RAIN: The Nourishing Art of Mindful Inquiry

Learn an accessible, deeply freeing way to practice mindfulness.

RAIN stands for Recognition, Acceptance, Interest, and Non-Identification, the qualities that make up a moment of mindfulness. Because of its simplicity and power, RAIN has become recommended by meditation teachers worldwide as a helpful approach to steering us through challenging emotions and situations.

This 6-part online course is an opportunity to learn and deepen this practice under the guidance of Vipassana teacher Michele McDonald, who first coined RAIN.

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RAINDROP stands for Recognition: What is really happening? Acceptance: Can we accept that its happening? Interest: Can we bring genuine interest to whats happening? Non-identification: Is this happening to me or is it simply happening? Distraction: The opposite of recognition. Are we aware of our experience? Resistance: The opposite of acceptance. Are we resisting reality? Obliviousness: The opposite of interest. Do you care about whats happening? Personification: The opposite of non-identification. Taking things personally.


Emotions are so wrapped up with our everyday experience that the two often seem inseparable. RAIN, a widely used approach developed by Vipassana teacher Michele McDonald, offers practitioners of all skill levels a way to investigate our emotional lives, so we can better regulate the instinctive reactions that cause stress and confusion. 

Since creating RAIN, Michele has expanded the acronym to RAINDROP, which includes Distraction, Resistance, Obliviousness, and Personification. Rather than thinking of these factors as problems or enemies to combat, we can understand them as conditioned defenses that we can investigate. No matter how many hours we may devote to formal practice on the cushion, in reality, we spend most of our waking hours distracted, resistant, and somewhat oblivious to what’s actually happening around us. RAIN charts out a way for us to steer through the emotions that rattle us and to respond—rather than react—from a place of greater balance and grace.

RAINDROP makes the wisdom of the Buddha's mindfulness available to us all. It is profoundly deep and yet easy to put into practice in the midst of living.

What to expect

Each unit includes video teachings, prompts for reflection, opportunities for group discussion, and optional quizzes to put your newfound knowledge to the test.

Michele McDonald

Meet Michele, Your Teacher

Michele McDonald co-founded Vipassana Hawaii in 1984 with Steven Smith and is now enjoying developing a small temple on the northern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island. She has taught Insight meditation for 32 years. Beyond her commitment to the Vipassana Hawaii Sangha, she teaches extensively throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Burma, and various locations around the world. Michele has been a quiet pioneer, having been the first woman to teach a formal retreat in Burma, side-by-side Sayadaw U Lakkhana, a master teacher and abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. 

Having worked with a wide range of Asian and Western teachers, Michele is most inspired by her practice with Dipa Ma and Sayadaw U Pandita and more recently in Burma with Mya Taung Sayadaw. She appreciates teaching at many levels of practice and has enjoyed leading three-month retreats for experienced students as well as developing meditation retreats for young people. Her style of teaching emphasizes helping individuals find entry points into stillness that are natural for them. She encourages an understanding of the path rooted in insight as well as a gentle strengthening of mindfulness and concentration so that people can ultimately access a deep sense of peace in every moment. Michele is thrilled when students begin to love their practice as their own.


Unit 1 | Introduction to RAINDROP

Learn the basics of the RAINDROP approach and how to apply it in daily life.

Unit 2 | R Is for Recognition

Cultivate the ability to wake up to what's happening. Learn how to work with the opposite of recognition: distraction.

Unit 3 | A Is for Acceptance

Distinguish between acceptance and its near enemies. Learn how to work with resistance.

Unit 4 | I Is for Interest

Can we bring genuine interest to our practice? Explore ways of stepping out of obliviousness into the present.

Unit 5 | N Is for Non-Identification

It can be tempting to misinterpret events and phenomena as being about ourselves. We don't have to take things personally.

Unit 6 | Practicing RAINDROP in Our Lives

Practice bringing everything you've learned together and into your life. Includes instructions for a walking meditation, with beautiful landscape shots from Michele’s home in Hawaii.

Each of the six units will offer roughly one hour of material to work with, including weekly video teachings, prompts for reflection, optional quizzes, and a communal discussion board. There will also be suggested take-home practices, including guided meditations, for you to explore throughout the week. You are invited to study at your own pace.

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Course Curriculum

  Unit 1: Introduction to RAINDROP
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  Unit 2: Recognition
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  Unit 3: Acceptance
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  Unit 4: Interest
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  Unit 5: Nonidentification
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  Unit 6: Walking Meditation
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  Unit 7: Practicing RAINDROP in our Lives
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Michele McDonald
An expert teacher

Michele McDonald is a respected meditation instructor and creator of the RAIN and RAINDROP acronyms.

Wooden Buddha statue with prayer beads.
Guidance for personal practice

6 videos offering guided meditations and exercises to deepen your personal practice.

Michele McDonald teaching with hand gestures.
Video dharma talks

18 videos in which Michele describes the basics and nuances of mindful investigation with RAINDROP.

A tree with yellow blossoms.
Downloadable guided meditations

Feel your way into each aspect of RAIN with support from Michele. You can take these meditations with you anywhere.

Michele McDonald doing walking meditation along the coast.
Walking meditation instruction

RAIN can be a powerful tool to bring to walking practice. Michele guides us in this essential but often overlooked aspect of practice.


"What a great course! Michele is excellent. The resources were very helpful."

"This was an incredible course experience with Michele. She offered a wide lens view of RAIN (DROP) through the videos, guided meditations, charts, reflect questions and the two live (recorded) calls. I feel like I have a much better understanding of RAIN as compared to before the course. I look forward to taking to this practice, as Michele suggests as a lifelong practice, and will be reviewing the materials as needed."

"I really appreciated the course. I think this course suited my level of practice very much. The clarifications on technique and terminology was very helpful. I am also very grateful for and inspired by Michelle's kindness in the way she presented the material."

"I so enjoyed this teaching and Michele did an outstanding presentation of this concept of Raindrop. These teachings are enhancing my daily practice and I am so grateful."

"I gained many wonderful insights from your teachings."

"Wow! Well presented, well organized, balanced use of written, visual materials and video recordings. I feel so grateful that this course offering came to my attention."