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Field Notes on the Compassionate Lifeby Marc Ian Barasch
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Writing in a friendly, upbeat voice, Barasch (Healing Dreams) 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, Barasch, former editor-in-chief of New Age Journal, explores his theme in a lively autobiographical style, with firsthand reportage, such as living temporarily as a homeless person. 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, a 10-city author publicity/speaking tour and other media promotion, this unusual spiritual self-help book could rise above the pack. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Dubbed "one of today's coolest grown-ups" by "Interview" magazine, Barasch sets out on a journey to the heart of compassion. He discovers its power to change who people are and the society they have become.
Mark Barasch, dubbed "One of the coolest grown ups alive" by "Interview magazine, and a self-confessed cynic, examines compassion and finds that it can actually cause an addictive, joyful rush that has the capacity to change who we are and the society we have become.
About the Author
MARC IAN BARASCH, an award-winning writer, editor, songwriter, and television producer is former editor-in-chief of 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 lives in Boulder, Colorado.
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