By Tara Brach
Shall you find yourself packing for a yoga retreat and wondering what soul-soothing book to take... well, take this one. It really is the perfect match.
Especially if you’re a bit like me - a perfectionist, always striving and never feeling you have done enough, or are enough.
Rather common human traits as Tara brilliantly illustrates.
We need a break from this nonsense, right? That unforgiving voice in our own head. I would never talk to my best friend like this, not even to a stranger, yet I have a tendency to be brutally harsh and critical with myself. And it's not just me...
“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” she says at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork - all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled.
While I find many self-help books shallow and banal (please don’t give me any “positive thinking” nonsense) Radical Acceptance goes deeper. It is eye-opening, uplifting and easy to digest. A little self-care in moments of confusion.
The book begins by characterizing the commonplace anxieties of modern life, including our insecurities, fears, and the search for satisfaction and purpose.
Tara invites the reader into her own struggles by sharing her journey and experiences. So human and humble in her approach, she doesn’t take on the position of a preacher who has figured it all out, but instead she illustrates that we’re all struggling with this. Yes, even the teachers.
Except for the Dalai Llama I suppose, who was baffled by the western phenomenon of “self-loathing” - a concept that doesn’t seem to arise amongst eastern Buddhists...
But of course, we can’t all just run off and meditate happily ever after in a monastry somewhere far away from daily stressors. We might be able to get away for a yoga retreat if we’re lucky, but life goes its usual ways as soon as we return, and Tara Brach shows you the way to experience fulfilment through accepting what is - right here, right now.
One of the things she does remarkably well is to incorporate wisdom, poetry and stories from various spiritual sources, in a way that really melts into what she is trying to teach.
Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales, and guided meditations.
Step by step, she leads you to trust your innate goodness so that you can develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion which is the essence of Radical Acceptance, in order to transform your thinking, your behaviour and ultimately your life.
About the Author
Tara Brach is a clinical psychologist and popular teacher of Buddhist mindfulness meditation. A charismatic personality and speaker, she gives workshops and retreats at all the top American venues, while continuing her clinical work in her specialities of addiction, anxiety and depression.
I highly recommend checking out her podcast as well as her books. It’s one of my favourites to listen to in the evenings whilst cooking dinner. And her guided meditations (also on the podcast) are a wonderful bedtime ritual.