Radical Self-Honesty: The Joy of Getting Real - Our suffering arises from the unseen, unfelt, resisted parts of our psyche. This talk explores ways we can deepen self-honesty and reconnect to a wholeness of being that enables us to live with spontaneity, confidence, wisdom and love (a favorite from the archives).
A quote by Elizabeth Lessor from the talk: ?My prayer to god every day: Remove the veils so I might see what is really happening here and not be intoxicated by my stories and my fears.?
Meditation: Relaxing into Living Presence (2021-04-07) - This meditation guides us to awaken to sensation using the image of a smile and scanning through the body. We then open to sound and to the entire changing flow of experience. When we connect with the changing flow of sensations, feelings and sounds, we also discover the formless awareness that is our Source? and home. We end with a prayer that includes our own being and all beings.
Part 2 - Fear of Aging: Finding Freedom in this Impermanent World (2021-03-31) - While it?s natural to have fears of what?s ahead, when we learn to face the inevitability of change and loss without resistance, we discover true peace and freedom in the midst. In a very direct way, our awareness of impermanence awakens unconditional loving. These two talks explore the ways we habitually deny or resist reality, and the three interrelated pathways?refuge in the present moment, love and awareness?that liberate us.
Meditation: Relaxing Back into Presence (2021-03-31) - When we are stressed, our body and mind contract, and energetically we resist the life in the present moment. This meditation helps de-condition the stress reaction by guiding us to relax open from thoughts, relax physical tension, and gently relax back over and over into living presence.
Transforming Two Fears - FOF and FOMO (2021-03-24) - There are two common fears that can block us from our full potential - fear of failure (FOF), and fear of missing out (FOMO). This talk explores how to meet these fears with mindful presence, and discover within them the essence energies of loving awareness and full aliveness.
Meditation: Embodying Loving Awareness (2021-03-24) - Love is often abstract, and not fully alive. In this practice, with the supportive image and felt sense of a smile, we are guided to awaken loving in our body, mind and whole being.
Fear of Aging - Finding Freedom in this Impermanent World ? Part 1 (2021-03-17) - While it?s natural to have fears of what?s ahead, when we learn to face the inevitability of change and loss without resistance, we discover true peace and freedom in the midst. In a very direct way, our awareness of impermanence awakens unconditional loving. These two talks explore the ways we habitually deny or resist reality, and the three interrelated pathways?refuge in the present moment, love and awareness?that liberate us. NOTE: The quoted prayer "And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" is from 14th century mystic, Julian of Norwich, in her work ?Revelations of Divine Love.?
Meditation: A Kind and Allowing Presence (2021-03-17) - When we?re stressed our hearts tighten and we try to control our life. This meditation guides us to relax the controlling and discover the open, tender awareness that allows life to be as it is.
The Power of Deep Listening - Part 2 (2012-03-10) - Listening deeply is the gateway to realizing connection. It?s what allows us to move through life with a wise, loving and healing presence. These two talks explore our blocks to true listening, and offer teachings and practices that can directly cultivate this invaluable capacity.
Meditation: Cultivating Deep Listening (2021-03-10) - Deep listening expresses the purity and presence of our true nature. This meditation guides us to come into a state of listening that is spacious, receptive and profoundly wakeful and present. We close with the poem ?lost? by David Wagoner.
The Power of Deep Listening - Part 1 (2021-03-03) - Listening deeply is the gateway to realizing connection. It?s what allows us to move through life with a wise, loving and healing presence. These two talks explore our blocks to true listening, and offer teachings and practices that can directly cultivate this invaluable capacity.
Meditation: Aliveness and Presence (2021-03-03) - This meditation guides us to wake up our senses and full aliveness through a body scan, and then to rest in the formless presence that is aware of this changing dance of life. We close with a poem by Robert Hall.
Namaste: Seeing the Truth of Who We Are (2021-02-24) - A gift of evolving consciousness is the capacity to recognize and honor the sacred awareness that lives through our own and all beings. This capacity is blocked by our identification with our ?mask? or ego self, and not seeing past other people?s masks. In this talk we reflect together on some key filters of superior/inferior and good/bad that shape the trance of a narrowed identity, and then explore how mindfulness and kindness free us to inhabit the vastness of our natural awareness. We close with tasting the possibility of bringing the spirit of Namaste to ourselves, others and all beings.
Meditation: Continuous Space Suffused with Awareness (2021-02-24) - By learning to inhabit the body, we discover the space and aliveness that fills the universe. In this meditation we are guided through the body, filling different domains with presence. We then open into the continuous awake space that is both within and surrounds the body. When we notice the mind drifts, we relax back to be that awake space, aware of the changing flow of sensations, thoughts, feelings and sounds.
Awakening Our Body?s Awareness ? Part 2 (2021-02-17) - Mindful awareness of our bodies is a portal to full aliveness, wisdom and love. These two classes will explore the trance that takes us away from our body, the pathways home, ways of working with pain, and the gifts of an embodied presence.
Meditation: A Welcoming Heartspace (2021-02-17) - Our pathway to peace and happiness is through opening, with tenderness, to our moment-to-moment experience. This meditation guides us first to be awake in our body and senses, and then to include the changing flow of life in a spacious, kind heart. We close with a short verse from poet Dorothy Hunt
The Superpower of Mindful Witnessing (2021-02-10) - The capacity to witness what is happening inside us with a non-judging attention allows us to respond to life from our full intelligence and heart. This talk looks at the role of witnessing in spiritual practice, and how we can cultivate this superpower in a way that reveals the light or spirit that lives through all beings.
Meditation: Being a Kind Witness (2021-02-10) - Learning to witness what is going on inside us is the gateway to inner freedom and deep realization. This meditation guides us in witnessing our experience with a non-judging and kind awareness.
Awakening Our Body's Awareness - Part 1 - Mindful awareness of our bodies is a portal to full aliveness, wisdom and love. These two classes will explore the trance that takes us away from our body, the pathways home, ways of working with pain, and the gifts of an embodied presence (a favorite from the archives).
Meditation: Homecoming with the Breath - This meditation focuses on the breath as an anchor for homecoming. We begin with an intentional breath (coherence breathing) and then establish the natural breath as a home base. The instructions are to rest in the breath, offering a relaxed, intimate intention. Other waves of sensation or emotion are included when they ask for attention as we cultivate an open and full mindful presence. Our freedom arises as we recognize the formless awareness that is our home, and the natural and ever-changing waves that live through us (a favorite from the archives).
Spiritual Hope (2021-01-27) - Spiritual hope opens us to possibility and energizes us to manifest our potential for love and wisdom. In contrast to attachment or egoic hope, which is the grasping for what will benefit a separate self, spiritual hope arises from trust in the openhearted awareness (bodhichitta) that is always and already within us. This talk explores how, as individuals and as a society, we can nourish spiritual hope, and create the grounds for healing and radical transformation.
Meditation: Sacred Presence (2021-01-23) - This meditation guides us to wakefully relax with the changing flow of moment to moment experience. As we open our senses fully, we discover the sacred living presence that is our very essence.
Cultivating a Courageous Heart - Part 2 (2021-01-20) - In the face of violence, hatred and loss, how do we handle the reactivity we feel? Our own anger, hatred and fear? These two talks offer guidance and practice in letting our own vulnerability be a portal to responding?to ourselves, each other and our world-- with courageous, wise hearts.
Meditation: Refuge of Living Presence (2021-01-30) - Our thoughts keep us removed from this living world. This guided practice invites us to open and relax with the moment to moment experience of our senses. It includes a poem by Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, ?Whereever you are, Find a Trail.?
Cultivating a Courageous Heart - Part 1 (2020-01-13) - In the face of violence, hatred and loss, how do we handle the reactivity we feel? Our own anger, hatred and fear? These two talks offer guidance and practice in letting our own vulnerability be a portal to responding - to ourselves, each other and our world - with courageous, wise hearts.
Meditation: Reconnecting to Silence and Presence (2021-01-13) - Only in silence and presence do we realign with what matters to our hearts. This simple practice of arriving in an embodied awareness supports us in touching the grounds of true transformation and healing. It closes with a powerful poem by Gunilla Norris, ?Sharing Silence.?
The Three Refuges - Gateways to Awakening (2021-01-06) - We all seek refuge, a sense of safety or homecoming amidst the uncertainties of life. Our way of finding refuge can either imprison or free us. This talk explores the false refuges that entrap us in feeling separate and endangered, and the refuges of Awareness (Buddha,) Truth (Dharma) and Love (Sangha) that reveal our true nature. This evening gathering includes a ceremony with candles, reflection and music.
Meditation: A Present Heart (2020-01-06) - One translation of mindfulness, in Chinese, is ?present heart.? In this guided meditation we begin by awakening through the body and the senses, and then open the attention to the changing flow of experience. The intention is to meet whatever arises with a wakeful and kind presence.
Repairing Our Hearts - Healing with the RAIN of Compassion (2020-12-30) - Living in a fear-based society fuels the trance of separation and unworthiness. This talk explores how we can bring an engaged compassionate presence to the suffering of this trance?in our inner work, and more broadly, in healing our culture (from the IMCW 2020 New Year Silent Retreat).
Meditation: RAIN of Self-Compassion (2020-12-30) - One of the great sufferings is turning on ourselves with judgment and/or self-aversion. This practice brings the acronym RAIN to this pain. It helps us cultivate a healing self-compassion, and the realization of who we are beyond any limiting story of self.
?Good Othering? ? Helping Each Other Trust the Gold (2020-12-23) - One of the great gifts we can offer is being a mirror of goodness, reminding one another that we can trust our essential awareness, light and love. Because our conditioning is to fixate on flaws, ?good othering? takes intention and practice. This talk explores how we can develop the habit of seeing goodness, and importantly, learn to communicate our appreciation and love to others.
Meditation: Meeting life with a Kind Presence (2020-12-23) - This practice guides us to a receptive, kind presence by starting with listening, and moving through a body scan. We then rest in an open awareness, responding to whatever arises with a gentle attention.
Heart to Heart: A Conversation Between Dan Gottlieb and Tara Brach (2020-12-16) - This very real and human interchange touches on pain, loss, love, gratitude and much more.
Meditation: Coming Home to Heartspace (2020-12-16) - Our pathway to our hearts is through presence. This meditation helps us awaken presence through our body and all our senses. We then open to the awareness that can meet whatever arises with tenderness and kindness. This meditation includes a reading from the Radiance Sutras, interpreted and translated by Lorin Roche
Remembering Our Belonging ? Part 2 (2020-12-09) - Our deepest suffering comes from feelings of separation, and as a species, our great task is realizing our belonging?to our bodies and hearts, to each other, to the living web of all beings, to formless loving awareness. These two talks explore how healing and true belonging become possible as we deepen our capacity to face truth ? within ourselves and with each other ? and hold that truth with compassion.
Meditation: Yes to Our Moments (2020-12-09) - When we open without resistance to the changing flow of aliveness, we discover the formless presence that is our true home. This meditation guides us through a body scan and then opening to all sounds, sensations and emotions with the energetic allowing of ?Yes.? We close with a poem by Danna Faulds, ?White Dove.?
Remembering Our Belonging, Part 1 (2020-12-02) - Our deepest suffering comes from feelings of separation, and as a species, our great task is realizing our belonging?to our bodies and hearts, to each other, to the living web of all beings, to formless loving awareness. These two talks explore how healing and true belonging become possible as we deepen our capacity to face truth - within ourselves and with each other - and hold that truth with compassion.
Meditation: Embodied Love (2020-12-02) - This meditation guides us through a scan, to awaken a healing and openhearted presence throughout our body. We then widen to our full field of awareness, including whatever wants attention in an open, inclusive loving presence.
Authentic Thanks Giving (redux) - How do we awaken our natural capacities for gratitude and generosity? This talk explores the pathways of honest presence and purposeful cultivation, and offers several reflections that guide us in contacting and expressing our love (a favorite Thanksgiving talk from the archives).
Meditation: Yes to Life (2020-11-25) - After relaxing our bodies and quieting our minds, this meditation guides us to open to the changing experience of being alive. We ask ourselves two questions: ?What is Happening Inside me?? and ?Can I be with this?? By learning to bring an unconditional presence and an accepting Yes to our lives, we begin to touch openheartedness and freedom.
The Stories that Empower Us: A Conversation between Tara Brach and Elizabeth Lesser (2020-11-18) - Whether we know it or not, our daily lives take direction from myths and tales that are hundreds, even thousands of years old. During their time together, Tara and Elizabeth will speak about how these origin tales have shaped our psyches and perpetuated the violence and suffering that marks our world. They will then explore how we can create fresh stories that guide our collective awakening to peace, compassion and healing.
Meditation: The ?Do No Harm and Take No S***? Practice, by Guest Elizabeth Lesser (2020-11-18) - This practice - based on an ancient Buddhist meditation - bears the name of needlepoint I found in my sister's office after she died. She was a nurse, and as such had taken the oath all medical practitioners take: to do no harm. She added the next line, "take no s***," because as we all know life requires us to be both kindly and strong.
The following meditation is a training in both, because being kind and being strong are not mutually exclusive. Doing no harm and taking no s*** is not an either/or choice. It?s the marriage of the two that will make a difference in your life and will change the story in the world.
This meditation was recorded on Zoom during Tara's live-stream on 2020-11-18, and was followed by a conversation between Tara and Elizabeth.
?Play a Greater Part? ? Bodhisattva for Our Times - During scary and uncertain times, the habitual reflex is to try to find ground by creating stories about what?s happening and hardening into us-them blame. This only perpetuates the aggression and violence that is so prevalent in our societies. This talk is a reflection on how we as awakening bodhisattvas can evolve our consciousness in a way that serves authentic societal healing and transformation (a favorite from the archives).
Meditation: Vipassana ? Opening Our Hearts to Life as It Is (2020-11-11). This meditation awakens the senses with a mindful scanning of the body, establishes an anchor for presence, and invites us to arrive again and again, deepening the pathway home. When difficult or intense experience arises, the practice is to learn to open to what is here with a clear, allowing and kind attention (a favorite from the archives).
Our Refuge of Heartspace (2020-11-04) - Amidst the great emotional reactivity of our times, this talk looks at: How do we hold this? What will allow us to respond wisely to our hurting world? How can we widen the circles of compassion? Our time includes a guided meditation, sharing of responses to several inquiries and a period of question/response.
Meditation: Refuge in Living Presence (2020-11-04) - This meditation guides us to rest in the aliveness of the changing stream of sensations, sounds and feelings. As we open to the awareness that includes all life, we touch the peace, stillness and wakefulness that is our essence. We close with Wendell Berry?s beautiful poem, ?The Peace of Wild Things.?
Change, Loss and Timeless Love (Part 2) (2020-10-28) - Our capacity to live and love fully is entirely intertwined with how we relate to change and loss. These two talks are an invitation to look honestly, and without judgment, at the ways, we resist facing our fears and grieving our losses. We then explore how to bring mindfulness and compassion to processing what we?ve resisted, and opening to the timeless love that is our true nature (given on the IMCW 2020 Fall 7-Day Virtual Retreat).
Instruction and Meditation: Pathway to Non-Doing Presence (2020-10-27) - While meditation begins with purposeful collecting of attention, it leads to non-doing presence, to Being. In this guided practice, we arrive in presence through a body scan and attention to the breath, open the attention to changing experience, and then explore the freedom of not controlling anything, and letting life be just as it is.
Meditation: Suffering and Compassion (2020-10-28) - This brief meditation is a version of the Tibetan Tonglen practice: With the support of the breath we allow ourselves to open to the realness of suffering, and then offer it into a boundless heartspace?a shared and compassionate awareness.
Healing Racialized Trauma: A Conversation with Resmaa Menakem and Tara Brach (2020-10-21) - The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Resmaa Menakem speaks in a compelling way how this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white body supremacy, and create a truly anti-racist culture. This conversation includes a powerful and provocative guided reflection.