What are the top five Radical Acceptance quotes from Tara Brach? How can these quotes help you understand Radical Acceptance better?
Radical Acceptance is a meditative practice wherein we acknowledge what we’re experiencing—positive or negative—and welcome it. Dr. Tara Brach explores these ideas through the lens of a Buddhist in her book Radical Acceptance.
Continue on for Radical Acceptance quotes.
Radical Acceptance Quotes
Tara Brach, a psychologist and devout Buddhist, explains how we can learn to accept each moment as it comes—without judging our experiences or ourselves. This practice, which she calls Radical Acceptance, is the key to waking up from our trances, reconnecting with our experiences, and living our lives fully.
Here are five impactful Radical Acceptance quotes.
“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”
Brach talks about a tiger named Mohini who lived at the Washington, D.C. National Zoo. She spent most of her life pacing around her 12×12 cage. Finally, biologists and zoo staff worked together to create what they thought would be an ideal enclosure: an area that covered several acres, complete with hills, a pond, and lots of different plants. They thought she’d be happy there.
However, when they moved her to the new enclosure, she immediately went to one small corner of it and spent the rest of her life there, pacing around an area the size of her old cage. Mohini was trapped in her old patterns, unable to understand the freedom that she now had.
It’s a deeply sad story, but one with a lesson that many of us can benefit from. Like Mohini, many of us spend our lives trapped in the same fearful, judgmental patterns, never realizing that we can be so much freer and happier than we think.
“Imperfection is not our personal problem – it is a natural part of existing.”
The Zen master Seng-tsan said that to be free is to live without worrying about imperfection. Imperfections don’t mean that there’s something wrong with you, that you’re not worthy of love or respect—rather, they’re a natural and inescapable part of existence. Therefore, it’s much better to accept yourself, others, and life as they are, rather than chasing some impossible dream of how they should be.
“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.”
Radical Acceptance is a meditative practice wherein we acknowledge what we’re experiencing—positive or negative—and welcome it. It’s a powerful tool that allows us to be fully present in each passing moment. It helps us avoid getting stuck in our own heads. Tara Brach discusses how we can use Radical Acceptance to live our lives more fully by always bringing our full attention to the present moment and accepting it for what it is.
“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.”
While Radical Acceptance begins with saying yes to our moment-to-moment experiences, it doesn’t have to end there. We can learn to say yes to the entire life we’re living, whatever that life looks like at the moment. We can say yes to our appearance, our personality, our friendships, and our secular and spiritual work, all at once.
“Observing desire without acting on it enlarges our freedom to choose how we live.”
There’s a common misconception that Buddhism is anti-pleasure and anti-desire. People can come away with the impression that they’re not supposed to want things, or to pursue those wants. In fact, Buddha’s teachings were never about eliminating or ignoring desire. As with all of our experiences, Buddha merely urges us not to be ruled by it.
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Here's what you'll find in our full Radical Acceptance summary:
- How to live your life fully experiencing everything
- Why you need to let go of judging yourself or your experiences
- How you can acknowledge and welcome any experience