It’s human nature to do EVERYTHING we can to avoid, repress or distract ourselves from icky feelings. Disappointment, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, grief, guilt. Yuck. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but avoiding these negative feelings does not make them magically disappear or go away. You might delay dealing with them, but these feelings always seem to resurface…and usually not in a good way! We have to address whatever is happening within us in order to work through it, come to peace with it or release it. It’s not easy, but using the R.A.I.N. method while meditating makes this process a little easier.
You can choose to use a guided meditation to help you flow through each of these stages or do it on your own.
Find a comfortable spot to meditate either seated or lying down. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself. Try to focus your attention on your breathing and notice any sensations in your body. Any feelings of discomfort to explore? When your mind goes to mundane thoughts of work or what to eat for dinner, bring your attention back to your body and your breathing.
The first phase of recognition is when you get in touch with how you’re really feeling. You may have a headache and tense muscles and realize you’re overwhelmed. You may have a pit in your stomach or chest and realize your feeling anxious. Or you may have some thoughts come to you about your relationship that have been bothering you. You may realize you’re feeling unappreciated. Be open to whatever comes up.
Once you identify the negative feeling(s), allow them to stay. Don’t quickly justify them or push them away, as we so often tend to do. Sit with them. This is the hardest stage.
Next, investigate by digging a bit deeper. You may ask yourself these questions to help yourself explore these thoughts or emotions.
- What most wants attention?
- How am I experiencing this in my body?
- What am I believing?
- What does this feeling want from me?
- Why do I feel the way I do?
- Are there events that happened ahead of the emotion that might have influenced it?
- Are there physiological factors that are affecting the emotion?
- What do I really need right now?
- Are there actions I could take to nurture and support myself (and/or others) in this difficult time?