Venue and time: Sunday October 30, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada. Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday November 1, 8 – 8:30 pm.
Schedule: Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic Mindfully cutting through confusion and stress using the RAIN technique. Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.
Consider the following quote from Pema Chodron:
Most of us, consciously or unconsciously, would like meditation to be a chill-out session where we don’t have to relate to unpleasantness. Actually, a lot of people have the misunderstanding that this is what meditation is about. They believe meditation includes everything except that which feels bad. And if something does feel bad, you’re supposed to label it “thinking” and shove it away or hit it on the head with a mallet. When you feel even the slightest hint of panic that you’re about to feel or experience something unpleasant, you use the label “thinking” as a way to repress it, and you rush back to the object of meditation, hoping that you never have to go into this uncomfortable place.
The trick is… depending on the instructions given, the particular meditation practice you’ve set out to do you might actually need to label something stressful “thinking” and return to your object of meditation. The subtlety comes from learning if you are repressing or letting go, and learning to know when that something that’s come up is (regardless of the practice you’re doing) actually what you need to be making the focus of your meditation.
What goes hand in hand with learning when to (dis)engage, is being able to engage skillfully. To that end, we will learn about the practice called “RAIN” (an acronym for the four stages in the practice).
Recognize what is happening
Allow life to be just as it is
Investigate with kindness
This practice in this form is relatively new, and was designed to be accessable both in formal practice and daily life. This is how Tara Brach describes the practice,
RAIN directs our attention in a clear, systematic way that cuts through confusion and stress. The steps give us somewhere to turn in a painful moment, and as we call on them more regularly, they strengthen our capacity to come home to our deepest truth. Like the clear sky and clean air after a cooling rain, this mindfulness practice brings a new openness and calm to our daily lives.
RAIN directly deconditions 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 a cigarette, or by getting immersed in obsessive thinking. Your attempt to control the life within
and around you actually cuts you off from your own heart and from this living world. RAIN begins to undo these unconscious patterns as soon as we take the first step.
This week we will start with the first two steps.
Suggested preparation for the evening discussion:
- Start investigating and Recognize what is happening
- When do you recognize a strong emotion?
- How would you characterize a strong emotion?
- Are you noting both physical and mental/emotional aspects of the experience?
- Consider if you’re Allowing life to be just as it is
- Try investigating the difference between “allowing”, “repressing”, and “putting up with”
- If/when you feel able to allow something, what does that feel like? How would you describe that/explain how to do it again?
- Finally – Please note an emotional experience and the context surrounding it from the week that you’re prepared to work with
- Start small. As Shantideva says, “with little cares, we train ourselves to work with great adversity”. This is especially true when learning a new tool!
- For instance, note a time you get irritated this week.
You might also like to listen the RAIN meditation by Tara Brach:
The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) : is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts. Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally. Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions. These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Thursday):
http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB). Attendance at our meditations and events is free (donations are accepted which go towards buy materials for the studio and learning resources).