Tag Archive: Tara Brach


Published on Sep 19, 2017

TaraTalks: Mirroring the Gold in One Another – with Tara Brach

In our relating with others, how do we deepen our attention so that a place in us regularly scans for “What do you need right now? How can I respond in a way that reminds you that you belong?”

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Three Blessings in Spiritual Life – Part 3: A Mirror

08/09/2017 This 3- part series explores three capacities we all have, that when cultivated, bring spiritual awakening and serve the healing of our world. Drawing on an ancient teaching story from India, we explore together the power of a forgiving heart, the inner fire that expresses as courage and dedication, and the inquiry of “who am I” that reveals our deepest nature. From the talk: “These are three qualities often described as the essence of awareness: wakeful, open, tender.” And a blessing: “May all beings everywhere remember and trust the loving awareness that is our source. May all beings everywhere live in natural and great peace. May we touch true joy in living. May all beings everywhere awaken and be free.”


Three Blessings in Spiritual Life – Part 2: Inner Fire

This 3-part series explores three capacities we all have, that when cultivated, bring spiritual awakening and serve the healing of our world. Drawing on an ancient teaching story from India, we explore together the power of a forgiving heart, the inner fire that expresses as courage and dedication, and the inquiry of “who am I” that reveals our deepest nature.


This 3- part series explores three capacities we all have, that when cultivated, bring spiritual awakening and serve the healing of our world. Drawing on an ancient teaching story from India, we explore together the power of a forgiving heart, the inner fire that expresses as courage and dedication, and the inquiry of “who am I” that reveals our deepest nature.


We do need to have certain narratives about the world that alert us to real danger. We also need to recognize when those stories are taking over, blinding and separating us from our hearts, our awareness, and each other.

Omega... In recent months there has been significant unrest in various parts of the country as a result of racially charged conflict between civilians and police…
What is the path to healing for a society with such deeply rooted racism, fear, and anger?

Tara: During the Baltimore riots I was reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”

The first step in responding to strong emotions—our own or others’—is to seek to understand. What is the suffering giving rise to this anger? If we can pause, and instead of reacting or judging, look to see the suffering, our heart’s response will be compassionate and wise.

For those of us in the dominant culture, it’s challenging yet essential that we respond to the hurt and anger that has built up through generations of violence against people of color. The legacy of slavery requires that we in the dominant culture take responsibility for participating in a society that rewards us for our whiteness. Taking responsibility means seeking ways of reparation, ways to address the institutionalized injustice and inequities leading to one out of three African American men being imprisoned in their lifetime, twice as many blacks as whites unemployed, and median income of black households at less than 60% of white ones. And the inequities are widening!

As individuals in the dominant culture we need to start by educating ourselves to white privilege and stay present with our own reactivity to what’s happening—looking at our own fears and confusion, bringing an honest, kind, clear attention to our own experience. This certainly doesn’t mean believing our beliefs, it means bringing mindfulness to our own emotions. If we can be present and kind toward our inner states, we will start seeing how we create separation from others. This will enable us to be more clear and wise in bearing witness to others’ ways of expressing pain.

As communities, the deep, transformative healing can arise from collective dialogue. This means same race groups would look into their own wounds and blind spots with the intention of deepening self-understanding. Small interracial groups would form so that those of us who have locked into ideas of other as “enemy,” or “inferior,” or “wrong” can practice speaking and listening together with mindfulness and compassion and learn to see through each other’s eyes.

For instance, we need circles made up of police and civilian families who have been violated by police. These and other mixed race circles require a safe container, guidelines on communicating, and a commitment to stay, speak truthfully, and listen with as much heart as possible. There are a growing number of models for these processes of reconciliation—dialogue is happening in this country and elsewhere.

This domain of honest dialogue creates the groundwork for healing and awakening from the painful trance of separation. It can reconnect us to our sense of interconnectedness and caring. And importantly, it energizes action to relieve suffering. There will be no healing until those of us in the dominant culture join in solidarity with people of color to end institutionalized racism. This means confronting the ongoing discrimination against people of color—be it in the domain of education, employment, housing, or the judicial system.

Omega: How is your sangha (Buddhist community) addressing the issue of racism?

Tara: Much of our community is white, so we are exploring our own blindness around white privilege. Through a yearlong white awareness group, we’re looking at the ways we create separation, because as long as there is separation none of us is free. Most of our community’s white senior teachers and white board members are involved.

We have equity and inclusivity trainings, and experienced facilitators to help us look honestly at how we’ve gotten caught in certain perspectives and behaviors. We’ve created scholarships for people of color to participate in our activities and retreats. We have several teachers of color and leaders of color in our community and are looking to expand the number. We regularly bring in guest teachers of color. Our organization supports affinity groups within our community, and the People of Color group is flourishing. A small group of us are participating in a diversity sangha (community) dedicated to deepening our understanding and affiliation. And as individuals we’re engaging in solidarity with groups in the larger community that are dedicated to ending racism.

At the upcoming buddhafest.org event in DC on June 14, I’ll be part of a panel with Rev. angel Kyodo williams and others to talk about this work and its challenges.

Omega: Are there resources you would recommend for other groups looking to work with the issues of racism and white privilege?

Tara: A good place to start is with the three-part documentary Race: The Power of An Illusion. Watching this video can be a powerful way to begin to understand how racial dominance has been established and maintained. I also liked the book We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know by Gary Howard. Even though it focuses on education, it gives a great context for understanding white dominance, and outlines how we can create a positive, socially transformative white identity. You can also find resources and Dharma-based support for developing a racial awareness program at whiteawake.org.

Source: The Huffington Post


Published on Aug 8, 2017

Tara Talks: Reflection on Impermanence – with Tara Brach

This guided practice helps us live from the realization of life’s ever-changing stream with a sense of love and wisdom.


Published on Jul 4, 2017

Tara Talks – Soul Recognition: Reflection – with Tara Brach

A practice of seeing and acknowledging the sacred that lives through ourselves and all beings in every moment.


Published on May 4, 2017

Relaxing the Over-Controller – Part I (4/26/2017)
We all have conditioning to do what we can to protect and promote our wellbeing. Our suffering arises to the degree that our life and identity become organized around controlling our experience. These two talks look at the emergence of the fear based “over-controller,” and explore a wise way of witnessing the suffering that comes with over-controlling, and awareness practices that naturally relax and awaken us to our whole and natural Being.


Published on May 2, 2017

Tara Talks – What Are You Unwilling to Feel? with Tara Brach

When we spiritually re-parent ourselves, we commit to staying with our inner experience, no matter what it is, as we get in touch with what those hurting places really want or need.


Published on Apr 25, 2017

Tara Talks – The Dalai Lama’s Change in Belief – with Tara Brach

One of the surest signs of evolutionary development is the willingness to re-examine and possibly change long-held beliefs.


Published on Apr 18, 2017

Tara Talks – Reflection: Living in Accord With Our Aspiration – with Tara Brach

If 90% of what we do is determined by feelings (and the other 10% by thinking aimed at rationalizing them)… which domain of feelings is in charge: fight/flight/freeze? Or deeper desires? This reflection helps us become more conscious of the driving forces in our daily lives.


Published on Mar 27, 2017

Letting Go – The Freedom of Awake Awareness (08/31/2106)

We know we need to let go of harmful habits like obsessive worry, blame and over consuming to experience true well-being, yet much of the time we are stuck and judge ourselves for being out of control. This talk explores what’s so difficult about letting go and how we can’t will it but we can be willing. We then explore the shift to awake awareness that enables a natural dissolution of clinging and resistance, and the deep peace and freedom of letting be.
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Published on Feb 22, 2017

Getting Off the Hamster-Wheel of “Never Enough” – with Tara Brach (01/04/2017)

The first step is simply getting to know our habitual strategies for trying to feel better about ourselves. Then we can inquire: What really brings me happiness? This is taking refuge in presence.

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These days we are seeing all around us a lot of turbulence, inner and outer…The tendency when we get stirred up – and this is for all humans – is to go into a kind of habitual “jungle mentality,” also known as our stress reflex. We get anxious or upset and we try to sense where we can throw blame for what’s wrong. There is a polarizing.

Mostly what we are doing when we are in stress-reactivity is trying to find certainty. We are trying to find some ground again; and everything we try to do then is, on some level, trying to frame things so we have a stable ground – something that allows us to say, “Oh, here is what’s going on!” We try to define it, as a means of regaining a sense of certainty and security – an illusion of control. Charles Eisenstein calls this place “the space between stories.” And if we grab on to the next story and act from that, then we don’t wake up.

Now, we need to act, always; we need to act in our families to take care of our loved ones, and we need to act at work, and we need to act in terms of our social consciousness to move towards healing and change. The big question is this: From what consciousness are we acting?

We want to really watch this, because there’s such a tendency to act from habitual old states of mind where we perceive hatred (for example) and we respond to it with blame, aversion and hatred of our own. So: do we want to keep the whole game on the same level? Do we want to keep re-arranging the furniture on the decks of the Titanic? Or do we want to have a real paradigm shift and wake up consciousness? How can we really bring a presence to what is going on between the stories, so we can see the future we really long for – with awareness, with love, with justice? It is how we are now that will seed the future.

Action needs to come from a more evolved consciousness; and mindfulness & compassion training is what evolves the brain. If we don’t know how to pause and deepen attention in the space between stories, we won’t connect with the very presence and compassion that can inform intelligent action. We need to pause, and be able to feel what is here. That’s not so easy – which is why we have to train in it!

For a long time I have heard the story about Gandhi, who was known to take a day each week for prayer and meditation. He said, “I need to make sure that my actions come from the deepest, most awake part of my Being.” In these turbulent times… can we give ourselves some true pauses each day to come home to our hearts?

From: Play a Greater Part – Bodhisattva for our Times – Part 1
a talk given by Tara Brach on November 16, 2016
Source: Tar Brach

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