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Publisher's Summary

"In Standing at the Edge, Joan Halifax weaves together scientific research and her own powerful personal experiences as a social activist and humanitarian to show how we can transform our biggest challenges with compassion and wisdom. Standing at the Edge is essential reading for our time." (Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global)

Standing at the Edge is an evocative examination of how we can respond to suffering, live our fullest lives, and remain open to the full spectrum of our human experience.

Joan Halifax has enriched thousands of lives around the world through her work as a humanitarian, a social activist, and an anthropologist and as a 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. Through her unusual background, she developed an understanding of how our greatest challenges can become the most valuable source of our wisdom - and how we can transform our experience of suffering into the power of compassion for the benefit of others.

In this audiobook, Halifax identifies 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, this is an audiobook that will serve us all.

©2018, 2018 Joan Halifax, foreword copyright by Rebecca Solnit (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

“Halifax offers an invitation to hold these states not only in our minds, but in our hearts.” (Psychology Today)

"...narrator Joan Halifax's meditative voice takes us by the ear and reorients us toward serenity... Her slow and steady pace allows listeners to keep up with the considerable wisdom she is passing along. This title will likely leave listeners feeling serene." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Standing at the Edge

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A treasure

Nearing the end of a long and adventurous life, Joan Halifax shares concepts for both coping with life, and personal growth. These concepts are clearly based on personal experience and observation, therefore, all the more valuable. I felt sometimes as if was having an informal session with a wise and sensitive therapist. I’ve returned to it several times since I bought it to solidify her concepts. Her speaking voice is gorgeous and soothing. I always have a little problem with the audio quality of Audible downloads (hey Audible!) - I’d gladly take the time for a slow download and a larger file size if the audio would have more detail and sound less digitized.

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Deep bows of gratitude

I will keep this book close as I navigate these edge states in my profession as a psychologist and as a Buddhist practitioner. I have been over the edge feeling the burnout of care for others in ways that were not helpful for me or those I serve. This book reminds me of the essentials of self-care, so important in order to sustain the intention to bring healing to the world where possible. Thank you very much for the wisdom you share.

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Compassion

Stunning, gentle, and revelatory. For those seeking to serve with open minds and open hearts.

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listen again and again

joan halifax describes so eloquently the keys to finding groundedness and joy. her examples are personal stories guaranteed to invoke feelings. her path, on high moral ground as a zen buddhist priest, is inspiring and yet relatable. this book i will play again and again. ॐ

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Can't stop listening

This audio and the hard copy are an outstanding duo. I get something more from them each time I listen or read it.

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Very Myopic Viewpoint

I was looking forward to this book because of the premise it offers- that holding space for uncomfortable feelings that arise can lead to liberation and expand our capacity for compassionate action. I love the ideas and the intention behind the book and was hoping to apply the teachings.
However I found this book to be very myopic because the examples frame the experience of a white cis-gendered woman of privilege rather than framing a universal human experience. The white gaze is strong in this book and I found the tone condescending in the examples highlighting interactions with BIPOC people. What is often indifference is framed as noble restraint. I couldn't get through it. In addition it was way more depressing and joyless than one would expect from a practicing Buddhist.

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Pure

Love. Grounding. I will revisit again and again as I seek and walk through the edge.

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Excellent book!

The autor help me to understand all the states when we are experiencing suffering. Especially, when we are standing at the edge! Practicing Compassion leads us through! Many Thanks!🙏

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Handbook for the 21st Century

In this rich book, you'll find inspiration and maps for the varied challenges we face in our personal and social and ecological lives. Halifax shares warm-hearted stories of her own experiences along with those of others who've moved her in her work to relieve suffering. She also brings alive her disciplined studies via science and Zen practice in her search for what can help.

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  • Mystic Wings
  • 06-30-20

I enjoyed & learned a lot.

Greatly researched and authentically shared. Thank you. I would recommend to people who function mostly from the intellect perspective and need researched data.

Joan's reading voice would get groggy, out of breath and struggle to flow at places, but it didn't ruin the over all experience of listening.

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  • Phillip
  • 05-16-20

Phenomenal from start to finish

Wow loved this book so much, learned allot, must read or listen for anyone in the Ngo or a work field where you are constantly giving of yourself. Joan Halifax brilliantly narrated her book :)

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  • Jeroth Diggeden
  • 07-26-19

Great Wisdom!

Great wisdom for anyone trying to navigate the psychology of true altruism, without destroying your own life in service of others.