Tara Brach is an American psychologist, author, and proponent of Buddhist meditation. She is a guiding teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. USA. Tara Brach is one of my favourite meditation teachers, I found her books: Radical Acceptance: Awakening the Love that Heals Fear and Shame and Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN; to be very helpful and insightful.
In her work, Brach expands on concepts and ideas such as RAIN, Buddhist meditation, Radical Acceptance and Radical Compassion, Loving Kindness, living in trace, Self-Care, Self-Compassion, Self-healing, Self-nurturing, among other life changing topics.
In Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach explores in depth how Buddhist teachings can transform our fear and shame. Brach notes “Radical Acceptance is knowing that, whatever arises, whatever we can’t embrace with love, imprisons us — no matter what it is. If we are at war with it, we stay in prison. It is for the freedom and healing of our own hearts, that we learn to recognize and allow our inner life.
“Only when we realize we can’t hold on to anything can we begin to relax our efforts to control our experience.”
Radical Acceptance enables us to return to the root or origin of who we are, to the source of our being. When we are unconditionally kind and present, we directly dissolve the trance of unworthiness and separation. In accepting the waves of thought and feeling that arise and pass away, we realize our deepest nature, our original nature, as a boundless sea of wakefulness and – love.
Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is. A moment of Radical Acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.
Radical Acceptance reverses our habit of living at war with experiences that are unfamiliar, frightening or intense. It is the necessary antidote to years of neglecting ourselves, years of judging and treating ourselves harshly, years of rejecting this moment’s experience. Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is. A moment of Radical Acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.
We suffer when we cling to or resist experience, when we want life different than it is. As the saying goes: “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
We practice Radical Acceptance by pausing and then meeting whatever is happening inside us with this kind of unconditional friendliness. Instead of turning our jealous thoughts or angry feelings into the enemy, we pay attention in a way that enables us to recognize and touch any experience with care.“Nothing is wrong—whatever is happening is just “real life.” Such unconditional friendliness is the spirit of Radical Acceptance.
Radical compassion means including the vulnerability of this life —all life—in our heart. It means having the courage to love ourselves, each other, and our world. Radical compassion is rooted in mindful, embodied presence, and it is expressed actively through caring that “inseparable dimensions of awakening. It depicts awareness as a bird with two wings: When both wings are unfurled in their fullness and beauty, the bird can fly and be free.
In Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN, Brach describes a four-step meditation practice for dealing with difficult emotions and limiting beliefs. Each step in the meditation practice are: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture.
RAIN cultivates the synchronistic power of mindfulness and heartfulness—both wings of awareness.
The name is an acronym that stands for the four steps of Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture.
- ORIGINAL VERSION OF RAIN (MICHELE MCDONALD): Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Non-Identification.
- CURRENT VERSION OF RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture.
It was originally introduced as a meditation guide by the senior Buddhist teacher Michele McDonald in the 1980s, and since then it has been adopted and adapted in various ways by mindfulness teachers.
RAIN awakens mindfulness and compassion, applies them to the places where we are stuck, and untangles emotional suffering. RAIN creates a clearing in the dense forest, and in this clearing you can recover your full heart and spirit.
The first two steps of RAIN, Recognize and Allow, are the foundation of mindful awareness and compassion. The second two steps, Investigate and Nurture, deepen mindfulness and directly activate compassion.
Radical compassion expresses the truth of our interdependence and mutual belonging. Living true to ourselves becomes, in its fullness, living true to our collective path of healing and freedom, our shared yearning for a peaceful, loving world.
Recognition starts the minute you focus your attention on whatever thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations you are experiencing right now. The key question here is this:
“What is happening inside me?”
Allowing, the next step, asks you to “let be” whatever thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations you have just recognized. You initiate it by gently asking, “Can I be with this?” or “Can I let this be?” It’s natural to feel resistance at this point—you wish some of those feelings would go away! Allowing can include the reality of your “no”—the fact that you really hate the way you’re feeling.
THE TWO KEY QUESTIONS OF MINDFULNESS
Ask yourself, “What is happening inside me?”
“Now ask, “Can I be with this?” or “Can I let this be?”
I: Investigate with a Gentle, Curious Attention
Bring an interested and kind attention to your experience
N: Nurture with Loving Presence
Discover what best allows you to feel nurturing, what best allows the part of you that is most vulnerable to feel loved, seen, and/or safe. Spend as much time as you need, offering care inwardly and letting it be received.
Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true. – THOMAS MERTON
Compassion begins with empathy, but the crucial element of mindfulness protects us from merging or identifying with the pain. Empathy alone can lead to burnout, but the mindfulness and care inherent in compassion foster resilience, connectedness, and action.
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.