The Rain Technique or RAIN is a form of meditation that consists of four steps—recognition, acceptance, investigation, and non-identification.

It was developed by Michelle McDonald. Many psychologists have adapted and expanded on RAIN, including Tara Brach, the author of Radical Compassion.

The RAIN acronym stands for:

R: Recognise it. Call it by its name, say hello to it.

A: Accept it. Let go of the desire to push it away, distract yourself from it, or act out from old habit energies.  A part of acceptance can be the process of calming the emotion.

I: Investigate it.  Be curious. What is it like physically? Emotionally? Energetically? Cognitively? Motivationally (is there an urge to act or cling?)

N: Non-identification. This is just a passing process that comes and goes, not who we are.

You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or
move through the steps whenever challenging feelings arise.

R—Recognise What’s Going On

Recognising means consciously acknowledging, in any given moment, the thoughts,
feelings, and behaviours that are affecting us. Like awakening from a dream, the first
step out of the trance of unworthiness is simply to recognise that we are stuck and
subject to painfully constricting beliefs, emotions, and physical sensations. Common
signs of the trance include a critical inner voice, feelings of shame or fear, the
squeeze of anxiety or the weight of depression in the body. Recognising can be a
simple mental whisper, noting what has come up.

A—Allow the Experience to be There, Just as It Is

Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations we have
recognised simply be there, without trying to fix or avoid anything. When we’re
caught in self-judgment, letting it be there doesn’t mean we agree with our
conviction that we’re unworthy. Rather, we honestly acknowledge the arising of our
judgment, as well as the painful feelings underneath.
Many students I work with support their resolve to pause and let be by silently
offering an encouraging word or phrase to themselves. For instance, you might feel
the grip of fear and mentally whisper, Yes, or It’s ok, in order to acknowledge and
accept the reality of your experience in this moment.

I—Investigate with Interest and Care

Once we have recognised and allowed what is arising, we can deepen our attention
through investigation. To investigate, call on your natural curiosity – the desire to
know truth – and direct a more focused attention to your present experience. You
might ask yourself: What most wants attention? How am I experiencing this in my
body? What am I believing? What does this vulnerable place want from me? What
does it most need? Whatever the inquiry, your investigation will be most
transformational if you step away from conceptualizing and bring your primary
attention to the felt-sense in the body.
When investigating, it is essential to approach your experience in a non-judgmental
and kind way. This attitude of care helps create a sufficient sense of safety, making
it possible to honestly connect with our hurts, fears and shame.

N—Nurture with Self-Compassion

Self-compassion begins to naturally arise in the moments that we recognize we are
suffering. It comes into fullness as we intentionally nurture our inner life with selfcare. To do this, try to sense what the wounded, frightened or hurting place inside
you most needs, and then offer some gesture of active care that might address this

Does it need a message of reassurance? Of forgiveness? Of companionship?
or of love? Experiment and see which intentional gesture of kindness most helps to
comfort, soften or open your heart. It might be the mental whisper, I’m here with
you. I’m sorry, and I love you. I love you, and I’m listening. It’s not your fault. Trust
in your goodness.

In addition to a whispered message of care, many people find healing by gently
placing a hand on the heart or cheek; or by envisioning being bathed in or embraced
by warm, radiant light. If it feels difficult to offer yourself love, bring to mind a
loving being – spiritual figure, family member, friend or pet – and imagine that
being’s love and wisdom flowing into you.

When the intention to awaken self-compassion is sincere, the smallest gesture of
turning towards love, of offering love – even if initially it feels awkward – will
nourish your heart.

After the RAIN

When you’ve completed the active steps of RAIN, it’s important to just notice your
own presence and rest in that wakeful, tender space of awareness. The fruit of RAIN
is realising that you are no longer imprisoned in the trance of unworthiness, or in
any limiting sense of self.