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Radical Compassion by Tara Brach

"It can be life changing to realize 'I don't have to believe my thoughts... they are just thoughts!' Any story you have about yourself is not the same as the unfolding reality of what you are "

About the author

Tara Brach, born in 1953, is an American clinical psychologist, author, proponent of Buddhist meditation and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW). She is a popular retreat leader and speaker.

"Her teachings blend Western psychology with Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full compassionate engagement with our world."

About the book

First of all what is Radical Compassion?

"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 includes all beings."

In order to heal and to live as our true selves we need mindfulness and compassion. Tara compares it to an image of a two winged bird. One wing is mindfulness and the second compassion. Only with both can the bird fly and be free.

The practice to get to this state described in this book is called RAIN. This is an acronym standing for 4 phases of:

RECOGNIZE what is going on

ALLOW the experience to be there, just as it is

INVESTIGATE with kindness

NURTURE awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience

This meditation guide was first introduced by senior Buddhist teacher Michele McDonald in the 1980s. Since then it has been adopted and adapted in various ways.

"Thanks to current understandings of neuroplasticity, we now know that our brains can change throughout our lives. This means that even the most deeply rooted and harmful habits can be deconditioned. The phrase that sums this up is this: 'Neurons that fire together, wire together.' Our habits are sustained by repeating patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have created and reinforced neural networks in our brain. By changing our patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, we can change these neural networks."

Content Overview

  • How attention heals

  • Bringing RAIN to your inner life

  • RAIN and your relationships

Would I recommend this book?

I keep noticing that a few of my chosen books include wisdoms from Buddhism and I really like how this books explains psychological facts together with the effects of this Buddhist meditation practice.

'Radical Compassion' is a great book to easily learn the step by step approach of RAIN and how it will benefit.

Personally I am still struggling with the concept of meditation beyond trying to quiet the mind and practicing mindful breathing. Therefore I was struggling with the meditation prompts in the book.

But...meditation is something that needs to be learned and I am just not there (yet).

Where to find her?

Instagram: @tarabrach

On Tara's website you can find a sample passage of the book, listen to a brief RAIN practice and explore further practices.

Further books by Tara Brach:

  • Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha.

  • Mindful Presence: A Foundation for Compassion and Wisdom

  • True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

  • Healing Traumatic Fear: The Wings of Mindfulness and Love

  • Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness. Sounds True.

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