Tara Brach author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha in the interview Becoming an Inner Peace Activist with Tricycle Magazine, Summer 2003:

Radical Acceptance is a different way of framing the Buddhist teachings of mindfulness and compassion. It is the capacity to clearly recognize our inner experience and embrace what we see with a kind heart. Radical Acceptance emphasizes a flavor of the dharma that’s especially needed at this time in our culture. We habitually reject parts of ourselves, and we judge others and make them the enemy. Befriending whatever we experience is what begins to free us.

Our basic suffering is that we have a sense of being a separate self, and the primal mood of the separate self is fear. Whenever there’s fear, we feel something’s wrong. Sometimes we aim at ourselves: Something’s wrong with me, I’m bad. That’s the trance of unworthiness, and it burdens us with shame and anxiety, depression and anger. We also project fear outward and mistrust others: You’re a threat to my existence, I need to defend myself, I need to attack you. Basically the trance of separation keeps us at war with the life inside us and with the world around us …

Radical Acceptance doesn’t mean being passive about situations that cause us stress. When we accept exactly what we’re experiencing in the present moment – if we really open up to whatever is going on in our body and heart – then we are naturally going to act now to relieve suffering, whether it’s in our personal life or in the world. And if, instead of reacting and adding more violence to the situation, we can pause and deepen our attention, we can respond from a place that cherishes life.

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