Category Archives: RAIN

Blog: Turning Toward Fear with RAIN



Turning Toward Fear with RAIN

Adapted from Tara’s new book –
Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of R.A.I.N. 

In a far-off land, word spread far and wide of a holy man with magic so powerful it could relieve the most severe suffering. After seekers of healing traveled through the wilderness to reach him, he’d swear them to secrecy about what was next to pass between them. Once they took the vow, the holy man asked a single question: What are you unwilling to feel?

Learning to directly face anxiety and fear with the RAIN meditation—Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture—gives you a pathway to inner transformation and a fearless heart.

Recognizing the Trance

After a daylong seminar on RAIN and stress, Brianna came up to me and asked for some help with a personal situation. She’d recently been hired as a marketing vice-president in a large corporation, but she felt intimidated by the CEO, who was very quick to cut off anyone who he felt was wasting his time. He ruled over the weekly staff meetings, which Brianna described as “torture” that put her into a state of “brain freeze.”

“I shouldn’t be worried about my competence,” she said. “I was recruited because I got an industry award at my last job. But the atmosphere here is totally different—really corporate, and the other VPs pretty much ignore me. I just go back to my office with my stomach churning and wonder how long I’ll last.”

I suggested that Brianna practice RAIN for a few minutes right before each meeting and asked her what was going on for her at that time.

“On those mornings I can really feel the anxiety building, and it lands me in a frenzy of busyness . . . reviewing reports, marking what I might need to comment on . . . nothing really productive.”

I smiled because I recognized that feeling all too well. “Okay, so before you start RAIN, imagine you’re pressing the pause button on that frenzy.” Brianna closed her eyes and pictured herself at her desk, a half-hour before the weekly meeting.

“As you pause,” I said, “your first job is to Recognize (R) the anxiety and Allow (A) it to be there.” After she nodded, I added, “Now, what do you notice if you bring your attention and interest to how it feels in your body?”

Beginning to Investigate (I), she muttered, “dry mouth . . . really tight chest . . . heart hammering . . . and, oh yeah, my stomach’s in knots.” I suggested she place her hand on her abdomen and send her breath there with a long slow inflow and outflow. This would to help her steady her attention and stay in contact with the fear.

What Does this Most Need?

Now I guided her to ask the scared place inside her what it needed most, a key inquiry in Investigating. After a moment, she looked up, surprised. “It said, ‘let it be ok that I’m here.’”

The Nurturing (N) that scared place needed was to be accepted, not to be made wrong. I asked Brianna how the wisest, kindest part of her wanted to respond. Could she find a way to acknowledge this very vulnerable part of herself with compassion?

She sat quietly, still breathing slowly, her hand on her belly. Then she nodded. “I just sent the message—it’s ok, this belongs. And . . . it does feel more ok. I’m actually a bit more relaxed.”

This became Brianna’s RAIN practice each week before going to the staff meeting. And when she felt anxiety spiking during the meeting, she’d simply breathe into it and send the message—It’s ok.

The freedom of This Belongs

About three months later, Brianna updated me. Her tension around the CEO hadn’t disappeared, but her anxiety had lessened somewhat. More important, it didn’t feel like such a big deal: “I’m not so alarmed when I get anxious,” she told me. “I was fighting it so hard, but now it’s ok that it’s there. That really does free me up.” She also shared some real progress in making creative contributions and connecting with others.

Asking yourself “what am I unwilling to feel?” can open you to deep spiritual healing. Fear is the feeling that something is wrong and that, rather than facing it, we need to act to protect ourselves. When, instead, we have the courage to pause and meet fear with the mindfulness and compassion of RAIN, our awareness and wisdom enlarges. If we need to respond to a threat, we’ll do so—with increased balance and presence. But often we’ll see: It’s just anxiety, it’s ok . . . this belongs—and begin to unhook from a lifetime pattern of reactivity. While fears continue to arise, we have access to a heart space that is open and free.

Adapted from Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Ourselves and Our World with the Practice of RAIN, Tara Brach (Viking, 2019).

Brach, T. (2019). Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of Rain. New York, NY: Viking Life.

More Resources on RAIN here.



The Power of Awake Awareness (retreat talk)



We all encounter “demons” of fear, anger, hurt, craving and shame. This talk explores our key ways of resisting difficult emotions, and how “when the resistance is gone, the demons are gone.” We look at the power of mindfulness and compassion to undo resistance, and open us to the loving presence that can handle whatever energies arise. This special talk was given at the 2019 IMCW 5-Day New Year’s Silent Retreat.

photo: Jonathan Foust


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Short Talk and Guided Heart Meditation – Releasing Blame (retreat)(37:50 min.)



This meditation explores the meaning of forgiveness and its role in healing and transformation. We then are guided in a forgiveness practice that helps us release the armoring of blame, and inhabit an inclusive and open heart (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat).


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Part 3 – 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 links to order.

…the alchemy of compassion is unless we’re willing to feel… unless we’re willing to be touched by suffering, it will be a sort of abstract kind of compassion – it won’t be real tenderness – a really awake heart. Radical compassion is when there’s a tenderness and an active caring…

The heart becomes a transformer of sorrows if you know how to breathe in, but also breathe out and really offer out either through prayer or active helping. People who can actively engage their caring actually feel better because they’re not bottled up and paralyzed.

~ Tara

Link to Part 1 Radical Compassion – Loving Ourselves and Our World into Healing
Link to Part 2 Radical Compassion – Loving Ourselves and Our World into Healing


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Part 2 – 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 links to order.

“Be Ground
Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.
You’ve been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Surrender.”
~ Jalaluddin Rumi

This talk also freely available on Insight Timer in audio.

Enjoy the transcript in blog format that includes cuts from the meditations from the talk – also on Insight Timer.

Link to Part 1 Radical Compassion – Loving Ourselves and Our World into Healing
Link to Part 3 Radical Compassion – Loving Ourselves and Our World into Healing


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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 links to order.

This talk also freely available on Insight Timer.

Enjoy the transcript in blog format that includes cuts from the meditations from the talk – also on Insight Timer.

Link to Part 2 Radical Compassion – Loving Ourselves and Our World into Healing
Link to Part 3 Radical Compassion – Loving Ourselves and Our World into Healing


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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.

More Resources on RAIN here.


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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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