It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment..." - Jon Kabat-Zinn
Over the last few years I have been practicing mindfulness and have found it to be of great benefit. What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is simply the practice of being present in the moment. Have you ever stopped and paused, and brought your awareness totally to the present moment? We all have at some point, perhaps it was a sunset that almost took your breath away, holding a baby and being mesmerized by their tiny toes or hands, maybe it was looking at a flower or at an animal?
A mindfulness practice:
RAIN - Cultivating a Mindful Awareness
The acronym RAIN is a powerful tool for interrupting habitual patterns of emotional reactivity and discovering the freedom of an awake, compassionate presence. This talk explores the components of RAIN, how it works, what makes it transformational and typical challenges people encounter. The teachings include a guided RAIN meditation.
"Recognising and allowing is the heart of mindfulness practice". Tara Brach.
R - Recognising - "What is happening inside me right now?" - Just name it.
A - Allowing - "Can I be with this?" If you just pause and ask these two questions, you will be more awake. Recognising and allowing, creates a pause. Instead of tumbling into a reactive behaviour, whether it is eating a bowl of ice cream or rushing into responding to an email, or whatever it is, in the recognising and allowing, we've paused...
'Between the stimulus and the response there is a space, and in that space is your power and your freedom' Viktor Frankl.
If you can pause,
in the middle of very habitual behaviour,
you have more choice.
The R and the A, create a pause, and they enable you to begin to investigate (21.35).
I - Investigate - we begin to investigate with interest and friendliness.
"What am I believing?" - don't go searching, don't get stuck in thinking... if something arises allow it.
Have you noticed how much you go around through the day, trying to figure out what is going on?
RAIN can get hijacked by the figuring out mind. It is very skillful to ask 'what am I believing?' Because, whenever we are suffering, there is a limiting belief, (25.38) and if you can identify it, that can bring a whole constellation of what is going on, and less identification.
If there is judgement when you are investigating, it won't work. (26.34) The part of you that is most vulnerable and needs the most work, will hide in the shadows. The only thing that will dissolve judgement that we have in such great supply, is a very purposeful quality of gentleness and kindness.
So Investigate, with an intimate attention.
You can't manufacture kindness, but you can intend it. Because your wisdom knows that is what is needed. (27.46)
Investigate, "What does this part of me need?" But again be aware of going into thinking.
Sometimes we go through the RAIn process and may get to R or A or I, and may not get to the N part of the process. Almost what is important is not getting to the end, but more the intention, and the valuing of pausing and deepening our attention. (36.20)
You can trust,
anytime, you are caught in an old pattern, (36.27)
and you pause, and even just for a few moments, say well 'what's going on?'
'can I be with this?'
that you are beginning a 'rewiring'.
The neuro-circuitry is beginning to change.(36.43)
You are changing habits, even with the lightest version of an incomplete RAIn
Mindfulness helps, and this is mindfulness.
A few challenges people come up with when doing this. What if when you check in, investigating, you can't find felt sense, or you can't even feel your body very much? What I would encourage, in the investigating is just to invite the feelings to be there, and notice what happens and don't worry if you can't connect with your body. Scan through your body, try to notice, but just putting out the inquiry, 'What is happening', 'where do I feel this?' - doing this over and over, it is the invitation that counts. Attention is what counts, in doing this process you are beginning to bring attention to what's there.
Bring kindness to this - bring compassion - as you would to a child.
N - Natural Awareness - Not Identify - There’s nothing to do for this last part of RAIN—realization arises spontaneously, on its own. We simply rest in natural awareness