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The wisdom of Tara Brach

I recently attended a wonderful talk by Tara Brach. Tara (among many other things) is a teacher of meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. The talk took place at NYU and was hosted by MindfulNYU.


I was introduced to Tara through her book "Radical Acceptance". A collection of stories and practical lessons for introducing mindfulness and acceptance into our lives. It's become one of my favorite books and I strive to implement it's various lessons daily.

In this post I'd like to highlight some of the ideas Tara presented in her talk. These are the ones that resonated with me.

Through her teachings Tara is striving to instill a culture of caring. A culture of empathy. Practicing mindfulness is a way to get there.

Many of us fall into a "thinking trance". A trance of unworthiness. We identify and look for ways where we feel we are not good enough. It's a narrow view of ourselves that allows for fear and separation to set in. The fear and separation hinders us from being our true selves. It's like trying to exercise when you're sick. The sickness prevents you from performing at your full potential.

We are constantly asking ourselves "how am I doing?". How do I look? Should I be doing this? What will they think of me? This fuels fear as you worry of falling short. Feelings that you aren't good enough. That something is wrong with you. And you regret. You can't carry on through life like this. On your last day don't have the regret that you lived your life feeling that you weren't good enough.

Ask yourself, how do you get caught in the story that you are "not ok"?

We separate ourselves from reality. There is "the world" and "me". We separate because we feel there is something wrong with us. And yet the divide does not exist. We live in the world. Say "yes" (internally) in those challenging moments and fuse the separation between "the world" and "me".

Our culture exacerbates the feeling of "not enough". We are addicted to our screens looking for the next like, message, update.

In any moment pause, check-in, and ask yourself two questions. What is happening inside me right now? Can I deal with this?

We are in the midst of a societal evolution. Mindfulness has become global. It's all over the internet. It's value is taught in schools and corporate environments. It's used in medicine. Our global consciousness is waking up as we collectively become more aware.

Pause more.

Wake up from the trance. The Paul Newman ice cream story.

In challenging moments, try the acronym RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture. Recognize the feeling. Allow it to happen. Investigate, what does the hurting part most need? Nurture it. Try placing your hand on your heart to connect with yourself.

Ask yourself, who would you be right now if you didn't feel something was wrong with you. Radical acceptance.

Learn to respond, not react.

When you flip your lid, you lose reason, mindfulness, and empathy.

"Prayer is the bridge between longing and belonging" -John O'Donohue

Pause, see the vulnerability in people.

I will not dishonor my soul with hatred.