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Embracing RAIN & Open Awareness

I view my meditation practice as a way to air myself out, and RAIN as a deep cleanse. Since we know suffering creates suffering and hatred breeds hatred, I thought I would share some inspiring words from Thich Nhat Hanh that a fellow mindfulness meditation teacher-in-training shared with me.

"Non violence and compassion are the foundations of a peace movement. If you don't have enough peace and understanding and loving-kindness within yourself, your actions will not truly be for peace. Everyone knows that peace has to begin with oneself, but not many people know how to do that."

With that, I offer the following...

The RAIN of Self Compassion (11 minutes)

The RAIN of Compassion (35 minutes)

This past week, I've also immersed myself in Les Fehmi's book Open Focus Brain. The idea behind Open Focus is that we are guided to step out from what Les Fehmi calls narrow-objective focus. I think of narrow-objective focus as a camera lens that's zoomed in. You see a fraction of the landscape and even the tiniest raindrop can appear the size of a dime. However, when the camera lens is zoomed out there is more space and less distortion. Open Focus meditations help us find a similar expansive state.

Dr. Fehmi writes, "When the mind is asked to imagine or attend to space, however, there is nothing -- no-thing -- to grip on to, to objectify and make sense of, no memories of past events or anticipation of future scenarios. The brain is allowed to take a vacation...The imagination and realization of space seems to reset stress-encumbered neural networks."

On that note, here is a link to an Open Focus meditation by Jonathan Foust. Jonathan introduces the concept of Open Focus in the first few minutes of the recording. This talk was given during IMCW's fall retreat, which overlapped with election day and...the devastating results. I was on that silent retreat, and this meditation helped me create enough space to hold the surge of emotions I had in response to hearing the news. Not surprisingly, I have been turning to this meditation yet again. On a personal note, I prefer Jonathan and Tara's Open Focus meditations over Dr. Fehmi's because they skillfully tweak the language and sensitize it in a way that I find is more nurturing and inviting. For example, Tara uses the phrase open awareness as opposed to open focus.

Here is Jonathan's recording on Youtube

Or, you can click this link and locate the 11/24/16 Open Focus Meditation.

Also, Tara has an Open Focus guided meditation, but in this recording she doesn't explain the concept of Open Focus.

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