A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering.  Over a million people each mont...h tune in to Tara’s podcast. Her themes reveal the possibility of emotional healing and spiritual awakening through mindful, loving awareness as well as the alleviation of suffering in the larger world by practicing compassion in action. She has fostered efforts to bring principles and practices of mindfulness to issues of racial injustice, equity and inclusivity; peace; environmental sustainability, as well as to prisons and schools. Recently, she co-founded the DC-based Meditation Teacher Training Institute to help address the growing demand for the teachings of mindfulness and compassion. In addition to numerous articles, videos, and hundreds of recorded talks, Tara is the author of the book Radical Acceptance (Bantam, 2003) and True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart (Bantam, 2013). She has a son, Narayan, and lives in Great Falls, VA, with her husband, Jonathan Foust and their dog, kd. For more information, visit http://www.tarabrach.com www.facebook.com/tarabrach www.youtube.com/tarabrach blog.tarabrach.com/ twitter.com/tarabrach tarabrach.libsyn.com/ (podcast) eepurl.com/6YfI (sign up for email list) More

Transforming Two Fears: FOF and FOMO

fomo Transforming Two Fears: FOF and FOMO

Two common fears can block us from our full potential – fear of failure (FOF), and fear of missing out (FOMO). This talk explores how to meet these fears with mindful presence, and discover within them the essence energies of loving awareness and full aliveness (a favorite from the archives).

Note – This talk is dedicated to Tim Ferriss, who turned me on to the phrase FOMO. Tim exemplifies the creative aliveness of FOMO energy when it’s living through someone who’s dedicated to being awake, caring and real. Check out his interview with Tara at: https://youtu.be/pXNEM4wjSmE and his podcast at fourhourworkweek.com/podcast/.

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Three Core Capacities in Loving Fully

hearthopening Three Core Capacities in Loving Fully

This talk looks at three ways of awakening our hearts—seeing goodness, feeling appreciation as a bodily experience, and expressing our care. We are then guided in developing each of these capacities by focusing our attention on someone we care about, with whom we’d like to experience our full potential for loving.  

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Three Attitudes that Nourish a Liberating Practice

woman-relaxing-in-a-crowded-street-picture-id143920635 Three Attitudes that Nourish a Liberating Practice

A key spiritual inquiry is, “In this moment, what most serves awakening?” Rather than a particular style of meditation practice, it is our way of relating to our experience – our attitude – that frees our hearts. This talk explores the attitudes that are an expression of our innately open, wakeful and loving awareness, and that carry us to realization. (a favorite from the archives)

Settle in the here and now.
Reach down into the center
where the world is not spinning
and drink this holy peace.

Feel relief flood into every
cell. Nothing to do. Nothing
to be but what you are already.
Nothing to receive but what
flows effortlessly from the
mystery into form.

Nothing to run from or run
toward. Just this breath,
Awareness knowing itself as
embodiment. Just this breath,
awareness waking up to truth.

Danna Faulds (2006). Awareness Knowing Itself. In From Root to Bloom: Yoga Poems and Other Writings (p. 17). Kearney, NE: Morris Publishing.

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Part 1 – Healing Anxiety – How Meditation Frees Us

person-in-airplane-with-aerophobia-scared-of-flying-doing-yoga-for-picture-id1030467008 Part 1 – Healing Anxiety – How Meditation Frees Us

Anxiety and the fear of failure is a pervasive suffering around the world. It is also increasing—along with the pace of life, over-consuming, addiction, noise, polarization and fears for our planet. How do we calm ourselves in a way that brings inner freedom and serves the healing of our larger world? These two talks explore the power of awareness in evolving ourselves beyond the anxiety that grips and confines our lives.

“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.”

Excerpt From: Coleman Barks. “The Essential Rumi – reissue.”

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The Jewel in the Lotus: Cultivating Compassion

pink-lotus-flower-on-a-pond-picture-id580088194 The Jewel in the Lotus: Cultivating Compassion

The compassion that arises from mindful awareness can heal our inner wounds, interpersonal conflict and the suffering in our world. These two talks focus on cultivating self-compassion and compassion for others. They look at the blocks to compassion and accessible powerful practices that awaken the full wisdom and tenderness of our hearts.

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Part 1: Rewiring for Happiness and Freedom

woman-child-bubble-picture-id149071967 Part 1: Rewiring for Happiness and Freedom

The Buddha said, “I would not be teaching this (a path of awakening) if genuine happiness and freedom were not possible.” While this is our potential, we each have deep conditioning to get stuck in feelings of fear, deficiency and separation from others. These talks explore the two interdependent pathways of undoing the conditioning that blocks our potential. In Part I we will look at how we can intentionally arouse states of wellbeing, and with practice, develop them into ongoing traits that bring presence and joy to our lives. In Part II, we will investigate how to cultivate an unconditional presence, and the radical acceptance and love, that are the grounds of true happiness and inner freedom.

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The Sacred Pause

tea-mug-with-warm-scarf-open-book-and-apple-picture-id846775222-1 The Sacred Pause

When we are lost in the trance of doing, our lives are on automatic, and contracted by sense that something’s wrong or missing. This talk explores the challenges of learning to pause, and the blessings that arise when step out of our incessant mental and physical activity and reconnect with the being-qualities of presence, wisdom and love (a favorite from the archives).

“The deepest expression of love is this non-doing presence because that’s when we are inhabiting who we really are.”

“The Fire” by Judy Brown

“… A fire

grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.”


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Part 1: Awakening through Anger – The U-Turn to Freedom

porcupine-eating-on-a-tree-branch-picture-id134535226 Part 1: Awakening through Anger – The U-Turn to Freedom

Anger is naturally triggered when we feel an obstacle to meeting our needs. How do we honor the intelligence within anger, but not get hijacked into emotional reactivity that creates suffering in our individual and collective lives? This talk explores the U-turn that enables us to offer a healing attention to the feelings and unmet needs under anger. Once present with our inner life, we are able to respond to those around us with wisdom, empathy and true strength. (a favorite from the archives)

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain

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Part 2: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

spritualawakenting Part 2: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

We each live with uncertainty and the fear of rejection and loss, and we each are conditioned to avoid feeling or expressing that vulnerability. Yet intimacy with this unlived life is the gateway to connecting authentically with others, full aliveness and spiritual realization. These talks explore the ways that we defend ourselves, and the pathway to gently, wisely and intelligently disarming and freeing our hearts. (a special talk from the archives)

Listen to the first part: Part 1: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of deepening the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. – Adrienne Rich

At our pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down.  With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom, we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.

Pema Chodron
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

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Part 1: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

dragon Part 1: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

We each live with uncertainty and the fear of rejection and loss, and we each are conditioned to avoid feeling or expressing that vulnerability. Yet intimacy with this unlived life is the gateway to connecting authentically with others, full aliveness and spiritual realization. These talks explore the ways that we defend ourselves, and the pathway to gently, wisely and intelligently disarming and freeing our hearts (a favorite from the archives).



Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Van Jones and more in this 10 day Free online Event. 



If I’m not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks, and everything in life that’s worth doing involves a willingness to take a risk. – Madeleine L’Engle

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Healing Depression with Meditation – Part 1

man-with-a-cup-of-cappuccino-with-a-sad-face-picture-id901912720 Healing Depression with Meditation – Part 1

Most people get depressed at times, and many suffer greatly from bouts of major depression. At the heart of the suffering is the experience of severed belonging—of being imprisoned in the pain of separation, unworthiness, unlovability and hopelessness. These two talks explore several meditation practices that reconnect us with our natural aliveness, open heartedness and awareness. They empower us to develop our inner resources, energize us to awaken, free us from rumination and remind us that we are not our depressive thoughts and feelings. The growing realization of the loving awareness that is our home heals the very roots of depression.

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Saying “Yes” – Meeting Your Edge and Softening

yes-picture-id147317901 Saying “Yes” – Meeting Your Edge and Softening

Our habitual ways of avoiding unpleasant experience keep us from intimacy with our inner life and with each other. This talk helps us recognize these often unconscious patterns that keep us identified with a separate, threatened self, and offers guidance in saying “yes” to the life we encounter. As we release resistance, we discover the creativity, wisdom and love that express our unbound, true, nature.

Listen to the accompanying meditation: Saying “Yes” to Life.

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What Is It Like Being You?

dogquestion What Is It Like Being You?

Compassion is hard wired in our organism, and can be cultivated. This talk helps us identify the blocks to compassion—our outmoded survival equipment—and using RAIN, offers practical guidance in mindfully attuning to others’ emotional experience and awakening our natural tenderness and care. This talk includes a short introduction to the meditation: The RAIN of Compassion.

Empathy is the ability to feel what other people feel… compassion includes empathy, and it also has the quality of caring and concern that wants to help. Compassion means “to suffer together,” but it is really defined by a quivering of the heart that wants to help…

Compassion is our evolutionary potential. We have a capacity for affiliative care, to tune in to each other and to care about each other. And, really, this capacity is the hope of our world…

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Looking Through the Eyes of Another – Transforming Separation into Shared Consciousness

eyes Looking Through the Eyes of Another – Transforming Separation into Shared Consciousness

I often talk about how suffering arises from the unseen, unfelt parts of ourselves. Only when we become aware of what is here and bring presence to what we have been running from can we discover wholeness and freedom.

The same is true when we explore our relationships to each other and the world. We cannot be free if we are pushing anyone out of our hearts. If we are discounting, rejecting, or turning away, we are not living from our wholeness. It creates suffering. When we live in resentment, we have separated ourselves and pulled away from our belonging.

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Short Talk & Meditation: Forgiving and Freeing Our Hearts

cupped-hands-holding-spring-violet-flowers-in-heart-shape-picture-id655101628 Forgiving and Freeing Our Hearts

Forgiveness for others becomes possible when we’ve held our own being with great compassion. This short talk and guided meditation brings forth our most awake and tender presence as we ask for forgiveness, offer care to the woundedness within us, and then extend forgiveness to another who has hurt us. (from the Spring 2018 IMCW 7-day Silent Retreat)

Join Tara in a 10-day online course on forgiveness available through Insight Timer: Free Yourself From Blame & Resentment.

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What You Practice Grows Stronger: Choosing Joy to De-Condition Our Negativity Bias

What You Practice Grows Stronger: Choosing Joy to De-Condition Our Negativity Bias What You Practice Grows Stronger: Choosing Joy to De-Condition Our Negativity Bias

Some years back, I was talking with a woman in our community. She was a breast cancer survivor and she told me about a conversation that she had with a friend who also was a survivor. Her friend asked her, “What would it feel like for you to think that something good might happen, rather than something bad?” Her response was, “Totally weird and uncomfortable. “Good,” her friend said. “Try it now.”

 

From an evolutionary perspective, it really makes sense that we feel uncomfortable when we envision positive things coming our way. Our brains are designed to scan for trouble and fixate on what might go wrong in any given situation. This is described as the negativity bias and it one of our hard wired survival strategies. Of course, it is a very good strategy for avoiding real danger. But, in the absence of a true threat, it limits our capacity for enjoying, and celebrating our moments. We have such a short time on planet earth. When the negativity bias rules, we get very loyal to our anxiety, mistrust and vigilance. We cannot inhabit the fullness of our lives.

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From Human Doing to Human Being – Part 1

From Human Doing to Human Being – Part 1 From Human Doing to Human Being – Part 1

Like Sisyphus eternally pushing the boulder up the hill, we can spend many moments busily trying to manage our life. This two-part talk explores how we can awaken from our non-stop doing, including the incessant inner narrative, and discover the mystery, love and freedom that arises in Being.

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Seeing Basic Goodness – Part 2

redheartahnds Seeing Basic Goodness – Part 2

Most of us long to trust our goodness, but get caught in stories of deficiency and striving to affirm we’re ok. These talks look at the block to realizing the loving awareness that is our essence, and the practices that help us see this essential goodness – in ourselves, dear ones and in those we might habitually consider different or “other.” Both talks include reflections that can help us appreciate the basic goodness that lives through these precious, changing forms.

Think of some of the people you like and are drawn to you.

Now attempt to look at each of them as if you were seeing them for the first time, not allowing yourself to be influenced by your past knowledge or experience of them, whether good or bad.

Look for things in them that you may have missed because of familiarity, for familiarity breeds staleness, blindness and boredom. You cannot love what you cannot see afresh. You cannot love what you are not constantly discovering anew.

Anthony de Mello
from “The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello”  

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Seeing Basic Goodness – Part 1

children sharing Seeing Basic Goodness – Part 1

Most of us long to trust our goodness, but get caught in stories of deficiency and striving to affirm we’re ok. These talks look at the block to realizing the loving awareness that is our essence, and the practices that help us see this essential goodness – in ourselves, dear ones and in those we might habitually consider different or “other.” Both talks include reflections that can help us appreciate the basic goodness that lives through these precious, changing forms.

“Saints are what they are, not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else.” -Thomas Merton

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Eating Addiction: How Meditation Helps Free Us (audio)

Eating Addiction: How Meditation Helps Free Us Eating Addiction: How Meditation Helps Free Us

Buddhist psychology views clinging as the source of suffering, and one of the great domains of clinging is compulsive overeating. For most of us the causes and conditions for compulsive overeating existed before we were born, during our early childhood, and in our surrounding society. We begin to release shame and self-aversion by realizing we are not alone in this suffering; and eating addiction is not “our fault.” The talk includes an exploration of how, through RAIN, we can bring mindfulness and self-compassion to compulsive eating, giving us more choice in our behavior. Ultimately we discover that this deep prison of suffering can become a portal to realizing the freedom our true nature.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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