There are a handful of writers I turn to when I am ready to let go of something I thought I understood about life and my place in it. These are writers I trust, because they’ve let go of posturing. They approach the journey of being human with humility and a depth of self-inquiry that inspires me to keep going. Psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach is such a writer. In her honesty, she holds up a mirror to her own humanness and then turns it toward the reader. In her new book, True Refuge, the author of Radical Acceptance, guides us into self-inquiry with authenticity and compassion. The book combines elements of self-revealing memoir, instructive stories about her meditation students and psychotherapy clients with meditation instruction suitable for a beginner, meditative inquiry suitable for an advanced practitioner, and 26 beautiful meditation and reflection scripts with which to practice. You hear Tara’s compassionate voice throughout, even at her fiercest look at her own tendency to judge.
Since the publication of Radical Acceptance, Tara has faced a difficult diagnosis that has limited her capacity to do many of the things she loves. She has practiced and taken refuge in all the elements about which she so elegantly writes–facing the truth; opening to love and being awareness. “We find true refuge,” says the author, “whenever we recognize the silent space of awareness behind all our busy doing and striving. We find refuge whenever our hearts open with tenderness and love. We find refuge whenever we connect with the innate clarity and intelligence of our true nature.” To summarize so briefly the tenants of this book is to do it a disservice. It is in the reading, page by page, that the gift of Tara’s prose is offered and received by the reader in the form of the possibility to transform old patterns of thinking and reacting. “Truth,” she says, “can only be discovered in the aliveness of the moment. Love can only be experienced in this very heart, here and now. Awareness can only be realized as we discover the space and wakefulness of our own mind.” But this is not just a philosophical treatise on true refuge as outlined by the Buddha and reinterpreted by Tara Brach. We are given the means, chapter by chapter, of discovering for ourselves true refuge in our “own awakened heart.”
To order True Refuge, click here.
The LifeForce Yoga Bhavana – Say Yes to Yourself CD is a guided relaxation that invites us to remember times when we’ve been most authentically ourselves, and cultivates that tenderness and love inherent in “true refuge.” The CD includes breathing practice and some gentle movement, as well as a writing exercise, for a complete workshop experience with me.