Yesterday was a torrential downpour of rain in the morning. I had just dropped off my daughter at ballet and was sneaking in a well deserved cup of coffee before headed in to my exercise class. As I pulled up to the cafe, the downpour started. It doesn’t rain much where I am, so the rain was a huge event. I stayed in the car a little nervous to get out, until a little letup emerged and went in for my coffee.
I took a seat next to the window and watched the rain for a bit. Now that I’m inside and warm, thinking to myself, is this mindfulness? Watching the drips of rain coming down the windows, observing it hit the tree leaves and run off onto the tables outside. Watching the grey clouds drift by. It felt very comforting and took me away from the day to day grind and the disruption of the rain itself. I couldn’t help myself to do a quick google search on rain and mindfulness.
I got a ton of hits. But not what I was expecting. It surprised me to find there is an acronym RAIN and a practice that is used to be more mindful. The following are a few links that came up that were very helpful in understanding this practice in way more detail than I can discuss intelligently.
But the jist of what I turned up, while sitting in the cafe, will be very helpful in our mindful journey. So, as I read these posts while sipping my coffee and listening to the rain outside I decided to try it with this new tool. Here is how I thought through the RAIN method with my adventure in the rain. It has four steps…
STEP 1 – Recognize
This is the recognition of what is happening around you. For me it was raining, and raining pretty hard. I had no umbrella or jacket with me. At first I thought of it as a total disruption. I was recognizing that I was stressed about getting soaked right before my workout, the fact I don’t carry an umbrella in my car, and being delayed for my nice warm coffee adventure.
STEP 2 – Allow
Allowing the acceptance and acknowledgement of the situation. I cannot control when the rain will come and now it’s here. I may not like the timing, but none the less it is here. The ability not to resist the reality of the rain presenting itself. The water from rain will dry or maybe the rain will pass quickly.
STEP 3 – Investigate
As some of the articles say, this step may not be needed in all cases. Just allowing the situation to exist may be enough for some. But this step can be used for the why did my emotions rise, creating a resistance to the reality of the rain. I thought this through with my situation. At first I was almost going to scrap my coffee outing and sit in my car and sulk about the rain, but I persisted to work around it. This may not come naturally to some, so I’m thinking this would be very helpful to ask the “why”. I think the why for me is the rain seemed to come out of nowhere and derailed my plans.
STEP 4 – Non-Identification
This last step is the recognition that you are not your thoughts and that you can observe your thoughts. I love the analogy of thoughts are like clouds and they are always passing by. Sometimes they are white and fluffy and sometimes they are grey and dark. Yet, they are always passing through. This step can allow us to just go inside for a cup of coffee when the clouds are raining on us.
Thank you for joining me on this journey, we learned a lot today and found some good resources on the RAIN practice. My example was probably a little light, but I would imagine this practice is especially helpful in very strong emotional responses too.