This book is about working for a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world while cultivating the wisdom that supports and deepens this work.
Charles Halpern is a social entrepreneur with a remarkable record of institutional innovation. He founded the Center for Law and Social Policy, the nation’s first public interest law firm, litigating landmark environmental protection and constitutional rights cases. As founding dean of the new City University of New York School of Law he initiated a bold program for training public interest lawyers as whole people. Later, as president of the $400 million Nathan Cummings Foundation, he launched an innovative grant program that drew together social justice advocacy with meditation and spiritual inquiry.
In his years of activism, he had a growing intuition that something was missing, and he sought ways of developing inner resources that complemented his cognitive and adversarial skills. These explorations led him to the conviction that what he calls the practice of wisdom is essential to his effectiveness and well-being and to our collective capacity to address the challenges of the 21st century successfully.
With wit and self-deprecating humor, Halpern shares candid and revealing lessons from every stage of his life, describing his journey and the teachers and colleagues he encountered on the way—a cast of characters that includes Barney Frank and Ralph Nader, Ram Dass and the Dalai Lama. Making Waves and Riding the Currents vividly demonstrates the life-enhancing benefits of integrating a commitment to social justice with the cultivation of wisdom. It is a real-world guide to effectively achieving social and institutional change while maintaining balance, compassion, and hope.