Being there

I’m falling for Tara.  Tara Brach.  The woman who combines Western psychology with Eastern spirituality.  I’ve alleviated the boredom of my morning physical therapy for back pain by listening to her Radical Acceptance audiobook.

It’s kind of awesome.  She has ways of dealing with life, the universe and everything.  It’s an ideology, but not one that freaks me out.  I’m madly averse to organized religion.  But this doesn’t scare me.

Thing I learned from Tara: make space for the anxiety and stress or whatever emotion you’re feeling.  And inquire.  Inquire where it’s from and what’s beneath it.  Give it the space it asks for.  And strangely and magically it breaks down.  It doesn’t disappear.  But it becomes a part of the jigsaw, not the whole puzzle.

And say yes to the emotional guests, good and bad.  Don’t deny them.  Learn from them.  It feels quite dramatic to stop castigating oneself for feeling negative and being open to feelings without prejudice.

I know!  It sounds like I joined a cult.  But it’s such a nice cult.




4 responses to “Being there”

  1. sg says:

    Not that you need my approval, but I support any idea that brings one closer to peace and farther away from being governed by the negativity monsters that follow most of us like shadows, and wait for high noon, so they can have their chance to merge with our whole selves.

    For me it has been self-reflection and therapy that helps keep the anxiety and depression in check, but I look forward to listening to Radical Acceptance.

  2. F. P. Smearcase says:

    I think a friend of mine found that book helpful. It sounds like a little Buddhism and a little cognitive therapy? Two good things…

  3. Dave says:

    This semester I helped start a meditation group at the law school, and last night during the discussion period after the meditation we were talking about this very topic. A lot of people say that when you’re in a negative situation — say, being confronted by an asshole lawyer in a pre-trial conference — the only thing you can control is your own reaction, so you should not let yourself get negative. I think that doesn’t work. We don’t control our own reactions to things. The Buddhist idea is that we’re “empty” and as subject to causation as anything else. So sometimes we’re going to have negative emotions that arise as the result of other stuff (whether external or internal stimulus). Trying to control that, to say “No, bad Me, I shouldn’t be having that emotion” is counterproductive. The best we can do is to instead realize that yes, we’re having that emotion, how about that, yep, still there, oh, now it’s fading away, huh, that was interesting. It doesn’t quite make sense, but really the only thing we can control is our reactions to our reactions, and still only a little bit.

  4. Stella says:

    And, #3, one step further, maybe later when we have time, we can meditate on that interaction and ask why did we have that reaction to the asshole lawyer? What fears were underneath it? Is there any healing we can do for those fears/experiences so that somewhere down the line that reaction is diminished or mitigated.