Radical Acceptance

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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 with who we really are and what it means to live fully.
--from Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance

“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork--all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s twenty years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students.

Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales, and guided meditations. Step by step, she leads us to trust our innate goodness, showing how we can develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion that is the essence of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance does not mean self-indulgence or passivity. Instead it empowers genuine change: healing fear and shame and helping to build loving, authentic relationships. When we stop being at war with ourselves, we are free to live fully every precious moment of our lives.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Title says it all ...
    This was a real eye-opening book. I had wanted to learn more about how to meditate. I felt as if she wrote the book just for me. Not only did I learn about meditation but about how to change my thinking in ways I didn't even realize I needed to, which in turn, helped my meditation practice even more than I expected. Tara's book is definitely one to add to your library....more info
  • Suffering is Highly Over-rated!
    Tara Brach's book was invaluable in helping me become more accepting of myself. Ms. Brach shares many useful stories and helpful insights. Radical Self Acceptance provides skillful exercises for dealing with many inner shadows. Not only does she bring light to issues of shame and feelings of unworthiness, she provides practical advice on how to awaken from self-suffering. I personally have greatly benefited from her courageous inquiry into the facets of angst that we all experience. In these turbulent times, this book illustrates many practices to embrace our personal struggles so that we can become more compassionate and live a fuller life. When Tara addresses her own vulnerabilities it provides me fortitude to face my own. I consider this book a great resource for understanding our greatest struggle today: ourselves. In our world filled with consumption and materialism, we make up many deluded stories that further separates us from ourselves and our world. Tara goes to the root of how we reinforce our sense of unworthiness. Ms. Brach's wonderful Buddhist and other spiritual teachings provide vivid examples of how we can feel less disconnected. This book is a powerful guide for showing that our self-hatred and shame threatens the future of our world with continuing strife. This book is a wonderful collection of Tara's teachings that weave together our sense of belonging amidst the constant sense of alienation that we unconsciously perpetuate. Finally, this book allows me to free myself from my sense of deficiency to understand that my suffering can be ameliorated with the knowledge that I am a part of a larger, awakening community of like-minded souls who are recovering from their shame. Radical Self Acceptance inspires me to fully "show up", accept, embrace and cultivate greater kindness in all my relationships....more info
  • Radical Acceptance
    This is a self help book that I really enjoyed reading and was well worth buying. Has helped me to understand myself better. ...more info
  • Great Guide and Aid. Very influential
    This book and esp. the audio tape I have found to be very compelling. My heart felt much lightened by listening to Brach on more than several occasions. If eventually you wear out on listening to it, it's a great gift to pass along....more info
  • Excellent work, very compatible with Eckhart Tolle materials
    If you are looking to find support in working with core issues of ego and places where we have emotional body pain held this is a excellent book. ...more info
  • a wonderful book - touching, real and life-changing
    "Radical Acceptance" is an amazing book - truly inspiring. It gets to the core of how we think about ourselves and our world - specifically, our underlying belief that something is wrong. Tara Brach brings this negative worldview into the daylight. Her suggestions on how to shift this perspective are incredibly helpful - both down to earth and spiritually uplifting. I highly recommend this book....more info
  • Best Book for the Road to Recovery
    One of the best books I have read. I suffer from Social Anxiety and this book allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Before we can begin to conquer our "problems" we first must accept ourselves. I take this book with me everywhere I go and will just open it up begin to read. If you have ever wondered how to achieve an inner peace and to stay within yourself, this is the book for you. ...more info
  • Proceed with some caution.
    I really like Tara Brach's book but I say this with some serious reservations. As a healthy individual with genuinely "normal" anxieties and feelings of unworthiness, I can approach her meditations with interest and ease. I tried them, liked some, didn't like others which is fine. The serious reservations came when Ms. Brach began to discuss her work with a sexually abused patient and shared the guided visualizations and process she embarked upon with the patient. The work she did with this patient is not anything that would be recommended by a professional who has expertise in this area. A person with trauma should never, ever, in the early stages of therapeutic work begin a process with visualizations of any kind. Even Kabatt-Zinn has cautioned survivors of trauma, particularly abuse survivors, that meditation, closed eyed meditation, and any process that might lead the person to traumatic memory - should be avoided unless the patient/person is sure that they are able to safely control how far "in" to the process they go -. Meditation, visual imagery, etc., often flood the trauma survivor, causing them to access traumatic memory too quickly and deeply - this is dangerous - not relaxing or therapeutic.

    So, words of caution - only the emotionally healthy should embark on this journey and survivors of sexual abuse - don't try any of these guided imagery meditations - particularly without the support of a very practiced professional. ...more info
  • Life As It Is
    As the title of this marvelous book indicates, Tara Brach shows each and every one of us the path towards accepting our life as it is. This doesn't mean, as you may be wondering, never strive in the direction of change. It's just that, well, change is pretty much a given anyhow. Tara's philosophy (not necessarily writing style) reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh and his works on mindfulness. Like the book Anger by Nhat Hanh, Tara proposes we must embrace our emotions and perceived shortcomings with the love a mother would have for it's child. There is an absolute plethora of Buddhist/Self Help books on the shelves these days that aren't really worth mentioning, but this book stands out. The most important factor is that you don't even need to be practicing Buddhism to benefit from his wisdom. Just as I have learned from such Christian writers as Thomas Merton and Anthony de Mello, Christians (or any religious tradition's followers) can learn much from this. It's the kind of imperfect life experience all of us can relate to in her work that appeals to me. She's down to earth, introspective (as opposed to preachy), and compassionately skilled in all of her words. Tara Brach holds a Ph.D. and is a clinical psychologist in addition to being a lay Buddhist priest and vipassana meditation guide. In Washington, D.C. she founded the "Insight Meditation Community." She also participates in running various workshops nationally. If your making a "books to buy" list for 2004, put this on there; it's genuinely worth the read. Thanks Tara....more info
  • Radical Acceptance as a Path
    This book offers the radical notion that we can fully accept the way we are in the present moment as a healing transformative act. In his book Art as Medicine, author Shaun McNiff, speaks of "the toxin as the antitoxin". His way is through art making. In Tara Brach's book we explore how, from the Buddhist perspective, being with the very thing we can hardly stand to look at, hear or feel is the very thing that can free us from its grip. The author lets you get to know her in a way that grounds the book in truth. I recommend it without hesitation....more info
  • Moving, wonderful book
    This book has had a very powerful effect on me. I quit reading spiritual books a year or so ago, and recently decided to step back in to reading a few. This was a very good choice. She communicates from her own humanity, letting me as the reader find myself in the text.

    The book is broken down into a series of topics, each having to do with different ways in which we struggle or different ways to deal with struggling to accept ourselves. For each topic, she offers a discussion, including anecdotes from her and her counseling clients' lives. Then she provides a meditation that focuses on that topic. It's a very nicely laid out book....more info
  • Top Marks for Radical Acceptance
    My faith community is Christian, but this book brings a broad and gentle perspective to living a deep and conscious life. After the first chapter, I knew that this would be a book I would highlight, bookmark, and refer to for years to come. I gave it to two friends to read with me, and it has enriched all of our lives. Do yourself a favor...read this book....more info
  • Exactly what I needed.
    Going through a divorce after having been dumped by a husband of 17 years, I was really critical of myself. As if having endured the ex's scorn wasn't enough, I had to add o--and add on--and add on to the attacks on every aspect of my personality. I was stupid. I was unattractive. I was not "woman enough." I didn't deserve love.

    This book was recommended by my therapist and it was just what I need to STOP bringing myself down, to learn to accept what had happened to me, and to move on. ...more info
  • A Touching & Transformational Book For Anyone

    "Radical Acceptance" is a book that will touch and expand the heart and soul of the reader. Though the content is based on Buddhism Teachings...it matters not what is your religion or spiritual belief. I have been on my own personal and ecclectic spiritual path for many years. I feel that I am an advanced student & yet Tara Brach gave me a new perspective and simple and very practical exercises on how to handle the excruciating pain that sometimes comes from experiencing life. Because she speaks "Truth" her words offer instant strength and makes you feel less alone and isolated when going through touch times. Her extraordinary book came to me at one of the most difficult times in my life and helped me immeasurably! It is a book that can be referred to...over and over. Needless to say, I am indeed so grateful for Ms Brach's touching, warm, inviting and loving content that is filled with ageless wisdom. This is one the most important books I have ever read. I highly recommend it...especially if life is "hitting you in the face" over and over!

    Sincerely, Malana Mikella...more info
  • enlightening read
    excellent book, very enlightening, peaceful and informative. i have read it three times and have gotten more each time....more info
  • Provides detailed guidelines
    I have read quite a number of Buddhist books. But this is the first one I've read that actually shows how to apply Buddhist philosophy to my own life. Brach does a great job of explaining some of the central Buddhist precepts and then takes things a step further by explaining how these can work in every day life and giving very detailed, practical suggestions and meditation tips showing just how to incorporate these principles. I've grown so much from reading her book and feel I have a much deeper understanding of the ways Buddhism can provide healing and change one's perspective. I can't wait for her next book! ...more info
  • precise description, prompt shipment
    The condition of the book was EXACTLY as described, and was sent quickly.

    Pricing was excellent as well....more info
  • Buy it Read it Love it!
    In every day life we use too much time thinking and not enough time acting. This book wil help you with a remarkeble kindness.

    From the Netherlands with love...more info
  • great book!
    Ive only read about 20 pages so far but it is a great perspective on the importance of acceptance and the destructiveness of shame. ...more info
  • Life Changing Book!
    This book was life changing. It helps you to heal your wounds and move on with life. It is also a great introduction to meditation and buddist teachings. ...more info
  • this is a superb little book
    I read this book, to be a partner as my boyfriend works through some issues in his life. It spoke just as clearly to me as it has done to him. Our culture "trains us" to suppress uncomfortable emotions. This book helps us get in touch and accept and welcome them - and move through the uncomfortable ones, to a place of greater peace. These are great thoughts and helpful meditations. I hope it is as encvouraging for you as it has been and continues to be, for me....more info
  • excellent, worth your money
    I hate to say that a book changed my life, if that was possible everyone would be happy. but this book did have a huge impact on my thinking and way of processing emotions. It is one of the most useful books you will read. It simply talks about accepting all your feelings and reactions without attaching a label. this is a very simple version of what it truly talks about, but basically it helps you accept people, situations and yourself with kindness and wisdom. I have used alot of the techniques in the book and they have worked. the meditations in it are very helpful and some of the one liners are great for memorising and recalling in times of need....more info
  • Tara Brach Challenges Your Thinking
    Ms. Brach's book is a different approach to wellness. She encourages being present in your daily life, rather than always racing ahead mentally. She promotes accomplishing this through guided meditations. These meditations are thorough and require a certain amount of discipline to follow. Ms. Brach's books challenges the reader to drop the ongoing dialogue and planning the flow through one's head continuously. Instead, she asks the reader to really accept what is happening in the present moment--good or bad, recognize how the body reacts to it, and then just be with it. It is a radical way of thinking. However, she does not leave you hanging--each chapter breaks down ways this can be accomplished in addition to the meditations. This is a good read for a person who is open to a more Eastern way of thinking. In my opinion though, it is not a book that should be rushed through--rather it should be read slowly to allow the reader to process each new idea per chapter....more info
  • An illuminating insight into the backbone of the Buddhist view
    A Dharma teacher recommended this to me after I told him I was having unexpectedly strong feelings of self-loathing after some meditations - this was a great suggestion, as the focus of this book is learning how to accept yourself, and others, as they are; not as you wish they were. To be in the moment, accept and really see reality as it is - not as you wish it was or fear it might be. 'Radical Acceptance' gave me an insight into how to think like a Buddhist, rather than just trying to act like one. Basically this is a 'self-help' book (with a Buddhist backbone), but as a work in that category it is perhaps a work of spiritual genius. If you have problems with accepting some part of your habitual behaviour (anger, shyness, addiction, depression - even if only seemingly mild) then you are likely to really benefit from this wonderful book...more info
  • Readable, Relevant and Real
    Radical Acceptance sits on my bedside table holding the honored place of a book that can be read and re-read many times. The insights and messages in this book speak to core issues we all face and the possibilities of how to work with them using wisdom and compassion. It is a book with honesty, clarity and strength of purpose that can only contribute to our understanding of self and others....more info
  • Great Book
    Great book, easy relatable read. Simple and to the point. Hit alot of core issues for me and was very easy to apply the lessons. ...more info
  • Not called "Radical" for nothing!
    Initially borrowed this book from the library to see if it was worth buying; thought I would just entertain myself, if nothing else. Read many other meditational books but this has been the ONLY effective one that gave me the tools to help deal with the vicious cycle of self-negative thoughts. These tools are not "airy-fairy" & has been written in a most excellent way with plenty of examples of what other people have gone through & how to have compassion towards oneself. It just takes an open & willing heart. This book has been so life altering that I'm looking forward to joining one of the vipassana meditation retreats held by the author. Thanks Tara for writing this book for me!!!...more info
  • Great book on mindfulness, but limited in other ways
    Tara Brach is a great teacher of psychology and an especially brilliant teacher of mindfulness, but I think her teachings of Buddhism are reductionist when it comes to their fundamental core.

    I concur with what many of the reviewers have said below about how well Tara Brach brings the Buddhist teachings on awareness and compassion to light. This book is particularly valuable for those who are interested in Buddhism as a collection of practical, secular techniques to improve personal well-being and social relationships. It is "accessible", "practical" and "heart-warming". In this sense Tara Brach is a master of human psychology.

    However, those who are interested in seeing what the Buddha saw (which is a possiblity for all), in living in such a way that it is no longer necessary to cultivate joy but merely have bliss follow one like a shadow, in realizing the formless compassion of the Buddhas which is beyond the limited techniques of psychology, should question some of the assertions in this book.

    The primary notion Tara Brach emphasizes which, while believable from a psychological perspective, is highly questionable from a Buddhist perspective, is the notion that "awareness is the true self" or "compassion is the true self". Tara Brach describes the true self as something one knows when one has the clear mind of meditation (whether seated or in daily life) or a compassionate heart, but doesn't know when one gets distracted or angry or self-doubting. In one passage, she describes being her true self one morning, getting distracted, and then losing touch with her true self. This makes it sound like the "true self" is some separate state, which is then defined with terms like awareness and compassion.

    There are many different interpretations of Buddhism and there is no way to objectively to say which is 'right' or 'authentic', but the view that the true self is something which comes in one state of mind and leaves in another is highly suspect. The "true self" in Buddhism, to the extent that one wishes to use such terminology, is altogether everywhere, without differentiation or degree. It neither comes nor goes nor sits nor reclines. One does not need to do any practice or be in any state to realize it; it cannot be with you sometimes and not with you other times. It depends on no state of mind, no practice, no virtue - it is unconditioned.

    All conditioned things (which includes the elements that we humans often mistakenly think we are such as our personalities or our virtues or our values or some profound mental/emotional state we come to) are intrinsically Nirvanic. In other words, confusion and anger are no less our "true self" than "awareness".

    Read this book, love it, cherish it, and learn from it, but ask yourself whether the real cessation of suffering the Buddha knew is some state of "awareness" or "compassion", something that is here when you are clear minded and gone when you are not. I don't think that's what the Buddha taught.

    But you can read the Majjhima Nikaya, available at Amazon, (Suttas 7, 10, 22, 26 are particularly relevant to this question) and find out for yourself.

    Awareness and compassion are very important, but the Buddha did not mistake them for a "true self". The Buddha rode on a raft of such positive states, such good karma, to cross to the other shore, but when he got there, he abandoned even them, he knew what was before and after them and what illuminates them beyond any faculty, and that is what allowed him to save thousands of beings with merely a word or a smile or a gesture.

    I think Tara Brach has written a brilliant book, but she could have improved it by staying within the limits of her own insight, not diminshing Buddhism with the confines of psychology. This books shows the limits of trying to express Buddhism with Western science and humanism, in other words of thinking the truths of Buddhism can be mastered without a shift in one's fundamental world view....more info

  • Perfect
    This book is a treasure. It contains exactly what we all need to hear, reminding us of all the things we are NOT but think we are, as we go through life in a "trance of unworthiness". It is a perfect synthesis of Buddhist teachings and stories and anecdotes about how these teachings actually APPLY to our everyday lives. I've read a lot of books about Buddhism and Zen, but this was one of the first that really made me stop and say (repeatedly).......... "OH.... THAT is what he (the Buddha) meant... and how it relates to ME!" As I mentioned, it is filled with stories and anecdotes from Tara's life, the lives of her students and various others (not to mention the Buddha). This sometimes gives it the flavor of a "Chicken Soup For the Buddhist Soul" book. But I mean that as a compliment! The stories she relates are so profound that in the few days since I've started reading it, I find myself wanting to send excerpts from this book via email to lots of my friends, as well as reading to them from the book over the phone. I don't remember ever doing that with a book before. This book is, in a way, "simplistic"..... you could find many many books that delve more deeply into Buddhist philosophy. But it's the simplicity that makes it so powerful. It's a wonderful "reminder"...... helping us come out of the trance of our minds, beliefs, emotions, etc. and back to the here and now.... to REAL LIFE. It covers much the same territory as the book The Power Of Now, just from a slightly different perspective, and would be a wonderful adjunct to that book. It somehow "shakes" you out of your world-view, belief systems, and everything you thought was "true" about your life, but does it GENTLY. It shows clearly that the Truth is the Truth and it doesn't matter if it comes from a Buddhist background, a Christian background, a certain teacher, tradition or book... it's all the same. It's all right here, right now.... it never went anywhere.......... WE did. This is a wonderful book that will be a blessing to many....more info


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