True Refuge by Tara Brach

True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Awakened Heart

true refuge

Book Title:   True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Awakened Heart
Author: Tara Brach
Publisher: Bantam Books
Year Published: 2012
Pages: 320
Hardcover Price: $10.36
Kindle Price: $11.99

Tara Brach is one of the most successful meditation teachers in the world.  She has faced her own illness and helped many others to begin to be mindful of their lives no matter what it going on.  She is also a clinical psychologist who has helped others get through their own difficult situations.  She effectively blends psychology with Eastern spiritual practices and is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism.  She was trained in the teaching program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center under the tutelage of Jack Kornfield.

true refuge

Author Tara Brach

She is also the author of an award-winning book Radical Acceptance (Bantam, 2003) which is another great book that I will review in the future.  Tara also founded the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC.  She routinely gives presentations, leads retreats, and also has her own podcast.

Book Summary

As a psychologist and a meditation teacher she uses her extensive experience and case studies from both herself and her patients in order to give insight into how we can use Buddhism to become more mindful of ourselves.

This is a very insightful and helpful book for those who are beginning any kind of meditation practice.  It really helps us find the stillness in the present moment.

The main practice espoused by author Tara Brach is contained in the acronym RAIN.
R = Recognize what is happening
A = Accept what is there. Allow life to be just as it is.
I = Investigate with Kindness
N= Non-identification

This book goes into a lot of depth into all of the steps of the RAIN process and how you can make it work for yourself.

Part 1: Our Search for Refuge

Chapter 1: Winds of Homecoming
Chapter 2: Leaving Home: The Trance of Small Self
Chapter 3: Meditation: The Path to Presence
Chapter 4: Three Gateways to Refuge

Part II: The Gateway of Truth

Chapter 5: RAIN: Cultivating Mindfulness in Difficult Times
Chapter 6: Awakening to the Life of the Body
Chapter 7: Possessed by the Mind: The Prison of Compulsive Thinking
Chapter 8: Investigating Core Beliefs

Part III: The Gateway of Love

Chapter 9: Heart Medicine for Traumatic Fear
Chapter 10: Self-Compassion: Releasing the Second Arrow
Chapter 11: The Courage to Forgive
Chapter 12: Holding Hands: Living Compassion
Chapter 13: Losing What We Love: The Pain of Seperation

Part IV: The Gateway of Awareness

Chapter 14: Refuge in Awareness
Chapter 15: A Heart That Is Ready for Anything

My Critique

This is a great book for beginners and for those that may be seeking therapy (though this shouldn’t replace any therapy that you might be doing).  It shows us how Buddhism can be a supplement to existing therapy work.  With the RAIN process, she offers us a way to be mindful right now, in the moment in a way that isn’t complicated and allows us to be kind to ourselves.


I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who is interested in learning how to meditate and be mindful in their everyday life.  I have read it several times and there is always something there that I hadn’t seen before.  It is perfect for the meditation beginner

Buy your own copy here today!

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4 Responses to True Refuge by Tara Brach

  1. Jim says:

    Sounds like a very interesting book. Is the RAIN acronym her own idea, or is it something from Buddhism? Also Buddhism is a religion isn’t it? Or do people view Buddhism as not so much a religion, but rather as a form of meditation. Meditation seems to be popular these days. I’m inclined to try it for relaxation purposes. Is that why most people use meditation, or do they actually use meditation as a form of “religion” and a way to “get in touch” with a higher power?

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Jim,

      It is her innovation though it’s rooted in the Buddhist process. There are some people who make Buddhism into a religion, but the fact is that it isn’t really about religion, it’s about seeing things as they really are. Most people meditate to stay in the present moment, which is definitely relaxing. That being said, there are definitely people out there who try to get in touch with some “higher power” but that is not Buddhist meditation.

  2. Jeff says:

    I am interested in the content of this book. I would definitely consider myself to be a beginner with regards to meditation. Like most people, I am a compulsive thinker. I am not sure how to meditate properly. Are you supposed to think of something specific during meditation or think of nothing at all?

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Just focus on your breath. If you find your mind gets distracted then just bring your attention back to the breath, this is normal. Hope this helps.

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