Tara Brach is a psychologist (and one of my favorite spiritual teachers) who refers to “the trance of unworthiness” as an epidemic. Practicing mindful self-compassion allows our spirit to awaken from this trance and to transform the difficult emotions that cause stress or pain.
This video guides you through the powerful 4-step meditation that made a HUGE difference in my life. The acronyms R.A.I.N will be explained in more detail below to help guide you through the process. If you’re new to this, it’s highly recommended that you don’t start off with a traumatic experience because it may be too overwhelming.
R = RECOGNIZE
The first step of self-compassion is mindfulness. Recognize that you are stuck in painful beliefs, emotions, and physical sensations. Many of us have a mean inner critic within us that expresses feelings of shame or fear. Recognition of these feelings simply means that you are noticing what is happening for you in the present. In my personal experience, I tend to feel an icky feeling in my body. Others may face a negative internal dialogue. Take this time to notice what feeling is true for you.
A = ALLOW
When you first encounter mean thoughts, emotions, or sensations, your first instinct may be to fix or control it. However, being mindful refers to allowing your emotions to exist as they are. Acknowledge the painful feelings you are feeling. I would like to clarify that you are not agreeing with your inner critic. Instead, you can try quietly saying in the mind ‘It’s ok’ or ‘hello’.
I = INVESTIGATE
The next step is to investigate your feelings. This simply means being curious about any sensations that are felt in the body. You can ask yourself questions, such as: How am I experiencing this in my body? What would this emotion feel like if it had a shape or color? What am I believing? What does this energy need from me? These questions will help you analyze yourself without judgement.
N = NURTURE
After you identify the scared or sad place within your body, you should allow yourself to offer some nurture. What is needed at this moment? Reassurance? Forgiveness? Unconditional love? Experiment and see what words feel right for you. You might be surprised to learn that the simplest phrase can have the most nurturing effect, such as:“I’m here”, “I’m sorry” and “I care”.
**TOP TIP An excellent tool is to place a hand on the heart because it releases oxytocin (the happy hormone!) OR you can imagine being embraced by warm, radiant light.
If this process of self-compassion feels difficult, bring to mind someone you love and trust (a family member, friend, compassionate figure or a pet) and imagine what they would say or do to show you care and kindness.
How was this for you?
Don’t forget even if it feels awkward – as long as you’re sincere it will nourish your heart.
This was a short version of the practice to give you a taster so if you’d like to try the longer 10 minute audio version of this meditation please check out my free audio meditations HERE 🙂