Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  3,539 ratings  ·  237 reviews
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 w...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published November 23rd 2004 by Bantam (first published October 1st 2000)
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Adrian Rush
Tara Brach leads a weekly meditation class in the metro D.C. area, and I've been to several of them. Her sessions inspire just as much calm and assuredness as this book does. Tara is sort of like the anti-Dr. Phil. Instead of screaming at you about what an idiot you are, Tara puts a comforting arm around you, like an old friend, and using a combination of psychological techniques and a gentle form of Theravada Buddhism, she shows us how we can stop living with doubt, regret, and fear and lead a...more
Robert
Not overly impressive, but a nice and helpful book. Brach writes a treatise on how the integration of Buddhist spirituality and meditative practices (most often based in the Theravadan traditions of vipassana and metta) can partner with western psychotherapy to assist in healing and personal development.

Intellectually it is pretty lightweight, which isn’t to say that it doesn’t package and reiterate some helpful ideas in useful ways. My biggest challenge with the book was that I couldn’t really...more
Caterina
This book offers much more than it first seems to. From introducing the Buddhist practice of mindfulness as applied to difficult experiences, it deepens and opens out into practices of radical compassion for oneself and others - radical lovingkindness. Working & practicing my way through this book very slowly over four months' time has been a tremendous gift. Tara Brach begins by teaching a new way of approaching emotionally intolerable situations - being overwhelmed and practically nonfunct...more
Jack Hart

One sometimes runs into folks who are suspicious of Buddhism and particularly of the capacity of westerners to find solace in an allegedly Buddhist perspective. I am not a Buddhist, but have found a lot of value in meditation--and in the ethical viewpoint roughly associated with Buddhist practice.

So if the discussion comes to exchanging book titles this is the one I recommend as an introduction to what I'll roughly call a Buddhist approach to suffering. There are better books on meditation. The...more
Donna Kirk
about recognizing, with compassion, your own weaknesses and in the end, finding room to accept them and treat them with love; in effect, healing yourself.

It's like going over to a suffering plant in a garden and tending to it with care, feeding the soil, doing away with pests, giving it compost, sunlight, water; is, metaphorically, how this book suggests we deal with our own fragile, deeply human lives -- that by encouraging our friends and families to take care of themselves the same way, we c...more
Martha
Kripalu Yoga is primarily a practice of compassion, and this book is it's perfect companion. The foundation of all yoga practice is acceptance, and it begins with ourselves. Feelings of deficiency are common to all of us. Being criticized, making mistakes, and experiencing relationship difficulties, all can make us feel unworthy. Our human suffering and our loneliness keep us from feeling fulfilled. Recognizing how we become trapped by these feelings is the first step in reconnecting with who we...more
Natalie
So I don't usually read self-help books. At all. I kinda hate them. And I don't usually read hippy dippy Buddhist stuff either, because I get too scoffy.

When I started this one, I almost didn't go past the first chapter, because it was not really resonating with me at all. And parts of the book (like the closing chapter on discovering our true essence and realizing we are nothing but awareness..... super hippy dippy) totally fell flat.

But there were a few key sections, and really the overarchi...more
Lavonne
Feb 22, 2009 Lavonne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lavonne by: Jennifer
Shelves: toptenspiritual
I have tried twice to read the Power of Now, and could never quite grasp what all the fuss was about. This book, Radical Acceptance, delivered the insights that I was supposed to get from the other book. It is basically talking about the same subjects, but Tara Brach brings a humanity to her approach that is sadly missing in Power of Now.

She has been persuing a spiritual path for many years and speaks with knowledge and compasison. Yet, she admits that when she is continuously approached by a d...more
Joe Rumbo
I've only read the previous edition, but I am here to tell you that Brach brings a message that is welcome tonic to the soul of anyone who has ever felt inadequate or unworthy for any reason. Usually these reasons have to do with culturally defined standards and ideals that no person can ever live up to fully. Brach skillfully weaves these influences together with psychological and Christianity-based explanations of how we live our lives in the 'trance of unworthiness,' and how we can move beyon...more
Kate
I think the perceptions of this book are directly related to the suffering and innate self hatred that the reader possesses. When the concept of lovingkindness is absolutely foreign to you then this book can save your life.

Something I absolutely cherish about this book is kind and gentle repetition. I would read a concept and compartmentalize it as something I either had heard before, already knew, or couldn't possibly work. Then she'd reintroduce the same concept with a case study, a personal...more
Catherine Stapleton
Jun 27, 2008 Catherine Stapleton is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone
As I read this I realized that the belief that there is something wrong with me is quite deep. I went straight to Chapter 7, Opening Our Heart In The Face Of Fear:

"We have to face the pain we have been running from. In fact, we need to learn to rest in it and let its searing power transform us." - Charlotte Joko Beck

This is not a book for someone who is not open to Eastern thought. If you allow yourself to be open to it though, it will open your mind and heart. On page 175, where the author talk...more
Kerstin
I read it in German, so I don't know how much difference there is to the original. However, easy read, with lots of essentially helpful aproaches to dealing with problems, hurdles, wounds...Many suggestions to guided meditations. Most important lesson for me was " to really look at things and not to look away, not to deny" but " to embrace, and to accept truth, and then to be able to let go". I felt so true for many occasions in my life, I have worked with the "look at it" approach since I read...more
Michelle
If I pause and accept any more radically than I have come to realize I do, my husband will divorce me and my kids will starve.
David C. Mueller
This is one of the best self-help books I have ever read. While approaching personal growth issues from a Western Buddhism perspective, it offers much to anyone willing to look at themselves and their life situation in an honest, calm, and compassionate way. One of the most powerful concepts in this book is that of recognizing that how you interpret what happens to you, the life story that you write for yourself, deeply affects how you feel about yourself, others, and life in general. This book...more
Timothy Browning
If there is any sort of unmuddled or unqualified spirituality left in my life, this book is as close to describing it as I am likely to find. Except that I'm not a Buddhist. However, I don't think this really matters. This isn't meant to be a Buddhist text at all, and she is as likely to pull from Sufi mystics as she is from Buddhist teachings (they go together quiet well). I think, like most Buddhists I've met, Brach would say that if the story of the Buddha helps you to access principles of se...more
Kei
Jun 22, 2007 Kei rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone healing from a deep trauma.
If you have a strong spiritual practice or are wanting to delve deeper into eastern thought processes, then this is a great book for those in need of emotional support. What I liked most about this book was that is gave you actually tools and methods to help you go through your healing, whilst reading the book. There are meditations at the end of each chapter that enable you to DO THE WORK right in your own home.

The greatest lesson I received from this book was to actually FEEL...to feel everyt...more
Marshall
A practical and useful book about the practice of Buddhism. It doesn't get bogged down in theory, In fact, the fundamental theory of Buddhism--the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path--aren't even mentioned. That's a relief for me, because it's very easy for me to interpret these as aversive to the experience of living.

This book had the opposite effect on me. It focuses instead on "Radical Acceptance" which is an unfortunate term she uses for awareness and allowing of all experience that arises...more
Jane
My second audiobook. In contrast to my first (fiction) audiobook I think I preferred this type of book on audio as opposed to reading. In many personal ways the thoughts, beliefs and stories presented are difficult topics for me, and having it as an audiobook (narrated by a soothing female voice) almost felt like a friend speaking to me. A gentle introduction into the values of Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation. A timely book for me.
Kim
A very good book. I use many of these techniques with my clients in therapy, they are very effective. I keep thinking that, as the Western world is finding scientific evidence that meditation and mindfulness is effective for many different ailments (blood pressure, depression, stress, anxiety, and basically every symptom caused by stress) that buddhists have to be thinking "I told you so! I told you so! I told you so!"

Brach writes in an accessible way and you can pick and choose from her chapte...more
Julie
It is a radical idea - compassion, love, and acceptance of yourself and others.

In this book, Brach introduces the practice of mindfulness and how, with consistent practice, mindfulness can open us to radical compassion for our self and others.

Brach teaches a new way of perceiving emotionally difficult situations such as interpersonal conflict, betrayal, loss, grief, and learning to forgive when forgiveness seems impossible. Mindfulness is the process of pausing, giving yourself time to become a...more
Kathryn
Full marks for the gist and low marks for the execution. A little too self-helpy and over-written, yet the idea of bringing radical acceptance/compassion to ourselves and others is pretty much the only hope for emotional sanity in this world. But for content, economy, and grace, I'm finding Ezra Bayda's "Being Zen" to be a huge improvement. Let's just say Bayda's book is going on my shelves when I'm done. Brach's book is going to half.com.
Rebecca
This book is really helping me during my current life transition. Everyone should have a copy of this book whether they think they need it or not. Seriously. Bought a copy for my Mom for Christmas and she says it is fantastic. There were days I felt like a loser for being divorced and unemployed but this book taught me to change that negative thinking and to love and accept myself so I can fully love others and improve my life.
Angela
A solid entry for both the Buddhism and self-help/self-improvement shelves, though I found it slightly missing the mark for me on both. Then again, both spirituality and what's therapeutic can be deeply personal things, and so I don't fault the author, Brach, for this. If you're vaguely into Buddhism or meditation, and vaguely in need of a self-helpy pick-me-up (or just into self-improvement!), then I'd encourage you to pick this up and give it a try.

Some pros:
- I was largely skeptical of the dh...more
Laura Stone
I grabbed this book semi-randomly from a bookstore and am so glad I did. This is a good book to actually purchase because it has guided meditations and thoughts that I think it's important to come back to.

I've been having a stressful life recently and this book helped me re-frame some of my experiences and definitely helped me feel more calm just by taking the time to read it.
Jennifer Byers
When I first tried to read this book, it did not touch me and I was highly critical of it - even though I did not finish it. I am now coming back to it after many years and I find it is breaking my heart open in many ways. I am recognizing that my resistance has probably been about needing this work very much. This time, I plan to get all the way through!
Marie
Feb 17, 2010 Marie added it
The concept of Radical Acceptance--accepting what is occurring in the moment and using mindfulness to be fully present, is a powerful tool for healing for me the last year. This book moves off the Radical Acceptancce I just described to a radical acceptance of self, which is a part of the more global understanding of it. Valuable tool.
Phillip Moffitt
This book is an excellent guide to using meditation to deal with the emotional challenges in daily life. Many students have reported to me that this book has help them psychologically and emotionally to deal with some issue in their life.
Miv
One of my favorite books - engaging, beautifully written, uplifting. It draws from the best of Buddhism and Psychology. Interweaves teaching stories with wonderful guided meditations. Tara Brach is a gifted teacher.
Helen
This book helped me through a difficult time. It has given me a fresh outlook on life with powerful tools to help live life with acceptance and gratitude.
Ann Tracy
Definitely one to keep near by for insight and review when things get a bit out of sorts.
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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
More about Tara Brach...
True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart Radical Self-Acceptance: A Buddhist Guide to Freeing Yourself from Shame Meditations for Emotional Healing: Finding Freedom in the Face of Difficulty Radical Acceptance: Guided Meditations Meditation & Psychotherapy: A Professional Training Course for Integrating Mindfulness Into Clinical Practice

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“Pain is not wrong. Reacting to pain as wrong initiates the trance of unworthiness. The moment we believe something is wrong, our world shrinks and we lose ourselves in the effort to combat the pain.” 53 likes
“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns...We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.” 50 likes
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