When life gets hectic and my monkey brain starts spinning out of control–the checklists, projects, unmet goals, failures, wins, social anxieties, decision fatigue, perfectionism, FOMO, bracing against the unknown–Tara Brach’s teachings have been, for me, a reliable source of reflection and calm. Tara’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices with a sprinkle of disarming anecdotes and laugh-out-loud jokes. Below I’ve gathered my personal list of talks that I try to revisit from time to time, as a sort of semi-annual protocol to refocus on what matters.
1. The Sacred Pause
Description: When we are lost in the trance of doing, our lives are on automatic, and contracted by sense that something’s wrong or missing. This talk explores the challenges of learning to pause, and the blessings that arise when step out of our incessant mental and physical activity and reconnect with the being-qualities of presence, wisdom, and love.
Related read: “Fire” by Judy Brown
2. From Human Doing to Human Being
Description: Like Sisyphus eternally pushing the boulder up the hill, we can spend many moments busily trying to manage our life. This talk explores how we can awaken from our non-stop doing, including the incessant inner narrative, and discover the mystery, love and freedom that arises in Being.
3. Happiness is Possible: De-conditioning the Negativity Bias
Description: There is an inner freedom that expresses as happiness and peace, and it is accessible when we arrive in openhearted presence. As the Buddha said, “If it were not possible to find liberation, I would not teach about it.” This talk looks at the conditioning that blocks happiness and two primary pathways of practice that evolve our consciousness and free our hearts.
4. Fear of Aging: Finding Freedom in this Impermanent World
Description: 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. This talk explores the ways we habitually deny or resist reality, and the three interrelated pathways — refuge in the present moment, love and awareness — that liberate us.