I like to write about and share my mindfulness practice because it helps me understand it better. These past weeks I have had a great opportunity to practice being mindful of my emotions. What triggered this: The World Cup…oh yes… sounds silly right? The funny thing is that I don’t understand football very much and I rarely can watch a full match. Despite this, the world cup brings an overwhelming amount of feelings and emotions. I am sure I am not the only one out there having this issue right now. Anger, frustration, joy, anxiety, happiness, compassion, hate and many other nasty feelings that can feel embarrassing.
In these moments, the mindfulness tool we can use is : RAIN . This is an acronym for a step process that goes like this:
To RECOGNIZE is to realize what is going on inside you, is it anxiety, sadness or an outburst of happiness? We tend to go through our feelings in such a mindless way that it can be challenging to stop and see what’s going on inside us. Practicing with an event like the world cup can be an easy start because those feelings are not directed to anyone in particular. After all, it’s just a game.
Now you’ll need to ALLOW the feelings, this means you should not push them away, stay with them and let them be what they are. With happiness its easy…yes, more please, but… it can lead us to clinging. Sadness on the other hand is overlooked and many times pushed away because nowadays there is such an ode to happiness that sadness became some kind of swear word. The goal is to stay with whatever comes and accept it for what it is. Don’t judge the feelings as “good” or “bad” they are just feelings.
From there we go to INVESTIGATE. We need now to go a little deeper into our emotions: how does this feel? Is my chest heavier? What is triggering this? why do I need to devour a full bag of chips while those guys hit the ball from one side to the other? I don’t even understand football! The world cup is not about the game. It’s about having a full country rooting for the same thing despite religion, race, political preferences and all the other things that keep us apart. Its about being part of a common conversation. The feelings of “belonging” and “connection” are what create these other feelings. And those are felt physically and psychologically in different ways.
And lastly, NON-IDENTIFICATION. You are not your feelings. This emotion is what it is, it will come and go away, but it doesn’t define you. We all hate, feel sad and helpless from time to time, but it’s up to us not to get caught up and let these feelings define us.
So let those feelings come, greet them, observe them but don’t get attached to any of them, and keep cheering because the world cup is almost over!
For a more in depth analysis about RAIN visit this article from Tara Brach .