Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Relaxing the Over-Controller: Letting Life Be Just As It Is

Image
We are designed through evolution to protect and further ourselves. While this is universal, if you look closely at your life, you might find that the navigating ego goes beyond the call. Have you noticed how many life moments are devoted to navigating obstacles and solving problems? How often your mind is worrying about something, anticipating what’s around the corner, preparing for what might go wrong? I call this mind-set the Over-Controller, and the more we feel threatened, the more the Over-Controller is on duty. Recognizing the Suffering of the Over-Controller The suffering comes when our effort to be in control becomes chronic and we forget who we really are. The Over-Controller is addicted to doing. An image that comes to mind is Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill and then just watching it roll down over and over again. When we’re pushing the boulder — pre-occupied, straining to get somewhere else — we forget the consciousness, the tender heart-space, that is right in ever…

The Wisdom of "It's Not My Fault": Finding Freedom When We are Caught in Self-Blame

Image
I sometimes think that the most basic truths are the ones that we most regularly forget, and one of them is: If we are turned on ourselves, we cannot love this life. The turning on ourselves contracts us. In those moments, we are disconnected from our inner life and from each other. We move through the day with an undercurrent of I’m not okay, but are unaware of how much it’s affecting our capacity to relax and enjoy our moments. The Second Arrow of Self-Blame In Buddhist teachings, the Buddha described two arrows. The first arrow is the natural experience that arises in this human animal that we are, for example: fear, aggression, greed, craving. The second arrow is self-aversion for the fact of the first arrow. We have the experience of being nasty, selfish or greedy, and we don’t like ourselves for that. That’s the second arrow. The Buddha says: “The first arrow hurts, why do we shoot the second arrow into us, ourselves?” And yet we do. He goes on to say: “In life, we cannot always c…

Soul Recovery: Healing the Shame of Trauma

Image
In Shamanistic cultures, it is believed that when a person is traumatized, their soul leaves their body as a way to protect itself from intolerable pain. In a process known as Soul Retrieval, trusted community members surround the person with tremendous love and safety. In this sacred space, the soul is invited back in so the person can become whole. When Our Coping Strategies FailIn the simplest terms, trauma happens when our nervous system becomes overwhelmed and our most primal coping strategies fail. If we are unable to fight or flee what is attacking us, we freeze and disconnect or dissociate in a way that the unprocessed fear gets locked into our body. We become “stuck” in a biological state of stress, fear and reactivity, leading to chronic anxiety, depression, addictions and, often, the constellation of symptoms that we call PTSD. This process of disconnecting and living with reactivity to the unprocessed fear is not a rational choice. Rather it’s a coping strategy that is drive…

Radical Self-Honesty: Deepening Our Commitment to Truth-Telling

Image
Throughout history, deception has been an effective survival strategy. Yet, like all primitive survival strategies, when deception becomes habitual and is not directly about survival, it prevents us from continuing growth. For each of us, to the degree that we are not real with ourselves or that we withhold important truths from others, we just cannot keep evolving. The Call for a Deeper Commitment We can see in our own lives and in the larger society how dishonesty poisons our world with cynicism and mistrust. One understanding that seems clear is that our future is threatened by these toxins — greed and aggression that proliferate when we are not facing and speaking truth. This suffering is calling for us to deepen our commitment to truth-telling and being real with ourselves and each other. Adrienne Rich writes: “An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word love — […]is a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. I…

Love is Always Here

Image
One expression of suffering is forgetting that we are intrinsically lovable and worthy. This talk looks at the pathway to trusting our belonging, and focuses on the healing that comes from letting in love and mirroring others goodness.

"A blessing is in some way a reminder that helps a person come home to their true nature - to their awake heart - to their awake mind..."

Talk includes quotes from Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

Looking Through The Eyes of Another: Transforming Separation into Shared Consciousness

Image
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. Trance of the Unreal Other All life forms are designed to perceive separation. It is part of our evolutionary story. And in moments that we find ourselves stuck in reactivity or in some conflict or division, we create what I call an unreal other. Rather than a living, feeling Being with wants, needs and fears, another person has become an idea in our mind and is not subjectively alive or real to us. They are two-dimensional and flat…

Discovering the Gold: Remembering Our True Nature by Cultivating Mindfulness and Compassion

Image
I remember when I was on a book tour for Radical Acceptance, one of the places I stopped was the Buddhist university, Naropa, and they had a big poster with a big picture of me and, underneath the photo, the caption was: Something is wrong with me. The Trance of Unworthiness: Forgetting Who We Are I wrote about the Trance of Unworthiness in Radical Acceptance 14 years ago, and I’ve found, over the years, that it is still pretty much the most pervasive expression of suffering that I encounter in myself and in those I’ve worked with. It comes out as fear or shame —  a feeling of being fundamentally flawed, unacceptable, not enough. Who I am is not okay. A core teaching of the Buddha is that we suffer because we forget who we really are. We forget the essence — the awareness and the love that’s here — and we become caught in an identity that’s less than who we are. When we are in the trance of unworthiness, we’re not aware of how much our body, emotions, and thoughts have locked into a s…

Tara Talks: What Am I Running From Right Now? (3:56 min)

Image
Tara shares a dear friend’s end-of-life insights on how every one of us has something we’re running from. It’s when we start recognizing what we’re resisting that we can re-enter the flow.

"When we're on our way to what's next, trying to get the next pleasure or avoid a problem, we're running away. The U-Turn is the willingness to look: What's Here? What am I running away from? What am I unwilling to feel? It directs us back to what Pema Chodron calls the "soft spot" - that vulnerability - that actually, when we bring presence to it, is a portal to open hearted awareness. We feel like we've come home..."

“What is it that allows us to open our hearts to every moment of our life? It’s the remembrance that it’s passing and it’s precious.”

For Tara's full talk, go to:  https://www.tarabrach.com/reality-change/

TaraTalks - Soul Recognition: Reflection (6 min)

Image
A practice of seeing and acknowledging the sacred that lives through ourselves and all beings in every moment.

For Tara's full talk, go to: 
https://www.tarabrach.com/soul-recognition-namaste/

Real But Not True: Freeing Ourselves From Harmful Beliefs

Image
Our Life Experience is Shaped by Our Beliefs Ghandi describes how our beliefs become our thoughts and emotions which influence our behavior, and how our behavior creates our character and then that determines our destiny. In other words, the familiar pattern of thoughts that continuously cycle through our minds actually ends up shaping our life experience. Beliefs about ourselves and the world that cause suffering arise from our experiences of severed belonging — the wounding that happens early in life when we get the message, from our families and our culture, that there is something about us that is not okay. And we all have a negativity bias, which means that the conditioning is strong to seek evidence and latch on to whatever confirms that sense that something is wrong with me. The Trance of Limiting Beliefs When we are suffering, we are believing something that is not true. To live inside the belief that we or others are bad and wrong is suffering. Rather than directly feeling our he…

Where Does It Hurt? Healing the Wounds of Severed Belonging

Image
I recently heard about a man who attempted to sneak his pet turtle onto a flight by placing it between two buns and wrapping it in a KFC wrapper. When he was discovered, he told the officials that he just couldn’t leave his beloved pet at home. I could relate! There have been times that I’ve nearly canceled a teaching trip because I just didn’t want to leave my dog. There’s so much research now that having a pet — experiencing that sense of warmth and connection — increases longevity and happiness. The other side of the equation is that when there is a deficit of connection, there is loneliness and depression. Two Wings of a Bird The wounds in our lives are so often related to severed belonging and the ways that we, in some way, get split off from the feeling that who we are is okay. Through our families and our culture, we get the message that something is wrong with us. We split off because we get hurt or because another has not been able to stay with us. In the earliest phases of o…

Tara Talks: Recognizing Deepest Intention - with Tara Brach (4:07 min)

Image
"Our true aspiration is always, in some way, to manifest fully who we are. It’s what’s already and always here that we want to manifest, unfold, live. It’s not for something outside ourselves or down the road. In fact, the only place that you can actually experience a true desire is in the moment. It can only be felt right here…"

Listen or view Tara's full talk at https://www.tarabrach.com/realizing-deepest-desires/

Tara Talks: Love and Impermanence - with Tara Brach

Image
What is it that allows us to open our hearts to every moment of our life? The awareness that it’s passing... and it’s precious. The classic practice of the Five Remembrances is beautifully illustrated in words from Ajahn Chah.

For Tara's full talk, go to: https://www.tarabrach.com/reality-change/

The Freedom of Yes - Allowing life to be just as it is - Tara Brach

Image