With modern living being what it is, many of us find ourselves drifting over the surface of our life in something like a trance - a distorted, pale shadow of reality and all its possibilities. It cuts off our sense of connection with our bodies, and all the aliveness and creativity of our true nature. As John O’Donohue said, “Our bodies know that they belong to life; it’s our minds that make our lives so homeless.” We can see, all around, the suffering that results: physical illness, emotional pain, a persistent sense of alienation, broken relationships…
In this course created by Tara Brach, we’ll get to know what it looks like in everyday life, for each one of us, when we go off into trance -- and, how we can recover a fuller presence: for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our community and world that so need us to show up. We’ll discover how we can use our thinking mind as a “good servant” of our well-being, rather than a saboteur.
Each of the course’s eleven sections includes at least one experiential exercise helping students to put directly into practice the insights shared during the lectures. These exercises are essentially guided meditations that students often like to continue practicing many times over, long after a course is completed, to maintain and more fully integrate the lessons in their real, embodied, relational lives.
We’ll learn to recognize the most common signs of being caught in trance; and, what we can do to disrupt that pattern and “hit ‘refresh’.” Then we’ll dig in deeper to understand the origins of the “default programs” that limit us, to increase our capacity for embodied presence, and to taste some of the sweet fruits of tapping into our fuller presence.
We’ll find out how to engage skillfully with different degrees of physical pain – mild, moderate, and intense – and learn about the inter-relatedness of physical & emotional difficulties. We’ll also develop our ability to access a spaciousness that’s wide enough to embrace these difficulties, giving ourselves the best conditions to trust, to open, and to thrive.
We’ll look into our habitual belief in separateness, and typical reactive behaviors of avoiding -- or grasping at -- more closeness in relationships. We’ll go through three steps to freeing ourselves from the trance of that isolated small-self, and restoring our connection to awareness & love in the midst of stressful situations. Finally, we’ll discover how we can actively re-awaken again and again into the fully-embodied, profound belonging with all of life that is our birthright.
Tara Brach, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, an internationally known teacher of mindfulness meditation, and author of the bestselling Radical Acceptance and True Refuge. Her podcast exploring the role of mindfulness in the realization of human potential receives more than one million downloads each month.
Tara’s work is prominently featured in the New York Times guide to meditation and other major media ranging from the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post to Tim Ferriss. She has given keynote addresses at conferences offered through Harvard Medical School and Salesforce, among others, and contributed numerous articles to popular magazines and websites.
Tara regularly leads accredited workshops for mental health professionals, as well as retreats for wider audiences, at centers in the United States and Europe. She has been invited to teach classes to United States Congress members and staff, to judges of the D.C. Superior Court, and at the Smithsonian. In addition to her public teaching, she is active in bringing meditation into schools, prisons, and underserved populations around the Washington, D.C. area.