Field Notes on the Compassionate Life
A Search for the Soul of KindnessBook - 2005
Marc Ian Barasch, dubbed "one of today's coolest grown-ups" by Interview magazine,
sets out on a journey to the heart of compassion. He discovers its power to change who we are and the society we have become. Compassion, he concludes, is "a prescription for authentic joy."
Can tapping into one simple human trait, hardwired into our nervous system and just waiting to be awakened, transform our lives and the world at large? Could it help us enjoy new levels of happiness and contentment? Exploring his subject through the multiple lenses of psychology and biology, pop culture and theology, history and philosophy, Barasch weaves a stirring, unforgettable account of his search to find within himself and others: the ability to live compassionately.
He examines such fascinating questions as: What can we learn from exceptionally empathetic people? Can we increase our kindness quotient with practice? How do we open our hearts to those who do us harm? What if the great driving force of our evolution were actually "survival of the kindest?"
Drawing from influences as disparate as Buddhist monks and skeptical neuroscientists, Barasch creates a riveting, persuasive argument that a simple shift in consciousness can have a tremendous, lasting impact on our psyches, our relationships, our health--and the very fate of the Earth.