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Thinking Compassionate Thoughts

By Peter Rooney

[Faculty] Chances are, the first words that you associate with mindfulness are not physics or economics. So how is it that two Amherst faculty members from those fields are in charge of two organizations devoted to the concepts of mindfulness and contemplative practice?

“Fortunate births, perhaps?” offers Daniel Barbezat, professor of economics and executive director of the Northampton-based Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

A Meeting of the Mindful to introduce compassion, kindness in schools worldwide

Submitted on Tuesday, 5/28/2013, at 4:46 PM

May 28, 2013 • By Peter Rooney

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College campus is forging ever stronger links with the burgeoning mindfulness movement, in academia and beyond.

The most recent example is an initiative—funded with a $1 million grant from the Dalai Lama and spearheaded by a renowned physicist from Amherst College and a group of 30 leading minds in fields such as education, neuroscience and childhood development—to integrate the core principles of compassion and kindness into a secular ethics curriculum that can be taught worldwide, to people of all ages.

What They Are Reading

Professor of Economics Daniel Barbezat, who was recently named executive director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, writes about the books on his figurative bedside table.

Evening Meditation Sessions to Resume at the Mead Art Museum on Nov. 10

October 26, 2010
Contact: Pamela Russell
Coordinator of College Programs
413/542-8229

AMHERST, Mass.—For the second year, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will hold a series of evening meditation sessions, free and open to the public, in the museum’s galleries at 7:30 p.m. on the Wednesday evenings of Nov. 10 and Dec. 8, 2010, and Jan. 26, Feb. 16 and March 9, 2011.

PBS.org: "Consumption, Well-Being and Awareness"

Economics professor Daniel Barbezat discussed developing and deepening awareness of how much we consume and how we feel in this essay he penned for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Web site.

Mead Art Museum to Host Evening Meditation Sessions Feb. 17, March 24, April 7 and May 5

January 12, 2010
Contact: Pamela Russell
Coordinator of College Programs
413/542 8229

AMHERST, Mass.—The Mead Art Museum at AmherstCollege will hold a series of four evening meditation sessions, free and open to the public, in the museum’s galleries at 7:30 p.m. on the Wednesday evenings of Feb. 17, March 24, April 7 and May 5.

Here and Now: Can you teach satisfaction?

Economics professor Daniel Barbezat discussed his course “Consumption and the Pursuit of Happiness” in a lengthy interview with the national NPR show.

Consuming Happiness

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Daniel Barbezat talks money and happiness.

Interview by Peter Rooney

Consuming Happiness

Barbezat
Professor Daniel Barbezat 

If there ever was a sobering time to teach an economics course titled "Consumption and the Pursuit of Happiness," it might be during the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

The course, being taught this semester by Economics Professor Daniel P. Barbezat, aims to open students’ eyes about the link between well-being and consumption, and how government policies and economic conditions can impact that well-being. To help students gain insight, he’s also introducing elements of mindfulness into the course, and leading meditation exercises as well.

Professor Barbezat recently sat down with Director of Public Affairs Peter Rooney to discuss the class, as well as his thoughts about the current downturn and how it might impact our own sense of happiness. (He also spoke with Kimberly Palmer ’01 about the course for a piece she wrote for U.S. News & World Report.)

Listen to the full interview:

Highlights

Q: It’s a very intriguing title, given the times and the unraveling of the economy.  To what extent are you incorporating the downturn into the course or discussion?

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