Warming the Global Spirit: Kindness as Peace Work

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Reviews the book, The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferrucci and translated by Vivien Reid Ferrucci (see record 2006-10384-000). Recent literature reveals that researchers and practitioners focusing on the interactions of stress, emotional well-being, and physical well-being in the field of mind-body medicine and psychology (Kabat-Zinn, 2005; Nezu, Nezu, & Jain, 2005; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002) are uniting wisdom from various spiritual traditions with Western psychological theories, research, and practices. Their goal is to articulate pathways for healing and increased quality of life via cultivation of states like equanimity, joy, compassion, and recognition of our interconnections with other human beings, animals, and the environment. The author of the book under review, Ferrucci, a transpersonal psychologist and philosopher who studied with Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, explores human kindness as an essential feature of a peaceful world and a fulfilling life. Ferrucci explains that the relationships among us are becoming colder as capitalism and consumerism abound, technology replaces direct human contact and assistance, and even the warmth we seek from one another becomes a commodity that is sold to us through product advertising campaigns. He points out that this period in our history supports the spread of impersonalization and disconnection if we are not careful. Furthermore, he argues that basic human kindness is a critical factor in our physical and mental health and in ensuring that we survive as a planet and as a species. According to Ferrucci, kindness comprises a number of qualities that all interact with one another, including honesty, warmth, forgiveness, contact, sense of belonging, trust, mindfulness, empathy, humility, patience, generosity, respect, flexibility, memory, loyalty, gratitude, service, and joy. Thus, the book is organized into 19 chapters, 18 of which each explain one of these qualities. Ferrucci, the master storyteller, begins each chapter with a personal anecdote, myth, or cultural story that communicates something about the quality that the chapter will focus on. Then, throughout each chapter, he continues to weave in examples and narratives from a range of spiritual traditions, contemporary and ancient cultures, his own experiences, and at times, research, to elucidate the quality itself and why it is an important dimension of kindness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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