Tara Brach’s new book, Trusting the Gold, is a hard-cover book beautifully color illustrated by Vicky Alvarez.
Brach leads readers through three essential pathways: opening to the Truth of the present moment; turning toward Love in any situation; and resting in the Freedom of nonjudgmental awareness. Each pathway is from the basic teachings of the Buddha “that awaken us to who we are.”
Thanks to her editor’s encouragement, Brach focuses on her “own personal stories of discovery.” It’s her own slip-ups, living with a genetic disease, day-to-day challenges, and good humor that make the book very real and the suggested practices very possible for readers.
The chapters are followed by a reflection. Example: “The next time fear or anger arises, try holding it with compassion rather than shooting the second arrow of painful self-judgment and blame.”
In the section on Love, Brach covers topics such as being true to ourselves, being kind, paying attention to living beings, and having a reverence for life. A chapter titled “Keeping Company with Grief” reminds us that “when we are present with another’s loss, we don’t have to say or do anything in the moment other than open our heart and share that pain and sorrow.” The RAIN meditation can help when one is caught up in the reality of the pandemic, or any suffering in the world—including one’s own country. RAIN stands for recognize, allow, investigate, nurture.
“Freedom” is the third section of the book, in which Brach shows how “a taste of freedom” comes from not grasping after anything but being present so we “are not leaning into the future or resisting what’s here.” Some years ago, as she was becoming well known as a teacher in the meditation world, Brach realized that her “assumption of superiority and self-importance had separated me from other and my own fear.” She decided to release the “Special Person” and coached herself to “let go, let go.” She describes how the letting go was freeing, as was “the ceasing of all effort” to “fix” herself.
One evening, in the car on the way home from a meditation class, Brach’s mother asked her, “Where’s the basic goodness in racism, social injustice, capital punishment, humans violating each other, and destroying the Earth?” While Branch couldn’t offer her mother “logical proof that we live in a friendly universe,” she shared a guiding light: the intention to live as if loving awareness is our deepest essence.
“Trusting the gold” is to say yes to what’s arising inside you. Each time you do that, “you deepen trust in the gold of your intrinsically openhearted awareness,” Tara Brach says. The “loving awareness we long for is not outside ourselves, not down the road and somewhere else. It is the essence of who we already are.”