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    How to Stop the War Against Yourself | Tara Brach

    By recognizing, allowing, investigating, and nurturing our vulnerable selves, we can transform self-hatred and embrace our true selves. This process may take time, but it can lead to freedom and living in the moment with a sense of lightness.

    enDecember 14, 2022

    About this Episode

    It’s possible to actually be addicted to self-criticism, especially as a way to keep yourself safe. But evidence shows that’s not true, and today’s episode dives into strategies to deal with your own self-hatred. 


    This is part two of a series this week on forgiveness. In our last episode, Jack Kornfield focused on forgiving other people and in today’s episode, Tara Brach talks about forgiving yourself. 


    Tara Brach is a meditation teacher, psychologist and author of several books including Radical Acceptance, Radical Compassion and Trusting the Gold. Her weekly podcast is downloaded 3 million times a month. Tara is also the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. 


    In this episode we talk about:

    • Why Tara says self-hatred “divides us from our ourselves”
    • The benefits of learning the habit to stop kicking our own asses
    • Simple meditations to help us with self-forgiveness
    • Questions that can help us understand what really matters to us, and what we really want
    • The power of seeing the profundity in mundane experiences 
    • A refresher on a fan favorite meditation technique: RAIN
    • How to start trusting reality more than we believe the beliefs about ourselves
    • Forgiveness vs accountability



    Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/tara-brach-534

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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Self-criticism is harmful and addictive, dividing us from ourselves and weakening our mental edge. Practicing self-compassion, forgiveness, and trusting reality are essential to overcoming self-criticism and finding inner peace.
    • We are imperfect Buddhas navigating through our conditioned coping strategies. Embrace imperfections and self-forgiveness to remember our larger belonging and find wholeness.
    • Meditation helps to quiet our thoughts and emotions, leading us to a state of spaciousness and open-heartedness. Acceptance, peace, self-love, and forgiveness can aid in overcoming societal and genetic conditioning, allowing us to better serve others and experience a fulfilling life.
    • The messages we receive can lead to harsh self-judgment, but research shows that self-judgment and unforgiveness do not promote good personhood. Instead, we must challenge these beliefs and hold ourselves with kindness in the face of trauma.
    • Practicing self-compassion involves being kind towards ourselves, forgiving ourselves, and disarming our inner hostility. This promotes positivity in relationships, reduces what's wrong, and cultivates our inner coach.
    • Letting go of the belief that we are damaged goods can lead to a powerful shift in perspective. Understanding our core needs for belonging and connection can help us disarm hostility and achieve deeper transformation.
    • Reflect on what truly matters to you, pause to feel positive experiences, and access reservoirs of peace and love within yourself. By doing this, you can shift from a passing state to an enduring trait and connect to your innate goodness.
    • Cultivating the habit of noticing and appreciating mini transcendent experiences, tracing emotions back to their roots, and meditating on them can help us let go of judgment and suffering, and tap into the depth within ourselves.
    • Forgiving oneself for small mistakes and judgments throughout the day can lead to a kinder and more compassionate mindset in life. Practicing this habit at the end of the day can train us to respond with forgiveness and acceptance in the moment, leading to a more spontaneous, forgiving, and kind way of moving through life.
    • Forgiveness starts with intention and builds over time with self-kindness and gratitude. Practice self-care and include all beings in your heart to disarm self-hatred and learn the RAIN technique for forgiveness.
    • RAIN is a powerful tool to pause, recognize and investigate emotions to bring transformation and healing by deepening attention in the felt sense. It helps to forgive and nurture oneself.
    • By recognizing, allowing, investigating, and nurturing our vulnerable selves, we can transform self-hatred and embrace our true selves. This process may take time, but it can lead to freedom and living in the moment with a sense of lightness.
    • By practicing trust in reality, mindfulness, self-compassion, love, and kindness, one can overcome anxiety and self-hatred by shifting focus from negative beliefs about oneself and embracing a sense of belonging, oneness, and interdependence with the larger world.
    • Overcome the fear of humiliation and severed belonging by building an identity and safety around performance. Stop kicking your own ass and love fully without holding back.
    • Letting go of self-judgment and practicing self-forgiveness not only opens up our hearts to a larger experience of love and connection with the world but also enables us to be kinder and more compassionate towards ourselves and others.
    • Forgiveness is a transformative process that requires vulnerability and compassion both towards oneself and others. It opens up a field of being that encourages accountability and empathy, leading to personal well-being and political action for a healthier society.
    • By being a part of the healing process in society and deepening our mindfulness practice, we can make a positive impact on those around us. Consider online communities like Cloud Songa and Mindfulness Meditation Teacher certification to further your understanding and assist others. Tara Brach's books and podcast are also recommended resources for deepening your practice and sharing it with others.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Overcoming Self-Criticism with Self-Compassion and Forgiveness.

    Self-criticism might seem necessary, but it can actually be addictive and harmful. Tara Brock, a meditation teacher and psychologist, believes that self-hatred divides us from ourselves and can weaken our mental edge. She offers many strategies, including forgiveness, to help people stop kicking their own ass and develop self-compassion. In this 10% Happier Podcast episode, she also discusses the importance of understanding what truly matters to us and learning to trust reality more than our self-criticisms. Forgiveness is not only a personal matter but also a political act, according to Brock. She also shares her story about the Tilted Buddha statue and the lessons we can learn from such unexpected experiences.

    Embracing imperfections and self-forgiveness for wholeness.

    Self-hatred and lack of self-forgiveness divide us from our wholeness and natural resting spot. Our flaws and imperfections are conditionings castings that we really didn't have any control over. To see them as nature instead of something you designed, it becomes a lot less personal. We need to remember that we are waking up Buddhas, imperfect castings with coping strategies to make it through the day. When we live in parts, we're not remembering the larger wholeness, the awareness that's there, and the basic love that connects us to the world. Wholeness is our natural resting spot, and we are conditioned for inner division. It's time to remember our larger belonging and get identified in a larger way.

    Accessing Inner Qualities through Meditation and Overcoming Contracted States

    In meditation, we can access our innate qualities of awareness and belonging to the natural world. However, our thinking can obscure this awareness and lead to a contracted state. Acceptance, peace, self-love and forgiveness can help quiet down the spinning thoughts and emotions, giving us access to a real sense of spaciousness and open-heartedness. Our contracted state is conditioned by societal and genetic forces like generational trauma, DNA, and global culture, making it important to work with the divide against ourselves. As we become less owned by our thoughts and emotions, we have more bandwidth to be open to others' needs and experience a better quality of life.

    Challenging Self-Judgment and Cultivating Kindness Towards Ourselves

    Our beliefs about ourselves are shaped by the messages we receive from our caregivers, society, and traumatic experiences. These messages often leave us feeling like something is wrong with us, which can lead to harsh self-judgment. However, research shows that self-judgment and unforgiveness do not promote good personhood. It's important to challenge these beliefs and hold ourselves with kindness, especially in the face of trauma. This can be done through a felt-sense processing where we reopen to our woundedness with kindness. The intention of the harsh inner critic is to improve ourselves, but we must question if it's really working and ask how much better we need to be to feel like we're enough.

    The Power of Self-Compassion on Goals and Relationships

    Research shows that self-compassion is key to reaching goals and improving relationships with others. Being kind towards ourselves and disarming our hostility against ourselves enables us to be more open and available on all levels. The addiction of lack of self-forgiveness is driven by our belief that we are bad and the reflex to blame and attack ourselves. This addiction is not just personal but also a reflection of our species. Blaming and attacking oneself and others are the causes of all war and suffering. Instead, we need to cultivate our inner coach rather than an inner drill sergeant and forgive ourselves. Forgiveness disarms our hearts, reduces what's wrong, and promotes positivity in relationships.

    Disarming Hostility for Deeper Transformation

    Our sense of agency and control often stems from holding onto the belief that we are damaged goods, which comes from trauma or other sources. We fear uncertainty and not knowing who we would be without this belief. But disarming this hostility can lead to deeper transformation and a powerful shift in perspective. Conceit doesn't have to be positive or negative, but rather the way we hold onto our sense of self. Asking ourselves why we want to change so much can reveal our core needs for belonging, connection, and feeling at one.

    Connecting to Your Innate Goodness Through Positive Emotions

    Identify and reflect on what you truly want and what really matters to you. Your longing for love and truth reveals that you already know them on some level. Pause and let yourself feel saturated by the positive experiences of silence, awe, beauty, gratitude, and love. By consciously letting the feeling fill your body and breathe with it, you move from the explicit to the implicit mind, making positive experiences more sticky and shifting them from a passing state to a more enduring trait. This helps you access reservoirs of peace and love that are already in you, calling you back to your innate goodness and allowing you to be more of who you really are.

    The Power of Taking in the Good and Tracing Emotions to their Root

    By taking a moment to notice and appreciate the mini transcendent experiences throughout the day, we can tap into the depth within ourselves. Breaking down our desires to their root shows that even our superficial needs stem from a deep desire for love, safety, and peace. Cultivating the habit of 'taking in the good' can shift our perception of who we are and what we need. By tracing our emotions back to their root, we can recognize that they are all forms of our organism trying to live, thrive, and flourish. This understanding can help us let go of judgment and suffering. Meditation can help us become aware of our emotions without taking them personally.

    The Power of Self-Forgiveness

    Forgiving oneself for small mistakes or judgments made throughout the day can lead to a certain kind of freedom and softening of the heart. By reviewing the day, acknowledging shortcomings, and saying words like 'forgiven,' we can practice an attitude of kindness towards ourselves. This intention can be deepened over time and with dedication, befriending oneself can become a central part of our spiritual life. By practicing this habit at the end of the day, we can train ourselves to recognize moments of tightness or self-judgment throughout the day and respond with forgiveness and acceptance, leading to a more spontaneous, forgiving, and kind way of moving through life.

    Intentional Forgiveness and Self-Care Practices

    Forgiveness is not about forcing ourselves, but intending to forgive. The intention to forgive builds the muscle over time. We don't have to feel it, just wishing to forgive is the beginning of self-kindness. Practicing gratitude can also positively impact self-forgiveness. Dealing with deep self-hatred or lack of self-forgiveness requires a continuous practice of self-care and including ourselves and all beings in our hearts. Forgiveness can be taught in the frame of the RAIN practice, which is crucial in disarming the armoring around our hearts.

    Using RAIN to deal with emotional stuckness and loss of executive functioning

    RAIN is an acronym for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture which helps to deal with emotional stuckness and loss of access to executive functioning. Investigate, the third step, is mostly somatic and helps to shift beliefs through deepening attention in the felt sense. RAIN allows for a pause which creates space to come into the body and access vulnerable emotions. The story of a woman who felt flawed and bad illustrates how RAIN works in practice. She was able to use RAIN to face her deep sense of shame and pain and investigate how it affected her life. RAIN can be powerful and transformational in helping us heal and forgive ourselves

    Transforming Trauma Through the Practice of Rain

    Self-hatred can hinder living in the moment. However, by nurturing our vulnerable selves, offering messages of forgiveness and kindness, we can transform that trauma and embrace our true selves. The practice of Rain (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture) can be transformative in disarming the heart from old beliefs and feelings. While it requires deep work and may take years of rounds, it can lead to freedom and a sense of lightness. By noticing the quality of presence and embracing our vulnerability, we can trust that there is nothing wrong with us and live in a more happy, free, and loving way.

    Trust, Mindfulness, and Love: Overcoming Anxiety and Self-Hatred.

    Trust in reality and a sense of belonging fosters freedom from anxiety and self-hatred. Mindfulness and self-compassion practices can help rebuild trust in reality and shift focus from beliefs about oneself to the present moment. Love and kindness practices can also help foster a sense of belonging and oneness with the larger world. Anxiety and self-hatred can be overcome by starting to believe in one's own safety and goodness, and through intentional softening and opening of one's heart. Belonging, oneness, connectedness, or interdependence are all aspects of reality that can be trusted and lead to a more relaxed and open-minded experience.

    Overcoming the Fear of Everything Falling Apart

    The fear of everything falling apart constricts creativity and interpersonal relationships, and it is often linked with self-criticism and anxiety. To overcome this fear, one can therapeutically imagine the worst-case scenario and realize it is not that bad. However, behind the fear of everything falling apart is a deep-seated fear of humiliation and severed belonging. To overcome this fear, one needs to build an identity and safety around performance and recognize that all human beings want peace and love. Kicking the habit of kicking our own ass allows us to love fully without holding back, which is one of the benefits of overcoming these fears.

    Embracing Self-Compassion for a Fuller Life and Better Connections.

    When we are down on ourselves, our beliefs, feelings, and body get constricted. But when we let go of self-judgment and embrace self-compassion, we occupy a larger space and experience more love and connection with the world. It's a movement from a constricted turned-in kind of attention to an undefended opening for communion with our world, enabling us to be less judgmental. Practicing self-forgiveness disarms the heart, allowing us to open beyond our limiting identity and to taste the mystery of who we are. Understanding this can help us be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and others, as we start seeing everyone as struggling with their own hurts.

    The Healing Power of Forgiveness: Bridging Divides and Taking Responsibility

    Forgiving yourself and others leads to a more diffuse, open, light, and tender field of being, making you more responsible and accountable rather than condoning what you’ve done. Forgiveness is a political act that helps bridge divides and reduces judgementalism, allowing for greater empathy towards those with differing views or actions without condoning them. Self-forgiveness requires opening to a deep sense of vulnerability and unpleasantness, and extending self-compassion to the world. Bridge the divides by seeing past behaviors to the hurt that's underneath and lead with the intention to communicate and build a healthy society. Personal well-being and political action are intertwined, and forgiveness is a crucial catalyst towards a happier, freer, and workable world.

    Cultivating Mindfulness and Compassion for a Positive Impact on Society

    Tara Brach emphasizes the importance of being a part of healing in society rather than feeding into the violence around us. She recommends an online community called Cloud Songa for those who want to deepen mindfulness in their relationships and connect with like-minded individuals. She also suggests considering the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher certification program to further deepen our understanding and assist others on their journey. Dan Harris recommends Tara Brach's books, including Radical Acceptance, True Refuge, and Trusting the Gold, and her podcast. Overall, it is important to cultivate mindfulness and compassion, deepen our own practice, and share it with others to create a positive impact on society.

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    Ofosu Jones-Quartey, a meditation teacher, author, and musician hailing from the Washington DC area brings over 17 years of experience in sharing mindfulness, meditation and self-compassion practices with the world. Holding a bachelor’s degree from American University and certified by the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, Ofosu is a graduate of the Teleos Coaching Institute and is the male voice on the Balance meditation app, reaching over 10 million subscribers. 


    Ofosu leads meditation classes and retreats nationwide, having taught and led retreats at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, The Insight Meditation Society, Spirit Rock, Brooklyn Zen Center, Cleveland Insight, Inward Bound Mindfulness and more.


    As an accomplished hip hop artist under the name “Born I,” Ofosu released the mindfulness-themed album “In This Moment” in 2021. His most recent album is “AMIDA”, a spiritual, Lo-Fi Hip Hop album exploring life, death and his Buddhist faith.


    Beyond music, Ofosu is an author, releasing his self-published children’s book “You Are Enough” in 2020 and “Love Your Amazing Self” via Storey Publishing in 2022. He lives in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife and four children.


    In this episode we talk about:

    • The relationship between self-compassion and a successful meditation practice
    • All the reasons people resist self-compassion, and his rebuttals
    • Whether self-compassion is selfish
    • How to do self-compassion off the cushion, including practices like journaling, written reminders, establishing accountability partners, and simple questions you can drop into your mind when all else fails
    • How to do self-compassion on the cushion, including practices like body scans, metta, and a check-in practice you can use at the very start of your sits
    • And how to teach self-compassion to children



    Related Episodes:

    The Voice in Your Head | Ethan Kross



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