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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha Paperback – November 23, 2004
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"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
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
ny of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesnt take much--just hearing of someone elses accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work--to make us feel that we are not okay. Beginning to understand how our lives have become ensnared in this trance of unworthiness is our first step toward reconnecting with who we really are and what it means to live fully.
--from Radical Acceptance
Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering, says Tara Brach 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. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. B
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Often Tara uses the stories and experiences of the people she has met and helped along her path to aid or illustrate a point, which makes it more enjoyable to read than a book in which the author is always speaking to the reader in the abstract. It really helps to humanize her ideas and bring them home. The narrative is very well done.
The book begins by characterizing the commonplace anxieties of modern life, including insecurities around being good enough and the search for satisfaction and purpose. She invites the reader to share her own journey and relate to her experiences. She gives an explanation of what 'Radical Acceptance' is and goes on in the subsequent chapter to share the stories of her friends & clients, using them to illustrate how her teachings have helped liberate them from their experiences.
One of the things Tara does remarkably well is incorporate wisdom, poetry, and stories from various spiritual sources, in a way that really melds into what she is trying to teach. It's clear that she has much more to offer than her personal wisdom, but also the wisdom of teachers past. My favorite quote from the book (regrettably I do not have the source's name) is from a Zen philosopher: "true happiness is learning to live with imperfection". This comes to mind regularly when I am worried about myself or upset that something isn't as I want it to be.
What I like the most about this book is that it really stands apart to me as a Buddhist teaching text. I've embarked on Zen reading before, but this is the first one to actually inspire me to begin my own meditation practice. In fact, I've begun watching her YouTube videos also, and really feel that she is an adept spiritual teacher. That said, I don't think one has to adopt the Buddhist philosophy to get something out of this book, but I guarantee that a read through it will impress upon the reader some of the wisest lessons it has to offer, which I find are much more humanistic than typical religious dogma, and can fit into any belief system.
I liked it so much, I purchased five more to give away.
I don't think everyone needs this book. Although I am sure it would benefit everyone. But, for those of you who are like me, this book can be described as being 'needed'! I am a perfectionist, always striving, never accepting myself the way I am, always harsh with myself, etc. etc. I think I will read this book at least once a year for the rest of my life. I wasn't raised Buddhist and would not describe myself as Buddhist now, but that did not detract in any way from my ability to absorb the truths in this book.
For many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much--just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work--to make us feel that we are not okay. Beginning to understand how our lives have become ensnared in this trance of unworthiness is our first step toward reconnecting with who we really are and what it means to live fully.
--from Radical Acceptance
“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach 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. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s twenty years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students.
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 us to trust our innate goodness, showing how we can develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion that is the essence of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance does not mean self-indulgence or passivity. Instead it empowers genuine change: healing fear and shame and helping to build loving, authentic relationships. When we stop being at war with ourselves, we are free to live fully every precious moment of our lives.
A brilliant, thought-provoking book about the concept of radical acceptance. I read this as part of my on-going commitment to master the various skills of Dialectical Behavior Therapy which has been so very effective in helping me manage my symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. Between these skills and the Positive Psychology taught to me by my present psychologist, I am actually symptom-free.
Radical Acceptance is a skill taught as part of the Distress Tolerance module of DBT. There are four modules: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance.
Radical Acceptance and Mindfulness are similar as both require one to accept the present moment for what it is, without judgment or criticism. Mindfulness is more of a meditative skill while Radical Acceptance is to say "It is what it is" and to go from there.
I would have given this book five stars except the author's prejudice against Christianity is fairly blatant and she has a serious misunderstanding of some of Christian theology. On the other hand, she is a practising Buddhist and Radical Acceptance does have its roots in that philosophy.