The belief that we are not enough is very common. In fact, it could be said that all human beings have an inner sense of unworthiness to some degree or another. We feel that we aren’t smart enough, kind enough, rich enough, good enough or even ‘spiritual’ enough. To try and escape the uncomfortable feelings that such deep-seated beliefs tend to spawn, we strive to improve ourselves by getting more qualifications, more money, more possessions or more time at the gym. Another strategy that we often employ to help us avoid confronting our feelings of unworthiness is distraction – keeping busy, busy, busy in an effort to outrun ourselves.
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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, Ph.D., offers a very different solution. Instead of going along with the notion that we are flawed and need to fight our insufficiencies, Tara teaches that we can learn to embrace ourselves, and our lives, exactly as they are. Furthermore, this book explains exactly how to do that, and when you actually apply what you read, you will discover that the healing of inner wounds comes about quite naturally.
There are twelve chapters in this book, and you will get the most benefit from it by working through each chapter in a slow and thoughtful manner. The author is a Clinical Psychologist as well as a world-renowned teacher of Buddhist meditation, and she expertly combines ideas, concepts, case studies and techniques from her personal and professional experience to help lead you on a personal journey to wholeness.
Tara begins by discussing the Trance of Unworthiness that we all experience to some extent, and explains how it is rooted primarily in the notion of being a separate self. Then, in the chapters that follow, she shows us, step-by-step, the way out of the trance, highlighting the traps that can keep us caught along the way and sharing the stories of those who have gone before. Chapter titles include The Sacred Pause, Unconditional Friendliness, Radical Acceptance of Desire, Opening Our Heart in the Face of Fear, Awakening Compassion for Ourselves, Recognizing Our Basic Goodness and Realizing Our True Nature.
Whilst it does not claim to be a substitute for therapy in any way, Radical Acceptance will definitely have a very therapeutic effect on anyone who takes the time to use it as intended. As Jack Kornfield says in his Foreword:
Radical Acceptance reawakens us to our Buddha nature, the fundamental happiness and freedom that are the birth-right of every human being.
The book has been a best seller for more than a decade, and that isn’t something that happens by accident. People are still buying copies of Radical Acceptance in good numbers for one reason and one reason only – it works.