Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Radical Acceptance" - Tara Brach

Guided meditations on radical acceptance by Dr. Tara Brach (goodreads.com)

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn't make any sense. - Rumi, Sufi poet

Something is Wrong With Me
"When I was in college, I went off to the mountains for a weekend of hiking with an older, wiser friend of twenty-two. After we set up our tent, we sat by a stream, watching the water swirl around rocks and talking about our lives. At one point she described how she was learning to be 'her own best friend.' A huge wave of sadness came over me, and I broke down sobbing. I was the furthest thing from my own best friend. I was continually harassed by an inner judge who was merciless, relentless, nit-picking, driving, often invisible but always on the job. I knew I would never treat a friend the way I treated myself, without mercy or kindness.

"My guiding assumption was 'Something is fundamentally wrong with me,' and I struggled to control and fix what felt like a basically flawed self. I drove myself in academics, was a fervent political activist and devoted myself to a very full social life. I avoided pain (and created more) with an addiction to food and a preoccupation with achievement. My pursuit of pleasure was sometimes wholesome -- in nature, with friends -- but it also included an impulsive kind of thrill-seeking through recreational drugs, sex, and other adventures. In the eyes of the world, I was highly functional. Internally, I was anxious, driven and often depressed. I didn't feel at peace with an y part of my life.

"Feeling not okay went hand in hand with deep loneliness. In my early teens I sometimes imagined that I was living inside a transparent orb that separated me from the people and life around me...." - Tara Brach

Tara Brach, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist and Buddhist meditation teacher in the tradition of Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock Meditation Center (who wrote the foreword), first-time author Tara Brach offers readers a rich compendium of stories and techniques designed to help awaken from what she calls "the trance of unworthiness."

The sense of self-hatred and fearful isolation that afflicts so many people in the West can be transformed with the steady application of a loving attention infused with the insights of the Buddhist tradition, according to Brach.

Interweaving stories from her own life as a hardworking single mother with many wonderful anecdotes culled from her therapy practice and her work as a leader of meditation retreats, Brach offers myriad examples of how our pain can become a doorway to love and liberation.

An older Catholic woman in one of Brach's weekend workshops, for example, recounts how she learned to ask her God to help hold her pain. Like Brach's colleagues Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and others in the Insight-meditation (Vipassana) tradition, Brach is open-minded about where she gathers inspiration.

Garnishing her gentle advice and guided meditation with beautiful bits of poetry and well-loved if familiar Dharma stories, Brach describes what it can mean to open to the reality of other people, to live in love, to belong to the world.

Obviously the fruit of the author's own long and honest search, this is a consoling and practical guide that can help people find a light within themselves (Reed Business Information, Inc.)

  • "Radical Acceptance offers gentle wisdom and tender healing, a most excellent medicine for our unworthiness and longing. Breathe, soften, and let these compassionate teachings bless your heart." — Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
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