How can compassion, a trait hardwired into our nervouse system and just waiting to be awakened, transform our lives and the world at large. From up-to -the-minute research to timeless spiritual truths, this book weaves a stirring, unforgettable story of the search for kindness in a world that clearly needs it.
Can we discover our greatest human potential by studying the exceptionally empathic? Can we increase our own "compassion quotient" with practice? How can we open our hearts to those who have wronged us? And 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, homeless activists and interstellar researchers, Barasch creates a riveting, persuasive argument that a simple shift in conscikousness can have a lasting impact on our health, our relationships, and the very fate of the Earth.
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MARC IAN BARASCH is the awardwinning author of Healing Dreams ("lucid...courageous...trailblazling"--the Washington Post); Remarkable Recovery, with Caryle Hirshberg ("Thrilling!"---Newsweek); and The Healing Path ("If you read one book about the mindbody connection, make it this one; a beacon of science, spirituality, and sanity"--Dr. Larry Dossey. "The more who read Barasch," writes Kirkus Reviews, "the better the world will be." Barasch is a former editor at Psychology Today, Natural Health, and New Age Journal (which won a National Magazine Award). He has appeared on "Good Morning, America," "The Today Show," and NPR's "All Things Considered," and has given workshops at Omega and Esalen Institutes. He is the founder executive director of the Green World Campaign. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Washington Post: Barasch shares with the best science writers an ability to make you feel the excitement of discovery...[His book] will interest anyone who struggles to be kinder in a not-so-kind world.
Marc Barasch stands out as a bard of the human heart, spinning a gripping, thought-provoking, and entertaining tale as he explores the meandering paths of compassion. Here is an essential guidebook for anyone who cares deeply about the human condition, and about how we can help each other find our way through with love and guts.
--Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
Publishers Weekly (starred review): Writing in a friendly, upbeat voice, Barasch is never pious as he ponders the meaning of compassion, its healing properties and the wisdom of the compassionate, from St. Francis and the Dalai Lama to caring individuals in Barasch's own life. Touching on psychology, social science and evolutionary biology, he explores his subject with lively firsthand reportage. The compassionate life is not only liberating, it genuinely feels good, he says. But how do we overcome our innately self-serving tendencies? Barasch finds among bonobo chimpanzees a model for caring group behavior that he believes undermines Darwin's evolutionary idea of the survival of the fittest. He reports on new research that shows how love and caring may actually drive the bodily system, and he converses with an extraordinarily altruistic kidney donor and a father who has forgiven the killer of his daughter. He also observes an Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, and reconciliations in Rwanda. Melding accessible reportage with spiritual quest, Barasch's stirring account is thought-provoking and inspiring. Forecast: With a flurry of blurbs from the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Arianna Huffington, this unusual spiritual self-help book could rise above the pack.
...A powerful argument for a world of generosity and love. Barasch develops sophisticated social theory that challenges the paralyzing cynicism that is the common sense of our age. It should also be required reading at every college and in every workplace.
Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun.
Searching for heart in a world celebrating the brain, Marc Ian Barasch offers a refreshing look at what allows people to share feelings and what drives them to help those in need. The book is wide-ranging, erudite, and full of surprising insights into the behavior of the most empathic primate. --Frans de Waal, author of Our Inner Ape (Riverhead, 2005).
Marc Ian Barasch's Fieldnotes on the Compassionate Life is an excellent and penetrating book. His argument for compassion is balanced yet persuasive, and long overdue. This book ought to be a compulsory read for all.
par-- Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
"In our post-nine-eleven world, compassion is no longer optional. Our future largely depends on it - and not just compassion toward one another, but also toward the earth and all its creatures. Describing how compassion unfolds in ordinary lives and transforms them is Barasch's great gift. Elegant, erudite, and profoundly gentle: this book is a shimmering jewel."
-- Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Words
"If I had to pick one skill that was most important for a negotiator --meaning everyone everyday -- it would be the ability to put yourself in the other side's shoes. In this extraordinary book -- part keenly observed field notes, part magical story-telling-- Marc Barasch helps us understand why and how this might be so, leading us deep into the mysteries of human and non-human compassion. !"
--William Ury, co-author Getting to Yes
--The Washington Post
Awards: Readers Digest Editors Choice Booksense List Nautlilus Book Award BeliefNet --Readers Digest Editors Choice
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