Calming Your Mind

I love that you’re here! Not only for subscribing to my newsletter, but for taking this step toward calming your mind. We need all the calm we can get in this world of ours. Thank you…

Before you begin, I want to say that I use my mailing list to notify people when I post a new blog, or share something that inspires me. I write about my experiences so others won’t feel so alone. Sometimes shared experiences can ease the mind a bit.  I will not bombard you with emails, as I am particularly sensitive to this myself. If you do not want to receive my newsletter, you can unsubscribe from my website at any time.

If you’re reading these words, perhaps it’s because something has opened the door for you, and you’re ready to embrace change. It isn’t enough to long for change, or to believe that is it something that can happen to other people but not to you. We need to create change for ourselves, in a workable way, as part of our everyday lives. Learning to work with your thoughts and calm your mind is the absolute bomb! In a good way…

I have absolute belief and faith that you can do this…

Do you struggle with anxiety or worry? 

Are you angry, judgmental, and critical?

If you answered yes to any of these, I want to tell you that you don’t have to live this way.

Whatever the outer story and circumstance, there exists a potential to learn how to work with and calm your mind, which, of course, calms your body, too.

A few years ago I was introduced to this thing called R.A.I.N. , which is a powerful tool for working with your thoughts and feelings, and offers immediate support and relief for dealing with intense and difficult emotions, especially anxiety and anger.

R.A.I.N. is an acronym for the four steps of this process, and can be used at any time and in any situation – when you’re struggling with on-going anxiety or if you’ve just become angry and reactive by someone or something.  R.A.I.N. re-focuses our attention inward in a clear way to help contain and work these oh so painful mind habits. The RAIN steps give us a road map, a place to take refuge (rather than get swallowed by the thoughts and feelings) when we are suffering.

Are you ready?

Let it R.A.I.N…

Here are the four steps:

*R   Recognize what is happening

*A   Allow life to be just as it is

*I   Investigate inner experience with kindness

*N  Non-Identification

How does it work?

RAIN is a four step process (yes, a process, so call in your patience) that changes the habitual ways in which you resist your moment-to-moment experience. It doesn’t matter whether you resist “what is” by lashing out or shutting down in anger, eating or drinking when the anxiety arises, or by getting swallowed in obsessive thinking. Your coping mechanisms come from an attempt to control, and once you are trying to control something, you are disconnected from your own heart and from connecting with others.

Utilizing R.A.I. N. as a practice can help you bring space to be with things as they are and grow in deeper understanding of what drives, underlies or fuels your anxiety, anger, and sadness.

To begin…

Step #1: Recognize what is happening.

“R” is to recognize when a strong emotion is present. Recognition is seeing what is true in your inner life. The moment you bring an inner witness that can focus your attention on whatever thoughts, emotions, feelings or sensations that are arising right here and now you’ve begun changing the habit. As your attention quiets and becomes more open, you will discover that it may be easier to connect to a bodily sensation than that of a thought. For example, you might recognize anxiety right away, but if you focus on your worried thoughts, you might not notice the actual sensations of pressure or tightness, or cold limbs arising in the body. On the other hand, if your body is gripped by nervous energy, you might not recognize that this physical response is being triggered by your underlying belief that you are about to fail. You can awaken recognition simply by asking yourself: “What is happening inside me right now?” 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, heart, and mind.

Step #2: Accept the experience to be just as it is.

“A” is to allow or acknowledge that it is indeed there. 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.”

Step #3 Investigate (with kindness).

“I” is to investigate and bring self-inquiry to the body, feelings, and mind, It is important to begin bringing an attitude of kindness, curiosity, and compassion to this step (even if you’re not accessing kindness and it’s just something you aspire to feel).

All these responses reflect our natural resistance to feeling uncomfortable and unsafe: thoughts swarm in our head, we leave our body, we judge what is happening. RAIN can be a missing key ingredient. In order for investigation to be healing and freeing, we need to approach our experience with an intimate quality of attention.

Your internal experience can be seen in 3 parts:

Physical sensations:

Notice what sensations are present in your body, including their textures, layers, changing nature, and anything else that occurs.

Emotions:

What is the basic feeling tone of your experience (positive, negative, neutral)?

What emotions are present?

There may be many different emotions present.

Ask yourself, “What does this feeling want from me right now?  What is it trying to tell me?”

Thoughts:

Notice what thoughts are passing through your mind. Perhaps ask yourself, “What stories am I believing right now?”

Some people struggle with the investigation step, saying things like, “When fear arises, my investigation just takes me into thinking about what is causing it and how to feel better.” Others reported, “I can’t stay in my body long enough to investigate where an emotion lives in me.” For others, investigation triggered judgment: “I know I’m supposed to be investigating this shame, but I hate it…and I hate myself for having it.”

Imagine that your child comes home in tears after being bullied at school. In order to find out what happened and how your child is feeling, you have to offer a kind, receptive, gentle attention. Bringing that same kindness to your inner life makes healing possible.

Step # 4 Non-identification.

“N” is to not-identify with what’s there. This ‘no longer willing to identify’ is very useful in that it helps to deflate the story and cultivates wise understanding in the recognition that the emotion is just another passing mind state and not a definition of who you are. Just like seeing a movie, standing back and watching the actors play out their dramas, by not-identifying with your story and seeing it as impermanent, this will help assist in loosening your own tight grip of identification. This means not believing that your emotions “belong” to you, or labeling them as “me” or “mine.”

It means not taking emotions personally (remember, I said this it’s a process). The emotions you experience are also not just unique to you, but instead are shared and experienced by all humans. Most people get anxious, and everyone gets angry. Some of us more than others.

It can be helpful to label the emotion you are experiencing. “Anxious, Pissed.” 

Instead of saying, “I am an angry person all the time,” you could reframe it more accurately by saying “Anger is present right now,” or “I am experiencing anger right now.”

You can learn to observe your experiences, thoughts and emotions without identifying with them.

If you practice the R.A.I.N. method regularly, you will heal!

Learning to move toward your emotions can feel a bit foreign since most of us are conditioned to push anything that is painful away. These challenges, in themselves, can be seen as  a rite of passage.

Calming the Mind Guided Meditation

I have created a 10 minute guided meditation that will help you to begin calming your mind. The more you listen to it, the greater the benefits will be.

Guided meditations are a wonderful way of relaxing the mind. It is a form of meditation that can have immediate calming benefits.

You will learn how to establish calm attention and a relaxed feeling in the body.

You can practice this meditation anytime of the day, but I particularly recommend it first thing in the morning when you awaken, or just before going to bed.

Pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after the meditation. It’s helpful to be able to notice that you are getting relief.

I hope this guided meditation can help start you on your path to calming your mind, and begin to deepen your well of equanimity.

May this site and my work be a support in continuing your journey to grow, and may you deepen the practice of calming your mind.

May you be free of suffering!

LISTEN TO MEDITATION:

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Print this out and use it as a worksheet. Memorize these steps!

Insight needs action to create change.

May this be the beginning of yours…

Kindly,

Carrie Dinow

 

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