Book Review: Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance - Tara Brach

Happily, Radical Acceptance focuses on the reality of life, outside of the monastic environments that seem like an underlying requirement of most Buddhist books.  I found this one to be somewhat similar in scope to Mark Epstein's book, but in a format and style that was much more relevant to me--or at least easier to relate to.  Tara litters the book with poignant stories, her own or those she has encountered in her clients and students, that help drive her points home.  By the end, and perhaps by my own confirmation bias, she indicates that relationships with others is where the fruitful path unfolds.  Speaking for myself, it is relatively easy to create an illusion of tranquility by simply isolating from unpleasant interactions or stimuli, but maintaining equanimity in the face of anger, pain, sadness, etc. is an entirely different matter.

A few quotes from the book:
Eventually I would find that relating wisely to the powerful and pervasive energy of desire is a pathway into unconditional loving. 
In teaching the Middle Way, the Buddha guided us to relate to desire without getting possessed by it and without resisting it.  He was talking about every level of desire--for food and sex, for love and freedom.  He was talking about all degrees of wanting, from small preferences to the most compelling cravings. 
Eric frequently found himself feeling distant and detached when Julie would tell him how she had nothing to look forward to, nothing to give her any hope.  He cared, but as he put it, "I wasn't able to be in the trenches with her.  I couldn't really relate."  At those times, when his body felt lifeless and his heart hard, his mind would struggle to come up with how to make things better.