RAIN is an acronym for Recognize, Allow, Inquire, and Nurture. The practice of RAIN has been a part of Insight Meditation practice for the last 25 years, first created by dharma teacher Michelle McDonald and more recently updated by Tara Brach, as found in her latest book, Radical Compassion. An addition to this practice, After the Rain, also comes from Tara Brach.

This practice is very useful as a means for finding love, compassion, and wisdom in every aspect of life, and it is especially important for us during times of stress as we are experiencing now during the COVID19 pandemic. Through understanding and working with the guidelines of RAIN, we are able to find balance in the body, feeling tones, emotions, and mind states as they arise.

The first step, Recognize, invites us to pay attention to this moment to notice what is present in all aspects of our being, without judgement or criticism. We begin to become familiar with presence by being aware of body sensations, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral states, both positive and afflictive emotions, and various mind states and where they live in us. This helps to know ourselves with greater clarity. An example would be to label tension in the body as “tightness.”

The second step, Allow, gives us permission to “let things be as they are” without fixing, fighting, or fear of what is here now. Another way of speaking about it is to accept what the present moment brings, whatever it is, knowing that it is impermanent and will pass. An example of this is not struggling with the “tightness” that arises and to soften around it allowing the sensation to spread.

The third step is Inquire. To inquire is to take what we recognize to a deeper level and ask ourselves for example “where do I feel ‘tight’ in the body; is this ‘tightness’ in my emotions in the form of agitation, restless, or anger?” We learn through this process about the nature of our experience, where and why it is manifesting as it is.

The fourth step is Nurture, a way of taking care of ourselves with kindness and gentleness. Whatever is going on within our being is not our fault; we can learn to let go of any shame, false belief, or critical narrative we are carrying within. The “tight” sensation may be a form of carrying old or new stressors within and not knowing how to let them go. By nurturing with words like “I care about my body” or “May my body be healthy and at ease,” we begin to unravel any unnecessary pain we have fostered.

After the Rain teaches us to take time, pause, and be still with the fullness of the process. This slowing down and taking time for being makes space for integration and resting in peace.

Please take some time to practice with this template to help in these troubling times and feel free to supplement this with buying Radical Compassion; read it, use the meditations, inquiries, and perhaps find a friend who wants to read it with you to enhance the benefit.

Stay well and safe.

In lovingkindness and compassion,