A compassionate practice for pain relief

What if you were fluent in the language of your body…

RAIN for pain relief - image

Many of our members come to floating for pain relief and we have previously discussed how floating can support people who are physically suffering. Here we delve into a simple acronym that can be applied not only for pain relief but any challenging situation.

I recently heard Jonathan Foust (Insight Meditation Teacher) describe a practice he used to delve behind pain and heal at the root cause. It’s a practice called RAIN that’s been adapted from Michele McDonald’s original idea. It can be a very helpful tool when applied to a situation where we are experiencing resistance to what is, such as difficult emotions, sensations or thoughts.

So much more than pain relief!

Why wait until we’re in a tricky situation?

Our bodies are constantly communicating with us and much wisdom can be gained by developing an intimate, compassionate and non-personal relationship so that we can clearly receive its messages. For instance, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an early warning system of danger ahead, so that we could avoid mishap?

Let’s tune in

So, if we are wanting to feel more sovereignty and peace within body, then it starts with becoming more aware of what it’s communicating at any given moment.

Caveat: this practice can potentially bring up strong emotions, physical sensations and perhaps negative self-talk. Approach this practice with as much compassion, care and kindness as possible. Often the reason we are suffering in the first place is from lack of these things at some stage.

The practice of RAIN has four steps as follows:

  • R – stands for recognising what’s going on for you in this moment. It’s simply an acknowledgement of what is happening within the framework of your body. Perhaps it’s feeling anger over something happening around you, or a sensation of pain in the body. Recognise what is happening. If you’re being reactive notice that too.

    TIP: keep it simple – you are the observer. Perhaps lean back a little to create some distance in perception and observe what is showing up for you.
  • A – is, can I accept or allow this moment to be as it is? It’s not always going to be ‘yes’ so if we give ourselves some time and space we can circle back when we can allow it to be. We certainly don’t have to like the situation to accept it as it is. If we can truly accept our present experience and be willing to open to it without feeling the need to change it, the process becomes much easier.

    TIP: This is a powerful step, so slow it down.
  • Iinvestigation. What is really going on here? This is an open and curious enquiry into the layers below the obvious. Explore the felt sense of the physical sensations. Where is it in the body? What colour is it? Does it have a texture, smooth, spikey etc.? Is it moving or stationary? Soft, hard? Hot, cold? Layers of emotion may surface. Remember to breathe, relax and observe what shifts and changes as you explore. Eventually you may notice it dissolving.

    TIP: If you’re feeling stuck ask your body: What is the unmet need here? You may be surprised at the answer!
  • N –Typically this is for non-identification. This includes not creating a story around what we’ve just experienced and letting the whole experience go. It’s like a cloud moving across the sky or a watching a movie. We were aware of the unfolding of the thought, emotion or body sensation rather than being it.

    TIP: as Jonathan shared, N – was for nourish with kindness and compassion. I quite like this because it’s like learning to do the best by yourself. Identifying with our struggles just keeps us stuck but giving it kindness softens us to grow and get to know ourselves on a deeper level.

A go-to tool for seasoned floaters

So, whether we’re catching an early niggle or dealing with blown symptomology RAIN may become your practice of choice for opening the dialogue with your body and your deeper guidance. It’s a fabulous tool for seasoned floaters. The intimate time spent with the body during a float and the deeply relaxed states we reach, provide a perfect backdrop for a non-judgemental, compassionate exploration of our deepest physical sensations and hidden wisdom.

photo thanks to michael podger