We’re learning how to practice true self-compassion this week with renowned psychotherapist and Buddhist meditation teacher Tara Brach. Tara is the author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, and most recently Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN. In addition to having delivered hundreds of talks on mindfulness and meditation throughout her career, Tara’s self-titled podcast also receives over 1.5 million downloads per month.
In this episode, Tara breaks down the practice of RAIN—Recognise, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture—and how it can help us eliminate our self-criticism and increase our sense of worthiness.
Highlights from this week’s episode
From the Tara Brach Interview
On recognising her own need for self-compassion:
I remember one day where I just realised, “oh, I am really stuck in shame and am feeling bad about myself.” And I did RAIN [and] recognised, “OK. I am angry and irritable and down on myself.” And then I allowed it to be there. And when I investigated, I got down to that same deep place of the real deep shame of fundamentally not ok. And I could feel how the hollowness and the ache and just the awfulness and the fear that comes with it. And when I felt that and I could sense how many moments of my life that feeling actually was predominating and deprived me of intimacy with others or being creative, just being turned on myself takes so much energy. That was a kind of ouch moment where the suffering was so clear that I started feeling real tenderness to myself. That’s when nurturing really is embodied.
On the importance of a daily mindfulness practice:
I really encourage people to have a daily meditation of in some way coming into presence. I know in my own life I did because I lived in a spiritual community for years. But then when I had my son and I had moved out of the community, my practice got kind of shaky. And I remember at one point realising that this was really at the very core of what allowed me to move through the day with an open heart and presence. So I committed myself to every day, no matter what. But I had a back door, which was it didn’t matter how long. And that has kept me going...Most of the time I’ll sit for 30 or 45 minutes.
But there are some days when I realised that I haven’t had a chance and I’ll sit down and I’ll take three long, deep breaths and offer a prayer that all beings be happy and clunk, I’m on the pillow. So what I’m suggesting is that what really will make RAIN working with difficult emotions and really loving ourselves into healing happen is the ground of having a daily practice to keep its Rumi said it beautifully, he said, “do you make regular visits to yourself?”