep self-condemnation, and Part 3 on where we have locked into anger, blame or hatred of others. Each includes guided reflections that can support us in directly awakening beyond the confining thoughts and feelings of blame.

“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi

Listen to Part 2 here: Forgiveness: Releasing Ourselves and Others from Aversive Blame – Part 2


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Meditation: The Practice of RAIN (20:00 min.)



The acronym RAIN – Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture – guides us in bringing mindfulness and compassion to difficult emotions. With practice, we can find our way home to open-hearted presence in the midst of whatever arises.

“Don’t turn away.
Keep your gaze on the bandaged place.
That’s where the light enters you.”
~ Rumi

More Resources on RAIN here.

Free download of Tara’s 10 min meditation:
Mindful Breathing: Finding Calm and Ease
and: 8 Essential Tips to Nourish Your Meditation Practice
when you join her email list.


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RAIN Partners Co-Meditation: Audio Guided Session (33:45 min.)



WHAT ARE RAIN PARTNERS?

RAIN – Recognize-Allow-Investigate-Nurture, the process of bringing mindfulness and compassion to difficult emotions, can be practiced with another person in a way that is deeply healing. RAIN partners agree to practice together on a regular basis—weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or whatever arrangement works. A session takes 35-40 minutes and can be done in person, by phone or via the internet. Continuing as partners over time allows for a deepening of trust, safety and mutual support.

Read a full description of the RAIN Partners practice:
READ MORE: RAIN PARTNERS PROTOCOL

Listen to and/or download the audio guide below:


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Blog: RAIN Partners Protocol



WHAT ARE RAIN PARTNERS?

RAIN – Recognize-Allow-Investigate-Nurture, the process of bringing mindfulness and compassion to difficult emotions, can be practiced with another person in a way that is deeply healing. RAIN partners agree to practice together on a regular basis—weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or whatever arrangement works. A session takes 35-40 minutes and can be done in person, by phone or via the internet. Continuing as partners over time allows for a deepening of trust, safety and mutual support.

Resource: RAIN Partners Co-Meditation: Audio Guided Session (an audio guide for RAIN Partners)

WHO MIGHT DO THIS?

The prerequisites for being a RAIN partner are an established mindfulness practice (Insight Meditation/ Vipassana) and some experience working with the Recognize-Allow-Investigate-Nurture version of RAIN.

Your RAIN partner might be a friend, family member, colleague or someone you don’t know. Each partner should review these guidelines.

HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM PRACTICING RAIN ON MY OWN?

Practicing RAIN with a partner can provide a safe, supportive relational space that keeps you focused and accountable to your own healing, deepens intimacy with another person, reveals that “it’s not so personal…others experience this too,” and serves awakening together. In other words, it’s juicy!

THE PROTOCOL

Audio-Guided Session

You and your partner might choose to use the audio-guided RAIN Partners Co-meditation for your sessions. If not, you will need to time yourself through the various segments, and refer to the below section on “the practice” until you become familiar with the meditation.

Preparation

Both partners reflect in advance on a “stuck place” where they are getting caught in difficult emotions. It might be something triggered in a relationship, at work, by a health issue or an addictive behavior, or events in our larger society. Each partner comes to the session with a particular situation in mind that activates the reactive pattern.

Note: It is important not to select situations that might set off trauma or emotions that are intense and overwhelming. Listen carefully to your own intuition as to what can be healthy to process and well contained in this partnering meditation.

You might find it helpful to bring water, tissues and journaling materials to the session. In addition, you might bring a bell, gong, or some other pleasant way of signaling the end of a timed portion of the meditation meditation (if you are not using the guided session).

When you convene with your partner, decide on who will be the first Speaker and who be the first Listener for the two periods of sharing in this session. Also decide on who will be responsible for keeping time if you are not using the guided-session. (Recommended: One person be the main time-keeper, but switch for the portions when they are the one sharing.)

It’s fine to lengthen the duration of any portion of the process when doing this on your own or with the guided session. But decide ahead if you are going to do this.

The Practice

1. Begin with a period of quiet meditation (3-10 minutes).

2. The R of RAIN, Recognizing: The first Speaker shares their situation and names the primary emotion(s) that become activated (3 min). The partner who is listening stays silent, offering an accepting, openhearted presence. Take a few moments for a silent pause, and then switch.

Note: It is very easy to get entranced in storytelling and lose track of time. Try to articulate just enough about your situation so that you can get in touch with the most challenging part about what is happening. Honoring the 3-minute limit will support you in this.

3. The A-I-N of RAIN: Practice the next steps of RAIN individually in silence (10 min).

A – Allowing: Bring your attention to whatever feels most difficult in what you have Recognized with the intention of fully “letting be.” Allowing is the willingness to pause and stay present with the life that is here, just as it is.

Allowing difficult emotions to be present requires gentleness and tenderness. Saying to yourself phrases such as “This too” or “Yes” or “I can hold this” can help. This is about opening to your experience, even when it’s painful.

I – Investigating: In RAIN, investigating is about inquiring into the felt sense of our experience rather than being a cognitive or analytic process. While your story and beliefs can be a portal to direct experience, keep returning your attention to your body, to the felt sense and sensations of wherever you feel most vulnerable. Bring an interested and kind attention to your experience.

Some of the following questions may be helpful in your investigation. Feel free to experiment with the sequence and content of your inquiry:

  • What is the worst part of this? What most wants my attention?
  • What is the most difficult /painful thing I am believing?
  • What emotions does this bring up (fear, anger, grief?)
  • Where do I feel these emotions inside?
  • What is the felt sense of these emotions as sensations (i.e. clenched, raw, hot, sore, aching, empty, squeezed)?
  • What do I notice when I assume the facial expression and body posture that best reflect these feelings and emotions?

These final questions are a transition to N-Nurturing. Stay connected with the vulnerable experience inside, and also sense that you are asking and listening from compassionate presence.

  • If the most vulnerable hurting part of me could communicate, what would it express (words, feelings, images)?
  • How does this part want me to be with it?
  • What does this part most need (from me or from some larger source of love and wisdom)?

N – Nurturing: Take some moments to breathe consciously and adjust your posture in a way that helps you fully contact your most awake experience of heart and mind (sometimes perceived as your high or future self). Call on this wise and compassionate self or call on another being (such as a friend, family member, pet, teacher or a spiritual figure) whose wisdom and love you trust.

Offer inwardly the love, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, or protection that the vulnerable part of you most needs. You might extend your care through words, touch (such as a hand on your heart) and/or imagery (such as seeing your inner child embraced or surrounded by light.)

As you complete Nurturing, you might sense if there is a message from your most awake heart/mind (future self) that will be helpful to remember.

(The timekeeper signals that 2 minutes remain for reflection on “After the RAIN.”)

After the RAIN (2 min.): This is the time to cease any “doing” and to take some moments to rest in the presence and heartspace that has emerged. Relax and let it fill you. Get familiar with it. If you are feeling some new or residual difficulty, offer this your acknowledgment and care. Before closing, pay attention to the quality of your presence and ask yourself:

  • In these moments, what is the sense of my Being, of who I am?
  • How has this shifted from when I began the meditation?

(The time-keeper signals when 2 minutes are complete. Before moving into the next sharing with your partner, feel free to take minute or so to stretch and/or drink some water.)

4. Reflective Practice with Partner: The first Speaker responds to the following questions, while the Listener attends silently. Switch. (3 min. each).

  • What was challenging about this practice?
  • What did I experience or learn about myself that I want to remember?

5. Unstructured Sharing: Maintaining a safe, respectful space for sharing (see below), take a few minutes to express anything else about your experience that feels important. This might include what it was like to listen to and share with another person.

WHAT HELPS ENSURE THE CREATION OF A SAFE AND HEALING SPACE?

This partnering practice is based on a mutual commitment to creating a safe, conscious, and caring space for transformational work. All you share and all you hear in any session is to be held in strict confidence. Unless your partner specifically invites your feedback, please refrain from commenting on your partner’s sharing or offering any advice or counsel.

  • Set up multiple dates, not just one. Whoever cancels a session is responsible for scheduling the next one.
  • Determine with your partner if you will connect in person, by phone or online.
  • Start on time. Remember that it’s easy to get lost catching up and you may not have the needed time for your co-meditation.
  • Decide who will keep track of timing during the different portions of the practice. While it’s fine to extend the timing wherever you choose, agree on this in advance.
  • Commit yourself to honoring the confidentiality of all that is shared.
  • Don’t choose to work on issues that may trigger trauma or emotional intensity that you anticipate might be overwhelming.
  • Discontinue the session if, due to physical or emotional discomfort, either partner feels the need to end.
  • Remember that you are not doing therapy with each other: Stay away from guiding each other in the process, or in any way trying to “fix” by interrupting to comfort or advise.
  • When your partner is sharing about their experience, remain silent and remind yourself you are offering the gift of an accepting presence. Consider yourself an interested and caring witness.
  • If some judgment or other strong reactivity arises as your partner is sharing, regard that with mindfulness and self-compassion.
  • Offer feedback or advice only if asked.

Resource: RAIN Partners Co-Meditation: Audio Guided Session (an audio guide for RAIN Partners)

RAIN Partners Protocol in .pdf for printing

More Resources on RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture here

Copyright © 2019 by Tara Brach, Ph.D.


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Part 1 – Healing Anxiety – How Meditation Frees Us



Anxiety and the fear of failure is a pervasive suffering around the world. It is also increasing—along with the pace of life, over-consuming, addiction, noise, polarization and fears for our planet. How do we calm ourselves in a way that brings inner freedom and serves the healing of our larger world? These two talks explore the power of awareness in evolving ourselves beyond the anxiety that grips and confines our lives.

Listen: Part 2 – Healing Anxiety – How Meditation Frees Us

Visit: Community Wisdom on Sleep

“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.”

Excerpt From: Coleman Barks. “The Essential Rumi – reissue.”

More Resources ~ RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture.


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Survival of the Nurtured – Our Path to Belonging



“We are not the survival of the fittest. We are the survival of the nurtured.”
— Louis Cozolino

[CC] ~ We flourish when nurtured with love and understanding. Yet for so many, the violence of our society and lack of attuned caretakers has severed trust and belonging. This talk explores how meditation and conscious relating with each other can restore the connections so vital to healing and spiritual freedom.

With That Moon Language

Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to
them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full
moon in each eye that is always saying,

with that sweet moon language, what every other
eye in this world is dying to hear?

– poem by Hafiz – translated by Daniel Ladinsky


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