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Lions Roar : July 2019
ILLUSTRATIONSBYCAROLEHÉNAFF WHEN I LIVED IN BOULDER, Colo- rado, I was amazed at how quickly the weather changed. There, in the foothills of the Rockies, it can be a sunny 80 degrees one day and the next day it’s blizzarding. Our emotional landscape can look a lot like that, changing rapidly and unpre- dictably. Yet amidst these ups and downs, we can learn how to rest in the freedom of stillness and experience an intimate relationship with our own precious life. One way to do this is by practicing with RAIN, which stands for Recognizing, Accepting, Investigating, and Nonidenti- fying with our experiences. HOW TO PRACTICE RAIN Meditation Beyond the clouds of our temporary experiences, there’s a spacious, clear sky of awareness. EMILY HORN shares a four-step practice to calm our emotional storms. Growing up in the American South, I inherited the belief that emotions are something that people feel behind closed doors. On the surface we are friendly and casual. The shadowy and difficult emotions aren’t something to “air” in public places. This left me with a type of emotional disassociation and devaluing that led me on the search for an appropriate emo- tional response—one that’s tied to logic, the body, and breathing in the present moment. What I eventually discovered, aided by the practice of RAIN, was still- ness within the movement of emotions, sensations, and thinking. This stillness of loving awareness goes beyond—yet includes—our desire for emotions to be a certain way and for us to be in control. Recently, I experienced a wave of intense, painful emotional sensations as they rushed through my body and woke me up in the middle of the night. My thoughts raced from the future of our planet and the divisiveness in our culture, to memories of childhood encounters with racism, my own personal health struggles, and to parenting an almost four-year-old. All this could have easily been over- whelming, but this emotional storm, fueled by fear, only took a few moments of recognizing, accepting, investigating, and nonidentifying before it began to settle. I eventually discovered sadness and care underneath the fear and was able to feel deeply surrounded by love. As we practice with RAIN, we develop an emotional intelligence and a sense of EMILY HORN is a cofounder of the Heart Mind Foundation, which hosts the Buddhist Geeks podcast, Heart of Insight trainings, and retreats. LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 27 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE