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Lions Roar : March 2013
55 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2013 for mental well-being, clear seeing, and healthy relationships. When asked what she views as the essential common ground between Western psychology and Buddhism, Brach says it’s their understanding that suffering comes from the parts of our being that are not recognized and embraced in the light of awareness. “What the two traditions share,” she says, “is shining a light on the rejected, unprocessed parts of the psyche.” Brach is a clinical psychologist, the founder of the Insight Med- itation Community of Washington, D.C., and the author of Radi- cal Acceptance. The inspiration for her new book, True Refuge, was her illness. When she was mourning the loss of her physical abilities, she became aware of a profound longing to love life no matter what. “I wanted the awakened heart,” she says, “which would allow me to embrace this world—the living world, the dying world, the whole thing.” Brach calls that kind of acceptance and inner freedom “true refuge.” It’s true, she writes in her book, “because it does not depend on anything outside ourselves—a certain situation, a person, a cure, even a particular mood or emotion.” According to Brach, true refuge has three gateways: truth, love, and awareness. “Truth,” explains Brach, “is the understanding or realization that comes out of being present with the life that’s right here and now. Love is bringing presence to the domain of the heart, the domain of relationships, and the realization that arises out of that is interconnectedness. Then awareness is when we bring presence to the formless awakeness that is right here. When we discover the refuge of our own formless being, that’s awareness waking up to itself.” Tara Brach, John Welwood, and Barry Magid