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Radical acceptance

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the title of Tara Brach’s book Radical Acceptance. Her focus in that work is mostly on how to accept oneself unconditionally, but I’ve been thinking more about how to accept life that way. My unspoken deal with life is usually something like, Treat me reasonably well and I will love you and live you with passion. But the daily news is full of people going through tragedies that would test any of us. Like me, you may try to keep such unthinkable things in the realm of the unthunk (I could have written “unthought,” an actual word, here but my playful side liked the sound of unthunk better!). I’ve been wondering if I can cultivate a new deal with life: I’ll meet whatever you give me with radical acceptance. This kind of new deal would involve letting go of understanding why things happen and deciding to just meet them with my highest energies.

The following nested meditation (from my recent one-a-day collection of nested meditations,Now is Where God Lives) is my attempt at putting this new deal with life into words:

Let it be.

Let it be

as it is.

Let is be,

as it is

clearly here already.

Let is be,

as it is

clearly here. Already

acceptance is transforming it.

I suppose death is a different kind of new deal—the one where we turn in all our cards and see what comes next. Hopefully, I can meet that too with radical acceptance when the time comes. Maybe having a radical acceptance attitude about death can keep me from living in the long fear-shadow it casts on life.


Kevin Anderson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, and speaker who lives in the Toledo, Ohio area. His latest book Now is Where God Lives: Nested Meditations to Delight the Mind and Awaken the Soul is available at Amazon or

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