How do you cope when facing life-threatening illness, family conflict, faltering relationships, old trauma, obsessive thinking, overwhelming emotion, or inevitable loss? If you’re like most people, chances are you react with fear and confusion, falling back on timeworn strategies: anger, self-judgment, and addictive behaviors. Though these old, conditioned attempts to control our life may offer fleeting relief, ultimately they leave us feeling isolated and mired in pain.
There is another way. Beneath the turbulence of our thoughts and emotions exists a profound stillness, a silent awareness capable of limitless love. Tara Brach, author of the award-winning Radical Acceptance, calls this awareness our true refuge, because it is available to every one of us, at any moment, no exceptions. In this book, Brach offers a practical guide to finding our inner sanctuary of peace and wisdom in the midst of difficulty.
Based on a fresh interpretation of the three classic Buddhist gateways to freedom—truth, love, and awareness—True Refuge shows us the way not just to heal our suffering, but also to cultivate our capacity for genuine happiness. Through spiritual teachings, guided meditations, and inspirational stories of people who discovered loving presence during times of great struggle, Brach invites us to connect more deeply with our own inner life, one another, and the world around us.
True Refuge is essential reading for anyone encountering hardship or crisis, anyone dedicated to a path of spiritual awakening. The book reminds us of our own innate intelligence and goodness, making possible an enduring trust in ourselves and our lives. We realize that what we seek is within us, and regardless of circumstances, “there is always a way to take refuge in a healing and liberating presence.”
Praise for True Refuge
“Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience as well as ten more years of personal experience on the path of awakening, Tara Brach’s superb second book brings readers ever more deeply in touch with our true nature. This book is a precious gift, filled with insight, shared from heart to heart.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
“True Refuge is a magnificent work of heart. For anyone interested in developing a deeper understanding of the mind and how to improve the quality of their life, this book offers unique insights and easily learned practices that literally can transform your life’s path. Read, explore, and enjoy!”—Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of No-Drama Discipline
In this richly detailed, hopeful book, Brach (Radical Acceptance) draws from the Buddhist concept of taking refuge to address unhappiness caused by the "trance of small self." The author, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., argues that cultivating "presence" an embodied awareness can lead to healing. "Our ultimate refuge is none other than our own being," she writes. A key mindfulness practice, RAIN an acronym for recognize, allow, investigate inner experience, and nonidentification guides exploration of difficult emotions to enhance openness, acceptance, and joy. Brach's discussions of such topics as anger, forgiveness, trauma, obsessive thoughts, self-compassion, and loss are marked by acute observations and careful distinctions. Throughout she illustrates the path to wholeness with the experiences of her meditation students and therapy clients, as well as her own journey toward "loving life no matter what," particularly with ongoing physical limitations. Guided meditations are included in each chapter. Rather than presenting a case for classic Buddhism, Brach grounds therapeutic goals for emotional health in Buddhist principles. This accomplished example of spiritual self-help offers a gentle path for change in the face of suffering.
Dr.Brach reminds us to tap into our very own inner wisdom one which unfolds a kind, loving strength that embraces life as it is.