RAIN is a meditation technique for dealing with difficult emotions and as such is an especially useful tool for psychedelic journeying. Difficult emotions often offer the greatest opportunity for learning or insight during a psychedelic journey and having this technique in your toolbox is especially handy. RAIN allows you to go towards those difficult emotions with the ultimate mindset for psychedelic exploration: that of an explorer.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek“
You will also find on Bill Richards’ flight instructions used on psilocybin studies that participants are advised to go towards difficult emotions and to investigate them. This is exactly what RAIN does in a systematic and easy to follow way.
So let’s have a look at RAIN, which if you hadn’t figured out yet, is an acronym. Let’s go step-by-step.
what is happening
This is the roots of understanding
life to be just as it is
This is the grounds of love
with gentle attention
This deepens understanding
This awakens love
After the RAIN, (what was previously the N before being recently updated) is non-identification. This is realizing freedom from a narrow sense of identity. For example, identifying ourselves with thoughts or feelings. The process of RAIN helps to bring spaciousness around these things and an expanded awareness of the scenes which we often mistake for ourselves.
So let’s go through it more deeply by way of example.
Let’s say for example you are on a psychedelic journey and you feel fear.
Starting with R you recognize that you feel fear. You can do this by mentally naming that emotion “fear, fear“.
Once recognized move onto the A. Allow it to be, give it permission to be there. You can mentally say “yes OK“. Doing this may mean that the feeling gets stronger, and this is OK. For example anxiety may develop into a fullness of fear. This is OK. Allow the fear to express it self fully.
When allowing, you may have a sense that it feels too much for you to take. If you’re naming it “fear, fear”, and its too strong, then surrender yourself to it. Say: “alright, take me, kill me, I’ll die of this feeling of fear.”
Another example of where complications may come in at the Allow stage. If your first emotion was for example sadness, and you find difficulty allowing it due to the feeling that it is too much then again go back to R and recognize what you are feeling. This would be fear. Feelings can morph when going through this process, so stay fluid. Whatever is on top, start there.
After the R&A we begin to deepen attention by investigating with kindness.
Approach that feeling of fear as a curious and friendly explorer. This feeling is there for a reason and has something to show you. So go towards it and try to see what it is that is this fear made of.
Nurture is the approach to the investigation. Use a sense of friendliness and gentleness to investigate the felt sense of what’s going on.
Treat this feeling as a friend that is asking for your attention that needs your love. Sit down with the fear and take time to get to know it.
What’s the quality of the sensations?
How do I know I’m feeling fear?
Explore your beliefs around the feeling. Ask:
What am I believing right now which is causing me to feel fear?
What am I thinking about?
Key in any investigating and with any core belief is that when you are doing it come into your body. Find out where this feeling lives in your body. Some practice in body scan or vipassana meditation will come in useful in this step.
Completing RAIN brings a quality of openness and presence. Anxiety can shift to a space of presence where you are no longer identified with that fear and you can rest in a kind awareness.
Practice RAIN with a guided meditation
Learning and practicing RAIN is something I would recommend to any aspiring psychedelic practitioner. It is something I learned from meditation teacher Tara Brach and you can find one of her guided RAIN meditations here. As with learning any type of meditation it can be useful to begin by doing a few guided meditations and then once you are familiar with the practice you do it alone.