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

Tara Brach

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0553386344

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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
“This is a special book, lovely, loving, wise, and helpful. It is like having a sage and caring friend sit with you, offering comfort, insight, and guidance for your own true journey home.”—Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart
“A healing and helpful meditation . . . a gracefully written spiritual gem on awareness, refuge, and presence.”—Spirituality & Practice
“[A] richly detailed, hopeful book . . . This accomplished example of spiritual self-help offers a gentle path for change in the face of suffering.”Publishers Weekly
“This book is an undertaking and one that can change your life if you embrace it. It is heartfelt and practical . . . full of grit, honesty, and clarity.”—Beliefnet

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TRUSTING WHO WE ARE When I first joined the Boston ashram at age twenty-two, I assumed that it would take me about eight years of dedicated effort to realize freedom beyond the net. Stories of spiritual seekers like the Buddha caught my imagination. They had experienced a sudden, distinctive moment of awakening—a liberating moment of realizing their true nature as changeless, luminous awareness. This awakening was irreversible, they were no longer bound by the identity of self. Afterward, their

happening. Sometimes it’s easy to locate your felt sense, but at other times it might be vague and hard to identify quickly. That’s fine. What is important is pausing and deepening your attention. See if it is possible to regard yourself with kindness. You complete your moments of light RAIN by simply relaxing and reentering activity. As you move into what is next in your day, sense what might have shifted. Are you more aware? Open? Warmhearted? Are you taking things less personally? Is there

“tongue-tied.” “It’s like I’m a scared little girl, a basket case.” I asked Dana to tell me about some recent times when she’d been tongue-tied with fear. She sat back in her chair, crossed her legs, and began nervously tapping the floor with one foot. When she spoke, it was in a rush of words. “One place it happens is with my boyfriend. He drinks—too much—and sometimes he’ll start yelling, accusing me of things that aren’t true … like that I’m flirting with other men or talking about him behind

you could see all this through the eyes of a friend, someone who really cares about you and understands that you are feeling demeaned and ashamed.” I paused to give Sam some time to bring this to mind. “Now,” I said, “with that kind of view, begin to send yourself some words of forgiveness and compassion. It might be ‘I forgive you,’ or ‘forgiven, forgiven,’ or maybe, ‘I care about this suffering.’ Offer whatever words communicate understanding and care.” Sam practiced silently for several

spiritual activist, Mandela personified the transformative power of a forgiving heart on a national scale. He was imprisoned in 1962 for his antiapartheid activism and spent twenty-seven years of his life in jail. For eighteen of those years Mandela was held on the notorious Robben Island near Cape Town where prisoners were segregated, deprived of food, subjected to countless indignities, and forced to do hard labor. Yet during this time, he managed to befriend a number of his jailers. Mandela

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