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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha Hardcover – June 10, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
A psychotherapist and Buddhist meditation teacher in the tradition of Jack Kornfield (who contributes a foreword), first-time author Brach offers readers a rich compendium of stories and techniques designed to help people 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 God to help hold her pain. Like her colleagues Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein and others in the Vipassana or Insight meditation 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.
Copyright 2003 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Definitely a must-have for anyone struggling with their identity, self value/acceptance, fear, anxiety, depression. It really gets to the root of these struggles and helps you to move through them into a deeper experience with life.
Love it. I'll buy many to share with loved ones.