The RAIN technique is a summary of the basic releasing process that we can do anytime, anywhere. RAIN embodies all that we want to accomplish through releasing. RAIN directs our attention in a clear, systematic way that cuts through confusion and stress. The steps give us somewhere to turn to in a painful moment, and as we call on them more regularly, they strengthen our capacity to come home to our deepest truth through deepening our releasing. Like the clear sky and clean air after a cooling rain, this awareness practice brings a new openness and calm to our daily lives.
RAIN directly de-conditions the habitual ways in which you resist your moment-to-moment experience. It doesn’t matter whether you resist “what is” by lashing out in anger, by having cigarette/alcohol/drugs, by engaging in idle gossip or any other time-wasters, by resorting to drama or just by getting immersed in obsessive thinking. Your attempt to control the life within and around you actually cuts you off from your own Innate Wisdom and from this living world. RAIN begins to undo these unconscious patterns as soon as we take the first step.
The four components of RAIN are:
- Allowing (Welcoming)
Whenever we feel any feeling, the four components are to be used in the order mentioned above. In most cases, we may find that by the time we complete the second step, Allowing, the feeling or emotional state would have either started changing or dissolved completely. In some cases, we may need to complete step 3 (Investigation) also. It is strongly recommended that we do the RAIN at least till step 3 every time we feel any feeling, since we get to the root of the feeling/emotion in step 3, which makes it extremely effective. Step 4 (Non-identification) is optional for releasers (that is, those who have only attended the basic workshop on Releasing Process) but is strongly recommended for RP practitioners (that is, those who have attended the advanced workshop on Releasing Process). However, irrespective of whether you are just a releaser or RP practitioner, if you resonate with all steps of RAIN and feel like going through them all, then please feel free to do so.
Let’s look at each of the steps in detail:
The first step is simply to become aware of and recognize what we are actually feeling in the moment. Many times when we experience any emotion, we will either be so immersed in our thinking or get lost in the emotional storm that we forget to just become aware of our internal state. That is why the first step is so important. Awareness is an ever-present resource that is always available to us. Our habitual ways of feeling, thinking and behaving are so strong that we are most often completely overpowered by them, especially in deeply problematic or challenging situations. Awareness acts like a sword which cuts deep into these habitual ways which then paves the way to our true freedom and happiness. Every time we become aware of our habitual ways, we have taken the necessary step to free ourselves of our inner-limitations.
So, the first step is about becoming aware of as well as getting clarity on what exactly we are feeling in the moment. Asking ourselves “What exactly am I feeling in this moment?” or “What am I actually feeling in this moment?” is extremely useful to get us started on RAIN. Many times in normal situations, we may not be able to clearly identify what we are actually feeling; all we may feel is a general sense of unease or discomfort. Such a vague sense of our emotional state does not help us to observe or become aware of it. Instead, we remain stuck in it. So, the question mainly helps us to get clarity on our emotional state. Not only that, but as soon as we ask ourselves the question, “What exactly am I feeling in this moment?” we will have activated our present-moment awareness which then helps us to get into releasing. Try to also notice the body sensations occurring throughout the body as well as the nature of your breathing in the moment. We can ask ourselves “What is happening inside me right now?” to awaken recognition. Call on your natural curiosity as you focus inward. Try to let go of any preconceived ideas and instead listen in a kind, receptive way to your body and heart.
The next step is to welcome the internal physical and emotional states which we have recognized and just allow them to be. We just open our inner-space and keep it open as long as needed for the emotion to remain. Allowing means “letting be” the thoughts, emotions, feelings or sensations you discover. You may feel a natural sense of aversion, of wishing that unpleasant feelings would go away, but as you become more willing to be present with “what is,” a different quality of attention will emerge. Allowing is intrinsic to healing, and realizing this can give rise to a conscious intention to “let be.” We let go of all wanting to control or get rid of the emotion and also, any resistance to the emotion and keep letting go, so that our inner-space remains open for the feeling or thoughts or sensations to do what they please. We stay with the internal state gently and patiently with our attention holding the emotion tenderly, just like a mother holds her baby in her arms. Irrespective of what the baby does, whether screaming or crying violently, the mother continues to hold it with love and affection without her attention flinching for even a moment. This quality of consistent and loving attention for our emotional states is a very essential aspect of RAIN.
As we allow and welcome the emotion and become comfortable with it, we move on to the next step, which is to investigate the internal state with kindness and curiosity. We allow ourselves to find out the root cause behind the emotion, that is, what is/are the cravings/wantings operating behind the emotion. Is it wanting approval/control/security/separation/oneness? We allow the answer to arise spontaneously from within us (may not be always necessarily in verbal form). We then let go of the wanting approval/control/security/separation/oneness as best as we can.
The root cause of all suffering and inadequacies in our life is our intense identification with such things as our appearance, behavior, emotions, thoughts, personalities and life circumstances. For example, we think of ourselves as a beautiful or ugly person depending on how we perceive our bodies, we think of ourselves as a success or failure depending on how we evaluate our life circumstances, we identify ourselves as happy or sad depending on what feeling or emotions we are experiencing etc. The problem with such identification is that such external things are not permanent, they undergo constant change. Our bodies keep changing constantly, so do our emotions, thoughts, and behavior as well as life circumstances. And since the future is not in our hands, we can never predict what sort of changes we will encounter the next moment. Hence, our constant, unconscious identification with such impermanent aspects of our moment-to-moment experience is a sure recipe for suffering. The truth is that we are much more than our appearance, thoughts, emotions, behavior, personality and life circumstances. Releasing Process is our tool to help us see through this illusion and realize the truth of who we really are.
The last step in RAIN helps see through the illusion that we ARE the emotion we are feeling or the thoughts we are thinking, when in fact, we are NOT. For example, when feeling anger, instead of saying “I am feeling anger in this moment”, we say “I am angry”. That is called identifying with the feeling or emotion. Non-identification means that your sense of who you are is not fused with or defined by any limited set of emotions, sensations or stories. When identification with the small self is loosened, we begin to intuit and live from the openness and love that express our natural awareness. The first three steps of RAIN require some intentional activity. In contrast, the N of RAIN expresses the result: a liberating realization of your natural awareness. There’s nothing to do for this last part of RAIN—realization arises spontaneously, on its own. We simply rest in natural awareness. We just welcome any sense that the internal state we are experiencing right now is ours, is who we are, or is about us. We let go of any sense that what we are experiencing in the present moment is personal. As mentioned earlier, the last step in RAIN is optional as it is a little bit of a stretch for releasers to get the understanding that whatever we are experiencing in this moment is not personal, it just appears that it is personal or that it is about us. So, as with all tools and methods in the Releasing Process, the salient advise holds good here also: do not force yourself if you don’t resonate with any tool or part/aspect of any tool in the Releasing Process. The first three steps are sufficient to get us on the track of releasing.