Book "Radical Acceptance" Study and Practice Group
This thread is a reading and study group for the book...
Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
By Tara Brach
I'm finding the book intensely useful, powerful, and transformative. No doubt the exciting changes I'm experiencing at this time are as a result of my being ready, of my willingness, my choice, to grow and heal, but the book came to me at just that moment when I was ready and willing to dive deep. I'd like to share the process of working with this excellent and powerful book and teaching.
Just say "Hi" if you're reading the book. And let's share our thoughts and experiences here.
The connection with polyamory seems obvious to me, though this book is in no way about that subject. It is, however, about opening to the adventure of love beyond familiar habits of fear, shame and imagined inadequacy.
Do to an unfortunate accident, an earlier version of this thread was erased. So, if you've posted here before and lost that, please again say Hi to the group. Let's get started afresh.
One day when I was still a young man I was involved in an automobile accident. It was pretty serious, in that the car rolled multiple times through a lane of highway traffic that included enormous "semi" trucks. No one was seriously hurt, but the experience was a profoundly tramatic one, emotionally. When I arrived home, instead of comforting me, my father expressed anger at the driver, at the whole thing.... What I needed was warmth, a loving embrace. Such responses from him, and from my mother, were not uncommon. My emotional needs were not much understood, appreciated, acknowledged, seen....
I tell this in this moment with a raw feeling of hurt and vulnerability. All such experiences are in the foreground. There is a long string of them.
I wasn't (not often enough) held when I needed holding, wasn't loved when I needed loving. And through all of that I learned the habit of treating my own feeling life much as I had been treated in my family as a kid. I'm experiencing deep insight into this pattern. Reading Radical Acceptance has much to do with this process.
Earlier today I was feeling some emotional pain, some contraction..., and I realized how
impatient I am with my own emotional pain. In truth, I just wanted it to go away. I wanted to be done with it. I realized this is how my parents were in their relationship with their own pain -- and mine. Well, I'm still feeling it, really. It isn't pain about anything in particular, to be projected on a person or a situation. It's just pain. Old pain.
Was it yesterday? (My sense of time is a little awry, as I'm all stirred up at the moment.) Roughly yesterday I was feeling this pain and I decided to just be with it -- while washing dishes and then making dinner. The stabbing pain (much of it 'round the heart) would have had me go lay down, collapse (in a sense), maybe flip on the tv or have a drink..., or.... But I stood tall and on task. I'd let myself collapse later, if need be. But as I stood tall in it I noticed something arise. Tenderness, warmth. It wasn't really "self-directed". It was just tenderness meeting strength meeting pain. Tenderness meeting strength -- each welcoming one another, touching, meeting.... I was beginning to learn yet more about how to "hold" myself, give myself what I really need.
I'm learning not to shrink in fear of my own pain. I'm learning to stand tall and not turn away. I'm learning not to want "it" (myself, really) to go away. My task here is not to "be done with "it" / myself.
In standing tall I can offer more of my gifts.
Warmly, tenderly. To all.
What unspoken, silent voice
Said tenderness is weakness?
Who would conceal this thought
As if to reveal it would be consent
To have me painted thin?
I've always known tenderness is strength.
But the knowing lay hidden,
Partially concealed --
Like an archaological find.
Like a proud thing
covered in mud.
Hi, I ordered ours on Amazon, but it isn't here yet... will let you know when we've looked at it..... :)
Several other folks here said their book was on order or that they had a copy. Then the initial copy of this thread was accidently deleted. So..., if you are reading it or planning to read it, please raise your cyber hand and say Hello.
"When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
I found this quoted in a book today. It spoke to this moment -- this moment for me, but also this moment for all of us. This moment of flux and the necessity of change.
I think Lawrence is saying about the "ego" and the "personality" that it/these are where we "know ourselves," where the familiar is met with the familiar, where our sense of "what/who I am" peers through a glass, darkly, and calls the familiar Home. But too often the familiar is a projected screen. We know ourselves not by holding or clinging to the familiar, but by getting into "the forest" -- the unfamiliar, the seemingly strange. Here, we meet another kind of familiar, one not conditioned by clinging to "the glass bottle" of our familiar identity and habits. Here is where we meet our power. And this power is ... dare I say it?: Revolutionary. Not in terms of guns and bombs, but in terms of institutions losing a basis in fear and greed, self-seeking in the narrow "ego" way. That is the familiar, right? Yet it robs us of our true power -- our authenticity. Courage is a matter of the heart. Etymologists know this.
A strange passion is moving in my head.
My heart has become a bird
Which searches in the sky.
Every part of me goes in different directions.
Is it really so
That the one I love is everywhere?
This book has done something for me that I haven't yet identified. Half way through, the fearful voices of daemons have diminished and the graceful love of self has increased. Acceptance of the present moment is Big Medicine. Maybe the biggest. Inviting Mara to tea is the only the beginning. One can not open the heart fully and expect to only welcome what's pleasant. A full life is a collection of fully embodied moments. The sensations of those moments are not as important as the fullness of experiencing them.
Tenderness NEEDS strength and courage! It withers and blows away without it. And yet real strength has tenderness. Strength without tenderness is blind power. TenderStrength is ... the open heart.
It is often said that when we stop resisting or moving away from our heart pain, which often happens when it feels more than we can bear, then arive the healing insights and "sweetness and light". Right there in the thorns on the rose, amid the "teeth" of the world.
My whole life
is a pivot!
I am the rounding
of a bend
I notice my foot,
Each muscle involved
is the novelty
Before the original version of this thread was forever lost in cyberspace (by accident), several folks in the forum said they had either ordered the book (Radical Acceptance) or were reading it.
So... How is it?
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