So, not a new book, a 2003 publication, and one that was recommended to me on a training in 2017. Its sat on my shelf since, but recently it reached the top of the pile.
Of late I’ve been a little jaded about spirituality / self help / wisdom titles, and being honest I went into this book with low expectations, indeed, not wanting to like it.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by its practicality and warmth, and came away feeling this is one of the better books of the genre.
The author defines Radical Acceptance as “Radical Acceptance reverses our habit of living at war with experiences that are unfamiliar, frightening or intense. It is the necessary antidote to years of neglecting ourselves, years of judging and treating ourselves harshly, years of rejecting this moment’s experience. Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is. A moment of Radical Acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.”.
The author is both a Buddhist Teacher and a Clinical Psychologist, and this sees a work which encompass both Western and Eastern Psychological aspects; my own experience is blending the two works well, and I felt aligned with a lot of what she was suggesting.
The danger with any approach to acceptance is Spiritual Bypassing – simply getting lost in Spirituality and not dealing with the nitty gritty – and this work does well to steer well away from that tendency, which makes it a far better work than some I have read. Instead there is a gentle and readable focus around insight and understanding how we are how we are. Again, this is something I warm to – if I were to be asked to summarise my Yoga practice in one word, Insight would be it.
In short, if you are dealing with “stuff” – low self esteem, mental health, recovery from life trauma, then this is a good practical book on Insight style Buddhist enquiry practices that may help – nothing OTT, just good wisdom. Its a book I’m happy to recommend.