Radical Acceptance Book Summary - Radical Acceptance Book explained in key points
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Radical Acceptance summary

Tara Brach

Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

4.5 (198 ratings)
15 mins

What is Radical Acceptance about?

Radical Acceptance (2003) explains how Buddhism and meditation can bring you greater contentment and happiness. Chock-full of easy mental exercises that reduce stress and self-criticism, it’ll give you the tools you need to lead a gentler, happier existence.

Table of Contents

    Radical Acceptance
    summarized in 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    We live in a trance of inadequacy, and Western culture is to blame.

    Have you ever had a dream where you’re desperately trying to do something – climb a hill or outrun a pursuer – but, despite your exertions, you can’t move? You’re working as hard as you can and going absolutely nowhere.

    Such dreams are thought to signify that, deep down, the dreamer feels inadequate, as if she’s doomed to fail forever.

    It’s no surprise that we feel this way. In fact, we often move through our daily lives in the same preoccupied fashion as we do in these dreams – as flailing protagonists, fixated on a narrow goal that always seems to elude us. Just consider how many of us go through life totally fixated on our efforts to “go somewhere” or achieve something.

    Even when engaged in enjoyable activities, like talking with our friends, or reading bedtime stories with our children, we’re often simultaneously replaying our concerns and our plans for the future. Instead of occupying the moment, we’re thinking about where we need to “go” next. But, just like the top of those unclimbable hills in dreamland, the “future” is a phantom location. It will never arrive, and our chase will ultimately have been in vain.

    Why do we incessantly worry about where we’re going? Well, thanks to Western culture, many of us feel inadequate – that what we’re doing now isn’t good enough.

    Think of Western culture’s central myth – that of Adam and Eve and their banishment from Eden. This story, and its message of original sin, teaches us that people are fundamentally flawed and that they must constantly strive to redeem themselves if they want to regain entry to paradise.

    Small wonder, then, that we feel like we’re falling short. From our youngest years, we’re taught that who and where we are isn’t enough.

    Luckily for us, this isn’t the only worldview on offer. There’s also Buddhism, which teaches that human beings are naturally loving, wise and compassionate – not flawed or sinful.

    The Buddhist worldview is that you’re probably doing just fine as you are. In the next few blinks, we’ll learn about the Buddhist message and how we can apply it to our daily lives.

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    About the Author

    Tara Brach is a clinical psychologist and the founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington, DC.

    Who should read Radical Acceptance?

    • Stressed-out people seeking calm
    • Meditators and mindful individuals
    • Those interested in Buddhism

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