What to Do with Unproductive Thoughts
“RAIN, RAIN, go away.” The same goes for the pouring down of unproductive thoughts.
“Come again another day.” No, wait! Not if we are still talking about unproductive thoughts. Don’t do that.
It is much easier to say a child’s rhyme than to chase away unwanted thoughts. However, there is a technique to deal with unproductive thoughts. In the Mindfulness practice, there is an acronym, called RAIN, that helps you chase away negative thoughts or ideas. Better put, it reminds us not to identify with or cling to thoughts as they come in like a torrential thunderstorm. In other words, just because you have a thought stream, shower or raging flood, does not mean you are the thought. Just follow me for a moment as I go through what RAIN stands for in this context.
- R is for recognition as in recognizing a thought or thoughts.
- A is for accepting what the reality of the present moment is.
- I is for investigating any feelings or sensations that come up as a result of thought with open curiosity. No judgment. No story.
- N is for non-identification with the thought, as in just because you are having the thought(s) does not mean you have to be the thought. The last point, N, is the real key here. When you no longer identify with your thought(s), you release the negative charge it has on you. Effectively, you neutralize the thought. That means you can move from being a victim to being a victor.
So, “Rain, rain, go away…And don’t even think of coming back another day!”