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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha Paperback – November 23, 2004
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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.