RAIN and the 5 A’s

How do you choose between RAIN and the 5 A’s? Keep reading to find out what the RAIN and 5 A method is and how to use them to improve your mental well-being in trying situations and in everyday life.

What is RAIN?

RAIN is an acronym for a mindfulness meditation practice that brings awareness and compassion to difficult emotions. It can be practiced just about anywhere with just about any uncomfortable life situation. RAIN helps to remove the effects of our habitual ways of doing things and helps us get in touch with our inner knowing of our life situation. Using RAIN, we can learn to respond to situations rather then react and run away. Here I will discuss  Tara Brach‘s version of RAIN.

How can you apply RAIN in everyday life?

On a personal level, I have used rain in very difficult habitual circumstances in order to get to the source of my problem. For example, I was doing RAIN on a matter of judging people without even knowing what they were going through.

Another example is the following: Suppose you were hiking in the woods and began to hear the frightening sound of a large dog barking. Fear begins to arise in you as you move closer to the origin of the sound. Then you notice that the dog was caught in a trap. As you release him from the trap, you realize what a sweet dog he really is. This is where you would apply the RAIN technique.Gratitude for Rain

The R of RAIN is to recognize what is happening right now in the present moment, non-judgmentally.

The A of RAIN is to allow what is present in your life to be just as it is.

The I of RAIN is to investigate with kindness and gentleness into the felt sense of what is happening (see “The 3 I’s“).

The N of RAIN is to nurture your self with self-compassion and kindness.

There is also “After the RAIN,” when you spend a little time noticing your own presence and rest in the feeling of it all. You may experience a significant release from what was bothering you, so allow yourself a little time to embrace your experience and be grateful for what you have learned.

What are the 5 A’s?

The 5 A’s, on the other hand, are another method that was developed by the late Dr. David Daniels, a Stanford professor and one of my teachers in the Narrative Enneagram. The 5 A’s are similar to RAIN, and their differences lead to similar results when practiced with awareness.


The first A is awareness, which is identical with recognize.

The second A is acceptance, which is as good a choice as allow.

The third A is appreciation which an expression of gratitude for how far we have come in dealing with our habits of mind. It represents the natural flow of giving and receiving. This most resembles “After the RAIN” in that gratitude is a common denominator.

The fourth A is action, which I equate with investigation. We learn by observation (i. e. investigation),  experience and practice.

The fifth A is adherence, which relates back to our commitment to consistent daily practice, which is one of the basic assumptions for RAIN practice. This relates most closely with nurture.

Should I choose RAIN or 5 A’s Method?

Whether you choose RAIN or the 5 A’s is up to you. Select the one that you are most comfortable with and practice it gently and diligently. Both are equally useful and can be applied to any situation. Let me know how it works for you!

I also invite you to explore Tara’s book, Radical Compassion, which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.


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