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Lions Roar : March 2013
54 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2013 THE OPEN SKY, the scent of pine, the smell of sea—summer in Cape Cod felt to Tara Brach like her true home. As she was growing up, the family’s summerhouse filled with relatives and friends, and later in her life with spouses and new children. For her, happiness was the shared haven of the beach, diving into the waves and somersaulting underwater. But one day in 2005, two carloads of friends and family had to go to the beach without her. For twenty years Brach’s health had been mysteriously and painfully declining. Now she had a diagnosis: an incurable genetic disease affecting her connective tissue. She could no longer run or bike or swim or walk on sand. Watching the cars pull out of the driveway, she cried with grief and loneliness. The ocean would never again be her refuge. “I realized that even if it wasn’t right now, eventually I was going to lose everything,” Brach recalls. “We all are. So how do we find the inner space of wakefulness and tenderness that’s big enough to hold it all?” In the face of our suffering, many of us turn to quick, numb- ing fixes—alcohol or television, overeating or shopping. But these never get to the root of our discomfort; their effect doesn’t last and ultimately they may make our problems even worse. In contrast, Buddhism and Western psychotherapy attempt to pro- vide a comprehensive model of the mind and to address human suffering at its deepest level. While Buddhism and Western psy- chology can conflict or complement each other in myriad ways, today a growing number of professionals are appreciating the synergy of the two disciplines. Tara Brach, Barry Magid, and John Welwood are three prominent figures who believe that together Buddhism and Western psychotherapy offer a complete package Western psychology and Buddhism—together they offer us a complete diagnosis of the human condition. ANDREA MILLER talks to three psychotherapists who are combining them into a powerful path to love and fulfillment. When Ego Meets Non-Ego