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True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart
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True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  983 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
How do you cope when facing life-threatening illness, family conflict, faltering relationships, old trauma, obsessive thinking, overwhelming emotion, or inevitable loss? If you’re like most people, chances are you react with fear and confusion, falling back on timeworn strategies: anger, self-judgment, and addictive behaviors. Though these old, conditioned attempts to cont ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by Bantam
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Nooshin Navidi Her first book, 'Radical Acceptance' as well as her weekly teaching talks, which are available for free on her website & via podcast.

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Dec 19, 2012 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
The second book by one of the foremost teachers of Buddhist meditation and thought in the West. Tara Brach is without peer in her ability to synthesize the ancient teachings of the Buddha with modern psychology. The clarity and compassion with which she shares her wisdom makes her writing accessible to all, including those with no prior knowledge of Buddhist teachings. The book is a must-read for anyone on a spiritual path. Highly recommended.
Mar 10, 2013 Tabitha rated it it was amazing
I do not know how to review a book without being personal; reading, to me, is insanely personal. Tara Brach begins her book with the revelation that she has spent the past 20 years of her life trying to figure out the source of her chronic, physical pain, only to find out that the condition will be with her the rest of her life. While it did not take me 20 years, I did spend the last decade of my life knowing something was physically wrong with me and desperately trying to find doctors who would ...more
Richard Heckler
Jan 22, 2013 Richard Heckler rated it it was amazing
Reading Tara Brach's new book, True Refuge, is like sitting by a fireplace, listening and talking with a best friend. She writes calmly, intimately, from the inside out. Tara is able to describe the human predicament, our vulnerabilities and foibles, our fears and aspirations, with a respect and accuracy that emboldens us to acknowledge what’s true, and empowers us to begin the reflective work of creating a happier, richer life.

And, she has walked the walk, as you can hear in this video. I am s
Can already tell this is a powerful, honest, just awesome book. I sense i will be dottig it with post-it's as I did her previous book, highly recommended: Radical Acceptance.
Jan 10, 2013 Nakeesha rated it it was amazing
Its going to take me a minute to read this book -and that's a compliment. Every time I start picking up speed Brach writes something that stops me in my tracks and forces me to stop, backtrack, reread and then live her advice for a couple of days. Then I go back and reread, move forward a little bit, start picking up speed and the process repeats itself. I have a shelf of Buddhist texts, but its Brach that always breaks the information down so sensibly. My favorite parts are when she's giving an ...more
Larry Smith
Feb 08, 2015 Larry Smith rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults, college students, interfaith communities
Welcome this sense of self that Tara Brach is able to touch with us. One of the wonderful things about Tara Brach is her ability to know us through knowing herself, and what she's able to give to us in her advice and examples is how we all connect. There is light within if we open to it. But this is not a "spiritual" book in the sense of being vague or lofty, but a very "practical" book that is based in meditation practice and in being straight with ourselves. What I sense most is her welcoming ...more
T.Kay Browning
Mar 07, 2014 T.Kay Browning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I really loved about this book is that I've been listening to/reading Tara Brach for over a year now, one book and a couple dozen podcast episodes and not once did I know that she was diagnosed with a degenerative genetic disease that is slowly making her life ever more painful. She doesn't focus on that to get sympathy or to show strength, but she does bring it out and explore it deeply in this one book in order to relate to those who are experiencing deep sorrow in their lives. She contin ...more
Tien Pham
Dec 24, 2013 Tien Pham rated it it was amazing
With the her wisdom and kindness, the author shows us how to directly face our emotional discomfort in order to heal ourselves and move forward. She shows us that when we run away from whatever bother us through false refuges such as materialism, endless TV and internet, or being busy, we perpetuate the problems and continue to make ourselves suffer. Instead, Brach explains that only by seeing the problems directly and experience them through our body that we can truly thrive and feel connected ...more
Lynda Archer
Sep 07, 2016 Lynda Archer rated it it was amazing
Only a brief comment here. A well written, wise and useful book that one can return to again and again. Brach's podcasts and videos are also helpful; she is a highly regarded teacher within the Buddhist community.
Mark Goodman
Jul 04, 2013 Mark Goodman rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book. This is a book I recommend highly and know I will be revisiting again and again for its wisdom, depth and heart. Tara Brach describes the landscape and journey of a mindfulness practice with so much aliveness and so much love. There are many ways that mindfulness practice can be described but I feel so inspired and drawn to the way Tara frames this practice, as a courageous and sometimes painful breaking open of the heart, as, indeed, a path toward more and more spacious lo ...more
Nicole Cleary
May 04, 2015 Nicole Cleary rated it it was amazing
Books that make me tear up from time to time with poignant stories of the human condition leave me feeling "tenderized" and in touch with my own heart. This is one of those books. Tara Brach is a well known Buddhist teacher, but the practices and vignettes in this book are accessible to anyone. Because Tara is a practicing psychologist, there are many stories of her clients' experiences and this makes the book really come alive. Tara is a gifted teacher, and her warmth and her own struggles come ...more
Tarn Wilson
Feb 24, 2016 Tarn Wilson rated it it was amazing
Loved it. As soon as I finished, I started it over again. I read in little bites, food for each day.
Feb 24, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Tara Brach. The stories were so relatable and helpful. I appreciated how ideas were presented from different sides.
Feb 14, 2017 Maureen rated it it was amazing
I read this great book when it was first published, and just greatly benefitted from listening to the audio version in the car. It's helpful to me, during these challenging times, to balance listening to the news with the dharma while driving. Thank you, Tara, for your great heart, and for beautifully transmitting your incredibly deep understanding of the dharma.
Jan 12, 2017 Samiam rated it really liked it
Seeing the little purple flowers on the side of the road.
Nooshin Navidi
Jun 04, 2015 Nooshin Navidi rated it it was amazing
I discovered Tara Brach through her first book, 'Radical Acceptance', a few years ago while going through a very difficult personal time. It became my constant companion as I navigated the many stages of a painful & nonlinear process. I loved the audio version & have since listened to it & accompanying meditations many times. I find her teaching style incredibly helpful, and it's much enhanced by her gentle voice, approach, and delivery, which to me are as healing as the content of h ...more
Aug 28, 2015 Nancy rated it it was amazing
I have watched videos of Tara Brach, and did not feel connection at first. She seemed just a little too saccharin (how judgmental am I?). So, when I began this book I felt my mind wandering. But there is something within me that is able to overcome that judgmental attitude, so I persisted in reading this book and as I did my hard heart became softer and by the end, I was quoting it to everyone. I give five stars to books that I know I will read again and again, because there is a depth to them t ...more
Jun 13, 2013 Bodhi47 rated it really liked it
Taking advantage of the Mindfulness wave Tara Brach shows that the trend to conflate Western Psychology practices with Buddhist influenced thought is still cresting. With suitable acronym self-tests and plenty of Rumi poetry she leads the reader through her own journey to enlightenment. While I don't think this is truly a money maker self-help genre mashup I think it could very well slide into that. I get the feeling that in the true sense of Buddhist teaching the author shows what has worked fo ...more
Sep 23, 2014 Vishnu rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
I have been thinking about the issues presented in this book for some time now, so I can't say that this book alone was responsible for any sort of "breakthrough" moment. That said, while I was reading the book, I did feel like I had some "aha!" moments. Particularly around connected our feelings and traumas to places in our bodies, concrete sensations. I had heard this spoken of so many times, but something about Brach's presentation, through countless stories, convinced me to take a deep look ...more
Mar 14, 2015 Rivke rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would! Tara Brach leads you through different stages of awakening the heart and bringing your awareness to what is happening right here in this very moment. Her R.A.I.N. process--of recognizing what is present in your experience in this moment, allowing it to be just as it is, investigating with loving kindness and allowing for non-identification-- is practical and easy to apply anytime, anywhere. I read this book very slowly, practiced her guided m ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend. The author battles a rare illness and chronic pain so I could relate to her story, but those of her patients and students are varied and touching, too. That male patients were represented should put men at ease if they're curious about Buddhism and meditation but a bit embarrassed about it. That she can find such peace, compassion, and love for life despite her suffering inspires. She includes easy-to-follow meditations at chapter ends that highlight what you've just read. I'm ...more
May 26, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
A revelation on nearly every page. This book is dense and intense and requires slow processing for the reader. Although Tara is Buddhist her writing is not anti-religion or pro-Buddhism. She talks about grief, loss, suffering, anxiety, stress, and challenges in a way that is relatable, warm, and intuitively centered. This is a great book for any adult who is tired of the busy-culture in America and desires a quieter mind with more enjoyment of the small moments of life.
Jul 29, 2013 Melissa rated it liked it
Brach writes of her own frustration with a rare disease that causes pain everywhere in her body and has hindered her once active lifestyle, and how meditation has helped. She also describes how she teaches meditation to those who come to her for guidance in handling difficult events in their lives. Author gives a lot of interesting meditation coping skills, but at times it drifts off into 'hippie talk'.
Janice Brodowsky
Feb 11, 2013 Janice Brodowsky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: janice-brodowsky
A wonderful book by an incredible teacher, therapist, and author. Tara suggests that some of what she presents in this book should be done with either a teacher or a therapist. I have to agree that some of the material may open you up to things that you may not want to tackle on your own. Tara has once again done an incredible job helping her readers get in touch with having compassion for oneself. Thank you Tara!
Janice Brodowsky
Abby Seixas
Sep 19, 2013 Abby Seixas rated it it was amazing
Lots of deep authentic wisdom here. Tara's first book, Radical Acceptance was very useful, and groundbreaking in some ways, but I felt a kind of stiffness in how she expressed herself. Not here. Perhaps her illness, which developed since she wrote Radical Acceptance. has resulted in more genuine heart and authenticity. I will use this in my work and continue to refer to it for myself. Highly recommeded!
Louise Silk
Apr 06, 2013 Louise Silk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirit, self-help
Great practice book full of very useful meditations. Always a good reminder of how to see the bigger picture.

Tara introduces a new practice called RAIN: Recognize what is happening, Allow life to be just as it is, Investigate with intimate attention, Non-identification rest in the natural awareness and then applies it to many difficult situations like pain, obsessive thinking,anxiety,anger and trauma.
Jan 08, 2013 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway but would have bought it if I hadn't since I loved her first book, Radical Acceptance. I liked this one even better. She wr ites from the heart with personal experiences and the stories of others woven in to highlight what she's teaching. Guided meditations are included at the end of every section and I will be going back to these to continue practicing. I learned a lot about myself through this book and I will definitely be reading it again.
Aug 09, 2015 Meg rated it liked it
Tara Brach is a solid, accessible teacher and therapist. I like how she weaves her own, and others', stories into the teaching of the Buddhist practices of compassion and awareness. Her work is practical, grounded in the reality of everyday life... teaching by example and "homework" how a life of awareness looks in action.
May 08, 2015 Kay rated it it was amazing
“You have a unique body and mind, with a particular history and conditioning. No one can offer you a formula for navigating all situations and all states of mind. Only by listening inwardly in a fresh and open way will you discern at any given time what most serves your healing and freedom.” ― Tara Brach,
Mar 08, 2014 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I own this one. Tara is my ultimate guide in fusing psychology with Buddhist principals and practice.

Also, she is personal. her sacerdotal stories are precious and her jokes are almost always welcome.

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Tara Brach is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on vipassana (mindfulness or insight) meditation. Tara is the senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. A clinical psychologist, Tara is the author of
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Y
More about Tara Brach...

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“The intimacy that arises in listening and speaking truth is only possible if we can open to the vulnerability of our own hearts. Breathing in, contacting the life that is right here, is our first step. Once we have held ourselves with kindness, we can touch others in a vital and healing way.” 21 likes
“Awakening self-compassion is often the greatest challenge people face on the spiritual path.” 17 likes
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