3/12 Practice Circle: Radical Acceptance

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    Mark Knickelbine

    One of my favorite teachers when I first started practice was Tara Brach. Her great teaching can be summarized as “Waking up from the trance of unworthiness,” learning how to accept and love ourselves unreservedly. When Practice Circle meets this Sunday, March 12, at 9 pm Eastern, 8 Central, 6 Pacific, we’ll share some of Tara’s practices. I’ve included an excerpt from Tara’s book, “Radical Acceptance,” below.

    If you haven’t joined us at Practice Circle before, we’d welcome the chance to practice with you. Our new videoconference rooms on Zoom are optimized for mobile devices, and of course there’s no charge to participate. Just follow this link: https://zoom.us/j/968569855

    I hope to see you there!


    Over the past twenty years, as a psychologist and Buddhist teacher, I’ve worked with thousands of clients and students have revealed how painfully burdened they feel by a sense of not being good enough. Whether our conversation takes place in the middle of a ten-day retreat or during a weekly therapy session, the suffering — the fear of being flawed and unworthy — is basically the same.

    For so many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much — just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work — to make us feel that we are not okay.

    As a friend of my put it, “Feeling that something is wrong with me is the invisible and toxic gas I am always breathing.” When we experience our lives through this lens of personal insufficiency, we are imprisoned in what I call the trance of unworthiness. Trapped in this trance, we are unable to perceive the truth of who we really are. . .

    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.

    The twentieth-century Indian meditation master Sri Nisargadatta encouraged us to wholeheartedly enter this path of freedom: “. . . all I plead with you is this: make love of yourself perfect.”

    Tara Brach

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