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TARA BRACH

"THE BOUNDARY TO WHAT WE CAN ACCEPT IS THE BOUNDARY TO OUR FREEDOM."

Eckhart Tolle introduced me to the world of meditation, presence and surrender, and Andy Puddicombe's Headspace app is the tool I try to use everyday for actual meditation practice.

But I enjoy Tara Brach's talks most of all. Although she is Buddhist and the statute of Buddha is always there beside her in the background, her talks are a superb blend of spirituality, psychology, neuroscience, compassion and self-disclosure.

She punctuates her presentations with frequent stories that are quirky and humorous, yet illustrative and instructive. Her's is an ethic of kindness, generosity, openness, love and radical acceptance. I always come away from her talks feeling more calm, uplifted and well.

Tara explains how our brains work and why we are as we are. And she shows us that we can change — that through neuroplasticity the brain can rewire itself towards calm and happiness.

THE VIDEOS

These videos with Tara Brach start with three that I feel capture so much of the essence of her teaching.

  1. The first, Flowering, From Within, of Self-Blessing, talks about what Tara calls the "Trance of Unworthiness." So many of us are caught up in a "trance" of false and conditioned thinking in which we believe or fear we are deficient in some way. Bad, unlovable, stupid... the list goes on. This "trance" drives us to behaviors to fend off, dull or disguise the pain — behaviors that only worsen matters because they usually don't work and often bring us negative judgement from others or from ourselves. We get caught up in a cycle that can last our whole lives.
  2. In the second video, Tara discusses Radical Acceptance. She wrote a book by this title around 15 years ago and the concept of "Radical Acceptance" is at the core of her teaching — a direct counter to the "Trance of Unworthiness" and other challenges we encounter through our lives.
  3. In the third video, Tara walks us through RAIN, a methodology or process of compassionate mindfulness. Through RAIN we can awaken to what is happening within us, to our truth, and to stop suffering under its control. RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Nurture.

It was difficult selecting what other talks I wanted to include in this collection. There are so many, all excellent. At the bottom I provide a link to Tara's podcast which includes her entire library in video and audio. I encourage you to explore on your own.

ECKHART TOLLE

ANDY PUDDICOMBE

DAVID ALLEN

JON KABAT-ZINN

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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"

- Tara Brach

Tara Brach has a free podcast — donations welcomed — that you can access at iTunes or directly on her website, TaraBrach.com. I particularly recommend her website because in addition to current broadcasts there is an archive of video and audio recordings going back to 2005. Following links on her page you'll also find Meditations, Events, a Store, Resources of all kinds, and more. If you liked what you saw here I encourage you to check it out.

Check out the book,
available in print and audio.