Standing at the Edge: finding freedom where fear and courage meet
Joan Halifax has enriched countless lives of millions around the world through her work as a social activist, anthropologist, and Buddhist teacher. Over many decades, she has also collaborated with neuroscientists, clinicians, and psychologists to understand how contemplative practice can be a vehicle for social transformation. This work led her to an understanding of how our greatest challenges can become the most valuable source of our wisdom—and how we can transform suffering into the power of compassion for the benefit of others. Halifax has identified five psychological territories she calls Edge States—altruism, empathy, integrity, respect, and engagement—that epitomize strength of character. Yet each of these states can also be the cause of personal and social suffering. In this way, these five psychological experiences form edges, and it is only when we stand at these edges that we become open to the full range of our human experience and discover who we really are. Recounting the experiences of caregivers, activists, humanitarians, politicians, parents, and teachers, incorporating the wisdom of Zen traditions and mindfulness practices, and rooted in Halifax’s groundbreaking research on compassion, STANDING AT THE EDGE is destined to become a contemporary classic. A powerful guide on how to find the freedom we seek for others and ourselves, it is a book that will serve us all.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest and anthropologist. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology and received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress. She is the founder of the Upaya Prison Project and of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.