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Meditation

written by Matthew Rensberry, MD MBA on 2021-06-29

I recently read: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book by Dan Harris.

In this book I learned a couple techniques for controlling stress and anxiety. One that stood out to me was the RAIN technique.

R.A.I.N.

Try this R.A.I.N. method anytime you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or out of touch. It is an acronym that is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness and compassion using the following four steps:

  1. R - Recognize what is happening
  2. A - Allow life to be just as it is
  3. I - Investigate inner experience - e.g. Why do I feel the way I do?
  4. N - Non-Identification - YOU are not your mind nor are you your emotions.

Another idea that stood out to me was the relationship of suffering with pain and resistance.

Suffering = Pain * Resistance.

Everything depends on how we relate to the experience at hand.

Small Pain * Big Resistance = Lots of suffering.

A good example is when you get stuck in traffic. Being stuck in traffic can create incredible negative reactions! Think about it, though, it really isn't all that bad. Sitting in your car can be a relatively comfortable experience.

There is some discomfort with the slowness, but with the mental resistance ("This is the worst timing, it shouldn't happen right now!"), our suffering is amplified.

While having pain can lead to suffering, it doesn't have to.

Acceptance

Acceptance is the opposite of resistance.

If instead of resisting something, we accept it, the pain melts away. This works in those trivial situations like being stuck in traffic. Accepting the change of events, removes everything to be upset about. Be present where you are - you can move forward from there.

When we let go of our resistance, any discomfort is immediately manageable.

Find your resistant thoughts and release them!