Mindfullness of your own feelings

I was given this short passage yesterday, it’s supposed to help me focus when I am in a state of overwhelming stress, fear and anger.

Method RAIN

The first method is bringing mindfulness to directly experience our actual feelings just as they are. We did a guided meditation in Berkeley using this technique that you can hear on the website. The key is to not get lost in the story of the situation. Whatever it is—sadness, anger, wanting or fear—go directly into feeling the bodily experience or energy of the emotion. Use the acronym RAIN (devised by meditation teacher, Michele McDonald) to help feel your experience directly when opening to difficult emotions. When you want to work skillfully with a difficult emotion:

  • Recognize what you’re feeling. (What am I actually feeling right now?)
  • Allow it to be here. Give it permission to be just as it is.
  • Investigate how it feels in the body on an energetic level without getting into the story or having an agenda for it to change (bring a curiosity or interest that is simply exploring the landscape of the emotion without figuring anything out.)
  • Non-identification (a fancy way of saying not taking it personally)—don’t take ownership of the experience as being who you are. It does not have to define who you are (“I’m such an angry person.”) Your experience of anger or sadness isn’t so different from my anger or sadness. You are exploring the human condition.

Yet if you know the source of this passage, please let me know so that I can credit the author appropriately.

2 Responses to “Mindfullness of your own feelings”

  1. Rey Says:

    Alex will probably say, “Oh no, not again!” if he sees my comment, but…

    Have you ever studied Stoicism? I would recommend the Enchiridion by Epictetus. This reminds me of that, but goes one step further into talking about one’s actions, how to master acting positively and independent of emotion, and how to remain unattached to the results of the actions (or really, how to realize that you cannot be responsible for the results of the actions).

    It might be worth checking out.

  2. FASTLAD Says:

    Actually, that’s a fairly smart approach (R.A.I.N. I mean).

    From childhood onward, particularly in traditionally stoic cultures that do not encourage exploration or expression of troublesome feelings, we’re told to avoid or even cover up rage, distress and anger becuase they are obviously indecorous, or “not nice.”

    But I personally think that the best thing to do with anger or stress or fear is to just experience it in the moment. Becuase repression of it leads to deeper pathology, I suspect. Even overwhelming anger or sorrow or helplessness eventaully passes – as all crisis pass – and it can actually be really productive in the moment to experience what you’re felling and to work through it as best you can.

    I think you have damn good reasons for feeling rage and fear and everything else you do from time to time. Feelings – even the big scary ones – generally don’t just appear out of nowhere – they usually have a real context. I always take a moment to remind myself that what I’m feeling has a context. This usually calms me down eventaully.

    The real miracle is that, considering all the bullshit you have to put up with – and I know a little about this – that you do as well as you do. You impress me, that’s for sure.

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