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And on the topic of R.A.I.N...

Ok, ok, I know I am going on a bit but after typing up about rain and the changing seasons earlier an old concept reared it's head.


R.A.I.N.

Photo by Inge Maria


I hear you, "Adele, will you stop going on about the weather and get to the point".


Well R.A.I.N. is a four step process that can relate to the practice of mindfulness. Like how we can identify each type of cloud in the sky and use that understanding to take action (or inaction) based on recognising the various signs. We can tell if that cloud is going to rain on us or not based on how it looks, how the air feels and sounds and either go indoors or put on our wellies and jacket.


Our thoughts and the emotions that arise are just like the clouds. If we learn to recognise the patterns we enter into and where that particular line of thought may lead us it can help us weather our or prevent any storms that are brewing.


This is where the point of having compassion becomes really important. It's one of the fundamental pillars of mindfulness.


Sometimes our thoughts, just like the clouds can be heavy and dark, sometimes they are light, distant, all consuming or the sky is entirely clear. All of these are normal and have their place. Often we attach much significance to thoughts. They are not facts.


Sometimes we just need to let it rain.

Photo by Anandu Vinod


The following process doesn't only apply to thoughts and emotions in general. You can use it to assess what's going on in your relationships, your work, at home. I use it all the time to help me overcoming challenging situations.


R - Recognise what is happening

A - Accept it and allow life to be as it is

I - Investigate your inner experience with compassion & kindness

N - Non-identification


As human beings we tend to be creatures of habit (even if that habituation is not having habits). We tend to do the same things in the same way day to day. This includes how we react to our thoughts and feelings.


Attempting to control every detail disconnects you from the flavour and joy in life. Using the R.A.I.N. technique you can start to uncouple these unconscious patterns.


R - Recognise what is happening

We can start by identifying what is true in your internal space. The thoughts and feeling that you start to identify as they arise in situations. Maybe you can identify feelings, for example worry but you may not be aware of the feelings of tightness in the body, shallow breath, jitters and sweaty palms. A physiological response to your preconception of a situation that hasn't arisen yet.


Start simple by asking 'what is happening to me right now?'. Use curiosity and compassion, let go of what you expect to happen and just trust what your instincts are telling you.


It takes practice. Just keep asking yourself and noticing.


A - Accept it and allow life to be as it is

Allow thoughts and feelings to arise as they are. You don't need to change them. Sometimes they are feelings of joy and happiness, sometimes we are working through old grievances like shame or grief. Over time the response can become less intense and we experience less resistance.


I - Investigate your inner experience with compassion & kindness

Where the first two steps may be helpful enough, sometimes we may need to go a little deeper, or come in from leftfield a little. There are always situations and obstacles in life, that is an absolute certainty.


For me this is the why of the situation. Rather than stuffing all the work from the first two steps or mulling around in the emotional aspects. Ask yourself Why? Sometimes, another person is hurting or doesn't have the same information or viewpoint as you.


This part is really important (and in all honesty a little unsettling)...


... Sometimes it's just down to chance! A set of circumstances, genetics or being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Sometimes there is no amount of reasoning ourselves out of a situation.


Can you extend compassion, understanding and kindness forward? Honestly, it will benefit you more than anyone else.


N - Non-identification

The sense of who you are, the foundation from which you make all your choices and decisions, is not limited by your emotions, anecdotes or sensations. This step comes around on it's own. We rest and are comfortable in our own version of ourselves.



Photos by Clay Banks, Adele Lidderdale & Jan Antonin Kolar


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