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Real Happiness Challenge:Week 3: Do We Hide Our Emotions Or Let It R.A.I.N.?

We all have our ways of running for cover during periods of emotional turbulence.  Food, drink, drugs, Netflix, Facebook, Instagram…the list goes on and on. What we all have in common is that when faced with the suffering that comes with being human, we avoid unpleasant feelings and try to grasp to the comfortable.


What if we just allowed feelings to R.A.I.N. in a way that felt managable?


This week I was reminded of this when I felt fear while sitting in the “unknown” of a situation. I observed myself wanting to run from uncertainty by going online to plan my next trip to California! In Sharon Salzbergs 28-day meditation challenge this week, she outlines one of my favorite meditation techniques: R.A.I.N., which I originally heard about in Tara Brach’s book true Refuge.


Salzberg’s outline of the R.A.I.N technique helped me to first Recognize what I was feeling in the moment. I was feeling fear of the unknown-new relationships that could mean new connections or possible misconnections. I Accepted that I was feeling fear by recognizing that feeling is only natural in new relationships, and you never know how they will turn out. The third step of Investigation is always where I find the most relief. By Investigating where I felt fear in my body I could separate myself from the stories about the fear, and simply be with the waves of sensation in my body. The final step of Non-Attachment then allowed me to see the feelings as fleeting, fluid, and not my whole being.


This meditation reminds me of the work that I do personally and professionally with Internal Family Systems (IFS) developed by Richard Schwartz, working with different parts of the “Self” (or what Buddhists would call “Non-Self”). The steps to approaching emotions  in the R.A.I.N. technique and the parts in the IFS therapy model allow for space to be created through neutral observation. This observation allows us us to observe our feelings or parts without fully becoming them, which makes them manageable and approachable. This way of being with our emotions through mindfulness makes the need to hide less necessary. I’m having more fun than ever planning my next getaway, because it's happening more mindfully and not as a way to shelter from my feelings.


To learn more about the blogger Adrienne Glasser and her work combining IFS and Mindfulness click here


IDP is participating in lineage mentor Sharon Salzberg's REAL HAPPINESS Meditation Challenge.  This 28-day practice follows the the program outlined in Sharon’s New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness for the entire month of February. We encourage everyone to join us; since 2011, thousands have participated in this challenge which will help you develop your meditation with support from the entire community.


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