Caterina's Reviews > Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
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really liked it
bookshelves: favorites, american-author, spiritual-or-relig, health-illness, buddhism, psychology, woman-author

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 nonfunctional because of physical manifestations of anxiety, fear, desire, melancholy, depression, anger, embarrassment, as well as by a sense of unworthiness, guilt or shame. She delves into situations of interpersonal conflict, loss, grief, and learning to forgive when forgiveness seems impossible.

The practice begins centered in the self and slowly shifts over time to an outward focused, selfless practice of awareness and compassion. It begins by pausing, stepping back, and becoming fully aware of everything that is going on within and around oneself; and then regarding oneself and these experiences gently and without immediate judgment. With clear seeing and "radical acceptance" the situation and my own emotions may still exist but they are no longer completely disabling and in fact it might even be possible to appreciate them. I honestly do not always want to get rid of my sometimes intolerably intense emotions and responses to things because, as an artist, they form the fuel for the power and intensity of my art. But still, it can be hard to live with them in relationships as well as by myself. And - as the practice develops, lo and behold it becomes possible to shift from focus on oneself to focus on others, lovingkindness for others. To learn to live with in peace with myself and others - at least more of the time - is an indescribable blessing.

This is also a lovely book, filled with poetry by Rumi, Rilke and others. Tara Brach is quite vulnerable in sharing her personal stories, which may or may not appeal to everyone, but you do not have to have a story line similar to hers to appreciate the teachings. I have tagged many passages and poems to return to.

I first reviewed this book when I had only read it halfway through (twice) and thought I "got" it - but don't stop when you're halfway through, because the book is structured to deepen and expand as it goes along, building on previous knowledge, and the second half focuses most strongly on the practices of lovingkindness and is very worthwhile.
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Reading Progress

May 26, 2013 – Shelved
July 29, 2013 – Started Reading
November 21, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
December 11, 2013 – Finished Reading
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: american-author
April 25, 2017 – Shelved as: spiritual-or-relig
December 16, 2018 – Shelved as: health-illness
December 19, 2018 – Shelved as: buddhism
December 19, 2018 – Shelved as: psychology
December 20, 2018 – Shelved as: woman-author

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Ingram Do glad you enjoyed it Caterina. Have you heard of The Art of Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg?


Caterina Thank you, Shawn. No, I haven't - I will look for it!


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