Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Welcome the R.A.I.N.

~Bringing the fruits of contemplative practice (mindfulness meditation/prayer) to our busy day.

Taking these four steps in a moment of annoyance, anxiety or fear will help release the body from autonomic (flight, fright, freeze) systems that generate the negative feelings and a reactive mind. [This is really an abbreviated, in the moment, version of your sitting practice. In Christianity, Welcoming prayer achieves the same outcome.]

R.A.I.N. is an acronym developed by Michelle McDonald, a senior mindfulness teacher, to summarize a powerful way to expand self-awareness and bring the self to presence in the moment.

R = Recognize: Notice that you are experiencing something, such as irritation at the tone of voice used by your partner, child, or co-worker. Step back into observation rather than reaction. Without getting into story, simply name what is present, such as “annoyance,” “thoughts of being mistreated,” “body firing up,” “hurt,” “wanting to cry.”

A = Accept (Allow): Acknowledge that your experience is what it is, even if it’s unpleasant. Be with it without attempting to change it. Try to have self-compassion instead of self-criticism. Don’t add to the difficulty by being hard on yourself.

I = Investigate (Inquire): Try to find an attitude of interest, curiosity, and openness. Not detached intellectual analysis but a gently engaged exploration, often with a sense of tenderness or friendliness toward what it finds. Open to other aspects of the experience, such as softer feelings of hurt under the brittle armor of anger. It’s OK for your inquiry to be guided by a bit of insight into your own history and personality, but try to stay close to the raw experience and out of psychoanalyzing yourself.

N = Not-identify (Not-self): Have a feeling/thought/etc., instead of being it. Disentangle yourself from the various parts of the experience, knowing that they are small, fleeting aspects of the totality you are. See the streaming nature of sights, sounds, thoughts, and other contents of mind, arising and passing away due mainly to causes that have nothing to do with you, that are impersonal. Feel the contraction, stress, and pain that comes from claiming any part of this stream as “I,” or “me,” or “mine” – and sense the spaciousness and peace that comes when experiences simply flow.

~RAIN explanation by Rick Hanson, PhD

If you like a more explicitly spiritual context for your practice, below is the Welcoming Prayer method as described by Contemplative Outreach, the premier organization for the fostering of transformation in Christ through the practice of Centering Prayer.

The Welcoming Prayer Method

Focus, feel and sink into what you are experiencing this moment in your body.

“Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.

Let go by repeating the following sentences: “I let go of the desire for security, affection, control.” “I let go of the desire to change what I am experiencing.

With a prayer, a pause of peace and serenity, for you,
_/\_Peggy @ ECUMENICUS

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