Deepening our mindfulness explorations using RAIN Meditation
Week 1 concentrated on meditations with FAR structure, where the Focus is given at the outset and form a strong platform for Week 2. In Week 2, instead of the Focus being given at the outset, a major new feature is through exploration to recognize ( R ) a focus for your meditation. Then allow ( A ) that focus to be just be as it is, resting in compassionate awareness, as you would in a FAR meditation. After having it rest lightly in awareness you can then naturally investigate ( I ) it deeply. Finally you nurture ( N ) this focus lightly in awareness. Such RAIN meditations, are a powerful tool for addressing issues arising in everyday life. For an example of RAIN meditation see the video by Tarra Brach:
Mindful Activity at the Week 2 Meeting
Rumi was a wonderful poet (1207 AD – 1273 AD) whose works express the essence of humanity, mindfulness and tolerance between all human beings. His works are timeless, and still popular today, among a wide readership.
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Suggested Mindful Activity:
Draw the guest house of your heart and mind, your being, by delineating rooms, and indicating the guests (emotions), that live there. (5 minutes). Focusing on the difficulty you explored in the meditation, or another “guest”, indicate what kind of room it lives in (large, narrow, small), where does it reside (in the attic, basement, or living room?), and how does it take up residency in your lives. Has it taken up permanent residency, or temporary residency? What kind of furniture is in this room? What sights, sounds, smells?
Write a poem, reflection, or whatever suits you about this guest and the room it resides in.
Suggested Exercises for Week 2
We suggest you meditate for about 30 min per day on 4 of the following 6 days. It’s important not to rush, and back up to something less challenging if you feel it’s necessary (breath meditation for example). So, you don’t have to rigidly follow the practice below, but listen to the wisdom of your heart and body, and have fun with developing a practice that suits you.
Day 1: Breath or Body Meditation focused meditation of your choice, but noting any areas of tightness, and connecting with the sensations of your body etc. If you like, continuing to engage with the Rumi poetry writing exercise – using sketching, poetry or writing to illustrate your thoughts, body sensations, emotions from the most subtle to the strongest. This will develop incrementally your skill in using the RAIN practice that we’ll do later in the week.
Day 2: Sound and Thoughts (8 min) meditation available at http://rodalebooks.s3.amazonaws.com/mindfulness/index.html
– Use this meditation to understand and expand your relationship with your thoughts.
Followed by the (8 min) RAIN meditation by Tara Brach
– with the option of doing this meditation in silence on your own, and going through the RAIN process with only what you feel you are ready to apply it to.
Day 3: Finding a FAR meditation that you like doing, following by another RAIN meditation either guided or silent. Noting if it’s easier the second time, or what challenges are coming up for you. Alternatively, going back to breath or body meditation.
Day 4: Creating your own short (4 – 8 min) RAIN meditation. Writing it down, and reading or saying it to yourself as a meditation. The important aspect, is not how beautiful the meditation is, but that its yours 😊.
Choosing a different habit releaser for this week. Each week we will suggest some habit releaser, that is designed to help you approach your week differently. In the spirit of mindfulness, these are incremental, apparently small. Pick one of the following: eating mindfully; taking a mindful walk; sewing; or another activity if you choose. Bring the RAIN approach to this activity.
In Preparation for Week 3:
Consider what sorts of meditations you enjoy doing, and what meditations would you like to explore. What activities in your life do you think could be augmented or refreshed with bringing a mindful perspective to them? Perhaps taking some time to look into some lesser known meditations, recognizing that building your meditation practice is always an opportunity to explore new meditations (i.e. chakra meditation, inner compassion meditation, dancing meditation, etc.). Making note of which kinds of meditations kindle the fire of curiosity within you.