Joan Halifax is one of those people who doesn't just live life, she dives into the depths of it — fearlessly — and comes back up to the surface to share her hard-earned wisdom with the rest of us. Joan is a Zen Buddhist roshi, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, hospice caregiver, and the author of several books on Buddhism and spirituality. She currently serves as abbot and guiding teacher of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Zen Peacemaker community which she founded in 1990. She has also done extensive work with the dying through another one of her founding efforts: Project on Being with Dying. Further, she is on the board of directors of the Mind and Life Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated in exploring the relationship of science and Buddhism.
In essence, she has spent a lifetime looking at the most neglected and critical of questions: how can we die with more dignity, more community? how do the brain and the spirit interact? how can we cultivate compassion and empathy in ourselves and in others? Joan has written, and I believe it sums up the foundations of her own life's work, "All beings, including each one of us, enemy and friend alike, exists in patterns of mutuality, interconnectedness, co-responsibility and ultimately in unity."
I was so thrilled that she was able to share some of her wisdom with us at TEDWomen last year in Washington D.C., and thrilled once again to see that TED.com has posted her site to great response.
Don't miss the new online home for TEDxWomen 2011, coming up in December!
This post originally appeared at the Paley Center for Media's Pat Connects blog.