Maybe this post will reach you at the right time – when you are feeling overwhelmed with life, here is a mindful way you can help yourself through it. This is from Tara Brach (author, teacher and clinical psychologist), whom I thankfully heard about from my good friend, David.
Being ‘overwhelmed’ can be caused by events that you need to deal with, and for me recently, it has been more about just having too much to ‘do’ in my life, feeling like there was too little space to enjoy the things I wanted to do.
I ran across this RAIN technique by Tara Brach, and it honed by mindfulness practice even more. By practicing this, it has really helped me self-manage in a much healthier way when I feel overwhelmed.
A quick summary of RAIN:
Recognize what is going on
Recognizing means consciously acknowledging the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are affecting us. This is a self-awareness that simply recognizes when we feel overwhelmed or stuck.
Common signs of being overwhelmed are: a critical inner voice occupies your thoughts, feelings of shame or fear, or the physiological experience of anxiety or depression.
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
Allowing is about letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations we have recognized simply be there. Instead of judging ourselves, or avoiding the situation, we can simply pause with intention and relax our resistance. Let the experience be just as it is — I find this especially helpful when the situation is something I cannot do anything about. When I can’t change the situation, I can still change my reaction to it.
This isn’t easy to do, and needs practice. But when I take on an attitude of ‘allowing’, I do feel a certain ‘ease’ with the issue.
Investigate with kindness
Investigating means being curious to explore what’s going on within us. Pausing to ask, what is happening inside me?, can initiate recognition, but investigation adds a more active and pointed kind of inquiry. You might notice hollowness or shakiness, then discover a sense of unworthiness and shame masked by those feelings. Unless you bring them into awareness, your unconscious beliefs and emotions will control your experience and perpetuate your identification with a limited, deficient self.
Natural awareness is when our sense of who we are is not fused with limiting emotions or stories.
Though the first three steps of RAIN require some intentional activity, the N is the treasure: A liberating homecoming to our true nature. There’s nothing to do for this last part of RAIN; we simply rest in natural awareness.
The RAIN of Self-Compassion is not a one-shot meditation, nor is a practice that is always steady and present. Rather, as you practice you may experience a sense of warmth and openness, a shift in perspective as you deal with the issues.
To read this article in more detail, please read from Mindful.org here.
I recommend Tara Brach’s book: True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. It’s for people who are truly open to cultivating a better life experience.
Have a wonderful day,