Field Notes on the Compassionate Life: A Search for the Soul of Kindness, by Marc Ian Barasch, is one of the most compelling books I have ever read. Taking its context from religion, philosophy, world events, and the human condition, this well written piece teaches its readers how to reach into the part of themselves which sees the best in others.
From the moment I opened the mailing envelope, I knew this would be an interesting bit of review material. The cover alone got my attention quickly. Its artwork looked as though I had picked up a leather bound journal. With several turned up pages and "snap" on the side, one is compelled to linger over its words with cup of coffee in hand.
Barasch starts out by sharing the vow of universal compassion he took while studying with a Buddhist teacher. One nice aspect of this book is that there are personal moments throughout the chapters. For example, during the events which took place on September 11,2001, Barasch looks at what happened when people made the decision to give peace, comfort, and mercy to those who had to clear away the dust and debris.
Some parts will surprise readers, such as how a father of a murdered woman could forgive the one who took his daughter's life. Although Hector "hated" the actions which led to Trish's death, he decides to go to court and ask that Ivan be given a life sentence rather than the death penalty. Or how girls living in Israel and Palestine learn to talk about how much more they are alike than different at a special camp.
We can all learn something from its pages.
Copies of this book may be obtained from compassionatelife.com.