I am passionate about mindfulness and see how it enhances both my own and my client's lives. It can however be difficult to begin incorporating mindfulness into our lives. It is often true that the busy doing aspect of life just gets in the way. In this blog I am sharing a couple of techniques that can help you to begin to use mindfulness daily, developing your "just being" mind, regardless of how busy you may be.
The first technique is known as the RAIN method. This enables you to focus your attention on the moment in a structured way. As your mindfulness develops you will probably move away from the structre but it is helpful to start with.
R - Recognise
A - Allowing
I - Investigating
N - Natural awareness
R - RECOGNISE WHAT IS HAPPENING
You can awaken mindful awareness simply by asking yourself: “What is happening inside me right now?” Call on your natural curiosity as you focus inward. Try to let go of any preconceived ideas.
A - ALLOW LIFE TO BE JUST AS IT IS
Allowing means, “Letting be”, the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations you discover. You may naturally feel a sense of aversion to any difficult feelings or sensations that arise. Wanting unpleasant feelings to go away is a response which has become a habit for most of us. However, with some practise, you will become more willing to be present with, 'What is', and a different quality of attention will emerge.
Allowing is intrinsic to healing, and realising this can give rise to a conscious intention to “let be.”
I - INVESTIGATE INNER EXPERIENCE WITH KINDNESS
Investigation means calling on your natural interest. Simply pausing to ask, “What is happening inside me?”, might initiate recognition, but with investigation, you engage in a more active, pointed, line of enquiry. You might ask yourself:
“What most wants attention?” “How am I experiencing this in my body?” “What does this feeling want from me?”
We need to offer a gentle welcome to whatever surfaces. Avoid the natural habit of wanting to change thinks or find solutions, just be with the answers that arise. Investigating with open non-judgental curiosity.
N - NATURAL AWARENESS
The first three steps of RAIN require some intentional activity. The ’N’ of RAIN, expresses the result; a liberating realisation of your Natural awareness. There’s nothing to do for this last part of RAIN. Realisation arises spontaneously on its own. We simply rest in Natural awareness. Not trying to get anywhere and not trying to change anything, just "being" with whatever you have discovered.
The second technique requires just sixty sessions. It can be practised whenever you are in a situation which does not require your full attention ( so not when driving a car for example!!) If you have a timer on your phone then set it for sixty seconds, close your eyes and focus solely on your breath. Bring your attention to the movement of the breath as it travels in from the mouth or nose all the way down to the chest. Then follow the exhale in the same way. There is no need to breath in any special way. When your attention wanders simply escort it back to the breath.
This may sound very easy, just 1 minute concentrating on one thing. Or you may be thinking that your mind is far too busy to focus on something you normally pay no attention to? Whatever your initial thoughts try to enter the meditation with an open mind and see what you discover. By meditating in this way you allow yourself to insert a pause into your day; a moment to just be with your breath and see what develops. Taking time to allow yourself to take a break from your "doing" mind in this structured way will help you to develop a mindfulness approach to many aspects of your life.
I know it may see like a contradiction to learn techniques which allow you to develop mindfulness when the practise itself is about non-doing rather than doing techniques and exercises! We do, however, need guidance to develop our own mindfulness and techniques can really help. Most importantly remember to be kind to yourself and know that you do not need to strive to be good at any technique, just doing them is the key.
If you would like more information please take a look at mindfulness meditation