For episode 156 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with friend and colleague Tara Brach.
Tara Brach has been practicing and teaching meditation since 1975, as well as leading workshops and meditation retreats at centers throughout North America and Europe. She has a PhD in clinical psychology, is the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and is the author of several beloved books: Radical Acceptance, True Refuge, and Radical Compassion. Her most recent book, Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness, has just been released by Sounds True in June of 2021.
In the conversation, Sharon and Tara speak about the inspiration for Tara’s new book, Trusting the Gold, and how it came into form as an illustrated project. They discuss the Buddhist concept of Basic Goodness, and how controversial this idea can be in the West.
Tara shares about her early years as a practitioner living in an Ashram, and how she struggled to be a perfect student while slowly opening to the truth of her own basic goodness. They discuss many different aspects of Basic Goodness, from the personal level, relational and communal levels, and how it is even more relevant as an antidote for isolation from the pandemic. Tara shares a breakdown of the practice of RAIN as a tool for when we’re triggered, and they both share different tactics for working with the feeling of powerlessness in the pandemic. To close the conversation, Tara leads a seven-minute guided meditation on Basic Goodness.
Find a wealth of resources, online courses, and practices with Tara at tarabrach.com
Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness
Welcoming friend and colleague, Tara Brach PhD, to the Metta Hour, Sharon invites her to share about her unique and visually stunning new book, Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness, illustrated by the very talented Vicky Alvarez. Sparked to create this artful dharma masterpiece of daily wisdom through outside inspiration to collect quotes and stories which touched people’s hearts, Tara found overlaying themes of presence and trust leading to relaxation and spontaneous love.
“Over many years people would ask me for a favorite quote or story, so I started collecting the ones I knew touched people. I become increasingly aware of this core theme: that as presence grows, we have a deepening trust in who we are, and in reality. This trust is the gift of the path. It lets us relax the armoring around our hearts, so we get to love without holding back, and live more spontaneously.” – Tara Brach PhD
Tara Brach PhD and Chris Grosso share in a conversation on the curriculum of compassion, on Ep. 74 of the Indie Spiritualist
Basic Goodness: Awareness, Love, & The Clay Buddha (6:40)
Prompted by Sharon to illuminate the Buddhist concept of Basic Goodness, a major theme in her new book, Tara explores our direct experience of pure awareness as a shared essence of love. Through this lens, she shares a story of a giant clay Buddha statue in Thailand, which was not beautiful in most regards, but was very loved. Over centuries of weathering, they found beneath the cracks in the clay, was pure gold shining through. This radiant gold beneath the layer of clay, Tara describes as our Basic Goodness.
“I think of Basic Goodness as the pure awareness that’s really our shared essence. It has many flavors, but the most pure, direct expression of awareness is love, and the forms of love: compassion, joy. Basic goodness expresses as creativity, wisdom, wonder, awe. These are facets that the more we wake up, the more our Basic Goodness shines through us, and the more we can see it in others.” – Tara Brach PhD
Tara Brach PhD joins Raghu for a conversation on snapping the trance of unworthiness, on Ep. 333 of Mindrolling
RAIN Practice: From Other-ing to Kindfulness (30:57)
From the perspective of working with the modern sufferings inherent within our ongoing karmic situation with the pandemic, politics, social media arguments, and rampant other-ing, Sharon invites Tara to elucidate her RAIN exercise for helping us recognize and transmute this kind of energy. The healing comes through recognizing and accepting one’s predominant internal feelings, investigating what is needed, and nurturing the pain/fear with compassion. After the rain, one stops doing; simply resting in the shifted presence.
“When we get triggered, that’s when we can least remember how to find our way back to mindfulness and kindfulness. It’s when we’re most hijacked by our limbic system, so it helps ahead of time to have a sequence of steps to guide us back home.” – Tara Brach PhD
For more Sharon and Tara talking RAIN, self-love, and moving from fear to unity, tune into Ep. 57 of the Metta Hour
Guided Meditation (52:00)
To close the conversation, Tara leads a short guided meditation on uncovering our Basic Goodness.